Prepper: 50 Things to Stockpile on a Budget This Fall
If there is a blizzard or downed powerlines, it may be tough to get to the store. Even if you do, the shelves may be bare. That’s why you need to stockpile for winter weeks ahead.
I’ve composed a list of must-have items that you should have on hand before the snow flies, in no particular order (except the first 4). But first, you should know how to calculate your reserves, so read this Survivopedia article to determine how much food and water would you need to survive in the worst case scenario.
Remember that stockpiling on a budget IS possible, if you know how to make the most out of coupons. We put up a list with useful tips and over 100 companies that you can ask for coupons from, when building your autumn reserve.
The List you Need to Have When Shopping
- Even if you’re surrounded by snow that you can melt if necessary, there’s no way to tell what’s in it. Plan on 2 gallons of water per person per day, and don’t forget about your pets.
- Two fuel sources, plus vehicle fuel. Make sure that your primary sources for warmth and cooking are well-stocked, and have a back-up fuel source for both. If the power goes out, you still have to cook and stay warm. A back-up supply is especially critical if you heat and cook with electric. If nothing else, keep extra Sterno cans.
- Back-up light sources. Even if you’re lucky enough to have solar panels, there may not be enough light to charge them. Candles and camp lanterns are two good choices. Make sure that if you’re using camp lanterns, you have plenty of batteries or fuel for them.
- First Aid Kit. If you’re like me, you probably pick through your first aid kit throughout the summer; a band aid here, some tape or first aid ointment there. Make sure that it’s replenished with fresh items before winter. Items such as tape actually go bad after a while.
- Pre-cooked canned meat. Tuna, chicken and salmon are all nutritious choices. Some of the canned hams are OK too, but avoid the unhealthy processed “meats” such as potted meat. If possible, can your own meat. Plan for at least 1 serving per person, per day. 2 servings are better.
- A variety of canned vegetables, preferably home-canned. Go by color because in general, different colors contain different nutrients. Eat at least 2 different colors per person per day. Plan on at least 4 servings per person, per day.
- A variety of canned fruits and dried fruits. Follow the same color rule as above and shoot for 2 servings per person, per day.
- A variety of canned meals. You can make can your own, or you can buy them in the store. Soups are great and are often BOGO at the grocery store if you watch the ads.
- Powdered milk and canned milk. Both have a long shelf life.
- Powdered eggs. Great source of protein and can be used in baking and cooking just like fresh eggs can once you reconstitute them.
- Whole grains have a longer shelf life than flour, but I’ve used flour that’s 2 years old and it was fine. If it goes rancid, it will smell funny. Store flour in air-tight containers or dry-can it so that bugs can’t get in.
- This is probably the cheapest, most versatile, longest-keeping food you can get. Stockpile whole-grain rice though, because it has a longer shelf life than instant.
- You can prepare cheese so that it will store for years and it’s a great source of protein. It’s also a luxury food that will help the kids eat veggies.
- Your body needs sodium, and it adds flavor to food.
- Sugar and honey. Honey literally keeps forever. Perfectly edible honey has been found in tombs that are thousands of years old. Even if it crystalizes, heat it a bit and it’s good as new.
- I prefer cubes, but powder is available, too. It turns a few mixed veggies and some canned beef or chicken into soup.
- A variety of spices. You can stock up on store-bought spices, dry your own, or even keep fresh spices growing indoors year round.
- Coffee or Tea along with filters. Seriously. Enough said.
- Peanut butter. It has a great shelf life as long as it’s unopened and is another good source of protein.
- Cooking oil and lard/shortening. Did you know you can actually can butter?
- Baking soda. A great multi-purpose item, useful for cooking, cleaning, and first aid.
- Again, multipurpose. I prefer apple cider vinegar because of the health benefits. You can make your own if you have apples.
- Active dry yeast packets. There’s nothing like fresh-baked bread. You can make your own yeast if need be.
- Baking powder and cream of tartar. Quick trick – if you don’t have baking powder, you can make it by combining 1/2 tsp. of cream of tartar and 1/4 tsp. baking soda to equal 1 tsp. of baking powder in a pinch.
- Dried beans. Amazingly nutritious and are available in such a variety and can be prepared in so many ways that they won’t get boring.
- Extra can opener. Ever tried to open a can without a can opener? It’s easier to just keep a backup or two.
- Hay and grain for livestock. If you’re an experienced farmer, you know this already, but if you’re just starting out, store enough hay for the winter now, and at least a few weeks’ worth of grain. Trust me: the price of hay skyrockets once the snow flies.
- Weather radio with extra batteries.
- Extra blankets or sleeping bags.
- Toilet paper. Being trapped in the house for a week or so due to a blizzard just isn’t the same without it.
- These have dozens of uses, so they’re not just for girls. There should be a few in your first aid kit, and they make excellent fire starters.
- Laundry soap.
- Hygiene items such as soap, lotion, toothpaste, etc.
- Lighters or matches. Hard to light a candle without one
- Spare cash. If the power goes out, your ATM card will be useless and the banks will likely be closed.
- Pain medication such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin. Personally, I go with the ibuprofen because it’s an anti-inflammatory as well as a fever reducer and pain killer.
- Alcohol that’s 70 proof or above has a variety of uses, including sterilizing needles or wounds, starting fires, and making merry when you’re stuck in the house. If you’re using it for the latter, see number 37.
- Baby wipes. They’re not just for babies.
- Extra equipment parts. Do you have a snowplow or tractor that you use to clear the driveway or to carry hay? Keep extra of the parts most likely to break.
- Garbage bags. If you need to leave the house, they keep the water and cold air out and the body heat in. They have several uses, so keep different sizes handy
- Games, books and crafts. Board games, puzzles, puzzle books, and even Twister are good ways to kill time. Crayons, paper, scissors, coloring books (kids and adults), glue, and whatever else you need to perform your craft project(s) of choice.
- Rubbing Alcohol.
- Fire starters if you’re heating with wood.
- Fire-proof cookware if you’re using your grill or a fire as a backup cooking method.
- At least 1 5-gallon bucket with a lid. There are dozens of uses for them.
- Extra plywood, nails, and screws. If a window breaks during a storm, you can freeze to death quickly if you don’t get it sealed up. Plywood is also good for getting a car or tractor un-stuck.
- Rock salt. This keeps your walkway safe, but be careful. It melts the snow, but that water will refreeze again if the salt is washed away or absorbed into the ground.
- Duct tape. I through in an extra, because you always need duct tape.
This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.
“Visit Survivopedia.com – a growing encyclopedia for survival, your ultimate source of uncommon wisdom for dangerous times.”
Every year winter follows autumn…it’s just the way it is and every year people are caught out by burst pipes, power outages and black outs and snow storms emptying the shelves of the supermarket in a couple of hours.
Theres’s no need for such chaos. Having a look around your home before the onset of bad weather can save a hell of a lot of stress, mess and expense later on. Getting organised also puts you on track for the Christmas celebrations, giving you more time to concentrate on the fun aspects of winter.
- Eliminate draughts. Check your windows and doors. Make sure that they are in good condition and fit well. Heat escaping from your home costs you money in wasted energy and cold air coming in makes life uncomfortable. Check for gaps between windows and frames and caulk if necessary, it’s a cheap job that can make a world of difference to your utility bills and comfort levels. Heavier weight winter curtains can make life a lot cozier when the temperatures drop and they need not cost a fortune. How about making draught excluders for the doors? It’s a simple project the kids will love but if you’re not into crafts you can buy them cheaply.
- Check the loft hatch. You can lose a huge amount of heat through an ill-fitting loft hatch. As the heat rises the smallest of gaps will allow heat to escape into the roof space. Again this costs you money and reduces your comfort levels. You paid for the heat, keep it where you need it. A simple strip of foam backed tape is all it takes to seal small gaps around the hatch.
- Dress up the lounge with throws to match your decor. Not only will they be there ready should you experience particularly cold weather they are also handy if the power and/or the heating fails. You might even cut your electricity bill a little if the kids decide they are too nice to resist and curl up under them to watch TV.
- Have alternative light sources available so that if the power fails you can put your hand straight on them. Torches with spare batteries and dynamo torches for the kids are invaluable. Candles look decorative and make a great addition to your living space as well as providing light in an emergency. Solar lights are cheap and when left outside can charge up enough to provide emergency lighting for the kids bedrooms and stairwells should you need it.
- Many people in cities don’t have open fires or wood stoves these days. Consider a small space heater for emergency use. Remember to have adequate ventilation and invest in a carbon monoxide alarm, they are dirt cheap and could save your life. If you do have an open fire or stove make sure you have enough fuel and that the wood is the right size and well seasoned. Damp wood causes a creosote build up in chimneys and flue pipes and makes chimney fires far more likely.
- Build up a stock of basic food supplies. You know what will happen as soon as the weather forecast says snow is coming – the supermarket shelves will empty. Keep enough basics in stock for at least a week, more if you can. Long life or died milk, cereal, canned foods that can be eaten cold if need be and a few cans of soup will start you off. Keep a couple of loaves of bread in the freezer and make sure you have a few pre-cooked meals in there as well so you are not having to rush out in vile weather to stock up. Try to buy a couple of staples extra each week in the lead up to winter. A good supply of pasta, rice, eggs frozen/tinned vegetables and flour will see you through until normal service resumes.
- Still on food. Do you have a gas or electric cooker? Will you be able to prepare food if the power goes off? If you have a gas hob the electronic ignition won’t work in a power outage so keep matches or a lighter near the hob. If you are all-electric consider a large capacity thermos flask to keep a supply of hot water to hand. Filling a flask each morning may sound stupid but if you live in an area where the power goes off regularly during storms it’s worth doing.
- Are you pipes well lagged? Pipe work on outside walls should be lagged to prevent them freezing. If the weather is excessively cold leave the tap barely dripping all the time, it causes movement of water in the pipes and helps prevent freezing. Frozen pipes equals no water…not good at all.
- Still on water fill a few bottles with tap water beforehand if excessively cold weather is forecast – it may save you going without a drink until you’ve melted enough snow for your morning coffee.
- Do you have enough bedding? That may sound like a daft question but if there’s something you have been meaning to replace during the summer but haven’t, do it. Has a child recently moved from cot to bed? Do you have enough for if someone is visiting and they can’t get home? Is your duvet wearing a bit thin? Sort it now and it’s another job done.
- Got enough games? School closures are bad enough but being stuck in the house with the kids can be a nightmare when they are bored. Get a few things together to occupy them. Card games, crafts, whatever, it’s worth it to save your sanity.
- Does anyone in the family need prescription medicines? Make sure you are up to date and have some in hand particularly if the doctor is some distance away. Make sure you have over the counter medications in the house was well as plasters and any other bits and bobs that makes treating minor ailments easier.
- Do you have a decent shovel or better still a snow shovel? If not why not? Still on the snow and ice thing what about a bag of rock salt or grit for your path?
- Get a couple of power banks so that your phone can be charged…or even a tablet to keep the kids occupied…I can’t believe I said that – shame on you Lizzie.
5 Great Situational Awareness Tips You Need To Practice
Situational AwarenessI realized I haven’t written about situational awareness in depth since back in 2012. I know from my day to day activities that surprisingly everyone in the world has not read that article and mastered it. In fact, a shit ton of people is still completely oblivious to their surroundings. They have no clue what’s going on around them.
I have a hard time even imaging how people are so out of touch. I was born with a well-developed situational awareness. Guess it makes up for my complete lack of mathematical skills.
So before we dig into it I guess I need to define it for those of you that don’t know what situational awareness is.
Situational awareness is the perception of environmental elements with respect to time and/or space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status after some variable has changed, such as time.
It’s knowing where you are and what’s going on around you.
Tred CarefullyI count watching where you walk and the space you move through as part of situational awareness. You have to be aware of the space you move through both on foot and when driving. I’m sure you all know a buddy that is like a bull in a china shop. That one guy that is always knocking things over.
This is a lack of total situational awareness. You don’t know where your limbs are in relation to your environment. You absolutely need to know where you are going and what’s there. Watching your steps is so important to preventing injuries.
Don’t know how this is situational awareness? 85% of all snake bites are below the knee. Hrm, I wonder why that is? It is people not watching where they are stepping. They just assume that the ground is all level and free of dangers.
The same applies for driving a car. If not even more importantly so. This is how my Uncle taught me to drive when I was a teenager.
“James watch all these idiots on the road and stay away from them.”That has served me to avoid being in a wreck so far. The road is full of idiots so give them room and be aware of what is going on.
Be Aware Of Your EnvironmentPlease know what’s going on around you. Look around, listen and use all of your senses. If you choose to walk around with ear buds in your ears looking at your phone you are setting yourself up to be a victim. You are the one that’s going to trip, get mugged or bit by a snake.
Don’t forget the other senses besides sight either. I use my sense of smell a lot. It might be my strongest sense. Like wolverine from the x men or something. This has some drawbacks with strong smells making me nauseous.
If you smell something out of place don’t ignore it. Find the cause of it. A big one is a natural gas leak. A sulfur smell is added to natural gas to detect it. That is a smell that is hard to ignore. But I would bet some lazy ass people have.
Don’t Be Snuck Up OnThis one really gets me. Do you know someone that is always surprised? That is always getting snuck up on? Serenity, I’m calling you out here.
They are not aware of their environment and who’s in it. If you manage to sneak up on me you deserve a prize. If I don’t see you walking up I will hear your footsteps, or smell you.
Not that It can never happen but with proper situational awareness being snuck up on will happen much less. With practice, you can get better.
Feel The MoodNo, I’m not going to get into airy fairy crap here. Having a clue what the environments mood is can be very helpful. The podcast we just did on how to survive a riot, hit on this. If you are out and you see and feel the mood change to violence get out of there.
Clues for feeling the mood are listening to the tone of the people, observe their body language and your own gut. You can tell when someone is agitated. Their body language will reflect it. Often they will have a hard time remaining still. If you have a feeling that a crowd is going to riot just get out. I would rather see on the news I missed a riot instead of having to try to escape once it is happening.
Trust Your GutI have mentioned a few time to trust your gut. There are times to not listen to it. But you have to be aware of it and make a decision. Trusting and being aware of your instincts is a powerful tool in your situational awareness toolbox.
Instincts were developed by our ancestors to know when a lion was waiting in a bush to eat us. Now they usually just tell us not to go talk to a pretty girl. One has major consequences. They other has none. You have to be aware of the gut instincts and know when to listen and when to ignore them.
I like to base it on the outcome. What’s the worst that could happen if you ignore the instinct and what is most likely? If the worst outcome isn’t fatal then it might be better to ignore it.
In ConclusionNo one is perfect and certainly not 100% of the time. With situational awareness I want you to practice and strive for better. Perfectionism of the killer of the good. Be more aware daily. If you notice that you are zoned out bring yourself back.
If you hear noise look in that direction. In fact look around at times. Don’t dart your eyes around like a creeper but look around.
Practice active listening. Hear footsteps, talking and odd noises. If you hear things look into them. Or act accordingly. If you hear shots you probably want to go the other way. If you hear falling stuff or crying you should check it out.
- Putting toothpaste on a sting stops the pain
- Baking soda is an excellent antacid
- Eating activated charcoal will bind ingested chemicals and poisons
- Aloe Vera gel takes the heat out of burns
- Natural yogurt stops the irritation and clears vaginal thrush
- Natural yogurt takes the heat out of sunburn
- A strong magnet will draw metal to the surface of a wound
- Olive oil smothers head lice killing them. Repeat after 5 days
- Olive oil treats psoriasis and dry eczema preventing cracking
- Cling wrap is the ideal covering for burns
- Cinnamon sticks in a jar with water makes antiseptic mouthwash
- If a wound has glass in squeeze both sides of the wound and it will pop out
- White vinegar treats fungal nail infection. 1 part vinegar 2 parts water
- Duct tape will hold a large wound together until you can deal with it
- Scrape stings out with an ATM card. Pinching it out puts more venom in
- Sanitary towels make excellent pressure dressings
- Seal a sucking chest wound with a plastic bag fixed on 3 sides only over the wound.
- Seal a sucking chest wound with an ATM card stuck on three sides only over the wound
- Cut up an ATM card to use a a finger splint. Tape strips each side of the finger
- Clove oil relieves toothache
- Strong, cooled black tea relieves conjunctivitis
- Parsley stops bad breath and contains masses of vitamin C and vitamin A
- Eggshell is the best form of calcium supplement
- Eggshell dries and broken up keeps slugs off your veggies…giving you more to eat!
- Olive oil loosens solid earwax
- Regular sugar heals wounds, just pour it in.
- Regular sugar heals minor mouth burns and mouth ulcers
- Tampons work well to plug penetrating wounds
- Curved upholstery needles are good for suturing wounds
- Dental floss is a good substitute for suture material in emergencies
- Toothpaste applied to a blister or cold sore will dry them up
- A patch of duct tape over a wart will kill it. Change patch daily.
- Maggots make excellent cleaners for infected wounds
- Children under 16 should not be given aspirin
- Anyone with clotting disorders should not be given aspirin
- 1/4 aspirin a day helps prevent heart attacks/strokes by thinning the blood
- Cut toe nails straight across to prevent in growing and infection
- A small blob of softened candle wax will seal a tooth where a filling is lost
- Pleasant smells lift the spirit and enhance your mood
- Pregnant women should not eat foods high in vitamin A ( foetal blindness)
- The trace elements in homemade chicken soup really does make you feel better
- Sniffing onions or vapour rub causes tears which washes debris from eyes
- Petroleum jelly seals grazes and stops bacteria entering the wound
- A large elastic band/ hair band makes an emergency tourniquet
- A rubber glove makes a makeshift tourniquet
- Keep a hand/foot dressing in place with a fingerless rubber glove
- Hold an arm/leg dressing in place with cut off piece of panty hose
- Strap a broken finger with tape to an unbroken one next to it
- Strap two broken fingers together to immobilise them
- Sneeze into the crook of your arm to avoid contaminating your hands
- Push elevator buttons with your knuckle so your fingers stay clean
- If you can’t wash your clothes seal them in bags for 5 days to kill typhus lice and other bugs
- Damp dust weekly to prevent mite infestation
- Clean wounds however minor as soon as possible to prevent infection
- Never burst blisters it lets infection in. Blister fluid is sterile.
- Barley water relieves cystitis. (Boil grain and drink the juice)
- Cranberry juice relieves cystitis
- If you pop an abscess use a sterile needle at the bottom to aid drainage
- Flies spread disease. Clear all human and animal waste immediately and cover food.
- Never give alcohol to hypothermic patients, it will cool them more
- Re-warm hypothermia victims with gentle heat and do it slowly
- Don’t rub areas you suspect to be frost bitten it causes more damage
- Prevent scurvy with adequate vitamin C
- Prevent rickets with adequate vitamin D
- Prevent spina bifida in babies with folic acid in pregnancy
- Prevent anaemia with adequate iron intake. Cast iron cookware helps
- Prevent bone/tooth problems with adequate calcium
- Prevent pregnancy by using natural sponge as a barrier to ejaculate
- Natural sponge can also be a reusable feminine hygiene product.
- Feminine hygiene pads make great pressure dressings for large wounds.
By Jack Neely
Surviving in the wilderness, no matter the time of year or location, does not only depend on human will and wit, but also on the type of gear you have got in your pack. If you are injured or lost, the right type of gear can mean all the difference between a comfortable and easy night outdoors, and a grueling ordeal. In this article, we have compiled 7 must have items for wilderness survival.
A means to make fire is very essential when you are out in the vast wilderness. Your survival might completely depend on whether you have the ability to create a fire. For instance, you might want a fire when it is cold and snowing/raining, or after you have just waded across a river and now you are completely soaked, and at the verge of hypothermia.
Rubbing 2 sticks together in order to create fire is much more difficult than it seems in the movies. It is best to carry matches when going out into the wilderness, particularly the waterproof matches.
Even for those who like starting fires the old fashioned way, carrying matches in case of emergency is the smart move. You should consider carrying the magnesium starter matches which have white phosphorus tip; you can strike almost anywhere for fire. These types of matches are advantageous when out in the wilderness since they don’t need the box striker in order to light up.
Stainless Steel Water Container
When going out into the wilderness, you should bring with you plenty of water, and the best way to carry it is in a stainless steel container. This type of container is not only durable and strong, but it can also be put over a fire to boil water. You should consider taking a stainless steel water container that’s big and sturdy enough to carry adequate water for the long treks.
A knife is a rather essential item and has many uses not only in the wilderness, but also in everyday life. Look for a reliable knife which you can easily keep on your person when you’re out wandering in the vast wilderness.
You should consider bringing with you a fixed blade knife. It is durable, sturdy, resilient, and great for cutting all kinds of objects. This type of knife can also be used to perform various different tasks including, opening packages, clearing bushes, among many other things.
Cordage or Rope
Having a rope can be very useful, especially when in a survival situation. Some uses of rope can include, but not limited to; climbing, making a splint for a broken bone, building an emergency shelter, attaching your gear to your back, hoisting your food so as to keep it safely away from the wildlife, lashing poles, repairing the tent, and much more. You should consider carrying a 550 parachute cord which is light and strong.
A Map and Compass
A map and a compass are very essential survival items which you must have when out in the wilderness. This is particularly crucial, in case the location you are in has low cell coverage, or if you have damaged or lost your phone.
Even if you get lost, as long as you have a good working compass and an accurate map, you will eventually be able to find your way back to civilization. A compass will not only help guide your directions, but it will also help you find the various signs that are on the map, like road signs which might help you find the right routes. Pro tip: you also want to make sure you have a good flashlight with you to read the map in the dark, and also find your way around. You can read more about that here.
Duct tape is another must have item which is often overlooked. Duct tape can actually save the day in a number of ways. For instance, if your sleeping bag, tent, or clothing happens to get torn or damaged, duct tape may be used to quickly patch it up. Duct tape can also be utilized to wrap up bandages, and can aid in various other medical situations.
First Aid Kit
It is very important to make sure that you’re well prepared for the situation you are putting yourself in. Whenever you are going out in the wilderness, make sure you carry a First Aid Kit. Carrying a First Aid Kit with the appropriate supplies greatly enhances your chances of survival when out in the wilderness.
You do not need to carry the entire first aid kit; you simply need to have the basic items like band aids, gloves, sterile gauze, burn cream, scissors, personal medication, bandages, and such other essentials. It’s wise to build your very own first aid kit instead of purchasing the pre-packaged kits. Building your very own First Aid Kit gives you knowledge of what’s in the kit, and even more importantly, exactly how to use what’s in it.
How to Stockpile All the Toilet Paper You’ll NeedWhen it comes to stockpiling hygiene products, toilet paper is often near the top of the list.
While there are simpler and cheaper alternatives we could all learn to use in the event of an emergency, many people would probably have a hard time doing without this creature comfort. Toilet paper would quickly disappear from the shelves in the event of an economic crisis or other type of disaster, so securing several months’ or even a year’s supply is not a bad idea.
How to Get Started
Toilet paper is prone to moisture and all kinds of critters: vermin, silverfish, termites, ants (if you live in the humid tropics like I do), and of course, rodents. Mice, squirrel and chipmunks love to gnaw at all kinds of paper, shredding them to bits to use for nesting.
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Large bundles of TP can be a fire hazard. And, like most things, toilet paper breaks down faster when exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. So, how and where do you stash them so they last a good number of months or years?
Here’s a few tips:
1. Store in airtight, waterproof containers. There’s a variety of receptacles you can use, depending on the quantity of your supply and the environment in which you place them. If you live in an area where rodents aren’t a problem, then you can use regular plastic bins and buckets. Keep the TP in the packaging you bought them in, and line your storage bin with a heavy-duty garbage bag to protect from humidity and dampness. Throw in a packet or two of dessicant (such as silica gel), cover, and then seal the lid with duct tape. There are large pails or barrels with rubber O-ring lids that would work wonderfully for this purpose.
If you prefer larger, heftier containers, go for 55-gallon steel drums with lever-lock lids. There are cheap recycled ones that you can likely find on eBay. Most of them are food-grade, having been used to ship large quantities of fruit juice concentrate, cooking oil and other food products. Large PVC pipes, the kind used for sewage purposes, also can be used. Just make sure you secure the ends with screw caps.
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If space is a priority, vacuum-seal storage bags (also called Space Bags by Ziploc or Magic Bag by Dollar General) would work great. They usually come in large sizes big enough in which to store bed spreads. To further cut down on space, you can compress the rolls by taking the cardboard core out of them, then squish and smash until they’re all flat.
2. Stack your containers in a place that’s dry but not hot, while also being safe from flooding and roof or plumbing leaks. This could be your garage, basement, attic or crawl space. You also could bury them in the ground. The cold earth will act as a refrigerator, with a low oxygen level that would also help in preservation.
3. To ward off bugs, place insect repellents in and around your storage containers. This could be moth balls or fabric softener sheets — critters hate the smell. Just make sure to pack and seal the TP in freezer bags first to avoid contamination. Better yet, use natural deterrents like food-grade diatomaceous earth. Or, try dried herbs and spices (bay leaves, cinnamon), wood chips (pine or cedar), flowers (lavender) or cotton balls dipped in peppermint oil. Put a teaspoonful or two in mesh sachets (the toe end of an old pantyhose would do) and place them in the corners of your bins; scatter some more outside and around them.
Alternatives to Toilet Paper
What should you do if your stock eventually is depleted? You’ve got several alternatives. Be like the ancient Romans, who used a stick and a sponge at the end, dipped in vinegar for disinfection. Or the French, who go “no hands” and use a bidet, bum gun or toilet spray. (You may improvise just by using a regular spray bottle.) In Asia and many parts of the world, old-fashioned folk still wash with soap and water – and yes, using just their bare hands!
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Not for you? You could tear pages off an old phonebook, Sears-type catalog, or use any kind of paper — rubbed together for softness and texture.
But the simplest, cheapest and most sustainable option would be just an old washcloth. Actually, any soft natural fabric would do — like cotton or flannel. Find an old T-shirt and cut in hand sized pieces; even old cotton socks should be fine. Stack them in a pile on the toilet tank, while keeping a small bucket half-filled with water and bleach or vinegar on the floor beside the potty. After doing your business, moisten a cloth with plain or soapy water to clean yourself. Then just dump the rag(s) straight into the bucket. When it’s time to wash, take a plunger and plunge a few times to rinse. (You could, of course, do this with a gloved hand, too.) Pour or wring out the excess water and dump the rags into the washing machine.
Finally, if you find yourself in a worst-case scenario with no water at all, be a survivalist and look to nature — leaves, grass and moss. After all, humans have lived for thousands of years without TP. It wasn’t until two centuries ago that commercial wipes came to be. So, there’s probably no reason why we can’t learn to do without it for another few years or so.