Monday Musings 10/25/2015: Aquaponics Update at Three Weeks


This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

What’s going on with the apartment aquaponics project?  You may recall I posted about my latest project in Aquaponics for Small Spaces.

I am happy to report the herbs are growing, the betta fish and the snails are alive!  The mints have sprouted several new shoots from the branches and even the roots.  We named the betta fish “Omi” and he seems really active and healthy.  The snails make several trips around the tank seemingly on a daily basis.  Some days they stay very still and I worry that one or two have died, but the next day I find them in various parts of the tank.

As you can see from the photo above, the water got more murky after three weeks, but it was easy enough to replace.

First, unplugged the unit.  I took the plant grow bed off.  Then, I scooped Omi the fish back into the container I bought him in, plucked the snails and dropped them in the same container with the fish an some of the water.  I took off the pump and tube and rinsed both under the faucet.  They felt l a little slimy, but the scrubbed the slime off with a sponge.  I dumped out the water and rinsed the rocks with fresh water.  The water did not smell bad at all, unlike some other aquariums I’ve cleaned.  I re-installed the pump.   I added water with a capful of D-Klor (De-chlorinizing solution) which originally came with the kit.  I released Omi back into the water and placed the snails near the corners.  They reattached themselves to the walls of the tank almost immediately.  Lastly I placed the plant grow bed back on, and plugged the unit back up.

It took me less than 30 minutes to finish up. So far so good!

Now I’m thinking about the next project to try out- I might try making hard cider, soap making etc.  Any suggestions of projects you’d like to see done in an apartment?

rp_24945415.jpgIf you like low cost DIY projects, you’ll enjoy my latest book, The Penny Pinching Prepper, available now in Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other major bookstores.   Reviews are starting to come in, like this one from Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper.

Who won the Prepper’s Natural Medicine giveaway?  Misty won the book Prepper’s Natural Medicine.  She left the following comment:

“Not sure if this is considered an herbal remedy but, I use coconut oil on EVERYTHING! For instance, my son was bit on his calf by a large dog (not real bad but it did break the skin). We were told to put Triple Antibiotic Ointment on the bite but it continued to get worse. So his Dr. wrote him a prescription for some really strong antibiotic ointment. Well, the infection didn’t get any better so I mixed the prescription strength ointment with coconut oil. Within 2 days the infection was completely GONE and the wound started to heal incredibly fast! I don’t think there will be any permanent scarring!”

Coconut oil is indeed a great natural remedy.  I use it for so many things, I will have to write post about coconut oil uses one of these days!

Once again, thanks to everyone who entered our giveaway- planning the next one soon.

Now for the links…

Preparedness Items to get in After Halloween Sales

Growing Herbs Indoors

Family survival: 5 tips for distributing gear

Making Handmade Soaps (Supplies)

Your fitness tracker can be hacked by anyone standing near you

America Waiting to Explode: “If Supply Lines Go Down… Millions of FDA-Approved Drug Addicts Go Psycho”

The Best New Books to Help You Prepare

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Can You Use a Fuel Generator if You Live in a High Rise?

Can You Use a Fuel Generator if You Live in a High Rise

This post is by Bernie Carr,

I recently received a reader question about whether it is advisable to use a generator while living in a high rise.  If you’ve been visiting the blog a while, you may recall I tested a gas powered generator a couple of years ago.  The reader was considering options for backup power in case of an extended power outage.

At the time I wrote the generator review, I was living in a ground floor unit apartment.  It was family owned and the lease did not have a lot of restrictions.  I have moved to a different apartment since then.  If you live in a high rise, you must consider the following:

  • The first place to check is your lease.  Most leases used by management companies do not allow the use of generators.
  • You must also consider the weight.  Many generators, depending on the model, may weigh 100 lbs or more, and would be too unwieldy to carry up a flight or stairs, or even an elevator.
  • Fuel generators also emit carbon monoxide fumes, just like any internal combustion engine, particularly within a small space.  If you run a fuel generator in an upper floor, the resulting fumes can seep down to the lower floors.  These fumes can cause injury or death.  A fuel generator must only be used in a well ventilated area, and not inside your home, shed or garage due to said fumes.  In my previous post, we tested the generator outdoors in a covered patio.
  • Another risk is possible electrocution or shock.  You cannot really run it in an apartment balcony because rain or snow may puddle around it.
  • There is also a high risk of fire when storing gasoline.  Most leases prohibit storing gasoline on the premises, due to the risk of fire spreading rapidly among closely packed units.
  • Most generators make a lot of noise, which causes a disturbance among close living quarters.

Because of the above reasons, a fuel generator is not advisable for anyone who lives in a high rise.

What can you use instead?

When considering backup sources of power, wherever you may live, safety is of utmost concern.

For charging small devices such as smart phones, cameras, lights etc., get a solar charger.  I tested the Sunjack and it worked very well.  There are also solar generators such as this one available; however, I have not tried it myself.  Having a couple of solar chargers, solar powered lighting as well as a solar oven and a propane stove for backup cooking is currently where I am in my preparedness stage.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Apartment Prepping Tips from Readers


This post is by Bernie Carr,

From time to time, helpful readers send me their best tips.  I thought I would share a variety to them so everyone can benefit.

General Prepping Tips

Firestarter Source:  My wife and I live in a tiny apartment with no washer/dryer.   As such, we have to use the wash station in the complex.  Something that I’ve done for a while now is when I open up the dryers, I clean out the lint trap (people rarely do this when that remove their clothes.)   I have collected a gallon-sized bag of lint that I keep as a really good source for fire starters for when I go camping.  One small spark is all it takes to light, and it gets a fire going quickly.  Maybe this little apartment living specific tip would help others.  -Joseph P.

Water:  My preparedness tip is to make having a good supply of water a top priority. Have several large size rigid (bpa free) water containers filled and ready as well as have bottles water in your bug out bag.  Amy S.

Minimum Preps:  I think if you live in an apartment with limited space and resources, there are two things that would be important. One, have at least one week of food, water and supplies (candles, batteries, toiletries, first aid, extra blankets, etc.) on hand, per person. You should have a source of boiling water such as a buddy burner, or BBQ, as you will need water for sanitation and heating or preparing food. You will need sanitation in case  you don’t have access to running water (a 5 gallon bucket with liner). Keep these items separate and accessible, such as in a large tote. Also, one should have a bug out bag for 3 days with a change of clothes and any medication needed. I think that if you need to leave immediately or stay in place, one should have both options available and ready at a moments notice. I of course could go into much more detail about both of these, but I think you get the idea.

The other thought I have is that one should utilize all available space creatively to store food. Stock up on sales and cover that table in the corner with a floor length table cloth and stack up food or toilet paper underneath. No one will know you have cans of food under there. I have found space in my closets between towels and sheets that are great for stashing bars of soap, deodorant, toothpaste, etc without trying to put it all into a box somewhere that takes up even more space. Be creative, just remember to rotate. -Rose

I always have some form of first aid available (I bought a basic Johnson and Johnson’s kit a few years ago; and now it’s time to update it), some water and basic food that I can eat. Since I am still in a mobile part of my life (recent grad), one of the first things I buy when moving into a new place is rice (about 2-3 pounds) and lentils (1-2 pounds). They keep for a good while and are pretty cheap. If I have the room, I’ll buy some spare water bottles. I also buy extra toilet paper if I have room.  My criteria for buying things is 1) What is the nutritional value of food that I am buying or how will this benefit me in the long run, 2) Can I take this with me for my next move aka is it transportable and long term storage, 3) If I can’t take it with me, how much money I am going to loose aka what’s my risk investment (what food and/or water during moves, I give to my church, local food bank or to a starving collage-aged friend).

In summary, I ask and make sure that 1) do I have a first aid kit? 2) Do I have (relatively cheap and long lasting) food that will help me get through a 3 day to 1 week crisis? 3) Do I have enough water? 4) Do I have at least one alternative way to cook/prep food?  (In collage I didn’t have number 4 down because that question didn’t pop in my head then.)

Living in Spain for the past 6 months has shown me how little I am prepared for anything and how much I need to prepare once I find a stable, consist income. ~Kim

I think apartment dwellers face many of the same challenges as those who live in houses. No matter where we live we all need at least a 72 hour kit, good locks/ door fortification, fire alarms and extinguishers, and a self defense tool. Like apartments, some houses can be more than 2 stories so a rope/emergency ladder wouldn’t hurt either.  – C. N., Ontario, Canada

Lots of garbage bags!  My tip is always have a full box of garbage bags at home. Garbage bags are useful obviously for disposing of trash, but also for acting as a disposable toilet in conjunction with a bucket, covering and protecting potted or un-potted plants during a sudden frost or storm, and for storing leftover water from the tub in an emergency situation until the water mains run out.

It can also act as a makeshift rain poncho with a few choice holes and can be cut into strips If needed to tie stakes. Stuffed with leaves it can also be used as a pillow and insulator.

Make sure to get the kind with the plastic cinch pull handles! It can also be used when the bag is used up as stake and plant ties, and also as trail markers.

Garbage bags are also cheap, picked up at any dollar tree. –Molly B.

I would think for the sake of space, invest in a food dehydrator. Also, most apartments only have one entrance door–fortify or replace (with permission) the standard entryway door. Most doors offer little or no protection: fortify the hinges, at the very least, add a peep hole and dead bolt.  –Lee P.

 Growing Food

Although I no longer live in an apartment, I think the largest challenge is growing your own food. This is a difficult skill to master, even James (The Covert Prepper) reassured me by saying it took him 3 seasons to get it right. I’m beginning my second with much excitement but also with the understanding that this is a skill, something to learn and test.

My best prepping tip for an apartment dweller would be to learn this skill and practice it at home. Try experiments with scraps, amazingly that celery grew! My cousin takes seeds from peppers she buys in the store, and plants them right into a pot in her kitchen, it works. I have also heard about a planting potatoes in a bucket, or potato tower, really quite the spatially economical way to grow. There are videos on youtube with people growing vertical window gardens using plastic bottles. For those fortunate enough to have a balcony, you can use pallets as vertical mediums, or James also recommended using eaves trough to create a garden on a wall. If you don’t have a balcony, I would suggest replacing house plants with food plants, begin with easier stuff like sprouts, radish or lettuce.  With just a little bit of imagination and some practice, this challenge can be overcome, an apartment can yield a great amount of food, certainly more than the average house working to produce grass. It’s a great skill to have, and a great feeling to grow your own food, yes, even in an apartment.  C. N., Ontario, Canada

Frugal Preps

Clean and completely dry some empty 2L soda bottles.   Buy food in bulk and store in 2L bottles with lid.  Rice, grits, sugar, salt and other course granular foods work well.  Store away from direct light.  You now have a waterproof, shatterproof, portable food container.  –TacSKS


We lived in an apartment for several years before buying our house and I always hated the fact that the management office and maintenance employees could come in anytime they pleased.  There were actually several thefts and it turned out to be a maintenance worker stealing while tenants were gone to work.  In order to keep my stash of emergency food, prescription meds, money, and other prepper-type items hidden in plain sight, I would use cardboard boxes and label them with really boring titles.  “Winter clothes, summer clothes, baby clotes, yard sale items, books, blankets, etc.”….basically nothing worth taking the time to rummage through when there was jewelery and electronics in plain sight.

The difficult part about prepping while living in an apartment complex, if how hard it can be to add any security to your home. You can be as prepared as possible, but if you can’t secure your living quarters from intruders, it is far too easy for them to break in and plunder your preparations.

The first point is to keep your preparations and plans to yourself. As nice as your neighbors seems, everyone gets desperate during difficult times. The fewer people living around you that know you have a stockpile of supplies, the less chance you have of them busting down you door looking for them.  Another seemingly obvious point is to not rent a ground floor apartment. It may be nice and convenient to not carry your groceries up a flight or two of stairs, you get multitudes better security by living on a higher floor. Intruders will be going for the easy break ins first, leaving you much more secure on your upper floor. Not to mention, all those stairs will give you that much more exercise in preparation!

Though most all apartment owners will not allow you to modify doors, windows, etc. to improve your security, there area few things you can do to bolster your perimeter fortifications. Be sure to place a metal pole in any patio door or horizontal sliding window. Though an intruder could still break the glass and enter through, they may be
looking for a stealthier option, and move to the next apartment unit that is less secured. For vertical sliding windows, a board or piece of 3/4″ plywood can be placed in the top section of the window to keep it from sliding up.

Hopefully with this added security, you can keep control of your carefully stockpiled supplies better.  -Greg Z.

1-If you were forced to relocate due to foreclosure or sale of a property you don’t own, what is a good alternative nearby?
2-Do you know where you would store your things and could you mobilize quickly?
3-What are your opsec needs? the population density changes your needs. My car is always out of gas and I am always out of food, if I am asked. secure your money/meds
4-What amenities can save you money ? free linen service? Tennis court? monthly swap meet? The mobile food pantry comes here twice a week. I have not had to touch my 3 month supply or buy paper goods at all!  A. H.,  houdiniphile, Charlotte, NC

Earthquake Preparedness

When prepping for an earthquake, you don’t necessary have to strap the shelf to the wall or glue the items to the shelf as suggested.  Simply put all your heavier items on the bottom.  In our house that meant putting all the books on the bottom & all the figurines on top.  In all the years we’ve lived in California, we’ve only had 1 or 2 items fall off a bookshelf in an earthquake & these were light paper items like Christmas cards.  breakable figurines & plates have stayed on the shelf!  The books seem to act as a weight that allows the bookshelf to sway with the quake but not topple over, keeping it upright & your items safe!

… that being said we haven’t had anything overly strong.  We lived through the Northridge quake but we were miles from the epicenter.  So – legal disclaimer – this isn’t a guarantee by any means.  But it’s worked at my home & at my office quite well.  So to be totally safe I guess do all 3: strap the shelf, glue the items & place heavier items like books on the bottom.  But places like my office won’t let you do that.  So my binders & manuals are on the bottom shelf & it’s survived 2 quakes now.  –Steffie

Know Your Neighbors

Get your *neighbors* to prep.

If things go sideways, you’ll be surrounded by hungry and increasingly desperate people who live mere inches away from your home and family.

The key, however, is to be low-key and not alarmist. You also don’t want tip your hand about supplies you have stored.

Strike up conversations at the rubbish bin or mailbox. “Hey, did you hear about that earthquake/flood/tornado in <wherever>? I heard that it took a week for them to get food, water, and power back. Makes one think, doesn’t it? You know… WE should store some water, food, lanterns, and candles in case the power goes out in our building!”

Follow up in a few weeks with a pamphlet explaining how to build an emergency kit. Work your way through the building. Contact the Red Cross or other organization to see if someone will come speak to your Neighborhood Watch chapter or HOA. Post notices about local emergency preparation fairs sponsored by the fire department or the city. Get them talking to EACH OTHER about preparedness.

The more people who are prepared, the better it is for all of us.  —     A. Prepper

I think the most important survival tip for an apartment dweller is to know your neighbors.  By living in an apartment, you have limitations of what, and how much, gear, water, food, ammo, etc, you can store.  You will most likely not be able to rely only on yourself.  By forging some kind of bond with your neighbors, you create a sense of community that lends itself to banding together in times of need.  In nonemergency times, it is still a great idea to know your neighbors.  When your life is on the line, it is imperative to know who you can count on.  –L. N.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

You’ll find lots of low cost prepping tips in my new book:
Bernie's Latest Book

10 Skills That Urban Preppers Should Learn

10 Skills That Urban Preppers Should Learn

By Tess Pennington

This article originally appeared in Ready Nutrition

Skills are a major part of prepping. Although it is important to have supplies in place; the belief is that skills, and not supplies, will give you a greater survival advantage during a long term emergency. Learning new survival skills and abilities creates a new platform of knowledge to draw on when times get tough.

There are many preppers who taking the time to make skill building a priority. The Survival Sherpa is applying his vast knowledge to the field and showing his audience ways to learn skills and be more efficient. Check his site out, it’s very informative. The Organic Prepper is turning her back on consumerism and focusing on finding local sources for food to create a food pantry.

There are many things you can learn to promote a more sustainable lifestyle while living in a densely populated area. In fact, 80% of the population lives in an urban environment, so do not let that stop you from your prepping endeavors.

Make the best of where you are and begin learning skills or continue refining them so that you can use them confidently during a disaster. Some great skills you can easily learn are:

  1.  Raise micro-livestock in small confines. Some popular breeds are rabbits, guinea pigs, chickens, etc.
  2. Garden and produce your own food supply. You can easily grow these types of produce, even on an apartment patio!
  3. Forage for local plants and herbs. You’d be surprised to find some of these in your own backyard.
  4. Learn about hydroponic/aquaponic food production. There are many local classes and sustainability expos in your area that you can take advantage of. Alternatively, there are also community colleges that are offering these courses.
  5. If the proverbial S hits the F, we will see a lot of serious injuries, and even deaths, from people making unaccustomed physical demands on their bodies. Train your physical body now in the event of evacuations.
  6. Take an emergency first-aid class or self-defense class. The American Red Cross offers a variety of first-aid classes that you can take advantage of.
  7. Learn how to confidently use a firearm. A lot of dangers exist during and following emergency disasters. Learn how to protect your family by any means necessary. Many urban centers have gun ranges and classes to take to refine this important skill. This site can show you where the nearest gun ranges are.
  8. Start a prepper’s pantry and store shelf stable foods. We must put measures in place before a disaster is upon us in order to have these lifelines available to us when we need it the most. Check out these 25 must-have foods.
  9. Learn how to preserve your food supply. If you know how to dehydrate and use a pressure canner, then you are already ahead of the game.
  10. Go to farmer’s markets and get in contact with local growers and practice bartering. Here are some great tips on how to barter better.

Many families have to stay in urban areas for financial or familial reasons, but do not let that stop you from learning a more sustainable way of life. There are lots of things you can do and many people who are in the same place as you with the same interests. Sometimes your friends could end up teaching up and thing or two that they have learned along the way.

The Prepper's Blueprint

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

Visit her web site at for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.


Take control of your financial future!

Worried You Haven’t Prepared Enough?

Worried You Haven't Prepared Enough

Lately there has been a lot of bad news from all over the world:  large scale natural disasters, economic turmoil, terrorism fears, rioting in the cities, you name it, lots of worrisome things are going on.  If you have started preparing, but fear you have not done enough, your are not alone.

Here are my suggestions to help you along:

1.  If you haven’t started already, start your family’s emergency preparedness plan.  Read Getting Started for a quick run through of things you can do NOW.  Get your partner involved in preparedness; if they are unsupported, here are some ideas.

2.  Refrain from discussing these fears in front of the children-they do not need to be burdened with these worries.  Kids are like sponges and they pick up on negative emotions.  They also hear everything even though we don’t think they are listening.  They can be involved in preparedness activities, if structured in a learning and fun atmosphere.

3.  Face your fears:  Make a list of all your fears and evaluate which ones are most likely to happen, and which ones have a pretty low chance of occurring.  Do what you can to prepare for the most likely events.  Most Americans fear an economic collapse and how it could affect them, and so far this seems to be the biggest threat.  So deal with it by taking steps to improve your finances, such as tip #4 and #5.

5.  Start your emergency fund.   We really don’t know how the economy will do this year, it could get better, worse or stay in the same doldrums.  It doesn’t hurt to have some savings set aside.  If you feel you are too broke to save, see #5.

5.  Cut down on expenses now.  Everyone can find some “fat” that can be cut out of the budget, whether it’s a rich cell phone plan, premium cable channels, magazine subscriptions you never read, etc.

6.  Get healthier.   Being sick is a disaster in itself and nothing is worse than being in a disaster if you are feeling poorly as well.   If you are not feeling your best, take some steps to improve your health.  Get into shape, start a healthy eating plan, get your annual checkup.

7.   Become a bit more self sufficient by being less reliant on outside sources.  I know families that eat every meal outside.  In a disaster, McDonald’s won’t be open and families that rely of fast food for every meal can starve.  I am not asking you to become a gourmet cook overnight.  Little steps can mean a lot.  If you eat out a lot, start learning how to make meals from home.  Take baby steps-brew your own coffee, make muffins for breakfast, make a pot of soup for dinner.

8.  Learning a new survival skill does not cost any money but will help you feel a lot more confident about your chances of surviving or even thriving during hard times.   Start with simple things around your house:  learn how to turn off the main electrical switch, how to shut off the plumbing or how to empty out your water heater.   Learn how to change a tire or replace the oil in your car.  There are not “hard core” survival skills, they are practical skills you can use all the time.   You may even enjoy learning something new.

9.  Stop watching all the doom and gloom TV specials.  Filling your mind with a constant barrage of scary predictions will only scare you, and depress you into inaction.   I am not telling you to bury your head in the sand either.  Accept that these worries exist but quit feeding them.  I know because I have been a worry-wort myself.  Ever since I started my preparedness journey, I’ve actually started worrying a lot less.  Taking positive steps will do a lot more for you than being mired in worry.

10.  Realize that being prepared is a mindset.  For all we know, things will stay pretty much the same this year, and we will face the same issues in 2016 and beyond.

Bonus step:  Ease your mind through prayer and helping others.  You are still much more fortunate than a lot of people.  Helping out soothes your soul, and that is never a bad idea. Be at peace with yourself, and with God, and you will have the strength to cope with whatever happens.

Evacuate your Home in 10 Minutes

Evacuate your home in 10 minutes

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Recent disasters worldwide such as the Chile volcano eruption and the Nepal earthquake remind us that disasters can happen at any time.  You might think, those are far away places, they can’t possibly happen to me; however, emergencies such as chemical spills, wildfires and flooding have been known to cause localized evacuations.  Fires are not uncommon in apartment homes or condominiums, many residents may have only minutes to evacuate.  Circumstances may force you to bug out even though you don’t want to.

It’s very hard to think about, but if you had to, can you evacuate your home in 10 minutes?  If this is all the time you had what would you grab?

We had this exact discussion in our household, and we think we have a plan.  I can’t tell you what your plan should be as everyone is different – you may have more or less people in your household, of varying ages; you may have one or more pets, and have a different stage of readiness.

Here are some things to think about:

  1. Get the family together and discuss what would you do if you had to evacuate in a short amount of time.  Give each able member of your household an assigned item or area to cover.
  2. Think about the nitty gritty details such as where would you exit your home? Are your items stored within easy reach?   The old saying applies- people, pets before things.  But when it comes to that, what are your most valuable possessions?  For some people, it may be their computer, for others it could be their firearms, jewelry, or photos.
  3. Do you keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, glasses etc. in the same spot where you can easily grab them?  Or will you have to run around the house searching for them?
  4. After you exit your home, where would you go?  It depends on the circumstances.  If you live in an earthquake prone area, if there are strong aftershocks you’d want to be out in an open area, away from buildings or structures that can topple on you.  If you were bugging out due to an impending hurricane you would head out of town away from the hurricane path.  Now would be the time to map out routes out of town, and get in touch with relatives whom you can stay with.
  5. You’ll need some clothes with you, otherwise you only have the clothes on your back.  At least have a change of clothes, underwear, socks.  If you work in an office, you should have one set of work clothes in case you have to go to work in the following days.  Not all areas may be affected by the disaster, eventually, you will need to go back to work.
  6. If you have pets, plan ahead for them as well.  At the very least, you’ll need a carrier, leash, collar, food and water for them as well.  Many shelters do not allow pets – but some might.  These are all things to consider well ahead of a disaster.
  7. Don’t forget your important documents.  This is an easy project you can do in one weekend:  build your grab and go binder so you have all your documents in one place.  Even if you don’t have them all in a binder, keep all your documents together so you can easily take them on your way out.  Also keep a hard copy of your contact list in your grab and go binder, in case you happen to leave your cell phone behind, or you somehow lose it.
  8. Have a plan for your irreplaceable items such as photos, recipes, etc. Now would be a good time to back them up online or in a thumb drive.  Grab your computer if you have time especially if your livelihood depends on it.
  9. You’ll need to take cash with you in case ATMs, credit and debit cards are not working.  Keep your hidden cash in your grab and go binder or bug out bag.
  10. Lock up your home as well as you can when you leave.  You’ll hopefully be returning after the emergency has passed, and some looting goes on in the aftermath of a disaster.
  11. Review your homeowner’s or renter’s policy and be aware of your coverages.  You do have coverage don’t you?  Improve them now before a disaster happens.  Some survivalists scoff at details like this, but to me, there is a good possibility you will be returning to a damaged home or apartment so you might as well be prepared.
  12. I had mentioned clothing above – ideally, you would have a bug out bag. You may not have everything you’d ever want in it, but at least have the beginnings of one.  Each member of the family should have one.  Include special needs such as personal prescriptions, infant supplies, a child’s special comfort item such as blanket or stuffed animal.  This is a good book that’ll give you all you need to know:  Build the Perfect Bugout Bag

Of course, don’t forget to inform your loved ones when you have safely evacuated so they don’t come searching for you.  It may be stressful thinking about this now, but think how much you’ll regret not doing anything if a disaster does happen.  Make your plans now.  As we always say around here, better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Monday Musings: 2/23/2015 Making Butter from Heavy Cream Experiment

Making Butter from Heavy Cream Experiment

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Ready Made Resources Mountain House Sale 

Our sponsor, Ready Made Resources is having a huge Mountain House Sale.  They are offering pre-1965 Silver dimes for every $100 worth of Mountain House ordered.  Plus free shipping!  Check it out, this is a good deal not to be missed!

Giveaway this Friday  

We took a break from giveaways for the last few weeks but we are ready to get started again.  Believe it or not, a lot of entrants never check their emails and therefore lose out by not responding to their notification email.  We’ve had several giveaways were we’ve had to do multiple drawings just to find a winner who responds!   In spite of this, we keep trying and eventually a winner who is actually excited about winning responds and gets the item.  Check back on Friday for our next giveaway – this is a good one!

What happened to my butter from heavy cream experiment?

I was excited to try making butter from heavy cream – all the instructions I’ve seen mention adding heavy cream to a Mason jar and shaking it for 10 minutes or more.  Well, I shook and shook and shook some more…  For about 15 minutes and all I got was whipped cream.

What went wrong?  I think I should have added less heavy cream given the size of the jar I was using.  I also noticed the lid started to leak after a while, so my jar may have also had something to do with it.

As you know I share both successes and failures.  I call this one a fail for now…  But I am not giving up!

Now for the links…

Seed Starting: Indoors and Out

Be Anti-Fragile: Prepare Modern but Practice Primitive

10 Ways To Deter Burglars

No, You Can’t Come to My House

Disabling an Attacker’s Sight, Wind or Mobility

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Take care and have a great week everyone!


Monday Musings: 2/9/2013 – Make Money on Clutter

Make Money on clutter

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

A few days ago, I had written about increasing storage space in a small apartment, and this week we are in the decluttering stage.  This time we are looking at every item closely:  If it has not been used in the last year, out it goes.  At the same time, we are also trying to raise some cash.

How to Make Money on Clutter

  • Hold a garage sale.  I think we may have some restrictions on holding garage sales in our building so I will try to sell online as much as possible.
  • Sell DVDs and CDs online – try  or   I have not sold anything yet as we are still gathering items, but these two seem to be recommended by several money saving sites, so I am going to try one of them soon.
  • Sell books on Amazon.
  • If the book does not sell on Amazon, I am going to take them to a local bargain bookseller for credit, and choose new books to read.
  • List furniture on Facebook pages of community garage sale sites.
  • Any items that do not sell will be donated.

Most of these were bought during my free-spending days.  As I price these items, I realize how little they are worth compared to the initial purchase price.  But at least getting something is better than hanging on to stuff that is no longer used.

As I get extra funds from these efforts, I hope to apply them toward paying off debt.

Now for the links…

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last Monday Musings post – this week I have lots of great links for you.

Deal or No Deal? Comparing Dollar Stores to Walmart & Others

Measles Outbreak 2015: What’s the Big Deal?

Headache prevention: A basic tutorial

5 Steps to Become the Smartest Person in the Woods

6 More Uncommon First Aid Items

How to Develop the Situational Awareness of Jason Bourne

DIY Hobo Stove

4 Ways To Make Essential Oils, Right In Your Home

8 Keys to Self-Sufficiency

Take care and have a great week everyone!
© Apartment Prepper 2015



Should You Keep Prepping When Things are Good?

Should You Keep Prepping When Things are Good

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Now that gasoline prices are a lot lower than they have been in years, many people with whom I’ve been speaking with lately to be really optimistic about their finances.  Sales of trucks and other gas guzzlers have gone up again, as people forget about the pain at the pump.  There is good news about the economy.   Lots of conversations going on about the new car that now seems to be within reach, the “I deserve it” shopping spree and the high priced vacation plans.

Should you keep prepping when things are good?

It may be tempting to ease up on preparedness when things are going smoothly.  I am not trying to be Chicken Little warning that the sky is falling when there is not a cloud in the sky.  I think it’s great to hear good news about the economy and people feeling good about their prospects.

Don’t forget that our system is based on everything running smoothly all the time – and just in time inventory systems means stores only keep enough supplies to last until the next truck delivery.  If anything interrupts the supply chain for any reason, the stores stop selling.  One local disaster such as a snow storm sends unprepared people in a panic buying mode, long lines and empty shelves at the store or even dumpster diving when they find themselves hungry in the aftermath of the storm.

And at the same time that good economic news are being touted, we are still hearing about layoffs going on in the oil industry, steel,  and many retailers are closing.

Now it not the time to get sidetracked.  Even on good news days, you can sit back and soak it all in, but don’t let up on your preparedness efforts.

  • While prices are still manageable, continue to build your food storage, water and essential supplies.
  • While you have a job or other source of income,  continue set aside emergency cash and get out of debt.
  • While times are fairly peaceful, find a way to increase your security.
  • Buy gear and supplies that will help you in the next power outage or disaster such as solar chargers, light sources, backup stoves etc. while you still have funds
  • Get in shape now.
  • Get healthy; take care of medical and dental needs
  • Learn skills every weekend while you have the luxury of time.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy life and take a break every now and then.  Things can change quickly: if and when they do, you will be glad you continued to prepare.

© Apartment Prepper 2015


10 Preparedness Steps for the New Year

10 Preparedness Steps for the New Year

As we look forward to 2015, we continue to improve on our preparedness skills and supplies:

Here are 10 preparedness steps to take

  1. Power outage supplies  We checked our supply of batteries, matches, flashlights, camping stove and lanterns as well as solar chargers in case the power gets interrupted.
  2. Evaluate how long you can last without going to the store.  How much water and food have you managed to store so far?  For us, due to space issues, we have about a couple week’s worth of water, and about 12 weeks worth of food, including the refrigerator and pantry.  I’d really like to increase my water storage but we did add backup filters.
  3. Financial preparedness.  We had a tight year financially, but hope to improve our money situation this year by paying off debt, adding to our stockpile and learning more DIY skills.
  4. Continue adding self-sufficiency skills.  At Apartment Prepper, so far we’ve learned how to make bread from scratch, brew coffee without electricity, sprout seeds and make home made yogurt.  I tried making starter but that didn’t work out the first time-I am going to try that again this year.  I acquired the materials for an insulated cooker, and plan to make one this coming year.  I’d also like to learn more about essential oils and natural remedies.
  5. De-clutter and make more space for supplies.  We are always trying to find space for survival supplies, so we have to keep re-evaluating our space.
  6. Examine canned food expiration dates- we always rotate our canned foods to avoid this food storage disaster.
  7. Evaluate our home security.  Being in the big city, we are always conscious of security issues.  Make your doors and windows more secure and consider other alternatives for home security.
  8. Evaluate items you carry daily and consider personal security items as well.
  9. Update our grab and go binder.  I am sure we have new documents and records from 2014 that need to be added, and old ones replaced.
  10. Revisit our health and hygiene supplies.  This past year the country had the ebola scare, which thankfully did not spread, although it is still ravaging many countries in Africa.  This showed how pandemic threats can surface and supplies quickly sell out.

The above is not a complete list, but should hopefully get you thinking about your own preparedness and survival activities.  Don’t feel bad if you had expectations you did not meet.  Just getting started places you ahead of 70% of the population.



Happy New Year to Everyone!