A couple of month's worth of staples: flour, rice, oats

A few hundred gallons of water

Alternative cooking: sun ovens

Cupboards full of home-canned goods

Home pharmacy

September was National Preparedness Month

Well, I had PLANNED on using the “September is Preparedness” month platform to talk about what our family is doing/has done in our preparation efforts.

We try to live a prepared way of life every day… growing our food, reducing our consumption, conserving and using alternative water and energy sources.

What would we do if the power does go out – could we go about our daily lives — cooking, cleaning and surviving?  I think we could today, a little bit better than a few years ago.

During discussions, some interesting questions were poised:  Why stock up on disposable stuff,  i.e., toilet paper, shavers, etc? Once it runs out, then what happens?  Once your food stockpile goes, what will you eat?  Once all your supplies are gone, what will you do?  Where will you find the items you need for daily survival?

Weather  – could you tell / forecast the weather without the  weatherman?

Medicine–can you take care of your family without a doctor or pharmaceutical drugs?

Water–can you store water or do you know of a  water source nearby?  Could you filter the natural water source for safety, to make it potable?

Security — interesting subject, of course, and makes for very heated discussions.

Fuel/Energy – could you function without it? Cook, clean, wash without modern appliances?

Food – having a stockpile of food is good but think about long term – after the food runs out,could you grow or be able to get local foods?

Currency – focus on alternative currency options…. Think beyond gold, can you barter goods or services?

Communications – you’re cut off. No cell phones, no computers… now what?

Sanitation – what to do with trash and human waste?

Some suggestions  – save old sheets, t shirt make great rags, bandages and even TP!   For ladies, think about alternative to store bought pads that can be reused.    Anything that is THROW AWAY can not be replaced when disaster strikes.   Instead of stocking up on thousands of rolls of TP, look for alternatives than can be used over again.  Anything STORED can and will run out. Guys, learn to use a straight edge razor…. or none at all. *grin*

Instead of worrying about having enough batteries or stored energy on hand.  How about going UNPLUGGED? Hand-powered kitchen appliances, typewriter, sewing machine.  Learn to think like  past generations, even third world countries, if you want to be a survivor!


After the NZ quake, we made sure to give our house a once over, making sure things were secure if the earth decided to shake us around.

To keep the cabinets from popping open and all the canned goods splattering on the floor. we  attached a hook and latch on our kitchen cabinets.  Also, in every room, all the “knick knacks” were  anchored with museum putty.

We also made sure there was a wrench nearby to shut off the gas.  Water, batteries and other emergency goodies were checked to see if we had enough on hand.

Talking about preparing for this or that disaster, we have a bit of a different take – it’s about a daily survival lifestyle.   Live this way, disaster or no disaster.

As we see it, we are preparing for  a future way of life and  not just for a disaster that may come our way, thereby forcing us to change.

We are trying to find the answers.  We believe that the true answer to this dilemma is to to change your mindset and to change yourself.  Think differently and acquire the survival skills that you need to  to make a go of it when the world is changing around you.  Know how to grow your own food, save seeds, build a fire, can your own food, make your own clothes, be self-sufficient.  The world may change, supplies may be gone, but you will have the skills needed to start over.  The best way to prepare for the future is to prepare YOURSELF with survival  skills, not just store up your home with supplies.

Is there a goal you are hoping to reach with your preparations? What’s the next step?

Need to stock your modern homestead with such essentials?  SHOP NOW!


  1. Lori from PA says:

    During the unexpected October blizzard here on the East Coast this past weekend, our mostly off-grid home hosted a teen Halloween party which had been scheduled before the freak storm was on the radar. We assumed no one would come out for the party, as the weather had knocked out power to all the homes in the area. We were pleasantly surprised when the teens came out anyway through sleet and snow to gather for a hot meal and games in front of a warm fire here. It was good to be able to share with neighbors during that 4-day outage, and I think our own teens learned a lovely lesson from the experience.

    The example you are setting will make good neighbors out of many people who otherwise might have been caught unprepared.

  2. Terry says:

    I had never thought about needing to turn off the gas! I have always been glad to have a gas furnace and stove, neither require any electricity to get them going. But I had never thought about a possibility of needing to turn the main gas off. I need to find out how to do that!!!

  3. Pat says:

    Great article.
    I’ve been thinking about preparing for a disaster…natural or government imposed; but I’ve never thought in terms of preparing for a different/ future way of life.

    I found some of these ideas handy! The wrench for example is a good idea. I should probably know how to turn off the gas from the propane tank! We have a ‘key’ to turn off our water supply. One concern I have is an alternative water source…we have municiple water–I’m trying to convince the husband the need for a water well!

    All of your ideas are great and wonderful food for thought.

  4. aimee says:

    Would love to more about where you store your items, if you have any tips? We live in Texas where most people don’t get to enjoy basements 🙁 for storage and most attics were not finished spaces (so you could store the other stuff to keep the food on main levels). We have a garage that’s not attached, nor heated and cooled so it’s not ready to store items. We have items of food storage sealed in 5 gallon buckets and disposable items under beds, food in boxes in my master lol. Just cramming it every nook I can. I suppose having shelving vs just stacking as I do may give it a more organized look? Short of adding on a home addition I’m at a loss for how to manage it effectively (one place for rotation) and astetically.

  5. Ruth G says:

    With this past week’s freak snowstorm and subsequent power outage, it was good to know that we did not need to run out and get anything as we always like to be prepared for that kind of emergency (it happens at least once each winter). Our only real nuisance was lack of water. Although we do have a well, the pump is electric. As we do not own the house we can not make a change to that. But we always store drinkng water and tap water in many gallons (we had about 100 gallons stored). We melted snow to use in flushng the toilet a couple times a day. I wasn’t going to waste our precious drinking water on that. But if we lost power and there was no snow to melt that would be our first annoyance to deal with. In addition to canning fruits and veggies as is, we also can up ready to eat meals that just need to be heated like soup and chili, cuts down on the anxiety of trying to mix, prepare and cook things when we can’t easily wash dishes.
    Thanks for the tips and thoughts on preparedness.
    Ruth in New Hampshire

  6. Beverly says:

    Made me think of this:

  7. Ginger says:

    I was just made the preparedness specialist at my church. This topic is so fascinating to me. Like you I don’t buy all sorts of stuff I’ll never use and store it away. I don’t want to survive; I want to thrive. If I live pioneer skills today, like growing my own food, thrift, being my own doctor, and so forth, when emergencies come, it will be old hat. I have those same blue barrels and glass cracker jars. I still want to move next door 8).

  8. Moonbeams and Eco-Dreams says:

    We are starting out getting prepared for a few days or weeks. We have to start somewhere and it is financially overwhelming to try to do long-term all at once. Gradual is viable around here. Canning food. Storing water. Buying a generator. Building networks with like-minded folks. Long-term I’d like to put in a wood burning stove.

  9. Nebraska Dave says:

    Anais, being prepared for disaster will become a must in future days. I believe that power outages will continue with longer periods of outage. Our days of splurging through power consumption, food waste, and squandering of our water supplies are drawing to a close. Food and water are always the most needed supplies during disaster times.

    Medication has been on my mind lately. It amazes me how many folks take prescription medication. I being in that class of people have been wondering just how to deal with a long term break down of medication supply. Your home pharmacy section of the cupboards intrigued me. I really should learn more about how to survive without medication. We are a medicated society. Sad but true. Do you grow most of your medicinal herbs or acquire them through other means? I certainly would be interested in learning more about that section of your storage.

    Have a great being prepared day.

  10. Earth Witch says:

    Practically all women could switch to using a Diva Cup or The Keeper to save a lot of money and always have reusable menstrual protection. I have no idea why women keep pouring money into the tampon industry.

  11. Elise says:

    Due to the October snow, we had many downed lines. The representative from the power company told me that, in our state, 4,500 power lines were downed due to hurricane Irene, and 15,000 power lines were downed with the October 2011 snow. Although we were/are prepared for emergencies, we had a good trial run on our preparedness. We lost power for for six full days.

    We have had a generator for quite and number of years, and we certainly have used it in all seasons, but for short periods of time. It was great, but it had its own side effects.

    Our routine was disrupted. Everything took much longer than what we were used to. It wasn’t bad, but inconvenient, and over time it would either wear thin, or we would adjust. We probably would adjust.

    We weren’t badly prepared. We certainly could be better prepared. Unfortunately, you cannot prepare for every situation. And those trees that aren’t in the best spots for heavy winds or snow on a full leafed deciduous plant? They are going. Too much potential damage! We also have that list started on tweaking our preparedness.

  12. Maria says:

    Lovely inspiring pictures 🙂

    Best wishes from
    Maria, Sweden

  13. steph higgins says:

    @ Dave I do agree that being prepared is going to have to be top priority. When we first bought our house (12 yrs ago now) we never lost power. It would ficker or be off for maybe an hr. But this year we have already lost it twice for 3 days or more. What is happening?

  14. elaine nieves says:

    Having gone through the Northridge and Sylmar earthquake I know we should be prepared. Hook and latch help with keeping the cupboards closed. Also for bookshelves and free standing entertainment units had to be attached to the walls as they toppled over. Your staples and pharmacy units will have things fall out and break in a mid size earthquake. Maybe you can use plastic containers or add a cord or raised front to hold the jars in. I remember we had a lot of sweeping up to do after those quakes. Secure as much as you can.

  15. Phillipa says:

    Hello there. Was reading your post and saw all your lovely preserves in glass up on shelves.Oh boy. I thought. Not good in an earthquake.
    Im in Christchurch Nz and all our pantries were emptied.Then I read furthur down and see you have fixed the problem 🙂
    Its over a year now and we still havnt put our big ornaments back up. Anything breakable is still on the floor. :)Bluetack would not be strong enough.

    A tip. A generator is Ok IF you have a fuel supply.Always have another alternative as well.
    There is also a gadget available now that is a torch,radio and cell phone charger that is wind-up. Its brilliant.
    Tip 2. Make sure those big Tvs are tied back.Tie them to the wall somehow as they will tip their cabinets over. We had 2 toddlers killed here when the Tvs fell on them.
    Tip 3. A well is no good in most disasters as they can get contaminated.If you have one, get a water testing kit.
    Tip 4. A teaspoon of bleach will kill bacteria in a bucket of water. Keep bleach.
    It will smell for awhile but fades over time. The water that is.

    Tip 5. MAKE sure you have back-up medicines. and a batch of basics..

    Tip 6 Hand sanitiser was really sort after.

    Oh theres heaps more we learnt down
    We had enough stored food , it was the fresh that got difficult.. Gardens in the area were covered in dust and mud.We had to get to the otherside of the city for supplies.That was a real
    The supermarkets took 6 months to reopen. Some havnt after a year. and the farmers markets are only just getting going again.

    But being prepared is a darn good idea.
    Oh another idea. Keep some of your kit in the house, some in the garage.Chances are that hopefully one area will be Ok or easier to get to.
    Anyway I love your blog
    Regards Phillipa
    from Christchurch NZ.

  16. Jenni, New Zealand says:

    One of neighbours keeps jars of preserves on shelves in the garage. They have stretched curtain wire on hooks in front of the jars. Seems sensible to me. We live 100 miles away from Christchurch and have a son, daughter and son-in-law living there. After both the September and February quakes we had the three of them stay with us for a little while. Some preparedness may not be for yourselves but for friends or family. May be good to have a sofa that unfolds into a bed or camp stretchers stored away.

  17. Scott James says:

    Yes, and once you have your own preparations in place, it’s wise to encourage your neighbors to do so as well. After all, that season’s worth of supplies in the pantry will dwindle quickly when shared with unprepared neighbors and friends who show up on the doorstep during an emergency.

  18. All Natural Katie says:

    I have been slowly getting stuff for EM preparedness, but it takes a long time. I have been learning how to garden and can, so that I have some skills.

    Question: Do you put the flour, rice, oats in the glass jars and just screw the lid on? I notice you have some stuff in the white buckets and some stuff in glass jars.

    Comment: I would love to see more on the natural medicines. Your medicine cabinet is adorable!

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      Katie It took us quite awhile too to stockpile goods for an EM. To answer your question – both. The ones stored in glass with the easy screw lid are the ones we use every day. The rest of the bulk foods get stored in food safe plastic buckets.

  19. Lynda says:

    I would be worried about an earthquake and all those glass jars lined up on the steel shelves and the cabinet with curtains. Even with a latch door system, if it is a significant earthquake the cabinet can come off the wall.

    Rather than a generator, that means storing fuel, I should think some solar panels (especially here in SoCal) would be a good idea. I want some to minimally run our well pump. I am stocking up on bleach to purify well water. But, I will also need to store water as, again, if it is a big earthquake, the well pipes could break and the pump would be a moot point. Ours is over 300ft deep.

    What plans do you have for human waste disposal? We have septic, but again, if lines break apart and break down…

    • Anais Dervaes says:

      Thanks for the earthquake tips. We do have 12 solar panels and a compost toilet. As for the generator we are looking at a diesel one that could run on our homemade biodiesel that’s made out of waste vegetable oil that we get FREE from a local restaurant.

  20. KK says:

    What a wonderful post Anais! I just learned about your website and can’t stop reading. You are giving me so much to think about. I am going to do some research and see how soon I can get started on canning. Thank you!

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