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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Prepper - A Definition

Our good friend and founder of the Preppers Networks, Riverwalker, posted his definition of a prepper on his blog Stealth Survival. I think this is one of the best definitions of the word I have read. It embodies all preppers, no matter if you're an established homesteader or getting started with a few extra weeks of food. Read Riverwalker's definition below, and let us know in the comments if you agree with his take on what a prepper is.

Definition of a Prepper

Prepper (noun): An individual or group that prepares or makes preparations in advance of or prior to any change in normal circumstances or lifestyle without significant reliance on other persons (i.e., being self-reliant) or without substantial assistance from outside resources (govt., etc.) in order to minimize the effects of that change on their current lifestyle.

Simple Living: Getting Rid of "Stuff"

"The stuff you own, owns you."

I know that saying sounds bizarre and maybe a little paranoid but in many ways it's true.

In my the back of my mind I'm always thinking, "I have to clean up and organize; my house is too cluttered.".  It's a little thing but it's one more stress in my life and it takes time away from more important things.

Cleaning and organizing is just a temporary fix though. Eventually the "stuff" will get out of place and you have to go through the process again.  The only permanent solution is to get rid of stuff and only keep essentials (or better still, don't buy it in the first place).

Getting rid of stuff actually feels very liberating!

Not only does it make your house more tidy, but by only keeping what you truly need and use you're also evaluating your own life and thinking about what's important to you. You may think "I can't live without that", but by getting rid of stuff you're proving to yourself that you can!

My advice to get started is to go through all the storage boxes in your house.

This is why I actually love moving; you evaluate all your stuff twice over.  When you pack the moving boxes you think, "is it worth packing or should I junk it?".  Then when you unpack in your new home you tend to first unpack only the stuff you really need.

If you haven't opened a moving box after more than a year, you should really ask yourself if you truly need whatever is in that box. That also goes for any other box, bag, shelf or storage area in your home.

There are also many option to get rid of the junk besides just throwing it in the garbage:

1) Charities

Places like the Salvation Army, Goodwill or Value Village sell these used items for charity funds.  Just pack the stuff and drop it off.  Some charities will give a tax receipt for drop offs or a coupon for use in their shop and some will even come to pick up the stuff!

2) Freecycle

Freecycle is like on-line classified ads which features only free stuff. It's all done by volunteers and is usually done through email lists or online forums.  Naturally to prevent people abusing the system you're not allowed to re-sell the items you get for free.

We've gotten quite a few things through our local freecycle and it's a great way to build a sense of community.

3) Garage Sale

A little more work than the other options but at least you'll get some money out of it.  The downside though is that you'll probably still have stuff left which means you'll still have to get rid of it somehow.

(Cross posted at Next Best West)

Solar Cooking

I have been studying about new methods of solar cooking. I realized I need to know this skill much better than I do. I pretty much just dabble with it and I need to know it as a skill.

When doing research I came upon this blog by "Sloar Oven Chef" she started last year and cooking everyday it is sunny in her solar oven. This is about her journey - her successes and failures. She shares what she learned from the failures. It is a great read.

This site explains how to make a solar oven from a windshield shade that is pictured above:

I have learned alot, still have more research to do on this...most important is I need to practice.
I am in Idaho and the weather is pretty finicky right now, but when it levels out, I am going to cook every sunny day this summer, so I can learn how to do this.

Preppin for a Wind Storm

Wind storms are pretty common around here. The Weather Service issued a high wind warning for our area this afternoon which said we may have winds of up to 60 miles per hour tomorrow morning. Most people don't worry too much about wind storms but when winds get fairly high for a sustained period of time you can often end up with power outages, trees down (and the ensuing damage that can cause to homes and roads), and even injuries and deaths. Here's what we have done to get ready for the storm:
  • Charge the cell phones in case the power goes out.
  • Bring in the deck chairs and garbage cans so they don't fly away.
  • Things that I would check if I didn't already know that we were set: food (lots), water (gallons and gallons), flashlights (strategically placed as usual), batteries (plenty). Heating is not an issue because it isn't very cold at this time of year.
  • Cancelled a meeting with a client (the meeting would have required that I travel by ferry to meet them and in high winds the ferries won't run and I don't feel like getting stuck somewhere hours away from home). Meeting was rescheduled with no problem.
  • Other changes I may make in the morning: I may cancel my morning walk/jog because it is seriously unsafe to be outside in high winds, not because of the wind but because of falling trees and flying debris. Ditto or driving (because of the tree/flying stuff issue, driving is equally unsafe).
Well that's about it. Should the power go out, it will probably be for a short duration so I am not worried about the food in the freezer at this point. Basically we will probably be holed up in the house for a day or so, enjoy some reading or other tasks that do not require the use of power, and then get ready to clean up the mess after the storm passes.