Letter Re: T.P. for the Bugout or Get Home Bag

I’m constantly looking online at what people put in their bug out and get home bags. So far as I’ve seen their always missing one important item– toilet paper! I keep at least two rolls in every bag. Yes, they take up room but weigh nothing. All of my vehicles also have a couple rolls. An immediate dietary change, going from norm to survival mode, is going to have an immediate effect on one’s system (aka: bowel movement). Yet, as I review preppers/survivalist bag setups, good old TP seems to be never mentioned. So, load a couple rolls in a zip lock bag! It also makes great tinder, too. – DMS

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Keep Your Nose Clean!, by E.P.

In a survival situation, one of the most important things to consider is hygiene, especially if you are caring for children. In developed countries, waterborne illnesses and skin diseases are no longer common, but even in a short-term survival situation, unclean spectres rear their ugly heads. Fortunately, a simple family hygiene kit is easy to prepare and store. Although public health has advanced much in the past 150 years, at its core it consists of isolating waste and washing hands properly. Other important considerations are regular bathing and dental hygiene. As a mother of six children, I would also add simple wound care to this list. Any wound that is not dealt with promptly can fester, and my boys seem to rip off toenails and accumulate punctures with alarming frequency. Isolating Waste A 5-gallon bucket, lined with a trash bag, or a latrine trench work great for an adult and even for an older child. So what do you do with a young child who is still toilet training or a baby in diapers? For the past 12 years, I have had at least one child in diapers, at all times. Yeah, and you will have to change a diaper … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: Urban Trash

Hugh, Under item number 7 (Recycle). Textiles, including things like shoes and purses, that aren’t in good enough shape to be donated to thrift stores can be recycled through GemText. Be kind and make sure the items are clean. Go to gemtextrecycling.com to see if they are near you. – S.B. o o o HJL, This contributor recommended burning trash that is combustible outdoors. This used to be common practice, but it is now most likely banned as illegal open burning in all but the most rural locations. Even in rural areas there can be burning bans due to wildfire risks. A better option might to be to burn these items in a wood burning stove in the winter, or to get a chimenea or enclosed fire pit, which does cost more, but it’s less than the potential fines for violating the law. – V.L.

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Two Letters Re: Urban Trash

Hugh, This article is a good start to a problem solving dilemma. It definitely requires a mindset change, but that’s achievable for everyone. The best book I ever read, back in the late 80s, on this subject is Re/Uses: 2133 Ways to Recycle and Reuse the Things You Ordinarily Throw Away by Carolyn Jabs, published in 1985. – T.S. o o o Hugh, When I have plenty of scraps, I do just as the author suggests (and as Julia Child had suggested in her book!) and make soup stock with them, canning them for later use. It makes for wonderful, flavorful soup stock! A lot of times, before I have filtered the scraps out, my husband eats the soup as is–and he has never complained. I gave up trying to tell him those were the junk ends and were supposed to be thrown out. Apparently, they still taste good, and he often has several bowls of this soup. After the scraps are filtered out, they go to the chickens for their third life. 🙂 As an example, right after Christmas, frozen turkeys were marked down to 49 cents a pound. I canned the meat from two of them and then … Continue reading

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Urban Trash: Why and How to Minimize Your Garbage- Part 2, by K.S.

3. Compost/Animal Food Technically you could differentiate between these two, as some items that you can compost you shouldn’t feed to certain animals. So scrounge two plastic buckets of a size you’ll actually use, carry, and empty, and make sure they have well-sealing lids since you’ll probably keep these in the kitchen. Then, label one Compost and the other Chicken Food (or whatever). Keep them under the sink or somewhere where you’ll actually use them. I’ve heard that compost “rules” have changed and you might be able to compost meat and dairy products now. I probably wouldn’t feed old meat or cheese to the chickens, but maybe you do, so just do what works for you and your animals. You can probably re-eat a lot of the stuff you’d normally put right in the compost, so consider doing that first. Save old fruit peels for making fruit vinegars, but then compost them later. Apple cores and cuttings can be juiced into a rough sort of apple cider and then composted. Make some soup stock out of the onion skins and carrot ends before composting them. You get the idea. 4. Scrap Metal You can still do this even if you’re … Continue reading

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Urban Trash: Why and How to Minimize Your Garbage- Part 1, by KS

“Political upheaval. Threats of nuclear war. Violent protests. Imminent economic collapse. And you think it’s important to talk about sorting my trash? Let’s get real. I’ve got bigger things to deal with, and I don’t have time to go all eco-friendly here.” Sound familiar? Sound like… you, maybe? I get it. I really do. Why spend time doing hippy-dippy stuff, like reducing, reusing, and recycling when you could be going to the range, running tactical drills, deep-stocking your pantry, or armoring your BOV? Well, you need money for ammo, armor, food supplies, firearms, and medical gear, right? And unless you’re one of the fortunate few, I’d imagine cash is in short supply. You could always use more, especially when you find some .22 on the shelf or a great Mountain House sale. I’m here to give you an opportunity to learn how to save your money for what really counts by minimizing what you throw away and by maximizing what you find for free. This mindset– the mindset of scrounging up what you can so that you can save money for stuff that’s harder to find– is best summed up in the questions that often I ask myself as I … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Sanitation Considerations for Long Term Emergency Situations

SurvivalBlog, Reading all the back and forth last month regarding what to do after toilet paper is no longer available, lead me to the conclusion that I think we are making things much more dirty and complicated than necessary. I currently have a small one-gallon hand pump pressure sprayer in storage specifically for this purpose. It will be kept next to the toilet or outhouse and used essentially as a bidet. Simply remain sitting on the toilet, “power wash” the affected area, and dry with a clean cloth. You will still need to clean and disinfect the drying cloths, but they will not be nearly as dirty as they would be if I had used some of the other recommendations, so they should last much longer as well. Just my 2 cents. – DL in the Redoubt

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Letter Re: Sanitation Issues

Good morning, Hugh, Many homes are equipped with septic tanks to perform as a holding tank for waste, allowing waste decomposition to occur. Reduction of solid waste through bacterial action works, but is a slow process and often incomplete. Additionally, a large number of chemicals we regularly introduce into our septic tanks, such as common soap, dishwashingj and clothes detergents, bleach, commercial toilet cleaning solutions, et cetera, are toxic to the bacteria performing the job of decomposition. Septic tanks are one part of the equation; the other being the leach field. Leach fields are the fluid distribution pipes running from the septic tank into the ground and are intended to operate with “clear” liquids only; “clear” liquids does not refer to their color but means “no solid materials”. Solids will fill the spaces between dirt particles and eventually form a sufficient barrier to liquid absorption to cause the leach field to fail. The only fix for this is dig a new leach field in dirt that has not been contaminated by particles, or replace the dirt in the existing field. Either solution will be expensive and quite inconvenient. Other things that wind up in the septic tank can render the … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: Toilet Wipes

HJL, How about the eBay Bidet. It not only rhymes, it completely solves your bum washing problem. You install it on your toilet in 20 minutes. I found out about this using a process of elimination. – M. o o o Hi Hugh, This idea may have already been mentioned, but I connected a kitchen sink dish spray hose and nozzle to my toilet water supply as a homemade bidet using a pipe tee, 1/2-inch valves, and some reducing adapters. It takes a little experimenting to know how far to crack open the valve to keep from spraying water everywhere. Of course, having water pressure is a necessity for it to work and one still has to use the “dirty hand”, but you are right in that one feels much cleaner down there using water and the hand. – WLF

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Letter Re: Washable Cloth Toilet Wipes

Hugh, Regarding the person who wondered “Why go to all the trouble to cut and sew toilet wipes when you can simply use mass-produced bathroom washcloths”: By making them, each family member has their own as I used a different fabric pattern for me and my husband; this removes the “ick” factor Also, I plan to make and sell these both pre- and post-SHTF, and the fabric was free to me. There are other issues that must be considered as well: Last year with a UTI, I used a full 1,000 sheet roll of Scott toilet paper in only six hours, If someone in the home becomes ill, say with the stomach flu of some other illness, you would want a large stock of washable toilet paper so they could just be placed in the pail until wash day; a person who is sick cannot “self-regulate their bowel voiding patterns”. – S.T. HJL Comments: The question of what to do when the toilet paper runs out is always on the mind of preppers, and I have seen some very ingenious solutions to the problem. However, the easiest and most reliable method is just to use water. Americans seem to have … Continue reading

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Letter: Washable Cloth Toilet Wipes

Dear Editor: I have a suggestion, prompted by my reading of the recent two-part SurvivalBlog article titled: “Sew and Grow, Save and Recycle Your Way Into Preparedness“:Why go to all the trouble to cut and sew toilet wipes when you can simply use mass-produced bathroom washcloths? They are already the right size and will clean you up better than smooth cloth will. I already have a large stash of thick washcloths that I bought at a thrift store, along with a case of rubber dishwashing gloves in various sizes. When all the toilet paper is gone, each family member gets a pair of rubber gloves and a washcloth with their name inked in permanent marker. When nature calls, first put on the rubber gloves, wet and wring out your washcloth, when done pooping: wipe, fold, wipe, fold and wipe again, then wash the washcloth and your hands while wearing the gloves. Be careful to not get the inside of the gloves wet. Hang both the gloves and your washcloth back up to dry until next time. This sanitation method will also have the unintended benefit of forcing family members to self-regulate their bowel voiding patterns, since no one wants to do … Continue reading

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Sew and Grow, Save and Recycle Your Way Into Preparedness – Part 2, by S.T.

Minimum Quantities Needed You will need the minimum quantities that are listed below. However, you can start on your path to reusable products with lower quantities and can continue to add additional quantities each and every week as you produce additional quantities of final product. Washable feminine hygiene products- 50- 8” for each female in the home 25- 12” for each female in the home Washable toilet paper- 50 for each male in the home 100 for each female in the home Washable dish towels- 20 each Washable napkins- 21 for each person in the house Washable aprons 2 for each person in the house Growing You can grow not just food and cooking herbs, but medicinal plants and household products. For example, gourds such the little dipper and big dipper can be used to make ladles for your kitchen. Bottle gourds can be made into bowls. These will be very useful and needed items when there are no more manufactured products. Loofah gourds make wonderful kitchen sponges. AloeVera plants are also another item to grow. Saving & Recycling Egg cartons make a very good way to start seeds, make fire starters, and to hold fresh eggs from your hens … Continue reading

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