I think by now we all know the basics of preparing for an emergency (especially one that involves losing electric and water supply) and what basics we should have on hand (water, canned goods, etc). I am not a “prepper” per say, but I do like to be prepared. I have had to use my prepared pantry in the past, and am so very glad that I had it!
If you have already done some “prepping” and have a well stocked pantry along with an adequate emergency water supply, you’re in great shape. If you haven’t, please start on doing that before you start stocking up on the “luxury” items that I will be discussing. The most important thing is to survive in the face of an emergency.
Here are just a few of the “luxury” items that I feel would make muddling through a period of emergency much more bearable. They are in no particular order.
- Charcoal. Not only can you grill food with it, but you can purify water and even make an individual tin-can burner with charcoal as the fuel. Charcoal is also a natural “dehumidifier” and odor neutralizer.
- Paper plates, cups and bowls. Plastic cutlery. In a situation where you have limited water, the last thing you want to do is use that water to try to wash some dishes. Stock up on paper items that you can simply throw away or burn after use.
- Board games. Your cell phone will eventually lose power as will your charged laptops, iPads, etc. Your family will need something to do. Board games to the rescue!
- Batteries. You’ll need them for everything from flashlights to battery operated clocks. Stock up.
- Hand warmers. When the heat goes off, you will so happy to have these!
- Hand sanitizer. Use instead of water to clean your hands, preserving that precious H2O.
- Deck of cards. No one wants to play board games? Solitaire!
- Oil lamps w/ supply of oil. Yes, you may have propane burning lanterns, flashlights and a campfire or fireplace. I have found that oil lamps are so very efficient and one lamp can provide adequate lighting to an entire room. Plus, they’re pretty. 🙂
- Chocolate. This decadent treat lasts a very long time in the pantry and can be pulled out just when everyone thinks that all hope is gone. Ta-Da!! Chocolate to the rescue!
- Books/magazines. Your Kindle will be no more. Turn some real pages and enjoy!
- Tissues. Yes, you’ve stocked up on a nice supply of TP, but do you want to waste that on a case of the sniffles? And believe me, when the house gets colder and colder…you’re going to sniffle!
- Glow Sticks. Kids can have great fun with glow sticks if the power goes out. Fill a jar with them and you have a night light.
- Craft supplies. If you’re a crafter or hobbyist, stash away a project with all of the necessary items in one tote. Pull out the tote, sit next to the oil lamp, and get to work. No searching through your mounds of craft items in the dark.
- Fondue pot w/ fuel. NOT an electric fondue pot. One that uses actual fuel to heat the contents. You’ll have an indoor way to cook your food and the possibilities are endless! Just make sure you have a high temp cooking oil on hand (like peanut oil) to use. When you need to start using up the supplies in the fridge like cheeses and milk…make a cheese fondue and dip your breads and hot dogs in the gooey-ness!
- Car inverter. These things are worth their weight in gold in my opinion. Plug them into your car and they convert your battery power into AC power so you can plug in household items (like that Kindle charger). Obviously, you need to weigh whether or not it’s worth using your gasoline for whatever you need to power. Your call.
- Walkie talkies. I will guarantee someone in the house is going to “go check it out”…whatever “it” is that happened to disrupt your life. Cell phones won’t be charged, so have a good set of walkie talkies on hand to assure you don’t lose communication.
- Puzzles and puzzle books. This goes along the same idea as solitaire. Activities that can be done by one person if they’re bored.
- OTC medicines. Now you KNOW that about day 2 or 3 someone’s going to get sick. It never fails. Make sure to have headache, allergy, belly and antacid medicines on hand. While you’re at it, stash some vitamins as well.
- Sunscreen. If your emergency happens to occur during the warmer months and you’re able to be outdoors, you’ll want the protections from the fire in the sky.
- Small gifts. What happens if you find yourself going on weeks without power and someone’s birthday falls within that time? You may not be able to invite a bunch of friends to celebrate, but you will be able to provide something to unwrap. It’s also a good idea to keep a package or two of cupcake liners around so that you can fill them with whatever you have on hand (chocolate pieces perhaps?) to help set the mood.
- Reading glasses. If your house is like mine…these “cheater” glasses are everywhere in our house. Yet there are times that we can’t find a single pair. Have some set aside.
- Camera with fresh batteries. You’ll want to preserve these moments forever. Trust me.
- Disposable diapers. A lot of parents are using cloth diapers again, but you really should have at least one pack of disposables put away for a time like this. Nothing like soiled diapers laying around for days or weeks to provide a natural potpourri. Eeeek.
- Toothpaste and floss. No one wants to smell your funky breath when you yell “Yahtzee”! Reserve very small amounts of water to rinse.
- Salt, pepper, dried herbs and spices. Let’s face it…your food is going to be bland. These will help perk them up like they were simmered over the stove by Grandma.
- Home Improvement books. Have one on each subject: Plumbing, Carpentry, Electrical and Masonry. At least you’ll have some knowledge if something goes wrong.
- Extra blankets for pets and to wrap your free standing freezer. Keep your older blankets in a garbage bag or tote (labeled) and grab them as soon as your power goes out. Wrap your chest or upright freezer with the blanket and secure with bungee cords or rope. This will help insulate and preserve your frozen foods even longer.
- Sanitizing wipes. Use these for cleanups in the bathrooms and kitchen instead of water.
- Scented lotion. So us women can smell somewhat fresh. Truth is…we’re not going to be showering, we’re going to need all the help we can get.
- Family members favorite non-perishable foods. For instance, I keep a stash of canned artichoke hearts. Because they’re pretty expensive to buy, we like to cook with them on special occasions. How about Buffalo Wing Sauce? You can make just about anything taste good by slathering it with wing sauce (or so says my husband).
This is my list of not “must-haves”, but “want-haves”. They certainly would make my life a little easier if faced with an emergency. Truth be told, they HAVE made my life easier in emergencies. If you have a “luxury” stash item, I’d love to know about it!