Author of Be Ready for Anything and Bloom Where You’re Planted online course
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.
Survival Life Hacks
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.
- Watch out for carbon monoxide. 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.
- Don’t throw out old bicycle tubes. 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.)
- Fill your jars. 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 or empty.
- Keep up to date with household chores. Half an hour a day can save a mammoth clean up once a week. Being organized 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.
- Know what household chemicals should NOT be stored together. 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 also be useful at some point.
- Be careful with wasp nest spray and open flames. Spray plus fire equals flame thrower. (Cough.)
- Be ready for cold weather. 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. Also, you should know all sorts of different ways to stay warm.
- 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 extras 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 synthesizes 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 some reason use baby wipes and alcohol gel.
- Use that giant hunting knife in your kitchen. If you are like most preppers, you have a huge hunting knife in your bug out bag. But how often do you use it? Serious injuries can happen when you’re using a new, unwieldy tool. Use your big knife in the kitchen cutting up food to get more familiar with it so you can use it with ease.
- 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 a plant waterer from trash. 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. Keep track 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. See this article for details.
- 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.
Do you have any other easy prepper hacks?
Share your quick hacks in the comments below!