Chores, maintenance and being organized when TSHTF

This is a guest post and entry in our non-fiction writing contest  by Lindsey J. from Pa

Will you be ready in a moments notice? I have asked myself this question on a daily basis. I just wanted to send along some things that I do, to make sure that if I would have to leave now, I would have less to worry about.

I work part-time, so whenever I take my son to his grandparents for half the day, I always make sure that he has not only his regular clothes on, which would be socks, sneakers, undershirt, jeans, long sleeve shirt, and coat. He also always has a sweatshirt, gloves and hat. No matter where I am going these are always a must! I wear dress clothes to work, so I always have a spare set of clothes, and shoes in my car.

Now, I am sure that many of you already do this, just view this as a quick reminder.

This is a list of some simple things in my day-to-day life that I make sure are always done.

First off would be dishes. I despise doing them, until I got to thinking. What if the power went out tomorrow, and never came back on? Then doing dishes would be even worse. I would have to go get the water. Boil it to make sure it was sanitized, wash my dishes in one bucket, and then dip it in my rinse bucket after it was washed.

It is much easier to just fill up one side of the sink, wash the dishes and then turn on the spicket and rinse. Now don’t get me wrong this doesn’t make me like doing them any more, but I now do them immediately! You never know when your power may be gone whether it’s from a storm, or teotwawki.

This realization got me thinking about all the other tasks around the house that would become more difficult. These are just a few others that we as preppers, male or female should keep up with. Since, you never know when that task may become for difficult.

What about your laundry. There are six people in my household and at a minimum I do one load of laundry a day. So lets say I decide to skip a day or two and then the powers out. Now I have to wash them all by hand…just because I couldn’t stop for two seconds to throw a load of laundry into the washer. Let’s also not forget how fast our clothes currently dry in the drier. Now I will have to hang them outside and wait for what could be quite awhile, depending on the day. Does everyone have a scrubbing board?

Now cleaning bathrooms and mopping the floors is much easier with running water. But I have to admit that I don’t look at those tasks as needing to be done every day, since we as a family will not be bugging in. But, every couple of days, absolutely.

Think of it this way, the cleaner and more organized your household is the more prepared you will be. If I am not organized and there is some warning that we need to bug out I will have an easier time getting the things that I want, along with any extras.

However, if I am not well-organized then the situation will easily become more stressful than it already will be. I think of it this way, because say we have some warning a bank run or you name it, my son and I have a bug out location.

If there is warning, my family has calculated that we will have about an hour to get everything in our vehicle and go. Our plan from there is to get to my parents house, and from there we should have approximately a 3 to 4 hour window from their location. That being said, there is a lot that can be done in that time period. Extra food, clothes, blankets, equipment. You name it, so having everything in your household well-organized is key.

For our household, I keep everything in labeled boxes such as batteries, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soup,…you name it. When I have completely filled boxes, then the next time we are going to our bug out location it goes with us and is placed in the appropriate location, where everyone knows it is.

Then I start on my next box. Stacked nicely in the same closet with our bug out bags for quick access. I always have extra boxes and plastic bins on hand, so if we have time, all our boxes and bags are a quick load, and we can then move on to the rest of the food in the house, some extra clothes and bedding. I keep our drawers as organized as possible, with a bag right next to them, so I could potentially just dump, zip and go. I have a set of clothes in different sizes for my son at our bug out location.

This was hard for me to decide how to do. He is currently a size 2T and I have up to size 5T stored for him. This would include about 6 different long and short sleeve shirts, 3 pairs of jeans, and 3 pairs of shorts and 2 sweatshirts. A pack of socks and underwear in each size, and at least one pair of sneakers and boots in each. Along with any winter gear that may be needed. For myself there is 3 of each, shorts, shirts, pants. Along with boots and shoes.

Keep a list for everyone, that in the event of bugging out, they can follow who grabs what, if there’s time what extras would you want your kids or spouse to throw in the car? Knowing these things before hand is what matters! It’s about being well-organized down to that last moment of whose shutting out the lights and locking the doors.

Hopefully we all keep our vehicles gas tank at at least half full, and keep any extra gas cans full. But what about the rest of your vehicles maintenance? Do you make sure that you get your oil changed when it needs it. Do you make sure your tires have good tread and are pumped up? Are all of your fluids full….windshield wiper fluid, antifreeze…you name it make sure that these simple to do things are always taken care of.

This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win:

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. I am the same as you. I have everything packed, labeled and ready to go at a moments notice. I have done drills to make sure that nothing is forgotten in the melee. Having everything labeled is the key to success when bugging out. Great guest post and keep up the good work.

  2. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Lindsay J, I agree with you – organization if very important. But I am no longer putting only similar items into each box. Instead, I’m putting a variety of things into each one. That’s in case I only have time to grab one box. So, for example, if I only have 30 seconds to get into the car and bugout, I’ll only have time to grab one box and load it into the BOV. That one tote box will have some batteries, a first aid kit, some clothing, a blanket or two, some food & water, a pot or pan, a pair of work gloves, a little cash, a poly tarp, a ferro rod, and a radio. IOW, each tote is similar to a BOB so that if I can only grab one, that one will have enough stuff to get me out of the immediate situation and help me survive for at least 3 days. Now this plan may seem unorganized, but I think it is the most practical way for ME to plan for bugging out since I live alone and won’t have anybody else to help load the car. YMMV.

    One part of housecleaning that is of concern to me is how I’m going to clean the wall-to-wall carpeting when the vacuum won’t run because the electricity is out. I think I need to find a carpet sweeper.

    Thanks for the guest post.

    • Lint,
      The way you’re doing it probably takes a little more time to maintain inventory and rotate stock, but all in all I think it’s a pretty good idea.
      We plan to redo some flooring this summer and to avoid the sweeper, we’re thinking wood flooring with area rugs. These could be dragged out to the clothsline and beaten clean, which is a time honored way of doing things. Me thinks our ancestors had a lot more wisdom than we credit them with.

    • Lint,

      Off topic here, but are you only considering Nevada for your new place or are you open to other areas of California?

      El Dorado County is a conservative county (one of the few in CA), is mostly rural, anti-growth and sparsely populated, has a nice long hot summer for growing (usually), and prices for land with houses on them are pretty good – certainly in the range you suggested to your RE agents in NV. Land without houses are not the best deal because with the anti-growth mindset, building permits are $30,000 to $50,000. If you are at all interested, I can put you in contact with the RE agent who helped me find my place and is an El Dorado County specialist.

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Michele, as much as I’d prefer to stay in my home state, I don’t see how I can. Although there are pockets of conservative populations throughout this state, there are not enough of us to stem the tide and restore Saccramento to sanity. That is why I need to move out of state. Living on a fixed income as I do, I can’t continue to pay the rising property taxes, income taxes, sales taxes, fees, licenses, ad nauseam. If Nevada doesn’t work out, I’ll be looking at Utah and then southern Idaho.

        I thank you very much for the offer, however. Wish I had moved to El Dorado County years ago, but hindsight is always 20-20.

        • breadmomma says:

          Lint…head to Idaho…that part of the world has some amazing fly fishing…I am partial to Henry’s Fork or St. Anthony’s…some nice folks in Nampa and all in all I am rooting for Ideeee hhhooo…Utah is nice but it is a bit too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter…

    • Or for a twist on this idea, how about 3 or 4 bags of mixed inventory (one for each family member) and the rest as you’ve described, all seperated.
      This way you can grab them first and if you have to get out quick you’ve got a good range of stuff and if you have longer then you’ll have time to pack the lot.

    • Worrisome says:

      I have only a few rooms left with carpet in them. And they are not in areas with heavy traffic, all else I have converted back to wood floors of one kind or another. There are some wood alternatives that aren’t too bad that are very reasonable in price. So if it is time for a carpet replacement, it might be time to look at wood or wood alternatives. I have some good size area rugs, but they are not too heavy to take out and throw over a rail somewhere and sweep and beat the dust and dirt from them.

    • Lint and Worrisome
      The carpeting and electrical outage issue terrifies me! I vaccumme every 2-3 days with my two kids in the house. The only thing I could think of was some type of huge duct tape sticky roller, kinda like a super sized lint brush, hehehe. Hardwood and laminent floors everywhere are on my list for the next house.

      • maybe ceramic tile? the only 2 downsides are expense to install and they are cold in the morning.3 if you count dificulty to install.

  3. Excellent post Lindsey J. Many things to think about here.
    A couple more suggestions:
    – keeping the freezers and fridge de-frosted and clean. More efficient and easier to find things in a hurry when necessary.
    -keeping tools in good shape (rust and corrosion free, oiled, sharpened, etc.)
    -putting a name or personal sign/image/logo on all things (BOBs, packpacks, tools) for easy ID when traveling/bugging out/grouping up.
    -refreshing extra bedding/sleeping bags by washing/cleaning occasionally.
    -updating personal papers in a BOB on a regular basis…information changes over time, ie: contacts, family members & pet info, etc.
    -updating and backing up survival info, whether electronic or paper, ie: instructions, maps, manuals, etc.

    Thanks for the thought provoking write-up.

  4. Excellent article. We all need to be reminded to not forget the “small things” while we are trying to get the larger things done. I use the plastic tubs to achieve the same “grab and go” objectives as you. Thanks for the article.

  5. Lindsay, great article. I too, have a list of who grabs what in a bug out situation. When we evacuated for hurricane Ike (back before I started prepping), even though I had a plan in mind, it did not work out so well. Everyone was grabbing random stuff and when we got to our BOL, we had a bunch of stuff we didnt need, missing stuff that we did need. Just general chaos. As soon as we got home from that fiasco, I changed that situation quick. Now, everyone has a set list of what they grab, and where it gets put in the vehicle, and most importantly we practice.
    I also try to keep up on housework. It doesnt take an emergency to have the water or power shut off for a couple of hours, to a couple of days, so it is easier to do it now, rather than “deal with it later”.
    I love the idea of your labeled boxes. I also like Lints idea of having the boxes an extension of the BOB. I will probably do a bit of both, so that I can find things in a bug in situation, and not have to stress about grabbing everything in a bug out situation.

  6. Thank you BadVooDooDaddy!

    Lint Picker – I definitely agree with you on doing a variety box. I think that I will always have atleast one variety box. I wasn’t as concerned with doing this, since I take the filled boxes out to our bug out location. But if I was faced with having to choose which boxI am taking, I would rather have a variety box! Thank you for the idea. As for the vacuuming its not the best, but I have one of the restaurant style vacuums that you don’t plug in and just push…

    MtWoman – Thank you for the extra suggestions! I do take care of the fridge and freezer about every three months. I have some tools, but I am trusting my brothers and dad for the most part with tools, ammo, and fishing gear.I am definitely going to come up with labels! It would be so much easier then having to stop and think if thats the right box or bag that everyone is grabbing.

    For those that are bugging out, I also keep a couple of the boxes that my printer paper comes in, in my pantry. They have lids and are pretty easy to carry when filled with cans of food (I have tested it) that way I wouldn’t be throwing any extra food that I could in a plastic bag that would most likely rip…

    Also, I wanted to mention if anyone has a cvs near them, they have some items at mine on clearance that you may be able to find at yours as well . They have led lamps that are pretty nice, you can adjust the brightness on them $10.00. They have a couple different flashlight packs all under $7.00 on clearance. They have an awesome screwdriver multi-tool with a flashlight on it, that has just about every size screwdriver you could want. There were also some general tool kits that were on clearance for under $4.00, and a ton of candles for under $2.00 on Christmas clearance. I bought 10 nice size candles for less then a $1.00 each!

    • Buckiqt
      Thank you! I completely forgot about those push vacuum sweepers. You don’t see those around here anymore… But come to think of it I think my grandmother had one.

  7. lindsey-great article. i agree with you on keeping the house clean at all times. my mom was a stickler about a clean home and i quess it rubbed off on me. i do need to label the supply boxes. thanks for the idea.

  8. LOL i should correct what I typed up I do label boxes, but specifically writing bug out and the persons name on it that it goes with would be easier that way everyone knows they grabbed their assigned boxes and bags.

    Thank you HandAxeProMan

    Thank you TG, its so great when we have a situation that helps us realize what we need to correct…Practice makes perfect!

  9. Copperhead says:

    Great article, Lindsey J! I plan on bugging in unless it’s a fire etc.
    I do need to label my boxes and also update them. That would make it much easier for others to tell what’s in them. I have a BOB/GHB in my car for the quick get away.
    Thanks for the thought provoking post!

  10. Since the topic of spare gasoline was touched on briefly, it is worth noting that gasoline has a shelf life of about 30 days, then it begins to break down. Old gasoline can gum up carburetors and fuel injection systems. If you keep spare cans of gas, I’d recommend emptying the cans into your cars gas tank every month, then refilling the cans with fresh gas. Also, pay attention to when your gas station has a fuel delivery, and try to buy your spare gas on that day.

    • riverrider says:

      gas can be stabilized for up to 5 years with PRI-G or 1 year with STABIL, found at auto parts stores and marinas/boat repair shops. the “new ” ethanol-added gas requires more expensive ethanol stabilizers, but can last a while too. untreated it wreaks havoc on small engines. just fyi.

  11. Lindsay, great article…

    Regarding doing the dishes etc in case power goes out…that is what I do too…power goes out often where I am…as soon as I see those clouds building up in the afternoon – I throw towels, tea-towels, sheets etc into washing machine and into the dryer..I want everything clean that can be cleaned.

    while that is happening – it is the dishes, floor swept/mopped, shower cleaned…and any water bottles that need to be topped up are filled and placed under my dining room table. (Bore pump goes out when power out).

    I then fill a large round plastic tupperware container with water as a back-up rinse bucket – and fill the sink with clean water ready for next use…I fill a spare bucket with water (and yet already have dozens of water bottles stacked in my shed).

    I then re-fill my mop bucket with fresh water and disinfectant – ready for next use as well…

    I boil my jug and fill a s/steel thermos – ready for coffee.

    My caravan already has battery operated LED lights set up all over the place, and one of my little battery operated radios is on my bedside vanity.

    Once everything is done, then I shower etc, into my pyjamas and then sit and watch the lightning flashes while having a coffee…and then when, not if, the power goes out, am ready.

    But, if power out and have to get out of path of whatever…then…
    BOB is always in the car, with self-inflating mattress, pillow, sleeping bag and silk liner, and tarps/hoochies/ropes, first aid kits, tool kit etc etc…

    The sturdy clothes I need to wear if bugging out are already in BOB – these come out and I get dressed, and PM/jewellery/passports/coins and notes/antibiotics/USB’s etc now take up that space in bag.

    Plus a small backpack bag with just toiletries/make-up/2 full changes of clothes/shoes/socks/towels/first-aid etc- (last used when my DD was sick recently and I stayed over till she was better -and bag is already re-packed – for next time).

    A mesh bag with assorted sized garbage bags.

    Plus a swim bag with more of the above plus swimming requirements.

    Plus have more BOB’s – these are full size 60 litres or bigger backpacks, all ready and stocked with an assortment of items – these are a complete list of items that I and my family will need – however have never had to grab these spares yet…however, if I have to get out and am able to drive out – these are thrown in as well – as will complement my DD and SIL’s bags. I have a large station wagon – and with the back seats down, have already used up half the available space.

    Two separate duffel bags are always in my car – one has assorted dehydrated fruit/veges/hamburger rocks etc…with tubes of jam, vegemite, honey in a plastic drink bottle with a twist top lid , salty crackers, assorted canned protein, rice, gravy powder, lentils, tea/coffee/sugar, small plastic bottle of olive oil, canned cheese, assorted packets cup-a-soups, small packets of jelly crystals (to mix a little as needed with water for flavouring) plastic jar of ghee, a plastic screw top jar with all-purpose baking flour, small ziplock bag with baking yeast, a plastic screw top jar with a 500gm packet of chia sprouting seeds, etc, and the other has 5 military ration packs.

    I also have a small ‘kitchen’ backpack with a single burner butane camp stove, with 8 butane cartridges, 3 s/less steel assorted round cooking bowls, 2 metal plates, small kitchen knife that slides into a sharpening sheath, tongs, utensils, metal insulated coffee mug etc.

    In one side pocket I have salt/pepper, assorted small bottles of condiments, etc. On opposite side is a small first aid kit and dish scrub and screw-top bottle of 4x concentrated dish-washing liquid and tea-towel.
    In the front small pocket I have assorted can openers, lighters in mylar bag, small wooden spatula, cotton hat and sunglasses, 1 pr leather h/duty gloves, scarves, more knives, paper towels, duct tape, zipties, ziplock bags, aluminium foil.

    I stuffed the contents of 5 pkts of Glad oven cook bags into one pkt – takes up less space and can rehydrate food in these bags, then use alum’n foil on the outside of the oven bags – like a pot, close to some hot coals – stir with wooden spatula, nothing metal – can rupture bag… and saves washing a cook pot.

    If can’t get out via my car, then it’s the m/bike – and I have a large bumbag, with fully padded lumbar region, and padded straps – for low centre of gravity – important on a bike. My main BOB is a backpack – it’s not suitable for the m/bike – centre of gravity is too high and can unbalance me.

    Also have 2 small bumbags with basic items – all 3 fit around my waist – but am not walking at this stage.

    If have to walk out, car BOB is on, with the 2 small bumbags mentioned above across my front…my walking boots are already in the car, with 2 pairs of socks stuffed into each boot – ready to be laced on. I grab my lanyard with firesteel/pocket knife, whistle, magnesium fire starter, leatherman and bug spray – inside pocket of driver’s side of car.

    Have 3 headlamps with spare batteries in a small drawstring bag in my car console…(all take ‘AAA’ batteries) and a large glad bag of $1 and $2 coins.

    My military canteens are the round metal type with straps around the bottle to go over neck/shoulder, and the green plastic square shapes. Have a collapsible 10litre white plastic water container with spigot. Coffee filters. I’ve had 2 camel-back bladders rupture – useless…so, it’s bottles only for me.

    My hoochies (which are under my carpet in car) are then tied to the outside of my pack (with bungee cords) to protect it from rain. My goretex camo jacket is on the very top of my pack wrapped around my topo maps.

    My one-man blackwolf tent ($5 – in as-new condition – score) is strapped to the bottom of my pack. My sleeping bag is already at the top of my pack, inside. My knives strapped to my legs – and I can be off.

    My DD has a BOB in her car boot – we went through and checked the contents etc last Saturday. I have spare BOB’s here for my family – all ready to go – as they will come to my place first if the phone’s are out.

    If it is feasible, we can also take our pushbikes -my car has roof-racks.

    We also have communications gear that I won’t go into – suffice to say we can stay in touch until they get to me. However there are always unknown variables to consider.

    I know I have too much stuff in my car – but there is only me riding in it most of the time – and wherever I am, so is my car – and prefer to be organized and have everything I need already in my car.

    Can just jump in my already loaded car at a moment’s notice and be off…just turn off water tap, gas tap, lock gate – and I’m away.

    Lindsay, I take my hat off to you, having to consider bugging out with children and/or elders takes huge organization – and the amount of bags required can be daunting.

    You are to be commended for already having your system in place…

    Everyone has their own system, what is key is that it all works for our individual circumstances.

    I seemed to always be repacking my BOB – it has taken years to get it right, because initially I just did not have the right items. I would tip everything out, and put better stuff in as I got it – and often at thrift shops.

    It was an exhausting process – but finally got it right, for me. Now that I have my system, I don’t change it. And also, whenever my car has a service, or tyres replaced, I just wait there till it’s ready. I don’t go too far from my back-up.

    You are definately on your way to getting yourself and your family ready for a bug out. Have fun.

    • Hunker-Down says:


      Would you come to my house and pack/organize our bags?

      • I second Hunker-Down’s request. Lol. I have a sign that hangs over my kitchen that says “cleaning the house while children are growing is like shoveling snow while its still snowing”. I really try to keep on top of stuff, and for the most part I think I do a good job, but organization is not my strength, add in kids and DH who go behind me and move everything….. Well, lets just say if I can ever find anything it is cause to celebrate

        • TG, my dear TG…I am the one who is in awe of your preparations….my DD is grown…you still have little ones.

          that is a huge amount of stuff to organise…

          well, just off the top of my head, and in the spirit of sharing and helping each other…

          1. for each child – take an old school backpack – and have them fill each bag with one bottle of water, one only set of clothes from their wardrobe. And one favourite security toy.

          Then, small tube of shower gel, small hotel sized bath soap, child sized toothpaste/brush.

          Go through the shower/cleaning, sleeping, playing/lighting/ scenarios. Make a game of it one afternoon – turn TV off, and have all bags in living room, and have kids run and grab just one item at a time, eg, tops, bottoms, shoes, hat, etc.

          then, get one spare cardboard box – not too big – and label it – BOB food for kids. Then, when you have time, ( I know – will rephrase, when you can – on one page, write the favourite foods each of the children will eat – what are their comfort foods.
          Then list some other things you know the kids need to have as well.

          Number these items, place a $ amount beside each line – and then when you can, go through pantry and see what you already have…or purchase next time shopping for sale items.

          If you can, keep the children’s BOB food items in a separate area in the closet. and as it gets eaten, buy more…keep it as fully stocked as possible – so it is just sweep items into their bags and go.

          for any long term food items the kids like, these can go in the cardboard box. that way -if you need to pack their bags quickly – go immediately to the pantry first, then the cardboard box.

          And it does not become yet another extra thing you need to think about or do in your already over scheduled day/evening/night…I know, there is no time off for mums.

          cardboard box can have each child’s sturdy outer layer clothing/boots/hats etc – in individual child’s drawstring bags.

          Do the same for yourself and husband…except yours will have the rest of items necessary to live/move between permanent shelter.

          got pets – same – water/2 nested plastic bowls for drinking and eating and dried biscuits etc – whatever you can carry, or the kids will share their food with the pets.

          Water bottles should already be in car. This is a priority item.

          You will run out of drinking water before you run out of food when travelling.

          Kids hunger can be satisfied with a few bites of favourite food, yet will need to consume water with or soon after each meal is eaten…and a glass of water can be anywhere between 180-200mls…much more weight in water consumed than food partaken.

          This is a heavy item, and when kids need to drink, they need it immediately – may not be able to purify water as/when needed.

          Now TG, having said all that, and in response to ‘organisation’ – I am completely snowed under today…

          let me describe what my day has been like today…my DD is coming over at 4pm. I have 60kgs of rice plus kgs of pasta to vacseal..and canned stuff to pack away…

          but before I can vac seal, I need to rinse and dry the coffee cans they are going to be stored in. I also am dehydrating the pulp/fibre from my 5kgs of carrots that I juiced yesterday, and am slowly drinking this. (this fibre, when rehydrated, will thicken casseroles/stews/soups. and all natural and nutritious. waste not want not.

          I am also washing the other dehydrator trays…and I can’t seem to get the juicer to come apart. Will leave it for my DD. Then we will have to take the dogs for their walk.

          I finally put away the last of the 8 fuel cans of rotated fuel – that I got with my 20cent voucher off. My bed was made early this morning – then ran out of puff and had to lay down for 5 mins (turned into 30 minutes…). then had a client call me…and had to switch hats…and before that I was catching up with entering my rental income into QB. and, then, somehow, am on this blog again…

          take care of yourself and the kids/hubby first…house is last.

          If anyone comes to visit and thinks place needs to be cleaned, hand them a broom and tell them to knock themselves out.

          If you get time, let me know how you go with the above suggestions… got to go, DD just arrived…cheers.

      • Hunker-Down, you made me laugh…

        I use my bags often – not just for testing things out in the bush.

        Whenever I need to go to a rental that becomes vacant, it is another perfect opportunity to practice and use what is in my BOB.

        I set up my toiletries bag/towels etc in bathroom.

        my kitchen backpack is set up. My food bags are ready – and if I want anything special – shops only 2 minutes away.

        my s/inflating mat and pillow/sleeping bag, and radio, and LED string lights are in one of the bedrooms. My BOB with clothes are in a corner – clothes folded on floor.

        my fold-up buckets – (2) for hand washing clothes. I do go to a laundramat when need to wash towels/teatowels – and do a full load with my clothes etc if it is raining – as I then use the dryer as well…and while I’m there, I get a big bag of dryer lint off the owner.

        Just put in a bag, things you know you will need indefinately – food is the thing that needs to be topped up most frequently, toiletries are next…water is on tap, but if out bush – can be found easily.

        Clothes/mats/sleeping bags etc…they last ages.

        Have a go…you will really have fun…

        and it is good for me, as the bags are light and easy for me to pack and throw back into car again when house is re-tenanted and I come back to my caravan…

        that is why when I got back before Christmas, and looked at my c’van..the first thing I wanted to do was purge it…because I had been living in a 4 b/room house with just what I absolutely needed – and nothing else…it is so liberating, and so much free time for planning stuff.

        I start with myself and work my way out, e.g.,…

        1. We need-to be clothed…so… clothes/shoes/hat/gloves etc.

        (a) toilet paper on the toilet roll in the bathroom.

        1(b). we need a way to keep those clothes clean – I have 2 bottles – one with laundry powder and the other with softener, and 2 collapsible buckets – I wash one item at a time – I also carry a small purse with a handful of wooden pegs and a stretchy clothes line for over the shower cubicle for clothes to drip dry.

        2. we have to eat/drink – have a dedicated backpack that is a complete ‘mess kit’. then add the food items/utensils that you are going to use with the mess kit.

        3. we have to have a restful sleep – mat, s/bag, small pillow, silk liner/ single bed flat sheet. And some hand/foot/body lotion tubes on floor beside s/mat.

        4. have to stay in touch with news – so, little battery radio.

        5. like to have little battery operated string lights on beside sleeping mat to wind down before sleep, and let my mind wander while listening to soothing music.

        (I arrange for the power to be connected when I know the day that I will be arriving – as I often need to get labourers/tradesman in to repair stuff).

        5 (a) have to be presentable for when tradesmen/prospective and/or viable tenants come to look at house – so, small make-up case, and a miniature hair brush.

        6. wear one of my headlamps if I want to read a book/bible before sleep – just need 2 LED’s instead of 4 or 6 LED’s.

        7. I don’t take any medications – so, remember these.

        there, that should get you started…and then try it out…let me know – and when you have it all packed, make sure it does not do a runner on you like that volcano stove…cheers.

    • Chloe, my–ahem–LP-special manly salmon flashlight bows to you. What an education, just in your comment.

      • Lantana, thank you for your kind words…

        this is the beauty of having lots of different people with their various different knowledge/skills/experience – sharing and putting things out on the blog and we all learn, at a much faster rate than normal – and we need to learn so many things…so, one step, a day/week at a time – as we all log back in to see what people have commented and shared…glad you got something out of it…catch up next time…

        So chuffed and honoured re the LP special manly salmon flashlight (LPSMSF), thank you… cheers.

  12. Lindsay, thank you for your thought-provoking article.

    Your approach to SHTF scenarios applies to the early preparation process as well. I’m just taking baby steps, hunting and gathering initial supplies for first aid, camping etc., and the house has gotten a bit jumbled.

    Thanks for the reminder that keeping the homefront in order *is* part of being prepared–after all, it’s the BI location.

  13. Pineslayer says:

    Great post, really has me thinking about cleaning chores. We have been thinking about tearing out the carpet, 15 years old, and putting down wood or bamboo. Now that seems like a smart idea, before it was fodder for a lively debate.

    I try to keep up with chores daily, never really caught up usually. The one chore I am anal about is firewood. Trying to keep a 5 year supply, neighbors think I’m nuts, but it will keep us warm, cook food, and heat water. I have been thinking about a water jacket for the stove, now that project is being bumped up.

    Thanks again for getting me thinking about maintenance and projects that might not get done after things go to sh*t.

  14. riverrider says:

    good reminder. we are bugging in but in case of forrest fire we are prepped to bug out too. bobs packed, mostly, and clear plastic containers marked with contents and a stripe of tape to denote priority of loading. red stripe for the first on the truck, must haves: ammo box, first aid box, mre box etc…. yellow tape for “needed but could do without” items: toiletries, more first aid, extra magazines, batteries, #10 canned foods etc…. green tape for those nice to have items and spares, only loaded if time allows. all are kept in one room on a shelf system, just inside the basement door. takes about five minutes for the red, five for the yellow, maybe five for for the green. the hardest part is keeping the bobs packed. we find ourselves diving into them when we need something and never putting it back….again thanks for the reminder to stay on top of the little stuff.

  15. LonghairCountryboy says:

    I know not everyone can do it, but thank God for AFLAC Insurance when my wife and I were both mortally ill years ago. It allowed us to buy a very dependable used Motorhome, which we keep FULLY stocked in preperation of the day TSHTF. Keep the fuel topped off, and keep it well tuned and maintained. Will have to fill it up one time to get to our “destination area”. By towing our little Station Wagon behind, we can carry oh so much more, including our canoe. People may wipe out the land animals quickly, but there is a BIG reason that our ancestors always had big settlements at areas plentiful with water…….

  16. Great article Lindsey and oh so true.
    As for doing dishes regularly I thought I’d share a true story. During the outage (October storm, no power for almost 10 days) we were in town and chatting with a couple of locals. The wife commented that she feared when the power did come back on. She had a dishwater full of dirty dishes that had been sitting for over a week and dreaded the odor that would come out when power was back and she could finally add soap. I suggested doing a wash w/o soap and then another with it so she wouldn’t have to open it. The thought if it all was kinda nasty LOL.
    I did manage to find a nice washboard though in a local antique store a few weeks later. I couldn’t believe no one had purchased it yet ~ was I the only one who disliked scrubbing by hand? For $35 I thought I made a great find. 🙂

  17. Good article. I’m having trouble with just my daily organization and it’s taking a toll on my sanity, but I’m wondering how often some things need to be done.

    I was one of those people who only wash their jeans monthly before the study was conducted. Don’t forget that in less-modern times, it was mainly only undergarments that got laundered. (In my case, that includes t-shirts and tank tops even if they are the only layer.) I think even the germ-obsessed Victorians only aired and brushed their outer layers.

    Of course, the sheet-washing schedule depends on how clean the sleeper is. A rural child that doesn’t shower before bed is going to have dirtier sheets than an urban child that never has the opportunity to sweat.

    I don’t see the need to sweep or mop more often than I do, the toilets could use more attention than just dumping the sanitizing solution leftover from beermaking into them, and I wish I didn’t have carpet.

    Yeah, I’m going to die in a bugout situation. Though it does drive home how I need to redundancy all the junk that I may want to dig through later, just so everything isn’t wiped out in a fire. I’m thinking of making a disk to mail to a relative, completely encased in a box that can be forgotten in a crawlspace.

  18. riverrider says:

    one thing that may have been mentioned before, but i haven’t seen, is to test load everything. actually put it in the vehicle you plan to use AND the one you plan to use if the preferred one doesn’t fire up. in the military we called it a load-out plan. we made a chart on a posterboard card with a drawing of the vehicle and where every piece of gear was going in it. then we loaded it. most times it wouldn’t all fit, so adjustments had to be made. i tried it at home and was shocked by how little of my “must have” items fit. now i have a camper shell on the truck and a tow behind toyhauler to carry it. i’ve practiced and it takes about 20 minutes. i hook up the h2o hose to fill the tanks before the loading. the wife catches, hopefully, all the critters and we’re off. if time, i have another truck and flat trailer for the rest. i would leave it loaded but we have hot/cold cycles too much here.not good for the food. anyway, try it out, you may be surprised.

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