Friday, January 18, 2019

16 Ways To Not Waste Food (and Use Up The Leftovers)


One of the biggest problems facing the world today is food. Particularly how much food is wasted when there are so many people who would be happy to eat it. Grocery stores throw out perfectly good food every day and lock it into dumpsters. Restaurants scape tons of food into the trash every day because people do not finish their meals and don't wish to take it home.

In other words, food waste is a real problem! The problem isn't limited to just businesses. The problem also happens in the home more than we care to think about. We waste a lot of food in our homes without a thought to our hard earned money to purchase/grow the food and the hours we put into the food.

This really needs to stop! Fortunately, I have some things you can do to combat food waste in your home. Unfortunately, I have learned some of these things the hard way and have done my fair share of not caring as much as I should about our food. I don't want you to make the same mistakes!

16 Ways To Not Waste Food (and Use Up The Leftovers)

1. Have some leftover raw vegetables from a veggie tray? Saute them in butter or oil to soften. You can then add them to omelets, frittatas, soups, stews, and casseroles. You can also roast them in the oven for a delicious meal or side dish.

2. Having trouble with eating up leftovers before they go to waste? Make a list on your fridge of what needs to be used up. Plan meals and snacks around the leftovers. I know a lot of people who keep a whiteboard on the side of their fridge just for this reason.

3. Freeze your leftovers. A lot of food can be frozen and will taste fine when reheated. I love to do this cooked meat especially because it makes a quick addition to casseroles. You can also do this with chili for a quick lunch for work or home.

4. Can your leftovers. Yes, you can preserve your leftovers by canning them. This works especially well with soups, stews, and chili.

5. Dehydrate your leftovers. You would be amazed at what you can dehydrate and store.

6. Leftover fruit and fruit salad can be frozen, used in desserts, topping on ice cream, or in smoothies. You can make leftover fruit into jam or jellies and can it.

7. Repurpose your leftovers. Of course, you will be bored eating the same food day in and day out while trying to use up those leftovers. You can turn them into another meal. Have leftover chicken and rice? Turn it into a casserole with vegetables, cheese, and cream soup.

8. Stick to portion sizes. If you have people in your life or you yourself are opposed to leftovers, you will want to stick to portion sizes so you do not have any extra food leftover. You will want to make exactly the amount of food you need to eat for a meal and not any more than that.

9. If you have small children eating, you can certainly have a lot of food go to waste! There are a few tricks you can use to keep food from going to waste:
  • Use small plates and bowls for young children. I especially like the ones that grip the table or high chair tray. 
  • Just give them small amounts of food at a time and only one food at a time if needed. We often like to think they can eat more than they really can, but often we give too much at a time. Just give them a little bit and when they finish that, give them more.
  • If they do not finish their meal, put it in the fridge and warm it up for the next day. Teach them early to like leftovers.
  • A lot of kids go through stages of picky eating or only wanting to eat one thing. Indulge them a little bit and serve that. You should encourage other foods, but do not waste a lot of food when they will not eat it.
10. If you like to shop in bulk, learn to store food properly. One of the biggest problems I see (and used to have) was that food would go to waste when purchased in bulk. While I encourage bulk shopping, you should have a plan to break down the bulk packages into more user-friendly packages.
  • You can freeze bulk boneless, skinless chicken breasts in portion sizes appropriate for yourself or your family. You can also do simple freezer meals with them such as freezing them in marinade or sauce. 
  • You can take a bulk bag of oats, beans, flour, sugar, and other grains/legumes/baking supplies and break them down into smaller packages. You can use canning or storage jars for grains and legumes. You can store flour and other baking items into resealable bags and freeze them for a day or two. Then you can seal them in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers to keep them fresh.
  • Bulk produce can be frozen and used in smoothies. You can also preserve bulk fruit as jam, sauce, or as is. 
11. Do you have food in your pantry that appears to be expired or needs to be used before you forget about it again? I feel your pain. By them you remember it again, you are not sure it is still good or you find out the bugs have gotten into it (good-bye cornmeal...). Been there, done that. I like to pull those foods out of my pantry and set them on the counter where I will see them. Then I make them part of the meals for the week to use it up. I have also seen where people use a basket for anything they want to use up quickly and will pull from that basket first.

12. Once a year, do a freezer clean out. Figure out what you need to use up in the freezer and make it part of your meals for the week or the month. Do you have some freezer meals that have been in there for a year? Do you have meat that has spent more time in your freezer than alive? Make a concentrated effort to eat these things up that week or that month. I usually spread my freezer clean out over a month.

13. Inventory your freezers and pantries. One of the reasons food goes to waste is because we simply have lost track of what we have on hand. Since I am a hardcore believer in food storage, this can really be the enemy of your food storage. Inventory your pantry, food storage, and freezers to have a better idea of what you have on hand and what you should be using.

14. Compost what cannot be eaten. Whether you have peels, tea leaves, coffee grounds, and more, you should really try to compost these items. Some cities are now setting up compost stations you can take your food scraps too as well as your yard waste in return for some free compost. Otherwise, you can search online for a great way to start your own compost pile or purchase a compost barrel.

15. Make your own broth and stocks from leftover bones and vegetable scraps. You can make delicious stocks and broths from many different poultry bones and vegetable scraps. You can cook them together or separate for chicken broth or vegetable broth. You can then freeze or can the broth for later use. (If you have chickens, you can feed the scraps from the broth to them!)

16. If you are constantly finding yourself making too much food and not using the leftovers up as quickly as you want, invite friends over for supper to help you eat those bigger meals. Otherwise, find a family who needs a meal and bring them one (Nice to do when there is a new baby or a death in the family. Or when the family is just in a busy season of life). You can also take a meal to an elderly person who may have trouble getting a good meal together for themselves. 

What tips or suggestions do you have for using up leftovers and not wasting food? I would love to read your tips and suggestions in the comments!

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
25 Crazy Simple and Easy Ways To Save Money
Small Batch Canning: Saving Time, Money, and Sanity!


Thursday, January 17, 2019

25 Crazy Simple and Easy Ways To Save Money


This is a new year and you need some money motivation. I totally get it. If Christmas didn't scare you into complete money saving mode, your daily finances might have. However, maybe you just need some new ideas or a reminder of some good old ones.

This has some easy ideas and some crazy simple ideas to save money. Some of these might seem like they are not so simple, but they really are. 

25 Crazy Simple and Easy Ways To Save Money

1. Simply don't spend it. We are always buying things we "think" we might need, but truly don't. If money is that tight, don't spend it. Start a spending freeze.

2. Have some change in your pocket? Throw it in a can or a piggy bank to save towards Christmas or a rainy day. You can do the same with your one and five dollar bills. Tuck them into a drawer or a box to save for a special day.

3. Look for the discounted produce at the grocery store or your favorite mass merchandiser. The produce is usually still good for another week or so. You can take it home and use it right away, freeze it, dehydrate it, or can it to use later. You can save a lot of money this way!

4. Buy greeting cards at a dollar store. If you are spending more than a dollar on a card, you spent too much!

5. Didn't like that shampoo? Use it as a body wash. You can do the same with face wash too.

6. Conditioner not working for you? Use it for shaving or as an in-shower lotion.

7. Lost a sock? Use the other sock for a dusting cloth or a washcloth. Just slide on your hand and go!

8. Use handkerchiefs instead of facial tissues. You can use the ones you have in the bottom of your sock or underwear drawer, buy some (the small investment is worth it), or just use cut up old shirts with or without the edges hemmed. The money you save will be worth it and you can just wash them and reuse them constantly. You can also replace napkins this way too.

9. Reuse, reuse, reuse. Even if an item seems disposable, find a way to reuse it. Sometimes you might spend a little more on reusable items, but the cost, in the long run, is much cheaper.

10. Carry your drinks and food with you - for work, play, ball games, and car rides - to save a lot of money. It takes very little time to fill up the water bottles, pack a few drink packets, granola bars, and apples to have in the vehicle with you for your family's and your hunger attacks.

11. Stop eating out. That right there will save you a load of money. If you really like the steak at a certain place, learn to make yourself. Brown bag your lunches for work and get to know your fellow employees (or read a book).

12. Cook from scratch. You may hear this one all the time, but seriously it is a budget saver. I can make a loaf of bread (or two) and a pan of granola bars for less than a decent loaf of bread at the store. Plus, I know what is in both of those things and can pronounce all the ingredients. Bonus.

13. Simply say no to yourself (and to your kids and significant other). That word "no" will be the easiest way to save money. Most of the requests you get from them are extras and not necessities so saying no should be easy. However, don't be a jerk and say no all the time. Sometimes their requests are justified. And no, you don't need that candy bar either. Put it back.

14. Use up your products until the last drop. Add a little water to the soap to get the last bits out. If the pump on the soap doesn't pump anymore, take the pump out and dump it out that way. Cut the container open to get to the product on the bottom. Open up the tube to get the last of the good stuff out. Use it all up!

15. Stop buying the already cut-up produce at the store and cut up your own. The mark-ups on that stuff are crazy expensive! Buy the whole pepper or watermelon and do your own labor.

16. Turn the thermostat down in the winter and up in the summer. Sure we want to be comfortable, but our pocketbooks say we need to be a little conservative. Put on another layer in the winter. Do things to keep you cooler in the summer. Save money.

17. Stay out of the money traps. Do you have some favorite stores that you know, no matter what, you will be dropping some cash in? You may tell yourself that you are only getting one thing or the thing you have a coupon for. Then you walk out $50 or $100 poorer. We all have trigger stores - Bath & Body Works, The Body Shop, Ulta, Harbor Freight, Target - and we need to just stay away!

18. Don't go anywhere. That's right. Stay home. If you don't have work, school, church, or family commitments, say home. If you stay home and enjoy being home with your family and things, you don't spend money. That also means enjoying your home without being on Amazon. Enjoy the things and entertainment you already have. Do not get online and buy more!

19. Grocery shop from the sales flyers. If it is on the front page of the sales flyer and your family eats it, you should be considering purchasing it. The items on the front page of a sales flyer are considered a loss leader and is generally a good stock-up price. However, show some wisdom here. If you don't eat it or don't have money in the budget for it, don't buy it.

20. Do not purchase meat that is over $2.00 a pound at the store. Meat has been crazy high-priced lately, but I still find a lot of good deals for under $2.00 a pound. Most chicken is under this price as well as a lot of pork. We eat a fair amount of both so I will buy these because they are under $2.00. The only exception is ground beef. We have a local store that will discount their ground beef after 6:00 pm and it will be $1.99-2.99 in price per pound. Otherwise, I will substitute ground pork or turkey in a lot of recipes to make the dish cheaper and save money.

21. For goodness sakes, unless it is an emergency, stop buying your coffee and tea away from home. You can literally make it at home (or work) for as little as $.30 a cup. Even you make it a little fancy and add creamer or want to froth it, you are still saving money. A $2.00 cup of coffee adds up. Getting those fancy coffees and teas adds up even more!

22. Shop from home first. We usually think we need new things or need to make a trip to the store and we probably already have something that works at home. If you feel like you need something, check at home to see if you already have something that works or you can make work. Because once you walk into the store, you will rarely just buy that one thing.

23. Go to your local library. I can not say this enough! I don't even use mine as well as I should, but my kids have no problems borrowing movies and books from them. It is a great way to see new movies and read the latest books. A lot of libraries are even giving you options for borrowing e-books from them. This is a real money saver!

24. Pay your bills on time. I know this may be difficult for some of you and I totally get that. I have been on the deep end of the broke pool before and paying bills has been hard. I have gotten behind. I have also paid a lot of money in interest and fees instead of getting my ducks in rows to pay my bills on time. Do what you can to get them paid on time and save yourself the money!

25. Eliminate subscriptions and delivery services. Really, these are the handiest things around. Sign up and pay for something to be delivered to your home instead of you having to go to the store. Sounds amazing, right? Right. Right up until you can't afford it anymore. Those meal delivery kits and more are expensive. You will probably spend way more than you would at the grocery store. There are a few that are worth the money like Dollar Shave Club (for razors only), but mostly they are the same price or more than the store. You are also probably paying for memberships and subscriptions you don't use. Cancel them now and save money! 

This isn't every way to save money simply and easily. However, this will get you started in the right direction. I hear so many people say they want to save money as they are buying alcohol, lottery tickets, and other personal pleasures. I usually bite my tongue, but there are many, many ways to save money if you make up your mind to do it.

While I may have sounded a little harsh or showed a little tough love in my tips, I am not sorry for it. I had to learn the hard way to save money and I was shown a little tough love in some of my financial mishaps. I learned more from that than anything else.

What crazy simple and easy ways do you use to save money?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
My 10 Favorite Frugal Living/Financial Books To Read and To Give
Is It Time For A Financial Reset? 15 Tips For You To Reset Your Finances


Wednesday, January 2, 2019

In Order To Be A Better Prepper, You Must Do Hard Things


Many people think prepping can be easy and it can be easy. It really can. Getting together the supplies, practicing and learning skills, and reading prepping material is easy and also very necessary to do. Many of us preparedness minded bloggers and writers advocate how easy prepping is so that we can get everyone to prepare. We want everyone to be prepared for the crises that can happen in our lives whether it is a job loss or a natural disaster.

However, when you decide to move beyond basic preparedness, you realize prepping is also very hard. You must be prepared for hard things. Because when a crisis happens, there is more than just having the necessary things on hand to be prepared.

You must be prepared psychologically. Your emotions and your mental health must be ready to handle the bad things that come along with a crisis. You must be ready for the challenges and the realities of the situation.

There are a lot of people in our country who cannot handle being uncomfortable in any way. They simply cannot handle being put out for any reason. They may think they have it good now and life could be better, but they do not simply comprehend how bad life could be.

We all know someone who could not live without their daily coffee run. We all know someone who expects to have their supper ready by 6:00 pm. We all know someone who cannot sleep on anything but a soft bed with a memory foam pad.

There are more scenarios, but the point is these are the people who suffer the most in a crisis. Why? Because they simply cannot handle any upset to their daily routines. They cannot handle being uncomfortable and would think their life is over if they did not have their daily hot shower.

As a prepper, you must learn to do hard things and not become comfortable with your daily routines. You already know how uncomfortable life will be when the SHTF happens. As preppers, we envision how hard daily life could be and we try to prepare for that. However, as preppers, sometimes we forget to mentally prepare for how hard daily life could be.

Since we are not really in these times now, you must challenge yourself to be mentally prepared. You must make yourself uncomfortable and shake up your daily routines.

Ask yourself these questions:
  • How long can you go without a shower? What would you do if you could not shower?
  • How long can you go without washing your hair? Could you handle the greasy hair and the itching?
  • Can you really sleep anywhere?
  • How long can you go without sleep and still function?
  • Can you live without your daily shot of caffeine?
  • Can you live without soda/pop?
  • How far can you walk? What if you didn't have good shoes or shoes at all?
  • How far can you carry heavy things? How far can you carry your young children?
  • How long can you wear your clothes without changing them?
  • Can you handle not shaving every day?
  • Can you handle not being able to brush your teeth every day?
  • Can you handle eating whatever you can find to eat? Can you eat food you don't like or isn't clean?
  • How long can you go without shopping?
  • Do you really have enough food in the house for one week? Two weeks? One month?
  • Can your kids really handle eating whatever is put in front of them? Will they starve before they eat something they don't like?
  • Can you handle going without an alcoholic drink or a cigarette?
  • Can you really survive with just the clothes on your back?
  • Can you scavenge enough supplies just to survive?
  • How creative are you really? Have you forced yourself to really figure that out?
  • Can you miss a meal and be okay? How about two?
There are so more questions to ask of ourselves. We come from all different walks of life and have experienced things that no one really understands. Some of us are really poor and can answer some of those questions with a definite yes because we have done those things. Some of us are financially comfortable and have never experienced anything that would make us uncomfortable.

Some of you will say that if I have to live without coffee, caffeine, or whatnot, life is not worth living. If you have to live a deprived or uncomfortable life for any length of time, you don't want to survive whatever crisis comes knocking. That is the wrong attitude. Many people who have gone through a crisis will say you learn to live with being uncomfortable because it becomes a new kind of normal. If you have lived through a natural disaster, those questions can become realities in just a few days.

Some of you will also say that this is why you prepare - so you don't have to experience those things. That is why we all prepare, but we all know life can turn in an instant. An earthquake or wildfire rarely give much notice before they hit. When you have to evacuate, you are faced with choices you may have not been prepared to make. You can have a bug-out bag or a 72-hour kit, but they will provide for all your needs. You may be ready to go to a hotel or a friend's house, but their house may in danger too. You may find yourself living in your vehicle for a few days. Then what?

You need to be ready to be uncomfortable. You need to be mentally and emotionally prepared to be challenged and to go without. Some of us will rise to the challenge beautifully and, just like in the movies, be just fine because we can roll with the challenges. Some of us will quite frankly lose our minds.

Now is the time to challenge yourself. Now is the time to get yourself in shape - physically and mentally - so you can handle the challenges. You may think you will know what you will do, but until it happens, you don't really know what you will do. However, you need to be prepared.

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related posts:
We Are Nine Meals From Anarchy
Prepping Is About The Little Things


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

What Should The New Year Mean For A Prepper? Goals, Plans, and Assessing The Future!


Happy New Years Everyone!

You have successfully made it through another year. This last year could have been great for you or it could have thrown you through the wringer and left you wondering how much worse can life get. Either way, today is a new day.

Now, I am not one of those "New Year, New You" people. Life goes on day by day and a new year isn't going to make that change. However, New Years Day is a good day to reflect and reassess. As preppers, homesteaders, and more, we need to do this once in a while to get our priorities and our goals straight and align them with our lives.

This last year for me was not a particularly good one. It had its highlights though. I wrote a book (do you know how long that was on my list of goals to accomplish? Years!)! My daughter and son-in-law had another baby. Some big goals were accomplished and some big goals were let go. This years also had some heartache and re-examination which was painful. However, I am not going to dwell on that for now.

This year though is a new year. However we identify ourselves, we need to sit down and think about what we truly want to accomplish in the next year. Winter is a good time for planning out and starting to implement our goals. Whether they are big goals or small goals, you should be thinking about what direction you want to go and what you ultimately want to accomplish.

You can start with basic goals. These are my basic goals for the year:

1. Saving even more money and practicing extreme frugality.
2. Wasting less around the home and food.
3. Prepping more.
4. Expand the homestead.
5. Become more profitable through the blog and the eBay store

Like I said, those are the basic goals that I can keep in mind. I know what my aim is and I can tell myself what I need to do every day. However, those goals are not specific and they don't give me a direction to go.

These are my specific goals for the year:

1. Save enough money this year to purchase an older pickup truck this year, a small older utility tractor this year, and to purchase the acreage in three years.

2. Reduce food waste or completely eliminate food waste. I need to start a compost pile again. We also need to be conscious of what is being purchased and what is being consumed. We also need to be more proactive about canning and freezing food.

3. I want to double our food storage. We comfortably have three months of food on hand during the winter and four months during the growing season. I want to increase this to six months with a cushion of nine months.

4. Add a rain catchment system for additional water storage and use.

5. Pay off all debt except the student loan.

6. Add at least 30 meat chickens and five turkeys to the homestead and eventually the freezer this summer.

7. Finish writing a book about preparedness with kids. Finish writing my fiction prepping novel.

8. Double the offerings in my eBay store. Right now I have 620 listings and want to expand that to 1200 listings. The side hustles like this is what gives my family the extra money it needs to live and provide the funding for the projects. I will need to buy more shelving to hold the inventory.

9. Add a second garden and get it fenced in (or at least hot wired). I would like to start selling at the nearby farmers market to help add more income and reduce our food waste. I want to move the vining plants to a different garden to leave more room (and order) in the main garden. We will also be putting down black plastic to reduce the weeds.

10. Purchase a handgun and a rifle for hunting and protection. I have my conceal carry and would like to get a small handgun to carry where I can and for protection at home. We also need a rifle for protection as the chickens have become a target for predators. I also would like to start hunting and need to take the steps to get my license for that.

I am stopping at ten specific goals. I have smaller goals to make the specific goals happen, but they are a day by day and monthly goals and will need assessing all the time. I also will be doing a lot of monthly challenges as I find them on the internet and in Facebook groups. Right now, the Prep Club on Facebook has a make your own/cook from scratch challenge going now that I can certainly do!

Some of these goals do not seem to be prepping related, but they are all are. I also want to help you all to be better preppers. I take a self-reliance approach to prepping because that is the direction that suits me best. However, you need to do what is best for you in terms of prepping. I also like to learn skills for survival and in case I need to leave home. Being a well-rounded prepper will serve you better than being just an armchair prepper.

If you are interested in learning more about different areas of prepping, homesteading, self-reliance, and frugal living, I encourage to explore and learn as much as you can. Do not get comfortable with where you are in life! You should always be expanding your horizons and learning new things. Right now, I am fascinated with the back to the land movement, extreme frugality, and early 20th-century homemaking. You can bet I am learning all I can on these subjects and applying these things to my daily life as well as my goals.

I am here to help you all as much as I can. I hope to make this blog better and bigger this year with more postings on prepping, homesteading, self-reliance, and frugal living. I have some big plans and big ideas for this because I want to be an encouragement to you all. You all know that I am human and you are all human too. We make mistakes, but we are always learning and doing. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see all too well that I am human and I hope to be more real on there. If you need encouragement and ideas, you can follow my Facebook page or join the aforementioned Prep Club on Facebook for more ideas and support too.

If you need ideas for goals, last year I posted some goals that we all should be making:
10 Homesteading Goals You Should Be Setting This Year
10 Frugal Living Goals You Should Be Making This Year
10 Prepping Goals You Should Be Setting for The New Year

Please let me know in the comments what your goals are for the year. Also, please let me know what you would like to see in terms of content and subjects for this blog.

Happy New Years!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


Thursday, December 20, 2018

We Are Nine Meals From Anarchy


The phrase "There are only nine meals between mankind and anarchy" was stated by Alfred Henry Lewis in 1906. He was an investigative journalist, editor, and lawyer who wrote for the Chicago Times-Herald. In 1906, the supply lines for food distribution was different than today, but the sentiment is the same.

Until yesterday, I had not really thought about this phrase until I met a guy who is also a prepper and has woken up to the lies we have been fed in this country. When you meet someone who is a prepper and you have a pretty deep conversation with them, you learn new things. (Or at least I hope you do!) He brought up the fact that we are nine meals from anarchy.

In this country, grocery stores, warehouse stores, and mass-market retailers only carry enough food on the shelves for three days. They have trucks scheduled for deliveries 1-3 times a week depending on the product and the sales. They may have another two days worth of food in their warehouse or storage inside the store, but usually not any more than that.

For example, stores like Walmart have huge distribution centers all over the country that make deliveries to their stores almost every day. Those distribution centers rely on loads being delivered to them and by them using trucks multiple times a day every day. The Walmart system does not work without the trucking industry.

For everyday shopping and in normal times, this is fine. People generally shop 1-2 times a week and they don't know any better. They might be a little perturbed if the store is out of a product or if the sale items are sold out, but they know in a few days more will be coming. They know they can usually get a rain check or just come back for that item.

However...

What happens when there is a pending disaster or a chaotic event?

What is the first thing that people do when they know a snow storm is coming or they will not be able to leave home for a few days?

They run - not walk - run to the grocery store. They load up on food and they wipe the shelves clean. They don't want to go hungry.

Suddenly, the three-day cushion becomes less than a day. Stores have to reorder what they need to restock and the trucks need to be back on their way to the store. This can be at least a 1-3 day turnaround because the trucks deliver from warehouses. Warehouses need to reorder and restock for the outbound orders.

And if a disaster or chaotic event hits before the trucks can make it back, there is no food at the grocery store.

If there is no food at the grocery store, there are people going hungry.

If people are going hungry, there will be anarchy. People do not like to be hungry. That is just a standard, basic fact. If they are hungry or their babies are hungry, guess what? They will go to any means necessary to get the food they need to feed themselves and their families.

They will loot the stores. They will ask neighbors and families for food. They will just start to steal food. They will start to waylay the trucks delivering the food. They will do whatever they can to get food and water.

You don't want to be them. The most important thing you can do for preparedness, besides increasing your knowledge and skills, is to be constantly increasing your water and food storage. You want to have at least a month's worth of food in your home at all times.

However, now the Department of Homeland Security is recommending SIX MONTHS OF WATER, FOOD, AND SUPPLIES. Does it seem like I am yelling that? I am. When a government agency who usually has its head buried in the sand says something like that, pay attention. They know our power grid is not defendable. They know it is vulnerable. They know it needs to be updated and secured. However, hackers can get into computer systems now and shut it down. They know terrorists can send an EMP-like bomb and shut it down for great lengths of time.

And guess what? No electricity means no to a lot of things. Grocery stores will be set back 100+ years. Most gas stations will not be able to pump gas which means no trucks delivering food. No trucks delivering food means the grocery stores have nothing to put on their shelves. No food on the shelves means people will start to go hungry.

When people go hungry, anarchy begins.

Anarchy is not a good thing despite the number of people who thinks it needs to happen. It is scary for the people who live in the area, the people who need to defend their homes and food, and for anyone caught up in the chaos. It causes a lot of damage, unnecessary deaths, and more because people refused to prepare for this and decided to become criminals instead.

Many of you will say that you never would stoop to this. You would never be part of the anarchy. I will call you out on that right now. Unless you have a superior sense of morality and ethics, you will never know what you will do or are capable of until you are in this situation. You ran out of food and now your babies are hungry? Hmmm...you will try to get food the right way at first, but then what?

This is scary to think about. Most people will not take it as seriously as they should because they don't want to think it will happen. However, look at what happens before a hurricane. Look at what happens before a major snowstorm in an area that isn't used to snow storms. It happens in Iowa before a blizzard and people here should be used to it. They wipe the stores clean in order to have enough food at home to get by.

I realize that most people who read this article are preppers in some shape, way, and form. However, you have a duty to tell others about this. You have the ways and means to encourage others to prepare and start adding food and water storage.

I know a lot of people reading this also grows and raises their own food. Do not take comfort in that fact because if the food is not ready to eat or stored away ready to eat, you do not have that food to eat. You still need six months of food and water stored in your home, ready to eat. Yes, you can still grow food and butcher meat, but have you thought about how to do that with no power?

Recommended reading:
Nine Meals From Anarchy by Doug Casey's Internation Man
DHS Says Americans Need to Start Prepping For Up to Six Months Without Electricity!
Surviving a Catastrophic Power Outage: Strengthing the Capabilities of the Nation

Thanks for reading,
Erica

Related Posts:
10 Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month
10 More Preparedness Items You Should Be Buying Every Month
10 Non-Perishable Food Preps You Should Be Buying Every Month


Thursday, December 13, 2018

Five Tips on How To Declutter and Get Organized While Still Being A Prepper


Being a clean and organized prepper can be difficult at times. You want to accumulate and keep all the things that you might need. You want to be sure you have everything you need. You want to be sure to have everything you might need. You aren't sure what you will need or not need though.

Pretty soon, you have a lot of stuff, not enough room, and can't find anything. Not being able to find what you need which a situation arises can be disastrous. You need to declutter and get organized.

Easier said than done, right?

I am here to help you. While I may not be the most organized person in the world, I have a few ideas on what works for me to be organized and declutter at the same time. What I do will not overwhelm you because I don't deal with being overwhelmed well. I like simple and easy methods that will help me find what I need easily.

First of all, before you even start decluttering and organizing your life and your preps, you need to know what you are preparing for. If you don't have an idea of this, you will have no idea what you need to keep and to discard. You can try to be prepared for anything and everything if that is your wish, but you need to know that ahead of time. When you have an idea of what you are preparing for, you can better decide what to keep and what not to keep. You can organize your preps better and with a purpose.

Five Tips on How To Declutter and Get Organized While Still Being A Prepper

1. In order to do this right, you should de-clutter your whole home. However, this should not be a weekend project. This should be more like a 1-3 month-long project. You do not want to be overwhelmed and quit before you are done (or even really started). The end result of decluttering your whole house is that you will create more room for your preps. You will have a better idea of what you have on hand.

For me, the easiest place to start is the clothes. Cleaning out the closets and dressers of clothes is usually satisfying and can free up a lot of space quickly. If you have clothes you have worn in the last year or so, you should probably think about getting rid of them. From there, you can move to the linen closets and so on.

2. What should stay and what should go? This is your stuff. You should be the one to make the decision, but there are ways to deal with the stuff. First of all, do you use it? Honestly answer that question. We keep a lot of things because we think we might need it someday, but we don't. Outgrown clothes, broken things, and more need to find new homes. We also keep a lot of things from old hobbies and collections we are no longer interested in. They also should find new homes. We need to keep an open mind about keeping things for preparedness, but you have a lot of items that will not serve you in an emergency or after an SHTF. You should find new homes for those things.

Second of all, if you have things that you are holding on for memories, think about finding a better home for those things. Again, no one can tell you what to do with these items, but you are probably not using them. Sometimes they are not worth holding on to, but that is your decision. If you are that attached to the item, keep it. If you are attached to the memory of the item, think about it.

Lastly, how many of one item do you need? Sometimes we have a lot of one item and it is taking over a closet. However, you only need and use just a few of that item. You should probably find a new home for the rest. At one point, I have three desktop and two laptop computers. All but one of the laptops ran, but I only used one desktop and one laptop. The other two were cleaned off and recycled and the non-working laptop was recycled.

3. Organize as you declutter. If you just got done decluttering a closet, organize the closet so you can clearly see what you have and where it is. Organize your things into totes, baskets, and buckets so you can easily grab them and go. Label all the totes and stick to keeping in the tote what the label says. You can make printer labels, but I use either the super-sticky Post-It Note labels or chalk labels for easy removal and reuse.



4. Buy the baskets, buckets, totes, labels, and shelving. I know they say that if you properly declutter, you won't need to buy these things. That is rubbish. You need these things to be better organized and see your preps better. You do not need to purchase these things new, however. My local thrift shops often have basket, totes, and shelves on their shelves. If they are in good condition, buy used. I use buckets and gamma seal lids for my food storage and I usually purchase these new. You can find them at local bakeries and restaurants and they often will let you take them for free or a small price.

5. Put together your kits and bug-out bags now. While you are organizing, you should be putting together your first-aid/emergency kits and bags. This way, you can be organizing them too while you go. Make a list to put with the kits and bags so you know what is in them and what you need to buy for them. Find a closet or designate some of the shelves for these kits so you can easily grab and go.

Again, this is how I like to organize and declutter. I do not hurry and push myself to get it done. I also find that I have an easier time putting stuff away because I know I have a home for it already. I also stop myself from bringing more stuff home that I may not need because I know I don't have a place for it or will not need it.

How do you like to declutter and organize your preps?

Thanks for reading,
Erica

(Yes, there are affiliate links in this post. The extra income which cost you nothing helps support this blog and this writer's family. Thanks!)

Related Posts:
Ten Prepping Habits You Should Be Working On!
Is Your Home Ready For An Emergency? Four Things You Need To Do Now To Be Ready!


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook Book Review


(This book was sent to me to review. I am not being paid to review this book, however, there will be affiliate links attached to this review. There is no pressure or expectation to purchase anything unless you feel like this book would be an awesome addition to your library!)

One of the major areas of food storage is dehydrated food. Dehydrated food lasts a long time stored properly. However, this area of food storage can be a little tricky. Can you dehydrate that food? For how long should it be in the dehydrator? How do you store it once it is done? How do you use it again?

Those are some good questions, but my friend Shelle Wells has the answers for you in her book, Prepper's Dehydrator Handbook: Long-Term Food Storage Techniques For Nutritious, Delicious, Lifesaving Meals. She covers all areas of dehydrating food. She tells how to dehydrate food even if you do not have a dehydrator (but you should have one!).

She covers all sorts of foods to dehydrate in this book too: herbs, vegetables, fruits, meat, frozen fruits and vegetables, and more. She covers how to make your own fruit leather. She also tells you how to make your own powdered soup that you can just add hot water too for instant soup! She also gives you great recipes to use your dehydrated deliciousness to make some great dishes and desserts.

This book will be a very important book in my cookbook collection as well as a great reference book for my food storage. I found this to be one of the most complete books on dehydrating that I have seen or owned. I think you will find this to be a very important part of your food storage books too.

In addition to this book, Shelle also offers a free three-day mini-challenge so you can master the three fears of dehydrating! I suggest you check it out!

Thanks for reading,
Erica


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