One of the biggest points along this journey is making this a less stressful or frustrating journey for ourselves. At times it feels overwhelming when we read and read and read so much information on the web and get lost in all of it. I don’t know about you but I must have over 500 bookmarks – many saved in nice little sub-folders. I try to remember to export those to each of the different browsers I use. (Yes, I am one of “those” who use more than one browser, not because I wear a tinfoil hat that tells me I am being tracked – it’s because some browsers just aren’t happy with certain websites I enjoy!) But what happens if for whatever reason the electric goes out? Yes, my laptop has a longer life battery and yes, I can recharge it via the car or a generator or a solar recharger. But do you really want to hope that you can access a website and find the correct information when in a stressful situation? Let’s face it – that will add to the stress as you remember that wonderful TV ad “You heard it on the Internet so it must be true!?” So what steps can be most easily undertaken to help alleviate some of this stress?
One trick I use is to make sets of notebooks. I purchased several 3 ring binders (some bought at my favorite flea market and some at garage sales). Then I splurged and bought a large box of plastic sleeves at Sam’s Club. I also bought black indelible markers and I was set to begin. I made my own topic tabs by making small slips of paper that I wrote topics on and taped to edges of a plan paper. So now let us begin.
I do a lot of reading and research, studying to find the best advice and information I can on a subject. I rely on favorite trusted sources but I double check those too, never assuming someone is an authority on everything. As a young child my dad taught me to read and research for myself. He advocated reading everything one could get their hands on, even classified ads because some day certain bits of information would fit together to fill in the gaps on any given subject. This si something I still do and enjoy doing. I may not be an authority on a subject but I can usually ferret out the needed information from someone who is! That’s what counts – knowing where to get the necessary information. In this case it is information that may save our lives or that of someone we love later.
So one of my notebooks is First Aid and Medical Information. Here I also keep a page listing each person in the family and any pertinent information such as allergies and medications they regularly take. A list is also noted of all doctors they use with contact information. One notebook is labeled Herbs and Their Uses. Then I made Gardening, another is Canning Preserving and Recipes. Those plastic sleeves are great for protecting the pages against splatters and spills while cooking or canning. Food Inventory is a constantly changing book. This notebook also contains lists of suggested storage items – such as items that will disappear from stores quickly or less thought of items that will come in handy. I tend to keep track of those items by taking a copy along with me as I shop or garage sale. Quickly glancing over it jars my memory when I am out there hunting those bargains! It’s especially helpful if you can make notes about the prices of some of those items so you can tell if a bargain is a bargain or not! A General How To book is filled with articles that are more difficult to sort. Then there is a notebook on Tips for Preparing Against Natural Disasters. One section deals with storing water, how to purify water, and even how to find water. Here again one can get as detailed as one prefers. We worry about floods and hurricanes in Florida. Maybe earthquakes are your concern, or perhaps radiation. These can each need a lot of information on how to be safe and what to do after the initial emergency.
It may seem like a lot of work but once they were set up during a pleasant afternoon relaxing in the sun on my patio, it has become easy to print and file any additional papers. I keep all of these in one convenient place – in the event we ever had to actually evacuate due to an impending brush fire or hurricane, I could easily grab these to take along. This is also a great place to keep copies (not the originals) of all important papers such as photocopies of driver’s licenses, insurance cards, passports, home owners or renters insurance policies, etc. If you are in an area that often needs to evacuate, keep these in a handy tote or basket so they can be grabbed quickly. I realize this may not be one of the more glamorous aspects of the prepping phenomena, but it sure is a helpful one. Remember we want to stick to budgets and have less stress – having the right information at your fingertips will go a long way to accomplishing this!