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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year's activities

Yesterday -- January 1 -- I decided to start the New Year by organizing some of our preparedness supplies.

We tended to stash our items in buckets organized roughly by category, and each bucket has two labels. The first label is general:

The second label is specific.

But what I didn't have was an overall inventory. Just how many mousetraps, or rolls of dental floss, or bars of soap did we have? It was time to find out.

In the book Patriots by James Wesley, Rawles, he mentions a trade fair that was established several years into a societal collapse. Among the many small-but-essential items people needed were things like matches, mouse traps, canning lids, fish hooks, bleach, non-hybrid garden seeds, candle wicking, lamp wicks, salt, band-aids, razor blades, dental floss, toothbrushes, and cloth diapers.

The point of this scene was to highlight the importance of all the little things we take for granted, and which we don't appreciate until they're no longer available. This scene made sense to us, and we've tried to stock up on such things (except fish hooks and cloth diapers) since we use them on a regular basis anyway.

So I opened all the buckets and started inventorying. Matches. (Plenty.) Bar soap. (Plenty.) Lamp wicks. (Plenty.) Kitchen timers. (Oops, just one. Better get a couple more.)

As I went, I made notes of what items I was short on. Thankfully most of these household items are inexpensive, and I can just pick up a few things here and there in order to round out our stock.

But the biggest thing I wanted to get a grasp on was our medical supplies. Neither Don nor I have any significant professional medical education, so in the event of a serious medical emergency we would be dependent on others. Thankfully we're all in good health to begin with, but nonetheless accidents can (and doubtless will) happen in a "bleep" scenario.

We've squirreled away a pretty decent array of medical supplies, but we'd lost track of how much and of what variety. Time to spread things out, take inventory, and reorganize.

We divvied things up roughly according to function, then re-bucketed the supplies.

I made sure to label exactly what was inside.

(Forgive the misspellings.)

I also made notes of what additional medical supplies we might need. A transfusion kit? Maybe. More burn dressings? Absolutely. (In a non-electric world, burns will be a lot more common.) We also plan to add such unmentionable over-the-counter medicines as constipation relief, hemorrhoid suppositories, etc. Hey, you never know.

All in all, a very useful way to start the New Year.


  1. Good idea! I like how you organized all of your stuff! I might just try that!

  2. I keep trying to find an inexpensive Oxygen Concentrator and AED. We live in a neighborhood of old folks and are on our way there ourselves. It seems to me that these would be good to have, particularly when 911 can't/won't send anybody out...

  3. Speaking of medical supplies, you do know that you can d/l free copies of "Where there is no doctor" and "where there is no dentist"....right? If not, these are good basic guides written for the 3rd world but can be of great assistance for "practicing physicians".

  4. Medical supplies are set for the needs of each person. Since my husband has more medical needs than I do, his extra med's are placed in his bucket, I have mine. The bandages, tape, band aids are placed into another bucket. I note on a sheet of paper what the item is, description, and quantity, one goes on top of the bucket lid and on the side so that I can locate the items. The sheets at this time are attached with clear packing tape, I will change that over to a plastic sleeve so that as it changes I can pull it revise the items and place it back on the bucket.

    Thank you for reminding me of the small items I need to collect for storage. Love Mr. Rawles books, have read all the 3 of the survival stories.

  5. Medicated powder and zinc ointment are one of the things I missed doing my "medic box" until I needed it!
    Chemical heat and cold packs are cheap at the dollar store and are great to have on hand if the power goes out or if you are just out camping.

  6. When I had a motorcycle accident last year, I discovered I didn't have enough gauze or antiseptic (hydrogen peroxide and iodine). In addition to burns, I think people are going to have alot more scrapes and cuts as they are more active outside, and fighting infection will be critical if you have no outside medical assistance to call on.

  7. When I had a motorcycle accident last year, I discovered I didn't have enough gauze or antiseptic (hydrogen peroxide and iodine). In addition to burns, I think people are going to have alot more scrapes and cuts as they are more active outside, and fighting infection will be critical if you have no outside medical assistance to call on.

  8. I'm curious what you do with your OTC meds? Do you rotate them out as you use stuff up and buy new for the preparedness supplies? What about supplies that you don't currently use often use but have an expiration date-do you toss them and buy fresh? Donate them when they get close to their expiration? One of the things I've been trying to puzzle out is how to be prepared without wasting-would love your insight.

  9. I am also going through my stuff. I know I don't have enough and am trying to catalog what I have and need to get. It's really difficult to figure out how many meals you have when you buy large quantities! I would rather ere on the too much side than not enough.

  10. An accurate inventory of preparedness supplies is essential to avoid duplication. I use a similar system (all items listed on a label affixed to the container). Another benefit is that you don't have to search through everything to find the one item you need, which will be critical in a crisis. It also makes rotating supplies a snap!

  11. Recently I replaced a medical book (via Goodwill)that I had lost some time back. Locating this book will not be easy, but it is worth putting it in your medical supplies "The Columbia University College of Physician's and Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide", copy write date is 1989. It is great companion to the other first aid books we will need.

  12. My husband and I just spent 5 hours organizing our medical closet (which is our linen closet). We organized into open wooden or clear plastic boxes by category: cold & cough & flu; antifungal creams; antibacterial creams; alcohol & H2O2; bandages; dental floss, toothpaste, temp filling material, etc.; hygiene -shampoo, soap, deodorant. We have used the linen closet system for years, and have supplies divided into bins I can reach easily. I can see exactly when I need to replenish stocks. The linen closet stays dark (a help to making all medications & health products maintain longer shelf life) and is in a cooler place in the house.

    Someone mentioned the books "Where There is No Doctor" and Where There is No Dentist", and those can be very helpful in a "need-to-DIY" scenario.

    One thing I bought recently is a book on how to suture wounds which complements my other books on emergency medical procedures -like splinting a broken leg or arm, etc. For surgical thread in our camping, hiking supplies for medical emergencies, I always put in waxed dental floss and a curved sewing needle. Cuts that require suturing are a pretty common accident hazard in disaster scenarios of any kind. So Betadine or an equivalent is good to have as well.

    Also remember to research the shelf life of certain medications and prescriptions. I noticed an asthma inhaler name on one of Patrice's buckets. Make sure critical items like asthma inhalers are within a reasonable date of use (not necessarily only what is date stamped on the box). It is better to throw medications like those out periodically and to re-purchase just to be safe. In a life-threatening asthma emergency, you don't want to make it worse or have no affect when getting breath is critical.

    On to re-organizing the pantry and other storage!

  13. so where would i begin? How much would you say would be plenty?

    I have a few boxes of band aids and such, but I'm sure nowhere near sufficient. Where do you put all your buckets? I live in a little 2 bedroom apartment, & feel crowded in the pantry with 9 buckets of grain.

    please can you give me some ideas?

    thanks so much,
    a work in progress, but a long way from success.

    shalaee, Idaho

    1. You can place the items behind the couch, make a end table with the buckets cover with a cloth(or coffee table). Use bed riser put them under your bed & guests bed to cover them use a extra long dust ruffle.
      If your kitchen is big enough stack them on top of each other until you have an extra working counter top. Cover with a cloth and place a piece of plywood or nice section of wood on top, or make a dining table. Same principal for night stands in the bedroom. I hope this gives you ideas to assist you with your storage problem.

    2. Shalaee, take a look at this post (specifically the comments) which addresses the issue of space shortages.


      - Patrice

  14. You might want to think about picking up a Molle Surgical Kit I picked up one on Ebay for $60 and it has a lot of instruments that will come in handy when you many doing medical tasks that you now get done in the emergency room.

  15. Remember that over the counter as well as prescription meds have a relatively short shelf life. Be sure to check the expirationd date.

    1. May I suggest a wine cooling unit, it keeps the meds at the correct temp and humidity. Especially for those who need special medications long term.

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  17. I love the bucket idea I have all that kind of stuff in diffrent areas it would be so nice to have it all grouped together Thanks for sharing

  18. Most excellent project! One I really, really avoid doing myself. LOL Every time I get to worrying that I might not have enough stuff, I just go get more to make sure. I have a fair idea of where it all is, maybe not specific. I try to keep things in logical places so I know where to look for it-- nails in the shop, bandaging in the hall closet. But I really, really don't want to get it all out and count it.

  19. Thanks Patrice. I love your organisation and it was a good reminder to check our supplies.

    I find it difficult sometimes knowing what quantities to buy, especially with products that have an expiry date. I have recently had a few packets of painkillers pass this date. We hardly ever use them so I'm not surprised by this. Fortunately I bought them on sale but I still hate to waste money.

    I guess it's better to have more than you need than not enough. I've also heard that such products can be safely used well beyond their expiry date. A pharmacist's assistant once told me that even bandages will lose their elasticity over time. That's another thing worth noting and checking during inventories.


  20. Things you must have & can get them cheaper at a medical supply. 4X4 Sterile & non sterile in the bulk, buy 12 ply they last longer & absorb more. Paper tape, Transpore tape, Medipore tape all made by 3M the best there is. Ace bandages with velcro closures. Roller gauze you need lots of it. Alcohol, Betadine generic @ Walmart, Qtips, tweezers, bandages sissors good ones, buy then from a medical supply or the internet, Suture sissors to remove stiches. I keep all of this & more.

  21. Don't forget honey. It is good as a food item but also very good for treating numerous medical problems (diabetic with low blood sugar, cough, sore throat, wound management..etc.).