Tuesday, May 26, 2009

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night and ...

It was a dark and stormy night and my flash light was nowhere to be found – except the one with dead batteries. I have in my hands, warped candles, but not a match. The worst disaster of all is that cannot find my chocolate. The lightening is tearing the black sheets of sky, and the roaring thunder is so loud that the dog’s bones are rattling … and she is still alive – I think. And then there comes a banging on the door … the cellar door. It’s getting darker and darker; the only way I can see to find my way across the room is during the lightning flashes, so progress is slow. The banging is persistent. I know it’s not the wind blowing the shutters because they blew away in the last windstorm. Louder banging, louder thunder, more lightning -- fear is increasing with the pounding of my heart. I still can’t find a light. AARRRGGGGHHHH I have to close my eyes now …

You can slowly turn the page now.

One of the things I need to remind you about before your dark and stormy night is that if you are not careful you might find yourself sitting in a dark room without your chocolate or carrots, whichever you prefer.

Many times food and food storage are discussed and we forget that we should also be talking about personal preparedness, which includes all kinds of non-foods and equipment.
This brings me to the point of sharing a few thoughts with you. I would highly recommend that you take the time NOW to organize and categorize your “stuff.” And no my middle name is not Martha (Offered as a compliment J), and I am not a “neatness junkie”. HOWEVER, if you are attempting to be prepared in enough areas to be able to take care of yourself, come heck or high water, that means a lot of time and money will be invested. You can define how much translates into “ a lot”. It also does not mean that your cupboard, pantry or garage wall has to resemble a display in an upscale store window.

The more organized you are, the easier it will for you find the items when you need them – even in the dark. The more categorized your items are, the more you will be able to stretch you money. If you can check what you already have on hand, before hitting the yard sales or store sales to replace lantern or stove parts, or whatever, you will be able to manage your budget better. You can quickly discover and see at a glance that you bought those items three store adventures before, and what you really need to look for this time are sleeping bags.
This kind of budget stretching eyeball-inventory is not possible if everything is in a “Preparedness Pile” in the corner of the garage. This kind of pile (or any similar “system”) allows for dirt and deterioration of your supplies. It encourages mice and bug infestation, as well as breakage. The question of the week is why put forth any effort or money to obtain supplies if you do not take care of them? It can be a total waste of that time, effort and money! (Besides that, I will haunt you! How can you thank Heavenly Father for blessing you with the things you need, if you “show” that thankfulness with disdain and carelessness – sermon # 19)

Let me share a few Barbara and Larry ideas with you. This does not mean these are the only ways, but for us they work. Also this is a “now scenario” in our current home. We have worked out similar systems and ideas in apartments, houses, garages, carports and metal sheds, among other resources in our moves, travels and preparedness adventures.
Right now, our preparedness non-food supplies and equipment are kept in a little shed out back. You can translate shed to basement, garage, wall, closet, attic, nook or cranny.

I use labels and a lot of permanent black markers. (This ink will come off with acetone nail polish remover if you tend to write large and want to change a label.) Most everything that is medium to small sized is in a container, tub or box that is labeled. A RULE for us: every tub or box or packaged item IS LABELED. The labeled end is always out so that it can be immediately read. And yes, I have a working flashlight stashed on the studs, just inside the door.

Stoves are grouped together. Parts, mantles, wicks, gaskets, etc. are in a tub. Lanterns are grouped together.

All sizes of batteries are kept in a tub, on a shelf, in the laundry room. That way they are not exposed to extremes of hot or cold weather. Expansion and contraction cause the seams to split and acid to be exposed. Besides, I can get to them in any weather.

One wall of shelves holds the blankets and sleeping bags, rolled tightly and squished into heavy white trash bags. The emphasis is on white trash bags. The dark green or black kinds sometimes have insect repellent in the plastic. This can be absorbed into the material inside – thus compounding problems. All blankets and sleeping bags are put away washed and clean, ready to use. If they are used for camping, scouting or sleepovers they must be put away clean. Some may look as if they survived World War I, not necessarily ragged, just old and not in style. But I haven’t figured out what warm has to do with style anyway.

Clothing for layering and warmth is sets of irregular sweat suits bought at clearance sales. They are kept in a labeled tub; in the same area as the blankets. The same thing applies to the rain suits and extra ponchos.

In another apple box you can find our emergency cooking gear. It is not my regular set of pots and pans. They are second and third time around thrift store bargains that can be used over a campfire, fireplace, barbeque or any outside fire. Blackened in this case does not refer to Cajun cooking. It’s what the outside of the pans resemble in the aftermath of an aftermath.

And yes we have a second home. It is not a condo or cabin in the mountains, nor a retreat along a river bank. And no we don’t own a motor home. However, we do have a wonderful, sturdy family sized tent just in case the great big bad wind, huffs and puffs and blows the wall down or windows in. It is stashed in the loft or rafters.

These are a few ideas to adapt and put into practice. Convert them to your style, your closet, your carport, but do something now.

I strongly suggest this takes place before you are caught in the middle of a dark and very stormy night without a working flashlight …

Yay, I found my chocolate :)


Rebecca Talley said...

We lose electricity all the time so we try to keep our flashlights and candles in easy to find places. You have some great advice. Thanks! I definitely need to be more organized and prepared.

Barbara Salsbury said...

Good! Flashlights and chocolate and you're set. Thanks for dropping by,