Getting it All Together, Or, The Worst Pencil is Better than the Best Memory, by Sled238

If you are even moderately past the first stage of becoming prepared, you have (or will have) the experience of finding things you had forgotten you had bought. Yeah, Christmas! I thought, until it occurred to me that if I had needed that item really, really badly, I would have just screwed up, big time. Cancel Christmas.

After the third – or was it sixth? – time reading “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”, it occurred to me there was one thing I wish had made it into the book: the Gray’s notebook. Their preps notebook, to be more specific. Only thing I remember is the lists on the chipboard

Jim has been kind enough to share an abundance of gifts. In my opinion, one of the greatest of these gifts is the List of Lists.

What I had, was a pile of papers, which is not really useful at all. So, I just got a bunch of clean paper, some pens, three-ring binders, and here is what I did, and how it got done:
Print out the Rawles List of Lists, writing the title of each at the top of a sheet of paper.
This page will be the rough draft page, and the info put on it will be used on a separate template with the same name.

Lay out each rough draft paper where you can see it (I had the entire dining room table, couch, and coffee table covered).
Go through your giant pile of disorganized papers, placing each article, story, list, clipping, on the appropriate sheet, being sure not to cover the heading.

(Some files are really big (Flu pandemic PDF files come to mind); set these aside to be put in a reference binder – but make a note that you have this reference On the page with the heading.)

Now, for those of you with awesome PC skills, format a template page as follows (if no PC skills, pencil and ruler for you! LOL):

Heading, bold capital letters at top. WATER, for example.
Under this, make a section about one third of the sheet of paper (this section is called info/notes/goals). Leave space for hand written notes, and make a horizontal line at the bottom of this (again, this is about one third the way down the page).

Below this, the remaining two thirds of the page has two columns:
On the left: next steps, with a numbered list below.
On the right, three sections one atop the other:
Short term, with room for a few listed items;
medium term, with room for a few listed items;
long term. with room for a few listed items.

Something like this:
Info/ notes goals

Next steps short term
1 1
2 2
3 3
4 Medium term
5 1
6 2
7 3
8 Long term
9 1
10 2
11 3

(With a vertical line between the two columns.)

Print one of these forms for each list subject heading.

The real work begins.
We have a rough draft sheet with WATER written on it in pen, and also a template with WATER in the heading.
I took the rough draft page, and really quickly, listed every thought I had about water as it concerns my preps. Something like …I have about 8 big water cooler bottles in the basement; have two hand water filters, one is not made anymore, the other I can still get filters for; have a base camp filter, do not remember what type of replacement filters it takes; want a big berky filter, need to find best price; can you drink swimming pool water? I need to stock more bleach, can you use dry bleach as well?…

This is your rough draft page, questions page, and brainstorming page.
Do this with every heading.

So, now, on my fancy template, in the first section, is info about drops of bleach per two liter bottles for purifying. Also, is a reference to a PDF form about sand water filter construction, kept in a bigger, separate binder called Reference.

In the bottom right section, under short term, I have listed the amount of water I have on hand or have immediate access to.

Under Medium term (middle box), I have my various filters listed with prices for replacement filters.

Under Long term, I need info on a manual pump for my well, possibly a solar powered setup, if feasible.

Move to the left, to next steps.
I know I have to rotate the stored water, so I write “Enter water rotation date on master yearly calendar list”. I also know I need a little more bleach, so I note that. I might put in a note to price filters, and one more to see how much power my well requires to pull up water, so as to further develop or drop the solar power train of thought.

Now, do this with every heading.

With a new sheet of paper, flip through the notebook, taking at least two next steps from each heading, and make a quick and dirty “Next Steps” list. This will not be pretty, because you will, I am sure, be crossing off the next steps in a lively and methodical fashion. Those of you in the know will understand how this list can become a “thickly padded clipboard”. (An inside joke, if you have not yet read “Patriots“.)

Pretty simple, I know.
I would say “The end”, but we all know we are just now entering the beginning.

Now, go and execute your next steps. – Sled238