I have seen many videos of stock piles of TP. And all I can think is, “wow, so much real supplies could fit there instead”. The wife and I have talked about this issue and then came across a video that gave us the idea. Go back to the old school methods. Use pieces of cloth instead of TP. We wash (hand, machine) diapers and underware, so what is the difference with wipe-able squares? Store a pile of cloth squares from old sheets and such. And a pail to put the dirty ones in, like a diaper pail. Not only is TP not an item to stock and to take up room. It is also removed from the expense list, which is a good thing. Average Queen sheet yields about 600 squares or a stack the size of 1 roll of toilet paper. Yet the stack is equivalent to 30+ rolls of toilet paper. All for the price of 1 used sheet.
Paper Towels, Plates, Cups, Plastic Silverware:
Along with TP, I often see bundles of paper towels stocked away in videos done by preppers along with paper plates, cups and plastic silverware. Why waste that amount of space? Why waste that amount of money? Take a trip to Odd (Big) Lots and pick up a few dozen cloth wash packets. Normally they are $5.00 per dozen so $10.00 and never a paper towel to buy again. For plates look into stainless steel steak plates. Being stainless, you’ll never buy the plate again nor will it rust or break. Same with cups and mugs. Use a mason jar or look into stainless steel milkshake cups. Why waste your money on paper items that go from the store to your trash can? Remove another item from the expense list.
Many have a garage full of electric and air tools. And they are great items to have. But if we go into a SHTF situation, there is a high chance we will not have electricity. In turn making these tools worthless. And if we get an EMP one way or another, again the tools are worthless. So one must think early 1900’s or so and stock up on good old hand tools. Hand augers, hand planes, hand crank drills, and saws (bow ,2 man, hand, etc). These are often easy to find on Craigslist or at your local antique dealers for less than you would think. A bath of baking soda and white vinegar often cleans up the rust and blackened handles.
Most preppers are focused on guns, guns and more guns. Which is a simple method but has one major flaw. One can only store up so much ammo. After the ammo runs out the gun is worthless. To think around this, think re-usable. A long bow or compound bow is a good place to start. As arrows can be used over and over and even made if need be. A sling shot is another good item as any rock or projectile can be used. And with YouTube, you can learn how to turn your sling shot into a sling bow, meaning it shoots arrows as well.
Many stock up on flashlights and other useful devices that take batteries. And many are stocking up on batteries as well. But batteries die over time so one cannot store them forever. One should think around this and store more items pertaining to fire. Such as flint strikers, actual flint rock with a cast iron striker, magnifying lens (burning ants?), a few Zippo lighters along with extra flints and wicks. As anything flammable can be put into a Zippo as a fuel source. Stock up on emergency candles (bulk soy wax in pint mason jars) or lamp oil for oil lamps. This I would store in at least 5-35 gallon size containers, not bottles as they tend to leak.
Many people are stocked in their kitchens of cookware. Nice pots, pans, skillets, lids, etc. But can any of these items handle an open camp fire? The blasting heat from a rocket stove? Can they handle sitting on top of a wood stove for extended periods of time? Able to sit inside an adobe oven? Most likely the answer is no. As the paint would bake off, the plastic handles would melt and the thin coatings on the cookware would begin to peal. Think old days, think ever lasting, think easy clean up. Think cast iron. Replace your kitchen with cast iron cookware and you will never buy a piece again, never have to use soap on them nor find room in the dishwasher for them. And you have never tasted a perfect brownie till you make a skillet brownie. Cast iron can be used in all forms of heating methods and is great for campers and the Boy Scouts. So why not for when SHTF as well. We just love cooking with cast iron now that we re-found it.
These are just a few ideas/tips that we have learned over the years from prepping and watching others.