Thursday, July 17, 2008

Stocking Up

So I've renewed my interest in setting things by thanks to Sharon's post here, and I've been trying to come up with a list of things. We already do grab up whatever we see that's good of most of the things Sharon mentioned, though I haven't yet gotten into the habit of buying up future sizes of shoes (partly because I'm so fussy about the quality/utility of shoes and partly just because Evelyn doesn't even actually wear shoes yet, so I'm not in the habit.) There's a fair bit she hasn't gone into detail on yet, though I hope she will. In trying to come up with my own very specific "shopping list", I also referred to the list mentioned in the comments, which I had seen before.

As before, mostly what strikes me about this second list is how much of it I don't really give a damn about, or don't consider an issue. Shaving supplies? No one really shaves around here anyway, but even if we did, I don't know that we'd consider it critical in an emergency situation. I mean, I'm not faulting the list per the end it talks about retaining your humanity, and probably for some people that includes shaving. But for us? Not so much, unless you consider that we're already pretty much barbarians anyway. A generator is not on our list either, for all of the reasons mentioned. They're noisy, smelly, and nasty, they don't do jack if you don't have fuel anyway, and as some Katrina survivors can attest, they unwelcome element.

Baby supplies are another interesting area. Well, yes, I suppose I have stocked up on baby supplies, in that with any luck I already possess every diaper any child of mine will ever need up to about a year old or more. Which would take a lot of space if they weren't cloth. And the only external thing I need to keep us in salve is olive oil. Basically, I already buy absolutely nothing from the baby aisle, so stocking up on stuff I don't use would be a bit odd, unless I meant it for barter. On the other hand, it has seriously occurred to me to deliberately lactate for as long as I can keep it up, just in case. Feminine hygiene products are the long as I have a good stash of both cloth pads and cloth wound dressings, I don't need to stock up on the disposables.

Again, I'm not bashing the list (at least, for anything but being thoroughly disorganized). On the contrary, I'm finding it useful. It's just that, ultimately, everyone has to make their own list. Which is annoying, I know. I do like to see what other people have thought of, though, so I thought I might put down what I've come up with so far.

It's a big subject, and now that I'm thinking about it, there are a lot of lists to be made. That's okay...I'm a list person. I like lists. This first list is probably best termed "household expendables". It's not emergency-oriented, and it doesn't include tools and other large, one-time purchases. It also doesn't include food--that's a whole 'nother topic.

Speaking of which, one last thing before the list. Some people always have various objections to stocking up, or hoarding, as it may be.

The first is that "hoarding" deprives other people of needed resources. Which it does, in times of scarcity. Which, happily, we haven't hit yet. Right now it's still a "just in time" economy, and demand mostly dictates supply. If I buy something now and then save it, the result is rather that someone else might have it that would otherwise not, if I choose to share. Also, most of the things on Sharon's list, for example, and my analogous list that hasn't yet been made, are things that people are already getting rid of. A good deal of what Jacob and I have set by for hard times is stuff that people were actually throwing away. With that stuff, we save everything that opportunity affords, and we most certainly will share it if people need it.

Another argument is that if society really collapses, then we're going to have to find alternatives anyway, so why not begin that way? That's a dumb enough argument that I think it's probably just a cover for avoidance, but consider: do you want to learn how to grow your own food and make your own shoes and brush your teeth with twigs and wipe your butt with leaves and cook over wood and make twine from weeds all at once, or would you like to be able to delay some of those projects a while? Besides, for all we know, there'll only be a temporary disruption in supply. Or none. Maybe we'll just be too broke to buy this shit. I tell you what: if nothing happens worse than Jacob losing his job, I'll still be mighty fucking glad I stocked up.

And for those of you with a minimalist aesthetic, well, all I can say is 1. Suck it up. Minimalism is pretty clearly a reaction to an affluent society, and while it's a reasonable one, it probably has no place in a poor society. 2. Get yourself some nice built-in storage so you can have it all organized and out of sight. Also, remember...the point is that this IS the minimum you need--just a lot of it at once. I am still a firm believer in “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

Last but not least, there's the "how will you protect your stash" argument. Well, hell, how do you protect anything? First choice would be to not give away that you have anything to steal. Are people going to know that I have a couple gallons of vodka in my upstairs bathroom cabinet? Only if I put out a sign. Meanwhile, I don't have much patience with the idea of just not getting anything because someone might try to take it away. Just, uhh, try not to look too prosperous or something. Shouldn't be too hard for us...we look like hobos most of the time.

Okay, anyway, now I'm just procrastinating having to organize the list. Again, this list doesn't include any of the "big stuff", tools, etc. This list consists entirely of what, in shop talk, are known as "expendables"--i.e., you use them up. Well, or in some cases substitutes for expendables, as in cloth diapers. Also, this is MY list. You, obviously, may not need diapers or contact solution. Anyway, enough quibbling, here we go:

Personal hygiene:
  • Toothbrushes
  • toothpaste
  • floss
  • soap
  • witch hazel (for blending w/ var. herbs)
  • rubbing alcohol
  • baking soda
  • vinegar
  • soap
  • extra contacts
  • extra glasses
  • contact solution
  • toilet paper
  • hand sanitizer
  • baby wipes (not for baby...I use cloth for that. In case of water scarcity.)
  • Menstrual supplies (cloth for preference, since we have every reasonable expectation of a steady water supply)
  • Diapers (see above)
  • mineral salt deodorant
Handyman stuff:
  • duct tape
  • zip ties
  • Misc. hardware: screws, nails, bolts, etc. (whatever you find free or cheap. Jacob almost never has to purpose-buy hardware because he scrounges it whenever he finds it.)
  • tarps
  • twine
  • rope
  • Sharpies
  • sand paper
Kitchen (not food):
  • Canning jars and extra lids
  • cleaning rags
  • propane canisters (assuming you have a camp stove that uses them)
  • cheese cloth
  • dish soap
  • scrubbies
  • baking soda
  • washing soda
  • borax (I make our laundry soap w/ washing soda, borax, and bar soap)
  • white vinegar
  • lye (for soapmaking, assuming you have any interest in that)
  • any cleaning products you don't really want to be parted with (in my case, Dirtex for the hardcore dirt and Goo Gone for the sticky messes).
  • Rags
  • Paper towels (for some things they really are easier than cloth)
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • extra work clothes (Jacob destroys jeans and t-shirts like you wouldn't believe)
  • work gloves
  • extra pair sturdy work boots (again, you wouldn't think these were expendables if you didn't know a man like Jacob)
(I started to list a lot more stuff and then remembered that this is supposed to be just remember, there's a lot more here).

  • small bandages
  • sterile cloth or gauze bandages
  • Ibuprophen
  • vodka (for making tinctures)
  • rubbing alcohol
  • antiseptic (we make our own--Kloss' Herbal Liniment)
  • general-purpose salve (again, homemade in our case)
  • echinacea
  • herbal expectorant syrup (we should make our own...get back to me on that)
  • vitamin C
  • arnica gel (for bruises and strains)
  • throat lozenges
  • Benadryl
  • sunblock
  • aloe (a good healthy plant by preference)
  • surgical tape
  • q-tips
  • other stuff I'm not thinking of now cuz this should probably be its own list dear god.
General household:
  • sewing needles
  • thread
  • buttons
  • trash bags
  • safety pins
  • candle wicking (we have shitloads of scrap candles for wax, bought dirt cheap)
  • flashlight batteries
  • aluminum foil
  • ziploc bags
  • paper
  • pens
  • pencils
Okay, that's it for now, I've had enough punishment. Now the figuring out a reasonable schedule for getting what we don't have. Jacob'll have a twitch.

Oh, right...whoops. Wooden matches and condoms.


jim said...

One thing on my list I didn't see on yours is hydrogen peroxide. Did you mean to leave it off? Also I wanted to mention in case you didn't know, is that sun screen does expire so don't expect to store it long term. Great list.
Cindy in FL

Squrrl said...

Thanks for the comment!

Yeah, I should add hydrogen peroxide...we did get some, anyway.

As for the sunscreen, we just do what we can, ya know? Fortunately, while I certainly realize that skin damage can be much more subtle than a sunburn, this family consistently tans and almost never burns, so thank goodness for small mercies, right?