Organizing as an Important Part of Prepping, by K.S.

I’ve enjoyed the site and articles for some time now, but I never thought I would contribute an article! I have been prepping for a few years, and my husband and I have secured enough food, guns, ammo and other necessities to care for ourselves and a few relatives for at least 12-18 months. We live in the country, have spring-fed ponds, gardens and lots of game in our immediate area.  Still, we can never get cozy with the idea that we are fully prepared.  Prepping, I am finding, is a lifestyle and life skill that continues as long as we are able to keep it going.

Recently, my activities in the area of organization have prompted me to share some ideas  on this subject.  Fall in the northern United States requires a level of prepping that most people here understand and undertake, without reference to TEOTWAWKI. Heating fuel and wood must be procured and stored, gardens “put to bed”, winter clothes and bedding aired and installed in closets, extra food and water stored for snow storms.  We put away the garden tools and bring out the snow removal equipment, stash emergency supplies in the car in case of being snowbound, check winter boots and replace, if needed.  Life is just a little more difficult at -10°, with snow on the ground measured in feet.  Those who fail to prepare suffer this more than necessary.  In fact, my first experience with prepping came from notion of storing enough staples so that I did not have to lug lots of grocery bags from the garage, uphill to the house during the winter.  (Our previous homes had attached garages, but we no longer have that “luxury”.)

The term “nesting instinct” is sometimes used to describe the peculiar drive, sometimes more prevalent with women, to secure one’s home for the winter months.  I’ve talked to many people who recognize this drive to prepare and organize for the winter.  This year I’ve been feeling an even stronger drive to organize and prepare than in the past.  Perhaps it’s from a sense which many of us have, that more than just winter is coming.

I’ve always been somewhat of an organizer, (I hate messiness and clutter) but just recently started to really enumerate the values of organization when it comes to prepping.  I hope this article will show how good organization of your home/retreat/supplies can:

  • Save money
  • Improve safety/security
  • Improve efficiency

So part of my fall cleaning to-do list included cleaning out parts of the house that we all have that tend to get cluttered: junk drawers, garage and basement, closets, etc.  This led me to looking at organization as an important part of prepping.  Let me give you an example:  While going through these cluttered areas I started collecting things into groups.  I found spools of thread in my craft closet, my bathroom drawer, the junk drawer, the laundry room, etc.  When all collected, I found I had over 50 spools of thread!  I had recently bought some because they were on the “100 Most Sought-After Items after TEOTWAWKI“. Now, all the thread, needles, safety pins, sewing supplies are gathered in one box.  Not only do I know what I have, I know whether I need more, or how much I might barter off, if needed.  Not only that, anyone in the house can quickly find these items when necessary.

The same method was applied to many other needed supplies such as batteries, matches, first aid supplies, candles, winter hats and gloves, paper goods, office supplies, electrical cords and gadgets, etc.  Many of us have taken time to organize our food storage and ammo, but what about the rest of our “stuff”?  It’s really amazing how much there is in the typical American home.  If you begin to organize what you have on hand, you may find that many items that will be important for survival and for barter are already in your home. I found that I could quit buying certain items because I had a good supply (now organized in one place) on hand.  I also was able to see what I should buy, thus using my resources more efficiently.  You also will save money in the long run because items will be stored properly, thus extending their shelf life and protecting them from damage.

Safety and security is not something to consider only in relation to an uncertain future, it’s an important element for each family every day.  Having your home organized in a way that allows items to be found quickly, when needed, can go a long way toward personal and home safety.  Making sure that dangerous items (medicines, matches, ammo, cleaning products, etc) are stored where young children can not access them is also important.

For me, organization helps me feel “in control” of my home and family life.  Believe me, my home is not pristine – I wouldn’t have this massive fall cleaning project going on if it was!  But organizing helps me get rid of clutter (you wouldn’t believe how many things I found that I can sell on ebay! – more money for needed items!), make room for further storage goods, and protect my investment in goods that will help us in the future.  My home just runs more efficiently when we can find the things we need, and replace just what we need.

Organizing your home and your preps does not need to cost a lot.  I used some plastic totes I had on hand, but also cardboard boxes, labeled with a magic marker.  Inexpensive shelving can be used as well.  I generally buy shelving or storage containers if they are on sale.  At a recent auction I bought big Rubbermaid totes for $1.00 each!  Be creative – we have cases of freeze dried food in #10 cans.  The cases make good supports for simple board shelves.  This is how I store toilet paper and paper towels off the basement floor!  The cases are set on top of plastic totes filled with extra clothing, thus, only plastic rests on the floor and everything is protected from possible dampness.

I hope that these few ideas will encourage you to begin organizing your “nest” to make life easier now, and in whatever future the Lord has in store for us!  God Bless!