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...just waking up

topic posted Sun, February 15, 2009 - 1:18 PM by  Etana
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to the potential for the SHTF.

The amount of information on the 'net is staggering and the whole process of preparing for SHTF is overwhelming. I'm having a hard time deciding where to start and could use a bit of (gentle) advice. Most of you frequent posters are so way ahead of me, I'm hoping you can remember back when you started and wouldn't mind letting me know if my common sense is taking me in the right direction. <<Tips for not panicking would be nice, too.>>

So here's a mild Sunday afternoon light mental exercise for ya'...and I'm so bogged down, I don't even know what info to give so you can give suggestions, etc. So, let's *assume* a family of 5 (2 adults, 2 children, 1 dog) and oh, $500 <<I could probably swing that right now.> Hold off on security (guns, etc) until I get a grip on all this.

~E

posted by:
Etana
Atlanta
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  • .
    .
    offline 8

    Re: ...just waking up

    Sun, February 15, 2009 - 1:23 PM
    food and medical supplies would probably be a smart first investment. Just start with a week's worth of non perishables and water.
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    Re: ...just waking up

    Sun, February 15, 2009 - 1:36 PM
    well, get ready for a bombardment of information lol.

    Yes, it can all seem overwhelming. But welcome anyways, to a very rapidly growing percentage of americans who are smelling something bad in the wind, and feeling an inner urge or pressure, to start doing something about it to protect their loved ones. Glad to have you here.

    It's easy to get lost in all the gear and gadgets and preparation stuff out there. Start simple. Pick small scenarios and prepare for them. Power outages, storms, car trouble. Move on up to maybe a mandatory temporary evacuation in your area (which is more common and possible than you might think) and more serious disruptions of daily life.

    One GREAT way to start to get a handle on things is to make lists. Make a little laminated list of step-by-step things to do in the even of.... well, start with first-aid procedures. Another page could be instructions on how to change a car tyre by yourself, with pictures of where to place the jack, etc. Another page for what to do if a police tells you there was a chemical spill nearby and they're issuing a mandatory 5 mile radius evacuation.... shut off the lights, unplug the appliances, gather this and this and this, shut off the water main, shut off the gas line, lock the door behind you, etc.

    With lists, you will be quick and efficient at doing things that need to get done, and you won't waste time panicking or worrying about whether you missed a step or did something wrong.

    This is the first step towards getting some feeling of control and calmness about the volatile world we live in.

    Then, you can start making little kits, we call them BOB's or 'bug-out-bags'.... you might call them a 72 hour kit, but most are more comprehensive than that. keep one in the car, at the office, at home, in your spouses car. some people even find ways to keep some available at school for their kids, in one disguise or another.

    Then, I would say you oughta go further. Start building food storage at home, buy up on bulk things here and there. Food storage is best built up in little bits, maybe an extra $20 per week on grain, or canned fruit, etc.... before long, you'll have enough food in the house to be just fine in a hurrican katrina-type situation. save your two-liter bottles and fill them with clean water, stack em in the garage.

    The world isn't going to blow up tomorrow. Just put your shoulder to the wheel, keep doing that little extra each day, and before long you'll realize how quickly you are compiling a good base of preparation gear. You probably won't even feel much of a dent in the wallet.

    Once you get that stuff under your belt, you have some good momentum going, and you'll find it's very easy and fun to add on. Buy a gun and learn how to use it, go out and buy canning supplies and learn how to preserve your own food, take a course on first aid, just little things here and there. It won't feel overwhelming, in fact, it can easily become a new set of hobbies, build confidence and a new style of thinking. You'll really enjoy it. We all do.

    Just don't get stuck in that first little hump of panick and being overwhelmed. It gets easier and easier, once you get started and do a little bit each day or each week, however time permits.

    Hope this helps.
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      Re: ...just waking up

      Sun, February 15, 2009 - 2:06 PM
      Dinty moore beef stew has a 3 to 5 year shelf life and has everything you need in one can, liquid, veggies and meat. Add water to that and you can feed your family with out refrigeration. Make sure you have a source of water that does not require electricity. Hand pump or creek. If drinking water from a creek you must boil it first. Start slow and dont panic. You have time.
    • Re: ...just waking up

      Sun, February 15, 2009 - 4:57 PM
      whew! Looks like my common sense is better off than I am (lol) and I've gone past the *just started* stage.

      I am working on the smaller *what-if's* and moving up to the bigger/badder things. It does help...like building blocks, start a solid foundation and work your way up.

      - Renewing my first aid/CPR certification is on my list of things-to-do...
      - Hadn't thought of the car trouble thing - with our kids riding with me all the time, that's something I should learn (can hook up an RV, but can't change a tire - go figure)...
      - Have the extra food & water (& personal/household items) started - up to about 2+ weeks now just by adding a bit to the weekly grocery shopping...
      - Am working on the laminated lists - got that info from another thread off this tribe...
      - BOB's done for me & the kids - gotta' update theirs / they grow fast & mine needs a bit more for me to feel comfortable - working on making up extras...
      - Don't know about backyard garden yet - our lot is very heavily wooded & having trees taken down is expensive - may try container garden on back deck that gets full morning sun...
      - Have guns - hubby & I both shoot & are teaching the kidlets...
      - Have land approx 70-75 miles away - close to other family members - maybe not far enough away from the big city, but it's there & paid for...

      Now, to just breathe ;-)
      • Jim
        Jim
        offline 2

        Re: ...just waking up

        Sun, February 15, 2009 - 10:33 PM
        From your profile, it appears that you spend a certain amount of time and money on "dancing". While that is a good and lively endevor, it may not be the best thing to be doing just now. Getting prepped for the "what if" may be more important at the moment. You can always return to the dance later.
        Since your question here states that you have limited money, and a family retreat 70 mi's. away, the first thing I'd do is to go have a real heart to heart with your family. Make sure you all are on the same page as much as is possible. Hopefully they will agree that it would be a good idea to have the family, as a group, organize some "insurance" in case of "interesting" times. Write down what everybody has, agree with what everybody will acquire. Work together, -so you don't have to try to do it all alone. ...Rawles, on www.survivalblog.com, has many lists of what to get, where to get, how to get.

        Then, in your particular situation, make sure everybody is very up to date on eye, health and dental care. If the economy crashes, or etc., none of those things may be available. Then, acquire one or more gas cans and fill them. The most important task you have to accomplish in a crisis is to get your family to the retreat. ...Then, when you are sure you all are in good health and you have transportation, start collecting the other stuff you'll need. Such as, every time you go to Walmart/K-Mart, buy a few fish hooks and line, or sewing needles. ---These are very simple little things, but extremely difficult to make without lots of high tech tools, (and they make good trade goods). Get extra bandages/iodine/peroxide/aspirin/etc. Get extra sewing machine needles and thread for the treadle machine you said on your profile that you wanted to get. (Come visit me in Ohio, and I'll give you one of my extra machines.) Get a cheap tire repair kit and air pump, so you can make sure you can get to retreat. Go to antique stores and look for cheap used meat or grain grinders. Used is just as good as new and much less expensive. (Antique stores are where all the appropriate non-electric technology resides.) Go online to borders books and click on their used book page. You can order any used book from any store in the country thru Borders or Barnes & Nobel. Get books on organic gardening or animal care or harness/boot/candle/soap/etc/ making, etc. You can order online, pay online. The books will arrive at your door in a week or two. ...This is important !! You need knowledge as much as you need supplies. A case of soup will keep you alive for a week, knowing how to be self-sufficient will keep you alive a long time.

        ***One of the most important books everybody in this group should have, (imho), is, "The Forgotten Arts & Crafts", by John Seymour***
        It shows you enough about how to do everthing, that you will be a long ways to being able to provide everything you need.

        That's all simple fairly inexpensive stuff to start, ...then you can get to the more fun stuff like good heavy shoes, boots and outdoor wear for the family. Again, used is often better than new. Go to craigslist.org, garage sales, flea markets, Goodwill.
        • Re: ...just waking up

          Mon, February 16, 2009 - 5:32 AM
          Jim-
          Lots of good info...

          (lol) "...dancing" is my hobby. I don't spend near as much as it appears I do. ;-0

          I'll have to approach the family slowly. Hubby is slower than I am coming to terms with all this. But most of the others have an independent streak, so I'd be willing to bet there's a survivalist buried in all of them.

          Sewing kit - pretty much done - working on getting the less-needed items, like zipper repair kits
          First aid kits - have recently updated the OTC medicines
          Books, seeds, tire repair kit / pump - all going on the list I carry with me

          And I've been reading survivalblog.com - tons of information there, too.


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            Re: ...just waking up

            Mon, February 16, 2009 - 8:01 AM
            Just wanted to say hi. Sounds like you have a good start on everything, and believe me these good people here are always willing to help, so you're in the right place for lots of info and advice. They've all been very nice and a huge help for me. Like everyone said.....one step at a time and it all gradually comes together.

            Remember to breathe. I tend to let things stress me out because I'm alone most of the time, but here I find patience and peace. It's also good knowing I'm not the only one thinking about this stuff.
            • Re: ...just waking up

              Mon, February 16, 2009 - 8:39 AM
              Thanks, Zarina. I've been *lurking* for several months and a lot of what's been done is based on what I've read here. I just got overwhelmed by what still *needs* to be done. With all the gloom-n-doom in the news, it's easy to feel like I'm out of time and that bugs me especially when I think of the kidlets. It's the *gradually getting there* that's bogging me down, but it's nice to have confirmation that I'm on the right track.
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                Re: ...just waking up

                Mon, February 16, 2009 - 8:53 AM
                It's the same with me Etana. I have been literally stressing over everything going on now days for year or two. I was trying to figure out what to do and my hubby found this tribe. Mojo's here too, and I had so many questions that took him forever to ask because he can't get online regularly, that he suggested I just join myself. Best thing I ever did. Sacres the hell out of me, but I feel better now because I know I have at least tried to prepare with more info and reasonable ideas, and am still making progress. It's all one step at a time. Every time I think I have a complete list of everything I need to do, have, know, someone comes up with a brilliant new idea. So it's continual thing. Always expanding or morphing into something new and better. Believe me I KNOW I still have a lot to do, but I feel so much better after being here.

                It's just me and Mojo, and the 2 dogs so I thnk I kinda have it a little easier than you. I can't imagine having all this to worry about with kids too. Girl, you have a lot on your hands. You're in the right place though for info and help.
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                  Re: ...just waking up

                  Mon, February 16, 2009 - 9:04 AM
                  Just remember girls, by becoming aware and actively preparing, you are already in the top 5% of most-likely-to-be-just-fine-in-a-catastrophe. You already are miles and miles ahead of anyone else in your town.

                  We all feel the need to push harder and faster to get all our ducks in a row. We all have a list of things to do, ten times bigger than the list of things done.

                  But the simple bottom line is, that all you can do, is all you can do. Stressing about it won't help your progress at all. In fact, it will slow you down, bog you down, and make you feel overwhelmed and even hopeless, which is more counterproductive than you realize.

                  if the doom and gloom starts to get to you, a good thing to do is to go over the preps you have accomplished. Going through your Bugout Bag should be common practice anyhow.... you need to customize it as the seasons change, and you need to be familiar with it's contents. Go through your medical kit and make sure it's contents are updated, restocked and nicely organized.

                  Go over your food storage. it's easy to forget what you've got in the back of the pantry. Go over your vehicle, walk yourself through an emergency tyre repair, re-familiarize yourself with things you've already done. you'll start to realize that you actually do have a lot of good things under your belt.

                  You're not going to wake up tomorrow to chaos and zombies running all over the streets. You've got time. Just keep plugging along and realize you're already very well off.
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                    Re: ...just waking up

                    Mon, February 16, 2009 - 9:22 AM
                    Thanks Thousand. It's good to know we're going to make it. LOL You know what I mean.

                    It's also great to know that everyone else feels the push and has the list of things to do. I know I'm making progress, however slow it feels, but it's good to now everyone else is still working towards getting things done. It make me feel like I'm maybe not so very far behind after all.

                    I still feel a little stressed because I feel I should have more accomplished by now, but I'm not scared any more. I'm not helpelss either. Mojo has helped make sure I have what I need and know what I need to know. Top that off with everone here and I feel prety good about things right now. I know I'll still be bugging everyone with more questions, and I still have a lot of work to do, but know it's doable now. Mojo being gone so much is still botheringmebut I am managing it now that we know what we're going to do if/when something happens.

                    We've decided that every 3 months we'll go through and update the go bags, and the gear bag and everything else. We will be ready no matter what happens.

                    Oh! Speaking of the pantry...... we obviously don't have any storage living in a 5th wheel, but we have come up with a great idea this weekend and I wanted to share. Almost all rvs come with a hide-a-bed. I hate them, they are heavy, and uncomfortable to sleep on. We are pulling the bed mechanism out of ours and modifying the couch so that all the space under the couch where the bed is will become storage space! With the front panel a flip-down it will be fast and easy access too. We just gained 12 cubic feet of extra space. Guess where our extra food stash will be by next weekend???
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                    Re: ...just waking up

                    Mon, February 16, 2009 - 9:23 AM
                    I know - just breathe...talking this out helps, so thanks all for listening.

                    Even with the minor stress-out this weekend, I put together a cardboard can dispenser
                    foodstoragemadeeasy.net/2009/0...g-rack/
                    ...and the 2nd one is being modified for larger cans. So I can stress and build - useful *skill* set, I think.
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                      Re: ...just waking up

                      Mon, February 16, 2009 - 9:29 AM
                      Talking abut everything does help.
                      Reading everyone's posts even when I have nothing to contribute helps.

                      And so does being productive. Looks like a nifty dispenser!
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                        Re: ...just waking up

                        Mon, February 16, 2009 - 9:46 AM
                        Oh, those things are awesome. Soon as i get a pantry I'm filling it up with 'can dispensers' as you call them. As of right now I live in a tiny apartment with very limited cupboard space. I have about a six-month supply of food only, and it's mostly staples, in sealed polybuckets in a storage unit connected to my apartment. I also bought one of those 55gal blue water barrels and I keep it full, just in case of whatever. We have well water here so if a winter storm knocks the power out for a week, we have plenty of water. The Provo River is just down the street but if things were that bad I'd rather conserve my heat and safety just staying home.
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    Re: ...just waking up

    Mon, February 16, 2009 - 10:28 AM
    Much of my home storage has been built simply by setting aside $5-20 per grocery trip for pantry items, then scouring the store for good deals. I generally have at least six months worth of food for myself, my daughter, and our dog.

    No need to panic, acquire what you can when you can afford it. Really investigate finding the best deal for large or costly items. Sometimes it's better to spend more money for a high-quality product that's going to last (grain mills come to mind). Prioritize your purchases. I put food and medical supplies first but analyze your situation realistically and figure out what you need and where your weaknesses are skill-wise.

    Anyone can learn this stuff.
    • Jim
      Jim
      offline 2

      Re: ...just waking up

      Mon, February 16, 2009 - 9:05 PM
      If you're alone and are looking for a group to join, go to www.ic.org. There are intentional communities all over the States and world, that are well established and just begging for people.
      ...Another thing about survivalblog. I have a disagreement with JWR. He often suggests, -- and mentions in his book, ("Patriots" a really good book to have), to get silver coins for trade goods. I think your money would be much better spent on real goods to use for trade. Money is just a means to trade values. Real goods fill real needs. I think it better to have extra canning jar lids, sewing machine and sewing needles, double edge razor blades, (for doing surgery in absence of scalples), fish hooks, etc. These are all things that are cheap and simple, really hard to make, and will be far more highly prized than coins for trade.
      Add to that list certain books like "Gray's Anatomy", "Merke Veterinary Manual", "Rodale's Organic Gardening", recent "PDR", "Forgotten Arts and Crafts", etc., and any number of communities would give their right arm to trade with you, for such important basic info.
      • Re: ...just waking up

        Tue, February 17, 2009 - 5:20 AM
        Jim,
        I agree that tools, supplies & how-to information will be valuable. Besides, I have no clue how to go about getting a supply of silver coins. It's much easier to put together a small sewing kit for trade 'cause 1> I know what to put in there because I sew and 2> the items are easily bought now.

        For now, I'm going to focus on the smaller threat of *economic collapse* ((loss of business / job)). When I get a good grip on that, I'll work up to the bigger issues. Anything else puts my mind in a whirl and I have a hard time finding a direction to go.

        I'm stashing my pennies for a trip to the bookstore!
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        Re: ...just waking up

        Tue, February 17, 2009 - 1:39 PM
        Jim-

        I'd be scared to join an 'intentional community'... To me, a survivalist enclave community is like a marriage. your future success, happiness, even survival depends on picking the right one. Trust is a huge issue. Compatibility is paramount.

        I wouldn't pick up a bride online and I couldn't join an intentional community of strangers. That's just me, your mileage may vary. I know some people really like mail-order brides haha
        • Re: ...just waking up

          Tue, February 17, 2009 - 4:06 PM
          LOL. I've had a marriage and an intentional community living experience. The ICer's and me are still on speaking terms, the marriage did FAR more damage - spiritual, emotional and financial.
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      Re: ...just waking up

      Tue, February 17, 2009 - 1:41 PM
      I agree with surv. I just bought two cans of Dinty moore beef stew. Thats two meals that will last for near 5 years. Expiration date 10/2012 . They will last longer then that near 5 years. Just little things like that start to add up. a 4 pack of 1 pound propane tanks here, a small solar charger there, Bulk asprin here, canned butter there. Keep pluggin. Michael
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        Re: ...just waking up

        Tue, February 17, 2009 - 9:43 PM
        We're doing that 'a little at a time' thing too. We have a huge disadvantage though because of living in the 5th wheel ..... NO storage space. So I had a brain storm and ripped out the hide-a-bed yesterday, reframed the sofa and now we have storage under the sofa. More space to stash stuff. Woohoo!
        • Re: ...just waking up

          Wed, February 18, 2009 - 4:52 AM
          <<Zarina, you may have already done this - but don't overlook the *above* spaces. Like above the kitchen cabinets, if it's open...or run a small 1-can-wide shelf close to the ceiling around as many walls as you can...if the walls can't support the shelf, then maybe hang from the ceiling / the roof decking, etc might be more supportive...then there's that tiny bit of space between the toilet & the walls/should be good for a few canned goods/make a decorative cardboard cover to put over them & nobody would be the wiser...>>
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            Re: ...just waking up

            Wed, February 18, 2009 - 7:31 AM
            on any high shelves on a motor home remember to use netting to hold the cans from falling off the shelves when the vehicle starts moving. This is a very good Idea.
            My wife and I rebuilt a 1 ton Ford f350 Conversion van. W e installed a wood bed frame with tote storage under it and cabinates on each side. As a bug out vehicle it is awsome. We use it to camp in and tow our boats. Add two tents for storage and a tarp awning and I could live in it. for years parked in the woods. It is a big van and I also use the boat like a trailor. I could haul most of my food stores and all of ouyr tools and weapons in it . With 60 gallons of gas I could go a long way. Our plan is to stay here at home though. W e made the move while the housing prices are down. W e moved from a big city to the country on a small lake. W e have 10 wooded acres and are pretty well cut off from the main traffic flows. At night it is silent out here. No noise at all. W e could leave if we have to but staying in our house is our plan. Michael
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            Re: ...just waking up

            Wed, February 18, 2009 - 1:33 PM
            Etana ~ Great ideas! Our cabinets go all the way up to the ceiling. I'm remodeling and using every inch of this 5th wheel. I even downsized my clothes to only necessities to have more storage space. Cookware etc is only necessary pieces. We've eliminated everything we don't actually NEED except the dvds, but they are all in a 3 ring binder instead of those cases so they take up less than a third of the space. We removed the dinet and put in benches with the table for more storage too. Under the bed is blankets and such. The space next to the toilet is already used for toilet paper. The shower is even storage now. Right now we live where we have shower access so ours in the 5th wheel is storage.

            Since moving out of our house about a year and a half ago, I have eliminated so much stuff it's unbelievable. People think I'm crazy because I don't have a hairdryer or a cuisinart or something else they tink I MUST have. It's pretty easy to let things go once you get started. Now with having less to begin with, and preparing for the worst, we are even more creative in getting the storage space. The one thing I haven't been able to give up is the bowling gear. It takes a lot of space and is heavy but I'm not ready to let it go yet. I sill like bowling, but if we have to save our butts, the bowling gear will be left behind. Silly things to hang on to huh?
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              Re: ...just waking up

              Wed, February 18, 2009 - 8:39 PM
              here in Utah, where '1 year of food supply' is more common, you can get these funny little 'bed elevators'... four little six-inch risers that you put under the bed frame legs or wheels....gives you enough room to put cases of long-term storage food under there. Kinda funny, but it works. I guess if you're a pack-rat you can lose twice as many socks and cell phone chargers under the same bed!

              I have them on my bed mostly because I like sliding *down* out of bed, rather than getting *up* out of bed. i like tall beds. Something nice about sitting at the edge of the bed and just letting my legs dangle. it's just not the same when my feet are on the floor.
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                Re: ...just waking up

                Thu, February 19, 2009 - 12:27 AM
                You can get those bed elevators practically everywhere. Unfortunately we can't use them here in the 5th wheel. The ceiling is too short to lift the bed and the bed is a platform built into the floor. The platform lifts up giving access to an area the size of a queen size bed and about a foot deep. I would say that with the changes we have made in here we have more than doubled our storage capacity. Now to make enough cash to start filling the newly found space...
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    Re: ...just waking up

    Thu, February 19, 2009 - 1:13 AM
    Like mentioned before, be aware, prepare, and take things one step at a time. Don't act like a victim. This is a good place to be asking questions and getting good answers. It's helped me and my wife Zarina a lot. Just waking up puts you at an advantage over all the people I know that are in complete denial. You're on the right path.
    • Re: ...just waking up

      Sun, February 22, 2009 - 5:02 PM
      Sorry i didn't take the time to read through everything here but has anyone mentioned anything about firearm? firearms? it sounded like you didn't have any.
      • Re: ...just waking up

        Sun, February 22, 2009 - 5:32 PM
        ...firearms have been mentioned. We have that covered...or as well as can be for the moment.
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          Re: ...just waking up

          Sun, February 22, 2009 - 8:57 PM
          the more planning and preparation you get done, the less important the firearms become. They are definitely important in their own right, but some people tend to depend on them a little too much.

          I guess when the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail.

          I knew a guy who'd load up his 12ga with 1oz slugs to go bust down a christmas tree each winter! He said the saw took too long and it's too cold down in the snow anyway.... now THAT is taking it to an extreme! hahaha