I started this blog just a few months after I started my journey into preparing for any emergencies. Now that I’ve had a little bit of time trying things out, I thought I’d share some of our less than stellar results. Hopefully you will avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made.
- Not keeping track of expiration dates. I feel I have to keep reminding myself and others to keep track of those expiration dates. I know these are not firm dates, and many items keep past the posted date. However, some packaged foods really do not taste so good even when slightly past the date. One example is the Dole Fruit Cups. I tried eating one that was past the date. I did not get sick but the stuff did not taste good– it had a waxy taste that is not there when I item is fresh. At best, you will end up with off-tasting food, but it could be worse. Take a sharpie and rewrite the date where it is visible and keep rotating those packages!
- Not keeping a good inventory of items. Storing stuff in an apartment is challenging and many times, we are forced to stash things in different spots around the unit. When supplies are stored separately, it is easy to lose track of what you have. You may not find your emergency items when you most need them most. Or, you may forget you already have an item and wind up buying multiples. It’s good to have redundancy, but not if you lost track of what you have. Keep a written inventory of what you have including their locations.
- Storing water in flimsy containers. I’ve already had an accident with a water jug once, and nearly flooded my closet another time. Don’t make these same mistakes. Store water in disinfected soda bottles as they are more sturdy, or those new BPA free plastic containers.
- Buying equipment without checking if you have room. I’ve received email from readers who bought big ticket items such as generators without checking where they would store it, or even if their building allows these items. Similarly, I’ve seen neighbors bringing a big barbecue grill then finding out our lease does not allow grills due to fire hazard rules. Read your lease before making large purchases and decide in advance where you would store things before buying them.
- Taking security for granted. Many rentals are considered “security apartments” and many tenants take this for granted. I see many of my neighbors leaving their garage doors open all day; or being very obvious when they are going on vacation. One security failure for preppers is having deliveries of items in labeled and highly visible boxes. In our building, the deliveries are made at the leasing offices, so it gets very obvious who’s getting new stuff. When ordering, find out from customer service what type of boxes will be delivered and keep track of your delivery dates.
- Keeping supplies out in plain view. A couple of issues about apartment living is the proximity of everyone around, and the access various people have to your living space. Keep your blinds closed so that no one passing by your window can peak and see all the goodies you have around. Be selective about whom you grant access to your unit. Some are unavoidable such as when you have maintenance issues, but some can be avoided. Our apartment has a pest control crew and I have denied them access in the past.
We’ve all had those “I sure wish I had known better” moments. All we can do is continue to learn. Hopefully these tips will keep you from making the same mistakes.
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