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Saturday, May 8, 2010

Clean your clutter, transform into preps

Yard Sale Northern California May 2005. This i...Image via Wikipedia
I'm taking a break from some major spring cleaning. Wife is gone having girls night, so it gave me a chance to do some well needed cleaning without distraction.

This is actually a process that has been going on over the course of a few days, but the whole time I've been thinking about the ramifications it has had on my preparedness -- bear with me. What I'm basically describing here is "spring cleaning" that can turn into an effective cataloging system of your preps, and making a little cash to buy what you want and need.

I must have "hoarder" in my blood. If I see a good deal, I jump on it, and stock up. Often times, however, these deals come in small fragments, and I get carried away with other things before I can sort and organize them. Then I end up with several rooms full of "crap." Several fires burning, and nothing ever gets cooked if you know what I mean.

I have a problem with keeping things that I find value in, but don't use on a regular basis if at all. Not only can this lead to a fire hazard, it's a pain in the ass, because I know I "have" something, but can never find it.

This is where ebay, craigslist, and SHTF classifieds comes into play, and can be quite a motivation for prepping, believe it or not. Or at least, that's how I've shaped it to keep me motivated and getting this done.

For me, I'm going through entire rooms making piles of stuff with purposes. Clothes for example. I have way too many clothes. I take care of them, and I hate throwing out usuable items, so I end up with a lot of crap. I've had plenty of construction and labor jobs over the years, so I have a "work clothes pile." Now I have a job that I have to dress up a bit, so I have another pile for that. Then I end up with a pile of "this is absolute crap, and it's not worth keeping, but I can use it for parts to repair other clothing". The latter of which gets me in trouble with collecting crap, but I try to find a purpose for everything and get my money's worth. My problem is staying on task and keeping it organized.

Anyhow, so I'm going through all this stuff, (we'll keep using clothes for an example) and I'm making my piles. I find I have a bunch of clothes I either don't fit, or no longer want. The pile grows larger.... So I've been putting stuff on ebay like crazy. Not one item at a time, but lots of it. The trick is starting the lot low at 99 cents to get attention. People watch it...How could they resist such a good deal? Then keep a modest buy it now price, and reasonable shipping (maybe push it here and there). Describe it accuratly, I don't wanna sell junk and call it treasure, and let people make it their own problem :) PRESTO! Crap gone, money in pocket.

Long story short, I'm getting rid of crap I don't need, organizing what I do have and inventorying it in the process, and making a bit of cash. Essentially a garage sale without totally blowing OPSEC, or having to deal with people all day.

Now the same is true with hobbies. I've found out what things I'm not into anymore, but have had parts saved for for years. I'm finding what I forgot I was into, and what could be usable as a prep. Jetison the waste, inventory the assets.

I'm turning around and taking that cash and buying things I need, and, what-the-hell, some toys, too :)

The hard part is just the time to do it, for one, and two, making yourself part with something you know has value, or you would like to have. In a perfect world, I could setup surround sound with vintage SONY speakers in every room of my house. But damnit, do I need to do that? When am I going to get around to doing it, and are there things I'd rather have then a stack of speakers in a storage room collecting dust. I think I'd rather put them on craigslist, and take the money and fill the jerry cans full of diesel before the summer prices hit.

I've never really thought of spring cleaning like this before in terms of preps, but then, I haven't been in the prepping mindset until a couple years ago. Not to mention, people buy the dumbest crap. One man's junk is another... you know the drill.

So, take a look around your house and say, "do I really need that?" "Is it time to dump this stuff?" "If someone would buy it, what would I rather put those funds towards?"

1. Clear out BS and make the wife happy
2. Organize your preps and usuable items in the process of organizing essentials and toys
3. Make a bit of cash
4. Feel better about your living space

I know this kind of a random post, but I think it has its application in a prepping mindset. Thanks for reading my rant :)

Now back to cleaning....

Safe Investment Commodities for a Volatile Market

 From: http://readynutrition.com/resources/safe-investment-commodities-for-a-volatile-market_07052010/

May 7th, 2010
With the market as volatile as it is these day, it is better to start investing in safer commodities that one can use for their future well being.  Stocks are plunging around the world!  Long gone are the days of a “easy money” from trading in the stock market.  Now, all that is left is the bitter, mood swings of  a dying market.  No one can trust in the market’s reliability. Investing your money in real assests that you can live off of for the next 10 years will be a better approach than investing in short term stock investments.
Many economic forecasters have warned that the coming days and the coming collapse will be nothing like we have ever seen before.  Some believe this crash will be worse than the previous one.  It turns out that economic forecasters such as George Soros, Gerald Celente and Martin Armstrong may, in fact be right with their warnings of an upcoming collapse.  In fact, Soros says that the full impact of the the collapse has not even been felt yet!

Invest into Hard Assets

Hard assets (anything tangible that can be used for the next 10 years) is an investment one could make that will have a reliable return on investment.  Hard assets, such as long term food, food devices (grain mills, cast iron pots), silver or gold, farming equipment, tools, necessary clothing, are items that can be put to use over the next 1-10 years that will ensure one’s well being.
Store Basic Necessities – Due to the possibility of a food shortage, as well as an increase in food prices due to an inflationary period from a major recession, the price of food will go up at least 20% or more.  Buying foods before this crisis hits will help sustain a family longer than foods bought later on during the inflationary period. Depending on what is purchased, lasting foods such as seeds, dry goods, dehydrated foods and dry beans and rice can be stored for years.  Additionally, begin storing water.  Water may be hard to come by in future.  Investing in a good water filter and ways to collect water would also be advantageous.  This will give a person the best bang for the buck.
Invest in Precious Metals- If a person cannot invest in expensive precious metals, try and find junk silver.  Junk coins are typically quarters that were minted before 1965 and include Morgan and Peace dollars; Liberty Head “Barber,” Walking Liberty, Franklin and Kennedy half dollars; Liberty Head “Barber,” Standing Liberty and Washington quarters; Liberty Head “Barber,” Winged Liberty Head “Mercury” and Roosevelt dimes; and Jefferson “Wartime” nickles.  These coins are 90% pure silver!  The best way to find these coins is to go to banks and ask for rolls of coins that were given to the bank by private persons.  Do not accept the rolls of quarters that were given to the banks by bank security trucks.  Typically, bank security companies sift through looking for these specialty coins already, so the likelihood of finding any junk silver is next to nothing.  So, make sure it is from a private citizen.
Canada and the United Kingdom also has junk silver.  For a list of junk silver in these countries, click here.
Kevin, from the Neo Survivalist, states that, “ to protect your wealth, consider investing in precious metals.  Sure gold and silver will have volatile movements, but take a long term perspective with precious metals.  Also, consider it a way to store wealth versus getting rich.”
Large Investments for Your Future Livelihood
Assuming that major debts for a family are paid, any large investment should be made into things that can assist a family for long term self sustainability such as investing in farmland, tools, farm equipment or precious metals, even quality camping equipment can be a large (but necessary) investment.  During a depression, many find they can no longer live in the city.  There will be too many hungry and too many unemployed.  The only option will be to move out of the city in order to find a way to make money in order to care of their family.  Farmland used for long term survival, is a necessary long term investment.  Additionally, investing in non-gmo or heirloom variety seeds will give a major return on the original investment.  Many believe that seeds will hold more bartering power than precious metals in a long term disaster.
Investing each month into hard assets is an investment in securing one’s future.  The market is on it’s last breath.  The up and down swings will continue until eventually they will cease and the market will free fall with it’s dying breath.  No one knows for sure what the overall damage is going to be, but many are preparing for utter collapse and the destruction of the easy way of life.  It is time to invest in your future.  Doing it now, while prices are still relatively low is better than doing it when the prices increase.

Simple Survival Tips

Safety is always first. Never trust your safety to others. Ultimately you are responsible for your own safety. Remember, safety is no accident!

Understand your limitations. Your knowledge of varying circumstances and how you are able to cope with them will be vital elements for your survival.

Respect the weather. Always check weather conditions and don’t take any chances where weather is concerned. Weather conditions can change very abruptly and can be very unforgiving when your survival is at stake.

Verify your plans beforehand. Know where you’re going, know how to get there and know when you plan to be back. Make sure others are aware of your plans and avoid last minute changes.

Inspect your gear regularly. Check all your gear to make sure it is functioning properly. You need to know it will do the job when it is needed.

Value your knowledge and skills. Your brain is your best survival tool. Your mind will often be able to save you when your gear will not.

Always remain calm. Panic will not allow you to function rationally and will only make your situation worse.

Leave no doubt in your mind that you will survive. The will to survive is often a refusal to give up!

Staying above the water line!


Gardening Lessons Learned, by Chet in Michigan

I have been a reader of SurvivalBlog for some time now and have slowly moved into the preparedness mindset. I have been trying to increase my supplies, but this year I decided to try to grow a substantial amount of my food. I have grown small gardens in the past, but this is my first large scale project. The final results remain to be seen, as it is still quite early in the growing season, but I've already learned some invaluable lessons. I hope I am can offer some new insight, and not just repeat what others and experts have said. I am writing from the perspective of, and to the perspective of a suburban survivalist who can't/won't leave suburbia for a more secure rural retreat.
I began by cutting up the sod from most of my suburban back yard late last summer. I added grass clippings and leaves to the soil and worked them into the soil by hand. I chose to perform this task my hand rather than buying/renting a motorized “rototiller” in order to simulate the conditions I would be growing in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Lesson 1: Growing your own food is very hard work. I know, “thanks captain obvious”. But I'm writing this to try to inspire and explain to those who have never tried, and only read about growing a large garden. It is back breaking, tiring work.
After letting the leaves and grass clippings and such decompose over winter and early spring, I added some commercially prepared (i.e. I bought it a Lowe's) composted cow manure to the soil. Again back breaking, but Lesson 2: Realization of high amendment costs. Soil amendments, whether manure, humus, peat, or whatever will be in short supply if you are in a suburban locale during TEOTWAWKI (not to mention the cost of buying them now in good times can easily add up and negate the cost savings of growing your own produce). As I mixed in my conveniently packaged 40 lb. Bags, I realized I must start my own composting operation. These types of natural soil amendments may be available in rural locations, but in suburbia, they would be nonexistent, should the Schumer hit.
About the same time I was mixing in the manure, I began sprouting many varieties of seeds indoors, as the early spring here in Michigan is too cold to support seed germination. I purchased trays to start my seeds in (again, an item that would not be readily available). I planted lettuce, cabbage, eggplants, melons, radishes, cucumbers, tomatoes, spinach, beans, peas, corn, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, onions, and carrots. I placed these seed trays in several rooms and areas, wherever I had space. But I soon realized that for many of these vegetables, I did not start indoors soon enough. The results remain to be seen, but I may not have enough time in my growing season (Zone 6) to grow some of these plants that take a long time. So, Lesson 3: Do your research now, while your garden is not a life or death matter. Plan ahead. Learn when and how to sow these vegetables. I tend to be excited and impatient when I start a new project, I didn't do my research. I just started planting and didn't give it the necessary thought and planning.
Of the seeds I planted, an expected percentage did not germinate and grow. However, several of those that did start off strong petered out and died on me. To this day I'm not sure why; too much water, not enough, to much sun, not enough, I don't know. But this experience taught me another lesson. Lesson 4: Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Seeds are cheap and plentiful now, so plant many more than you think you'll need or have room for. Learn how to grow them now before your food supply depends on their success. I plan on continue my experimentation and talking to the local gardening club for tips. Hopefully I will learn what I did wrong and be able to correct this next year.
I have planted some of the hardier plants outdoors now, and have learned yet another lesson. I thought I had adequately fenced in my garden plot, with wooden fencing backed with 48” chicken wire buried 6” deep to leave 42” above ground. Yet some critters have already been nibbling on my plants. Lesson 5: Build your fence twice as high, twice as strong, and twice as resistant as you thought you'd need!
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, this is the first time I've attempted a large garden intended to provide a substantial part of my food supply. So far the absolute biggest, most important lesson learned is... Lesson 6: Get out there and try it yourself. For rural readers, I may have not given any good or new advice. But for those who are forced, or chose to stay in suburbia, storing seeds is not enough. I know this has said before, but please, take it to heart: Get out there and try to grow a garden now! If you never have, try now, make your mistakes now. If you have some experience, challenge yourself to grow a bigger garden. I know it has been said, and is obvious, but I don't think I was alone in believing the growing a large garden wouldn't be that hard. It is. Try it. Gain valuable experience now. Reading about doing it is not a substitute for doing it. Do it now, while it's just a fun hobby, and maybe a way of saving a bit on your grocery bill, so you don't starve later.

Potatoes in Buckets 2.0 (Finally!)

Original poster ( Kate  ) demanded deletion of article.