This is a guest post and entry in a non-fiction writing contest by Bitsy Pieces.
I have two types of family and friends: those who are prepared without realizing it, and those who are not. The ones who are prepared keep a small stockpile of food (because they shop sales and coupon). They may have a garden, have developed self-sufficiency skills, and will try to make a go of it as long as they can.
There are also some who are woefully under prepared. At best, they have a week’s worth of food in their homes. They are used to government assistance and aid from their church. They don’t have a strong work ethic, and they’d die without help from others.
But both of these types of loved ones share one thing in common: neither have a preparedness mindset. Although the first group is inadvertently better prepared than the average person, they still don’t “think” like a prepper. So to them, a metal bucket is just a bucket. It’s not a toilet or a rain barrel or a cooking pot.
These two groups of people share another thing in common: sooner or later, they will show up at my doorstep after a major event. (The unprepared group will, of course, show up sooner.) And because they lack the prepper mindset, they are likely to show up with only a suitcase packed with clothes. Left behind in their homes will be numerous items that could be invaluable in dire times.
So I have compiled a list to hand to these refugees when they ask to stay in my home, live underneath the blanket of protection I can provide, and dine on my food storage. Assuming they have the time, they are to take this list and return to their home. They are to procure any of the items they have on the list and return with them. Only then will they be allowed to enter.
Rather than making it a simple list of items, I’ve also (in some cases) noted a few purposes these things may serve. Hopefully, it will help get their minds into “prepper thinking” as they go through their homes and gather useful items. I think I’ve included most of the items you can expect a non-prepper might have. Most of my friends and family are unlikely to have a generator, for example, or a solar-powered battery charger. What do you think, Wolf Pack? Any other suggestions?
Things you may want to bring from home
- Any and all food/beverages: Including half-empty cans of coffee, open boxes of crackers and the stray apple in the bottom of your fridge. ANYTHING edible should be salvaged. Don’t forget your supply of spices and herbs.
- Booze/alcoholic beverages: This can be used for trade/barter, disinfecting wounds, or simply drinking.
- Pots/pans: Particularly cast iron, large stew/soup pots, and frying pans. We’ll be cooking for more people now, and often over an open fire.
- Food containers: Plastic or glass, especially those with lids. Look for anything that can be used to store dehydrated foods.
- Bundles of old newspapers: Newspaper has multiple uses, including twisted tightly to make logs for burning and crumpled for toilet paper.
- Matches, lighters, other fire starting implements: We will need these for the woodstove (to keep us warm) and for cooking fires.
- Charcoal: If you have a charcoal grill, bring that along, too. We may have to use this for cooking if electricity ceases to be available.
- Any camping equipment: Including camp stoves, propane tanks, tents, sleeping bags, cook sets, etc. Consider that we are basically “roughing it” right now, so bring anything you have to make the experience more pleasant.
- Candles: Bring your fancy scented candles, as well as any other candles you may have (tea lights, birthday candles, etc.). These can provide light, warmth and a small cooking surface if necessary.
- Flashlights and lanterns: If the power goes out, these will be our primary light source.
- Batteries: Pilfer all working batteries from electronics. We’ll need them for flashlights and lanterns.
- Medical supplies: Including band-aids, bandages, antibiotic ointments, Pepto, cough syrup, pain relievers, thermometers, hot water bottles, cold packs. Anything that can be used for either minor or major injuries should be acquired.
- Sewing supplies: Such as needles, threads, extra fabric, scissors, yarn, crochet hooks, etc. We may very well have to repair our clothing or make our own at some point in the future.
- Plastic bins/tubs: These can be used to catch rainwater if necessary. They can also be used for storage.
- Plastic bags: Including plastic grocery bags, plastic garbage bags, etc. If you have tarps, bring those, too. These can be used for everything from trash to personal waste disposal.
- Wagons: Even kid’s wagons are welcome. These can be used for hauling water, wood, soil, rocks, etc.
- Hand tools: Don’t forget things like an axe, nails/screws/etc. and work gloves. Anything that can be used to repair buildings around the house, shore up home security, or build fences will be useful.
- Gardening supplies: Such as gardening tools, gloves, seed packets, pots, extra bags of soil, etc. We will be gardening to replenish food supplies.
- Paper products: Bring your supply of toilet paper, tissues, paper towels, paper plates, paper cups. The more paper products we have, the less water is wasted doing dishes.
- Hygiene/Cleaning products: Including soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, dish detergent, laundry detergent, bleach and other cleaning products. Bleach can be used to purify water, and proper cleaning of items will help reduce illnesses in the household.
- Clothing: Bring clothing for yourself, but make sure to bring extra socks, shoes made for work, and clothing that can be layered for cold weather. We don’t know how long this crisis will last, and during this time you will be working hard.
- Blankets and pillows: We simply do not have enough bedding for everyone.
- Rope: Including all types of string, rope and line. Anything that can be used to bundle or tie is useful.
- Firearms/Ammo: Don’t forget about your hunting rifle or your shotgun. Any type of firearm would be welcomed. Bring it even if you don’t have ammo. Someone else may have ammo for your gun, or we may be able to obtain it through trade/barter.
- Entertainment: Board games, card games, books, puzzles and such. You may find the nights get long without television to entertain you.