Life hacks are all over the place at the minute (seriously, they’re everywhere) and some are really good – but often they’re more Martha Stewart than Grizzly Adams.
Here are a few life hacks that are applicable not only to regular everyday lifestyles but to those crazy preppers – ahem – people who are of a preparedness mindset as well. While all of these aren’t necessarily life-saving, they all have the potential to save you money and effort in a survival situation.
- This sounds like more of a beauty tip than a prepper tip, but don’t forget to moisturize! Your skin is a barrier that prevents infection. Keep it supple to prevent cracking which provides a route for infection to get into your body. This is an important infection prevention method if antibiotics are either unavailable or no longer work.
- Carry plain, refined sugar with you at all times. Those little sachets from fast food restaurants are ideal. Plain sugar poured into a wound keeps it clean and aids healing.
- In the midst of a winter power outage, if you’re burning fossil fuels to keep warm, make sure you have adequate ventilation to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. You can also get an inexpensive battery operated CO detector.
- A slice from the inner tube of a bicycle tire makes an excellent tourniquet. Bonus: It burns even when wet, so it’s also a great fire starter.
- Never use a ‘space’ blanket on someone who is cold. The silver surface prevents heat from getting to them. Cuddle up and wrap the foil around both of you to retain body heat. (Here are more ways to use one of those blankets for survival.)
- If you are a canner, don’t just put empty mason jars on the shelf, waiting for you to make jam or spaghetti sauce. Keep them filled with water while they’re not in use – they take up the same amount of space whether they’re full of empty.
- Keep up to date with household chores. Half an hour a day can save a mammoth clean up once a week. Being organised means you know where everything is should a personal or large scale disaster strike. As well, you aren’t stuck with a huge pile of laundry that you’ll have to handwash should the power go out for an extended period of time.
- Explore the contents of the under the sink cupboard and the garden shed. It pays to know what does and does not mix with what. Mixing drain cleaner with bleach will fill your bathroom with chlorine gas, never a good thing to do accidentally – however, that knowledge is a fact that could be useful at some point.
- Be careful with wasp nest spray and open flames. Spray plus fire equals flame thrower. (Cough.)
- Winter is coming and depending on where you live that could mean power outages and in turn no heat and light. A couple of cheap garden solar lights would give a better than nothing light to stairs and kids bedrooms.
- Think about a room within a room in winter power outages. A cheap pop up tent will be several degrees warmer inside than the room around it. This is ideal for apartment dwellers who have limited or no secondary heating.
- Practice portion control. Our portion sizes and waistlines are getting bigger. Use smaller plates and let people ask for extra’s if they are still hungry. In a crisis, those who do the most work get the most food as they are using more energy for the good of the family/survival group.
- Get some sun on your skin every day – even in winter. Sunlight synthesises vitamin D in our bodies which in turn strengthens teeth and bones in older individuals and assists with tooth and bone formation in children, and it can also improve your state of mind. It’s a free source of health and happiness.
- Practice good hand hygiene at all times. This is the single most effective infection control method you can employ. Teach children from day one the importance of hand washing. If you don’t have water for any reason use baby wipes and alcohol gel.
- Keep a sharp eye open for typhus lice that will hide in your clothing and give a nasty bite that can lead to fever. Typhus always re-emerges in hard times when keeping clean is difficult or impossible. Anyone who works with individuals who don’t have access to washing and laundry facilities should be aware of typhus.
- Fill empty drinking water bottles with water and freeze them. Full freezers cost less to run and take longer to thaw during a power outage. The frozen bottles work great as coolers in packed lunches and picnic baskets and you get a cold drink thrown in.
- Make two small slits in the cap of larger water bottles, fill and ‘plant’ cap down in a hole between plants. The plant roots stay moist and nothing is lost to evaporation in hot weather.
- Keep old bedsheets because they have a multitude of uses: Cut them down for baby bassinets, shade plants from the sun, protect plants from frost, or use them to make bandages, sleeping bag liners, floor protectors and pet bedding. There are lots more uses but this is supposed to be a quick list.
- Save eggshells. Crumbled eggshells around plants keep the slugs away…their soft undersides can’t cope with the roughness of the shells. Ground to a fine powder they are a fine calcium supplement. If you have chickens, you can feed them back the crumbled eggshells instead of buying a calcium supplement.
- Get a file and some dividers and make yourself a reference book of all the things that could be useful for the area you live in. Put a map in there as well – you never know when you might need one.
- If you have to evacuate in a hurry, instead of trying to pack clothing, grab your dirty clothes hampers. They’re sure to have several complete outfits, right down to the undies, for each family member. All it will cost you is a trip to the laundromat and you can spend your packing time on irreplaceable items.
Can’t get enough prepper hacks? Check out Jim Cobb’s book, Prepper’s Survival Hacks with 50 cool DIYs. One of them just might save your life one day.