21 Life Hacks To Help You Breeze Through the Apocalypse (or at Least the Next Power Outage)

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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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Be careful with wasp nest spray and open flames. Spray plus fire equals flame thrower. (Cough.)
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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!

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3) PreppersDailyNews.com, an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

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  • Started out with the number of the hack I thought was best then decided that they all were great BUT the last, #21 has got to be the best, and the funniest, hack I’ve ever read. Except on laundry day my clothes hamper has at least 1 full change of clothes. Thanks for the great post.

  • Daisy, about your item #10 cheap garden solar lights suggestion. Yes, it works, and works well, but … it helps a lot to know what to shop for. Some come with on/off switches, but most don’t. Get the kind WITH that switch. Otherwise, it will run down from being “on all the time.” That forces you to set it (or them) out in the sun every day or two YEAR AROUND in order to keep it charged up. That is a real (and highly forgettable) nuisance.

    Secondly, most such solar lights are designed to run on a NiCad battery, and typically such lights are sold with the cheapest lowest-capacity NiCads they can find. I found much higher capacity NiCads at my local Fry’s to replace the factory-supplied cheapies.

    The combination of the on/off switch along with the highest capacity NiCad battery you can find means that after you switch the light off, once it’s fully charged, it will hold that charge for several months — without your having to make daily (or so) runs outside to recharge a light you can’t turn off. That switch also lets you use the light like a real flashlight, instead of something you have to hide in a box so its always-on light doesn’t disturb your sleep — and your to-do list.

    Hope this helps, and thanks for your many wonderful articles over the years.

  • #20..Get more than 1 binder. I have binders divided in 2 or 3 sections & now have 6 binders full of recipes for stockpiled foods, medical advice for tough times, gardening advice, etc. I started out small but keep dividing categories so I can find things. It took me too long to find the recipe in the medical section to help a dehydrated person the other day. Maybe I need to start an index for each category.

  • Thanks for the article.

    I would disagree with #15.
    “15. Use that giant hunting knife in your kitchen.”

    Each knife blade edge grind has its purpose. Larger knifes, six to seven inches and longer, usually have a convex edge grind on the blade for pushing/splitting objects apart. A smaller knife around four inches, the edge grind is usually a concave edge hollow ground, to slice through objects.

    While a larger knife can do what smaller knifes can do and not vice-versa, that is not what they were designed for. It will not perform as well and dull the blade in addition to the safety issues.

    Always carry a large and a small knife both preferably a full-tang blade. The smaller knife sheath can be attached to the larger sheath along with a sharpening stone if it doesn’t get too heavy.

    And yes, learn how to use them beforehand.

    My recommendation for smaller tasks, Morakniv knifes.
    The ‘Companion Series’ knives are very inexpensive for the quality. The handle has a good grip and the blade is a Scandi-grind, good for kitchen use to feather sticking. (While the Companion series is not a full-tang, Moraknive now makes full tang knifes.)

    I have no association with the following link but it will give a good idea of the Swedish knifes.

    Know the difference between a hunting, skinning, bush craft, survival and self-defense knife, etc. They are not all the same. Consider axes, hatchets, portable saws, even spears (a spear beats a sword in a fight … at least it did in the last couple of thousands of years. Then again laser beats spear, and micro wave … I digress.)

  • Long ago the kids went on a trip to a tropical country where they had to hike in with their bedding. Found some inexpensive berber fleece sleeping bags and lined them with old soft cotton sheets. They said it worked great. Now they are a part of the BOB because they are very light but warm enough for our local climate. Your suggestion for old sheets sparked a memory. Also have an old soft sheet for comfort as part of my medical kit as well as an airline blanket for shock. I’m not a fan of fleece but it has it’s place in a SHTF scenario for being light and warm. A cotton sheet makes it bearable.

  • These are terrific ideas! Thank you. The only thing I would add is that you should put the solar lights in a faraday cage in case of an impending emp to keep them working.

  • 29 unexpected uses of coconut oil


    In addition to the many uses listed above, there are more not mentioned:

    Coconut oil is a good skin lubricant for shaving.

    Coconut oil is useful for gun lubrication, per a recent Natural News article.

    Coconut oil when added to a cotton ball, plus a lit match, makes a great fire starter. (and you can’t eat petroleum jelly)

    Although the healthline article mentions using coconut oil for high temp cooking, I’ve found it works great for low temp cooking of scrambled eggs.

    Finally, coconut oil does not require refrigeration.


  • If bad weather is coming and you know you’re likely to lose power, make hot coffee or tea and put it in a pre-heated thermos wrapped in a towel. It will stay hot for hours even in a cold house, and having a hot beverage is a huge morale booster, not to mention it will raise your core temperature.

  • In addition to the excellent comments about knife edges, selections, and uses, a mention of different knife materials is needed. Typically your choices are stainless steel, carbon steel, and titanium. (Stainless steel is actually stain-resistant steel because if you leave it against anything rusty for very long, that rust will migrate into your formerly stainless steel knife.) Normally for either kitchen or camping use both stainless steel and titanium-coated knives are less trouble and don’t require the frequent anti-rust oiling protection that carbon steel knife makers recommend.

    Sometimes a slightly dulled knife can be a lot safer than a super razor sharp edge. My stainless steel rectangular Chinese cleaver when sharpened to a razor edge tended to snag on all kinds of things (including skin) that was not good. After just a wee bit of dulling that edge it still worked as well for slicing plus picking up and moving sliced goodies without snagging on me.

    Both the stainless steel and the titanium knives need more frequent sharpening (compared to the carbon steel) but they don’t have the same rust risk as carbon steel does without frequent cleaning and oiling. You get to decide which you would rather more of, and where.


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