So Can’t Afford to Prep, Eh?

So You Can't Afford to PrepThis article first appeared in Preparing with Dave

Article by Dave at preparingwithdave.com

Can you afford not to?

Sadly enough, I feel like most of my time is spent trying to convince even preppers to prep. I hear many times that people cannot afford a necessary prep. A necessary prep means that if you don’t have it, you risk death in a survival situation. How could anyone not afford it? The answer lies in prioritizing one’s life and future. Many people are not fully internally aware enough of the seriousness of needing to be seriously prepared, thus not taking it seriously enough.

We make sacrifices to put money away for retirement, and call it an investment. Preps are investments, too. Water filtration devices are investments on life-saving hydration. Security devices and self-defense tools are investments to protect our lives from harmful people that said they couldn’t afford to prep, or just didn’t see it as important, which is kind of the same in my opinion. Their actions to aggressively acquire what they need will be the same.

Most of every item in my Emergency Survival Pack or Bug-Out Bag, is under or around $20.00 in cost of investment expenditure. Therefore, I will base some examples I offer you around that dollar amount of investment. Here are some examples of sacrifice to secure “Necessary Preps“.

Example one:

Some people drink two sodas per day. That’s around sixty sodas per month. Cost is around $20.00 to $40.00, depending on their favorite brand and flavor. That equals the cost of one to two Sawyer Mini Filters that filter 100,000 gallons of life-saving water each. Just cutting consumption of soda for one-month, and someone can have 100,000 gallons or more of water filtration prepped.

Example two:

The average lunch or dinner in a restaurant is $10.00 to $25.00 per person, depending on whether it is a fast-food or sit-down meal with tip. This could buy a couple of inexpensive packs on sale to start sticking preps in, to grab and go in an emergency situation. Skip these meals and go simple at home, and this prep is taken care of now. Add number one and number two example together, and you’re on your way to some good preparedness.

Example three:

Any service you have someone else do for you, like nails, hair, car wash, taking care of your yard, changing your oil, etc. These services add up to a healthy sum of money in a year’s time, or even just six-months. Actually, having all of these done in one-month adds up to over $100.00. That’s a lot of preps if you do a few simple tasks on your own, instead of paying someone else to do it for you. $100.00 dollars could buy eight fire starters, a family water filtration four-pack, 140 Mylar blankets, ten emergency shelters, ten emergency two-person sleeping bags, five Life Straws, ten containers of waterproof matches (250 matches), five WaterBobs, one high-quality crank emergency radio/flashlight ($30.00 leftover), and more. Get the idea?

Affording To Prep

These are just a few examples of what I call monetary maneuvering to acquire necessary preps. It takes sacrifice to have anything that is important enough. We have made many sacrifices around here to have what we need for our survival investments. We have a very nice “grid-down fund“, or “convenience-lost fund“, that is not monetary. It’s all in preps, since in SHTF, money isn’t worth anything and banks won’t be open to access the worthless notes anyway. You can do this too, if you prioritize your preps versus whatever else you are spending money on.

We have skipped favorite meals here and there, we do most everything ourselves, and we don’t buy frivolous items or services. We also prepare our owns meals that are healthier and actually much tastier, because we don’t use cheap food sources to cut costs and raise profit margins like restaurants do.

Do this or not, because it’s your choice and your life that’s at risk if you don’t…NOT MINE!”

About the AuthorDave writes preparingwithdave.com.  He created this page to share his experience, knowledge, actions, and continuing path with others.  He hopes your tour around the website is informative and you continue to visit for updates and sharing of your comments. Please visit Dave, on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/preparingwithdave

If you have any questions, ideas, or comments, please feel free to message him on Facebook:

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Best Preparedness Gifts

Best preparedness giftsLast week the city of Detroit experienced a huge power outage that lasted for several hours and took a lot of people by surprise.   Many public buildings, office buildings and schools lost power.  This incident reminded me that emergencies can happen at any time and anywhere.   It is easy to forget or dismiss the idea of being prepared until something happens and you wish you had done something about it.

We all have family and friends who are not really into prepping, or who mean to but don’t get around to it.  Since we’re giving gifts anyway, might as well give them something to help them prepare for an emergency.

Here are a few ideas for preparedness gifts for various budgets:

Weather Radio with Flashlight, Solar Power and Cell Phone Charger
Weather radio and cell phone charger
Priced around $32

Fold’n Go 2-Burner Stove
Fold and go stove
Priced around $70

Solar Watch
Solar watch
Priced around $32

Red Pepper Spray with Dye


Priced around $9

Good Grip Can Opener

Can Opener
Priced around $14

Swiss Army Pocket Knife

Priced around $20

AA and AAA Solar Battery Charger

Priced around $20

Door Stop Alarm

Priced around $12

16 GB Flash Drive

Flash drive
Priced around $10

Paracord Bracelet

paracord bracelet

Priced around $20

Essential Oils 4 Pack:  Lavender, Lemon, Tea Tree and Peppermint 

Essential Oils-4 PackPriced around $18-Get 10% off use code APARTMENT PREPPER

These preparedness gifts will get a lot of use.  Some useful items like my favorite, the can opener, can be used daily, and not just in an emergency.   But wait, it’s not all about giving “stuff.”  If you prefer, you can still give the gift of preparedness by helping someone accomplish a chore that they never get around to doing:

  • Back up documents and photos for a close relative
  • Share some skills that you have as knitting, canning, yogurt making, breadmaking or even a free cooking lesson.
  • Print up PDF files for an emergency binder
  • Make water proof matches or firestarter with household items such as cotton balls and petroleum jelly and packaging a handful in a jar labeled Emergency Fire Starter, with instructions.

Sharing your knowledge and time is just as valuable as giving an item.  We all want to help our loved ones prepare and Christmas is a great time to spread the “joy of preparedness” in subtle ways.

 

Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger Knocks?

Should You Answer the Door When a Stranger KnocksThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

During the holidays you may notice an increase in people coming up to your door:  leaving flyers, selling something or just being neighborly.  But you never know what their intentions are.

The local constables in our area have been warning people to be more vigilant due to a rising number of burglaries.  One of the more controversial questions is whether you should answer the door when a stranger knocks or pretend you’re not home.

So, should you answer the door when a stranger knocks?

Our local law enforcement does recommend that you should answer the door from behind the locked door.  The reason for this is, many thieves knock on the door to find out if someone is at home.  If someone answers, they avoid the house because they are looking for an easy target.  But if you pretend you are not home, they may try to sneak in and find you, placing you in danger.

At the same time, the person knocking may not have ill intentions at all, and there would be no reason to fear them.  Answering the door without opening it at first will at least allow you to find out what they want.

What I encountered when I went door to door for charity

I myself have accompanied my kids when going door to door selling tickets for a charity fundraiser.  Many neighbors seem to get freaked out when you ring the doorbell.   Standing outside, I can usually tell if someone is at home.   You can tell if it’s kids but lots of adults just stand there as well.  It’s just a sad fact of life while living in the big city.  Many people may live next to each other for years and never get to know each other.  I didn’t take it personally if they don’t answer the door.  But the few who did answer their doors either said they weren’t interested or gladly bought tickets.

Recently, a couple of senior home owners were robbed when a woman and a child knocked on their door.  They let their guard down talking to the woman while an accomplice either snuck in through a back door or forced their way in to rob them.

I can definitely see both sides of the issue.  Here’s what I think:

  • Check who is at the door by looking out the window.  Some doors have peepholes but many do not.
  • Answer the door and ask what they want.  On one hand, you may be worried about safety but on the other hand, the person knocking may just be a neighbor needing to talk to you about something.
  • If you get a bad or nagging feeling, don’t open the door.  Trust your gut.
  • Keep your door locked at all times.
  • Tell children and young teens never to open the door when someone knocks or rings the doorbell.  If they notice that someone is at the door, they need to let an adult know.  A couple of home invasions in the city resulted when teens opened the door without checking first.
  • In case of a break-in while your are at home, have a weapon nearby and know how to use it.
  • Or, at the very least, always have you cell phone handy in case you are in danger and have to call 9-1-1.

In answer to the original question about whether you should answer the door, yes, you should.  Find out what they want, but do it behind a locked door.  Tell us what you think in the comments below.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Cheap Food Storage Items this Thankgiving Week

Cheap Food Storage Items this Thanksgiving WeekThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

When I went grocery shopping today I noticed a lot of sales for items that can be used for food storage.  I always encourage anyone starting their food storage plan to set aside a small amount, say $5.00 and pick up a few things every week.  You can easily supplement your emergency food supplies by picking up a few extra cans or boxes.

Cheap food storage items that I saw:

  • canned corn
  • canned green beans
  • instant mashed potatoes
  • canned cranberry
  • canned mandarin oranges
  • canned peaches
  • gravy packets
  • pumpkin puree
  • flour
  • sugar
  • yeast
  • honey
  • cooking oil
  • oats
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • bread mixes
  • canned evaporated milk
  • canned condensed milk
  • wine and liquor

Make sure you check expiration dates before you buy.   Don’t pick the items from the front; those usually have the shortest expiration dates.  Reach way back in the shelf.  I realize some store clerks don’t like this, one pointed out there is no difference in reaching way back.   The stores usually keep the earlier expiration dates in front, so I reached to the back of the shelf anyway.

You can also pick up everyday staples or sale items and freeze them for use later, such as:

  • butter
  • green beans
  • turkey
  • ham

Yams and potatoes are also going at good prices and these last for a couple of months in a shelf.  Even if you just use these foods for everyday meals the savings are well worth it. 

These deals won’t last.  Last year I waited until after Thanksgiving, thinking the low prices would continue.  But I found out that inventory gets really low after Thanksgiving, and prices go back to normal levels.  This time, I am not waiting around.  If I had more space, I’d have picked up more.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

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Monday Musings: 11/24/2014

Monday Musings 11032014

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com
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…

We’ve had back to back giveaways so I haven’t posted Monday Musings in a while.  But this week you will get double the links because I saved them up.

Black Friday Giveaway coming up!  Check back with us this Friday 11/28 for a great giveaway we have planned with our sponsor, The Berkey Guy - it’ll be worth your while to stop by!

Food Storage Entree tryouts  I mentioned a while back that we have been cutting back on the food budget and using some up of our food storage items.  Some of our old favorites are as good as ever – Mountain House Noodles and Chicken stands out.

Wise Food Beef Stroganoff

Wise Co. Beef Stroganoff

But some do not work out such so well.   I had a packet of Wise Co. Beef Stroganoff.  I followed the package instructions and gave it enough time to cook.  The result was more like a soup than anything else.  I was not expecting soup for a Beef Stroganoff entree.  To remedy the situation, I used a colander to drain out the excess sauce.  Maybe it’s a personal preference but I didn’t care for the mushy taste and texture.  When trying out food storage I always consider whether I’d think differently if I were starving in a survival situation.  I am sure I’d be grateful to have food at that point.  So if you have it for food storage, hang on to it.  I still ate it for lunch, but this not one I’d eat for everyday meals.

 

Now for the links…

Intel boss’ warning on cyber attacks no joke, say experts

100+ Non Food Items to Have in Your Emergency Supplies

Rich Becoming Overlords, Poor Becoming Serfs: “We’re Approaching a New Middle Ages in America”

4 Life-Saving Tips for Vehicle Preparedness

20 Mason Jar Gift Ideas

A Lady and a Gun

Gravity water filter scientific test results released by Natural News: Big Berkey, ProPur, Zen Water Systems and more

15 Organic Fruits & Veggies That Aren’t Worth Paying More For in 2014

Gag Gifts for Preppers – The 2014 Holiday Guide

5 Beauty Products to Stop Buying and Start Making at Home

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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Book Review The Guardians: The New Homefront Volume 2

The Guardians

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I previously reviewed The Last Layover:  The New Homefront Volume 1 by Steven C. Bird as part of Survivor Jane’s preparedness books blog tour.

The Guardians is the second book in the Homefront series.  The story continues to cover the main families from the first book, and introduces two sons of one of the original female characters.

Without giving away too much, one portion of the book deals with fighting the Mexican cartels trying to seize power in south Texas, and another part covers some of the characters in Tennessee who are fighting with marauders.

As far as the story lines, I was not keen on the overpowered cartel.  While I agree that cartels would cause a lot of trouble in a grid down disaster, I imagine they would not be as profitable or have the economic ability to fund a war if the economy collapsed and drug sales went down.  Another aspect of the story I was wondering about was what the federal government was doing and why the states pulled away.  However, there was enough action in the story to keep me turning the pages.

Besides the action in the book, I liked the continuing focus on the small group of characters.   I hope to see the characters continue to develop.  The author also has an extensive knowledge of firearms which provides some good detail.  I look forward to the next installment of The Homefront series.

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

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20 Tips on Staying Safe During the Holiday Season

20 Tips on Staying Safe during the Holiday SeasonThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and the Christmas season will soon be in full swing.  Theft and other crimes seem to increase when people are out and about shopping or partying and not paying much attention to anything else.

The other day the management company left a flyer on our door about a “Resident Meeting” regarding apartment safety. I was concerned enough that I attended the evening meeting after work. A couple of policemen and the building management were in attendance. The reason for the meeting was to discuss recent criminal activity in the area, and to warn residents about personal safety.

My neighborhood is in the middle of the city of Houston. If you ever visit the city, you will notice very quickly that the city does not have strict zoning laws. As a result,most areas include a mix of residential, commercial and industrial. One block could be a nice residential area, and across the street would be high rises or industrial parks, unless you live in a planned community in the suburbs. So you can live in a block with nice residences, but go two blocks and you can quickly find yourself in an unsavory looking area. Being careful and aware of your surroundings is very important. Not being critical or negative, that is just the way it is. While we carefully picked the apartment we live in, checked crime statistics and all that, crime in any area is inevitable.

Back to the meeting. Apparently, the management company decided to have a meeting due to a recent shooting that occurred in the complex. They wanted to reassure the residents that it was not a random event but a shooting between acquaintances, a “drug deal gone bad.” There were no fatalities, the shooter was arrested and the victim was shot in the leg. I was still unsettled by the incident – it is not very reassuring to hear that a resident was doing a drug deal. The resident has since been evicted; at least he is not around anymore. The cops also informed us there have been car break-ins and some theft.

Staying safe during the holiday season

  1. This meeting has just reinforced my feeling that there is no such thing as a “safe area.” We need to be on guard at all times, and always aware of our surroundings. Always find out about what’s going on around you. Surprisingly, for a complex this large, not a lot of tenants attended the meeting, considering it was about something important.
  2. Maintain an alert stance and scan the people around you.  Thieves avoid people whom they perceived is too alert and may have already noticed them
  3. If you start to have a bad feeling about your surroundings, stop and pay attention to these feelings, it is your intuition telling you not to proceed.
  4. Thieves try to target people whom they perceive as more vulnerable: the elderly, women alone or women and children.
  5. To avoid being targeted by thieves, think about what attracts these criminals: flashy jewelry, a large purse that looks stuffed with goodies, smart phones, shopping bags, etc.
  6. Carry only what’s necessary and leave the rest at home.
  7. When shopping, always lock your vehicle and do not leave your items in the car, lock them up in the trunk. The cop revealed that they patrol certain malls because thieves are known to “harvest” items that people leave in the cars while shopping.
  8. Consider a protection device such as mace, pepper spray or a concealed gun if you know how to use them and are licensed in your district.
  9. When in public, avoid being engrossed in your phone or tablet.  This sounds simple, but I have seen so many people with their heads buried in their cell phones even while crossing the street.
  10. When walking to your car, have your keys ready in your hand, no fishing around the parking lot for missing keys. Brief inattention to your surroundings can cost you your life. If leaving at night, try to walk with someone or have security escort you.
  11. Train the kids to only open the door to family or friends who know the “password” and never open the door to strangers.
  12. Keep your curtains or blinds closed. The more passersby see your appliances and items, the more likely a thief will get interested in you.
  13. Consider an alarm system or a dog if your building allows it.
  14. Make sure you always lock your doors and windows.
  15. Look around the area before you open your door or garage, as thieves have been know to follow people in as they get home.
  16. Be careful about announcing your activities and plans on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, this will give potential thieves a “heads up” that your house is available.
  17. Before walking or driving up to an ATM machine, make a note of who is in the area.  Is there a car just parked nearby?  Are there a lot of bushes where someone can hide and jump out at you?  If you are not sure, just bypass it and go somewhere else.  The most you will lose is time and possibly gas, but at least you’ll be safe.
  18. When in crowded shopping centers, be alert for pickpockets especially when someone bumps into yo
  19. If you are working late, walk out with a co-worker or call security and have them walk you to your car.
  20. If you feel you are being followed home, don’t pull into your driveway.  Instead, keep driving and go to a crowded area, police or fire station.

Sorry if this article sounds a bit paranoid, but these are the times we live in. A big part of survival mentality or preparedness is paying attention to your own personal and family security.

 

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 



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How to Keep Your Apartment Warm

Staying Warm in a Drafty ApartmentThis post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

This week, a cold front, AKA polar vortex is coming to town.  Indeed, it was much colder getting out of work this afternoon than it was early this morning.

Our apartment windows are very flimsy.  They are single paned aluminum windows that let in the frigid air.  You can really feel the cold air seeping in as you get closer to the windows.  We had to come up with ideas to keep the apartment warm without doing any major work.  These are the options we considered:

Option 1:  Install window films.

Because we rent, we cannot do anything that involves major alterations, and we want to make sure we get our security deposit back if we move.  Window films are hard to remove, and after pricing them out, we found that window films were also far above the budget.

In a pinch, you can try using clear plastic wrap- just stick it around your windows to keep the draft out.

Option 2:  Plastic Trash Bags

On the opposite side of expensive, some people use plastic trash bags to line the cracks and the windows.  Sounds like it can work, but that would be too unsightly.  It is our windows after all, and I don’t think I want to look at plastic trash bags for several days.

Option 3:  Bubble Wrap

We opted for the middle ground:  bubble wrap insulation.  It is temporary but not so ugly.  Please keep in mind this works because there’s trapped air between the bubble wrap and the window.  If the window is leaking around the frame, this will not work and the window would need caulking instead.

If you are planning to do a project like this, please research the various options carefully.  I am not an expert in insulation or window reinforcements, so your results may vary.  You may find something else that works better in your situation.  Just sharing what worked for us.

Here is how we did it:

We went to the home improvement store and bought several rolls of bubble wrap.  We spent about $28 total for 2 large rolls of bubble wrap and a couple more dollars for painters tape.  Upon returning home, we raised the blinds and started lining the windows with bubble wrap.  We then taped the bubble wrap to the window sill with the painters tape.  We lined each window of the bedrooms with the bubble wrap, making sure the drafty crack between the windows and window sills were covered.

The result was great!  You can really tell the difference in the room temperature.  The cold air stays out, and you can no longer feel the temperature drop and you approach the windows.  From the outside, the bubble wrap does not look obvious so the apartment management won’t notice anything odd.  As you can see from the photo above, the downside is, you can’t see the outside too clearly.   This is only temporary though.  In a few weeks, normal warm temperatures should come back, and the bubble wrap insulation will come off.  Then I can recycle the bubble wrap as packing material.

What are other ways to keep your apartment warm?

  • Space heater.  A small space heater may help, if you set it up in the room you are in.  If you are worried about heating when there is no power, a good possible choice is a propane heater such as Mr. Heater.  However there are precautions that need to be taken when setting it up.  I have not tried it personally, so I can’t tell you how well it works, but see this review from TacticalIntelligence.net.
  • Dress in layers.  When it’s this cold, and I have to go outside, I wear a tank top, a T-shirt, a turtleneck and a jacket.  Am I bulky?  You betcha!  But it works and I don’t like to be cold so I put up with it.
  • Rearrange your sheets.    Cotton sheets are meant to keep you cool, but that is not what you need in a cold snap.  Place the fleece or micro fiber blanket closest to you.  It really works.  Flannel sheets work just as well.
  • Warm up your bed before getting in Use a blowdryer and warm up your bed right before getting in.  If you have a dog or a cat have them snuggle in the foot of your bed – they help keep you warm as well!
  • Hang old comforters or quilted blankets  Readers have suggested hanging comforters or quilted blankets as curtains.
  • Set up a warm room  If you have no power, it’s best to congregate in one room and make it the warmest one.  Set up tents and sleeping bags in the middle of the room.
  • Layer on the blankets.  We place several blankets in addition to the comforter on all the beds in the house.
  • Drink warm liquids.   Sip some herb tea and warm up.  Make a nice pot of soup.
  • Rice heating pad.   Just pour uncooked rice into an old sock, sew it closed.  Microwave it until hot and use it as a warmer.
  • Run electric appliances during the day.  Run the dishwasher, cook and bake during the day.  They all help warm up the house.

Caution:  Always make sure your room is well ventilated.  Always have a carbon monoxide detector.  Never turn on gas stoves for heat.

Each winter, I receive emails from apartment dwellers asking for ideas on warming up their space during a cold snap.  Hopefully the tips above help out.  Stay warm!

© Apartment Prepper 2014

 

Substitutes for Toilet Paper

Substitutes for Toilet Paper

I recently posted about being off-grid for 48 hours, and using a lot of baby wipes due to the lack of water during our adventure.  One thing that would run out quickly in a survival situation if you did not have a huge stockpile would be toilet paper.  Not having a lot of space we have about three months worth on hand right now, but that can run out quickly.  Also, a large stockpile of toilet paper is not portable in a bug-out situation, and in a shelter in place scenario, the TP supply is bound to run out.

Space saving tip:  Remove the cardboard insert and flatten the roll and you can fit more rolls in a small space.

What are some substitutes for toilet paper?

Back in ancient times, the Romans used a sea sponge on a stick.  They would clean themselves with it, rinse it in the running water (public bathrooms had them on the floor) and leave it soaking in salt water in between uses.

In colonial times, people used corncobs, and later, old newspapers and catalogs were used in outhouses.

Here are a few ideas:

1.  Wet wipes or baby wipes

These would work just like toilet paper, but again, a large stockpile would have to be accumulated.

2. Paper Substitutes

Newspaper may work, but the ink would turn everything black.   I read other people prefer The Yellow Pages but these days, a lot of people don’t keep phone books around.  Store catalogs may be more common, and flimsy pages instead of high end glossy paper would work best.  Just crumple up the sheet until it softens up, then wipe.

3.  Cloth

Cloth, such as wash cloths, terry cloth or  cloth diapers can be used as toilet paper substitutes.  You can even cut up old, soft t-shirts into squares.  If you want to make reusable cloth wipes, this article from Food Storage Moms has good instructions.  The method would be to wet the cloth, wipe, then launder the cloth.  Supporters of this idea feel that most people would have nothing against rewashing cloth diapers, therefore personal washcloths should be okay.  I would think it would be a good idea to throw the soiled wash clothes into a bucket of water with some bleach before washing.

4.  Plant material

Sage leaves are said to be soft and fragrant enough to use, some say banana leaves would work too..  You must have some knowledge about which plants are safe; you would not want to use something like poison ivy, poison oak or sumac by mistake!   Remember: Leaves of three – let it be!

5.  Water

Many countries already use a spray water fountain called a “bidet” as part of their bathroom facilities.  Since this is being considered in an emergency scenario, we would need an alternative to that too.  In many countries, use of the left hand in combination with pouring water in a pan or small bucket with the right hand is the way to clean up.

Possible water carriers:

Fill any of these containers with plain water, add a drop of essential oil for fragrance and wash up.  (Don’t use mint or and don’t overdo the quantity of drops, or you may irritate those sensitive areas.)  After washing, dry the area with a clean towel that can also be reused.

To avoid disease, one would have to wash the hands well with water or antibacterial gel right after.

I’m not ready to give up toilet paper but you gotta do what you gotta do to stay clean.   In an emergency, the water route seems like the most likely one to try.  I may try making those clothes one of these days.  We will keep stockpiling toilet paper for now, and store them efficiently by flattening them for maximum use of space.   Another idea would be to decrease the use of toilet paper by combining with the methods above, thereby extending the life of the stockpile.

Toilet paper shortages sounds unlikely, but it has happened:  a year or so ago, Venezuela faced a toilet paper shortage and the government had to take over a toilet paper factory.   Before I got interested in preparedness, I can recall snagging the last package of toilet paper and waiting in a long line right before a hurricane.  Toilet paper is one of the first items to disappear if a disaster disrupts supply deliveries.  It’s good to know some alternatives just in case.

 

Reader question: How Do you Protect your Emergency Supplies from Pests?

protect your emergency supplies from pests1

Photo provided by reader “S,” used with permission

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com

I get a lot of emails on Apartment Prepper, and I always respond to readers’ questions.  Here is an excerpt from a recent email from reader “S.”  (I have removed any personal references.)  “S” provided actual photos.

protect your emergency supplies from pests2

Emergency bag, eaten through by mice. Photo provided by reader “S,” used with permission

I had some bad luck recently. My car broke down coming home from work.  As a result I had to leave the car at a mechanic for a week to fix a now bigger problem & figured it was wise to move my earthquake emergency bags from my trunk to my living room floor while the car was being fixed so that no one would be tempted to “borrow” from my supplies while fixing the car.

While that was happening, a restaurant next door started to be remodeled & I had to go out of town with a relative for several days. Since that relative had their own earthquake bags in their trunk I left mine at home over the trip so we’d have room for the suitcases.

I came home to my apartment & discovered something had eaten through the bags to get at the trail mix inside & had even ripped open a bag of store self tuna but decided it didn’t like it so the house smelt of rotten fish!! I had never had anything other than ants, spiders & crickets in the apartment before for years so this was a completely new experience for me!

So my question is, how do you keep your supplies safe from pests?

Reader “S” described a common problem among apartment dwellers.

She mentioned there was some remodeling going on next door.  Pests do travel from one unit to another.   I have noticed whenever someone moves out nearby and the unit is fumigated, there is an uptick in pests trying to come into our area.  That’s because the pests are driven out of one unit and they try to invade nearby units if you let them.

Preventive measure:  If you see movers, spray insecticide along entrances as well as corners of shared walls.  This should help prevent them from trying to come to you.  However this works on insects, but not mice.  We have discussed insects in a previous post, but today we are looking at rodents.

How do you protect your emergency supplies from pests such as mice?

To protect your emergency food, store them in food grade 5-gallon food buckets.  Mice or rats cannot chew through the plastic of the 5 gallon bucket.   Reader “S” has ready to eat items such as trail mix, granola bars and packaged tuna – these could all go in the 5-gallon bucket.  Place the sealed bucket in your closet.  Make sure the lid is super secure.  Hang your bug out bag (with non food items) in your closet.  In the event of an emergency and you had to leave, take the food from the bucket and transfer them to your bug out bag – this should only take 5 minutes before you run out the door.

If you are storing bulk food such salt, sugar, flour etc. for long term storage, here is a link to simple instructions: Repackaging salt for long term storage

Sometimes you can get food grade 5 gallon buckets for free.
How to Get Free Food Grade Buckets for Long Term Storage

Natural repellants for mice:

Thoroughly clean and sweep your areas, and remove any food.  Cover all trash cans so they don’t try to go in.  If you are already using 5 gallon buckets for your emergency food, make sure you are protecting your every day food as well – do not leave anything edible on counters.

There are commercial repellants available such as Rodent Defense  Spray in the areas frequented by rodents to keep them away.

Other natural repellants I have heard about but have not tried:

  • Peppermint Oil: Saturate cotton balls with peppermint oil and leave them around the areas you where have found droppings.  This is said to repel mice, sending them elsewhere.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar:  Clean floors, the insides of cabinets and countertops with 50% apple cider vinegar (does not have to be organic) and 50% water.  Mice will avoid the area and leave.
 © Apartment Prepper 2014