Thrift Store Prepping Tips

I just watched an interesting YouTube video that you might find helpful. It’s by Kellene Bishop, the Preparedness Pro. On this occasion Kellene had a friend film one of her regular thrift store shopping trips while she commented on the value of various items. Check out Preparedness Pro Tips at the Thrift Store and don’t overlook other people’s comments and the comment I made, suggesting a few more things you can do with thrift store purchases! Here’s a comment I made on another post about thrift store prepping.

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I just wanted to let you all know that I have just updated my Home and School Solutions website. Among other things I added numerous links to all the section favourite link pages, brought the various testimonial (introduction) pages up-to-date, and fixed all the broken links.

The major thing I did, though, is add a Blogs-Plus tab/page. If there is anything I want to add to the website that cannot be naturally included in any of the existing sections (Hebrew Roots, Health=Wealth, Home Schooling, Faith Matters, Desktop Publishing, Store and Services, or About Home and School Solutions) then I will put it here.

Since most of my activity and research in recent years has been in the areas of prepping and gardening, I have put material about these two areas on the Blogs-Plus page. You are invited to go there now and check out all the links I have provided for you.

Have fun!

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100 Days of Prepping

Whooohooo. Kellene Bishop of Preparedness Pro has just announced she is doing a “100 Days of Prepping” series chockful of information in many different forms–videos, articles, books, forum, lists, etc.

Sometime during that period she will be unveiling her new cookbook, which I’ve been looking forward to for awhile because she believes in tasty food from her food stores, which is something I’ve been agonizing about, and since she is a very practical person I know these will be recipes I can really use.

Read all about it!

Have fun!

P.S. I don’t know what’s going to be included but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the following categories will be mentioned somewhere in there. If not, please forgive me.

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Borax is a multpurpose cleaner that we should buy for bugging out?‏

According to this article, you can use borax along with washing soda (both are powders) to wash dishes, which is what I was thinking of doing in camp:

http://www.ehow.com/how_6182569_use-borax-soap.html

That, combined with the fact that borax is good in diaper (and therefore family cloth and menstrual cloth) buckets as a disinfectant and in diluted form as a hand-washing solution means I’m pretty much sold on the idea we should buy lots of borax (and washing soda) for bugging out. I’m astonished that it only recently occurred to me to wonder how we were going to keep our hands clean in camp; what’s up with that?

Which reminds me, we’ll need a covered bucket for soaking soiled family (or latrine) cloths and menstrual cloths in before laundry day. I’m thinking it needs to be just a tad larger than the breathing hand washer (which is 8″ in diameter) I’ve ordered so that the cloths can be washed right in that bucket (which will also help with the ick factor). Here’s a picture of what I’ve decided to do myself because I already have the materials, but you can purchase the complete set-up from Anitra Kerr at Simply Living Smart–another one of my favourite preppers! 

I’ve purchased four small Rubbermaid totes to use as kitchen sinks (dedicated basins for washing and then rinsing dishes, and whatever other stuff ones does in a normal kitchen) and bathroom sinks (dedicated basins for washing and then rinsing hair and other stuff one does in the bathroom). I’m really going to miss my taps!!

I also found a small blue bucket to go into our Luggable-Loo for easy waste removal (both of which will need to be scrubbed regularly). We will have to place something small underneath the small bucket to raise it up to the top edge of the Lug-A-Loo to reduce spillover, but that’s not a biggie. And that reminds me to stock up on rubber gloves, each pair of which will have a dedicated purpose. I don’t want to be washing clothes with rubber gloves that were used to scrub the toilet!

I’m loving the powdered laundry soap I made from borax, super washing soda and Linda bar soap (see a previous post on that) so I have no problem using the same ingredients for washing dishes. My major concern while searching out a suitable recipe was whether or not any other ingredient was necessary. I don’t really see using a laundry bar soap to wash dishes, but Octagon was highly recommended on Annienygma’s website and she’s one smart frugal cookie. Hey, if a bar soap helps with washing dishes I might just as well use the same homemade laundry detergent for my dishes! But why bother with a recipe at all if equal parts borax and washing soda can do the job with no additional ingredients? I may still search out a recipe and/or a local source of Octagon bar soap but in the meantime, I think I’ll buy another box of borax and washing soda and experiment!

By the way, in the course of all this research I’ve discovered there is a raging controversy over whether or not borax is some foreign toxic poisonous substance. I’m satisfied now that it’s not–it’s perfectly safe to use for all the cleaning we’ll need to do and might even be a useful dietary supplement! Wow, did I really type that? Check out this (lengthy) article “The Borax Conspiracy” and decide for yourself!

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Washboard Laundry Day

Well, y’all knew I’d have to eventually google washboards right? I just saw this cute little video where 10-year old or so Alicia demonstrates washing a shirt or something on a washboard and it reminded me that we’ll need a little bit more than a washboard to keep our clothes clean out in camp or at home if we don’t have electricity. Have a look: http://www.pioneerliving.net/washboard.htm

In addition to the washboard, which I have yet to find…gonna try Canadian tire or a second-hand store or, of course, I could buy it online…we have to have other tools:

The soap to wash with! An article I read says to rub bar soap on the washboard and then onto an article of clothing placed onto the washboard, and then scrub. Repeat with each piece of clothing. I would get several bars of Linda laundry bar soap, but have no idea how many because I don’t know how long a bar would last in those conditions. I would get Linda simply because it’s available at Food Basics, which in turn means it’s probably the cheapest I would be able to find. In this video, though, that’s not stated and sudsy wash water was prepared beforehand. I would simply add the homemade laundry soap I wrote about last week and agitate that until it’s all dissolved before dumping in the first load of laundry. Perhaps even dissolve it in boiling water and then mix it into the wash water. I’m guessing I would need less than the 1 tablespoon scoop I currently use for my automatic washing machine, so I’ll probably say 1 teaspoon? That brings me to…

Long gloves to wear while scrubbing.  Since my homemade laundry soap is made with superwashing soda and borax as well as Linda bar soap I’m thinking I’ll need to protect my hands and sleeves! Don’t want to damage my fingernails any more than necessary and certainly don’t want kids laughing at grandma skin (aka wrinkles) on my fingers!

It would be wise to have hand lotion on hand to help my hands and face recover from the constant work, sun and wind!

An apron with pockets to protect my clothes from splashes and to hold my clothes pins. I mean, one’s mouth can only hold so many pins… There are many different kinds of aprons, ranging from the simple panel that covers your front from waist to knees to those that give full coverage like a dress. I would opt for the one-size-fits-all BBQ style that covers your sides and front from neck to knees, and I would refrain from making it cute so that the men won’t be afraid to use it. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest each campsite should have at least two–one heavy-duty apron (in denim or oilcloth) for protecting clothing while chopping/carrying wood, etc. and one lighter easy-to-wash apron for protection around the camp stove and laundry tub. Come to think of it, an oilcloth one would be perfect for laundry day!

A clothesline! I understand there are many, many uses for paracord and this is one of them. I would say you should have a dedicated length of paracord that is used only for laundry. Once you’ve done all the hard work of scrubbing your clothes, you don’t want to be placing them onto a line that’s dirty from holding down all the stuff on your bug out trailer or dragging dead carcasses out of the forest. And when you are measuring out your laundry paracord, don’t forget to allow a few feet for tying it to trees!

But, I have digressed again. I have a habit of doing that….

Before you can get around to hanging up your laundry, you need to get your dirty clothes clean! You need more than one tub/bucket/tote and at least one of them needs to be big enough to accommodate your washboard. That means you need to acquire your washboard before you go shopping for laundry tubs/buckets/totes. In this video, you’ll see they’ve used a galvanized tub to wash the clothes in. That’s because that tub can be placed over a fire to get the water hot. If you want to boil your water in pots you already have instead (you’d better have big ones and get started early) you can get away without the galvanized tub. However, galvanized tubs are great for bathing in (oh, now I’m feeling old).

That leads me to another digression: if you are going to do laundry in the same tub you bathe in, you’ll need to have a good way of scrubbing soap scum off it between uses. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wash my clothes in water contaminated from someone’s last bath. I don’t even want to bathe in a tub contaminated from my own last bath! (Ditto for a basin used for washing your hair and your dishes.) Also you’ll want your tubs/buckets/totes to do double duty as storage containers for when you are moving between camps. You get the picture. So make sure you have enough rags and cleanser for scrubbing your containers!

Note: We’ve been told that our containers should have locking lids, especially for when we’re moving about, to help keep everything dry and in place. My friend suggests Rubbermaid containers as they are the only ones that can stand up to drilling holes in them for securing lids to the container with quick ties, or whatever they’re called. He recommends drilling holes in one lid and container first and then using the lid as a template for the rest of the lids and containers. That way, all of the lids are interchangeable!

Okay, back to the laundry. Didn’t know this would be such a complex issue did you?

You’ll need tubs/buckets/totes also for a first rinse and a second rinse. Those can be plastic and they can be smaller. The second rinse is in cold water, used particularly for cooling boiled clothes so you can handle them. I’ll explain what that’s about in a minute, but first I want to suggest that if you’d rather have dedicated laundry tubs/buckets/totes you should find three that fit inside of each other perfectly (with or without lids, but lids make them more multi-purpose) and then use the innermost one to store your other laundry supplies. When acquiring your three tubs/buckets/totes you might want to start with whatever container(s) holds your 3.5 year supply of laundry soap to make sure it will fit inside, then allow room for the gloves, clothesline, clothespins, long wooden spoon and/or tongs, etc. Maybe even your washboard.

In the article we were told to boil the clothes for an hour before washing them (makes it easier, apparently, but ewwww) and in this video we were told to boil the washed clothes for about 5 minutes to sterilize them, and cooking pots were used for that. Of course, they could be the pots you boiled water in previously for your wash tub. And naturally, that means you’ll have to have a fire going beforehand with enough wood nearby to keep you going through the whole process. If I have to do all this, I don’t think I’ll be doing laundry any more often than necessary! (Or maybe doing smaller loads more frequently would make it easier…) Anyhow, I understand that the sun does an excellent job of bleaching and sterilizing clothes, so I’d try to wait for sunny days before doing laundry. But there will be those days when we cannot do all/any of this outside…think the middle of a Canadian winter…when you’ll have to boil water on your camp stove and hang the laundry inside your tent so the heat from the stove can dry them out. (Amusing story alert: When I was a kid we hung clothes outside even in winter and at least once I snapped legs off frozen pants! I’ve been wanting to try that again so if you’re in my camp and have a pair of pants you want to turn into shorts, please let me have a crack at it!) Anyway, you might be concerned about perfectly clean and pretty clothes when you start out, but I’m sure that will be the least of your worries toward the end! I guess boiling clothes would be a great idea, though, if we stumble into areas where we are contaminated by egg-laying-bugs…

The girl in the video used tongs to remove clothes from the boiling pot. I think a long wooden spoon would serve as well. If you use a wooden spoon you’ll probably want that dedicated, too, so you are not serving up laundry detergent-flavoured deer stew at the end of a long day! Tongs are great for dealing with pasta and are easier to get perfectly clean, but if your family suffers from ick-that’s-gross syndrome you might want dedicated tongs, also.

In an article but not the video the point was made to start with the cleanest laundry first (obviously so you don’t have to get new water for each load). For me that means wash the tea towels first and underwear and pads last. Or maybe the jeans… Your decision.

Got a backache just imagining doing all this? That’s nothing compared to what will happen if you don’t set up your laundry site properly. You need to get your laundry tubs/buckets/totes set up at a level that’s comfortable so you don’t have to bend over any further than necessary. I don’t know about you, but I can’t visualize myself either kneeling on or bending down to the ground to deal with laundry! I get a backache just standing at the kitchen counter chopping vegetables! So utilize blocks, logs, rocks or whatever is at hand to raise your tubs/buckets/totes off the ground. If necessary, you could overturn a couple of your other storage containers to serve as temporary worktables. I would set everything up before I got started, beginning with the fire so water can be heating up while you work, after deciding where the clothesline will be.

Speaking of which, the article suggests having a laundry basket. If you work close by your clothesline it shouldn’t be a huge issue if you don’t have one when hanging up wet clothes one by one as they come out of the rinse water. But it is really nice to have one when removing dry clothes from the line. Of course, you can always use one of your scrubbed out laundry tubs/buckets/totes–assuming that all of your clothes have already been washed and hung up and they’re no longer needed for that purpose.  So don’t take your much-needed rest after laundering your clothes until you’ve also scrubbed out your containers! Procrastination has a way of coming back to bite you, like when it starts to rain while you are resting with a cup of tea and you have no choice but to grab clothes off the line and drop them into a dirty tub!

Well, I’ve written enough to make you decide to hire a camp laundry maid so I’ll sign off for now. I’d be interested to hear how you have decided to manage your laundry.

Connie, laundry maid-to-be

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Preparedness Pro Contest

Ack! I just went through all the articles to this point (1-76) to see how many times I’ve already voted and I’ve already shot my wad! Did so before I even wrote this article “Cause That’s What Preppers Do”! I should’ve prepped by not voting for anyone just-in-case! But people have been writing such great stuff, I couldn’t help myself!

Anyway, I can’t vote anymore so you are going to have to do it for me! The competition is stiff, folks. There’s somebody with 162 votes already! Another one has 102 votes! There are several in the 30 to 70 range, and many in the 10 to 29 range! So if you really would like me to win something great (and there are many things I’d really like to have–Big Berkey, Sun Oven, WonderMill, even the buckets or the Tattler Lids) you’re going to have to work at it! You can vote FIVE TIMES each, so please do. Others have gotten their families and friends on board and they’ve all voted five times each! If they can do it, you can do it. Helping each other is what preppers do! Many, many thanks to all of you.

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‘Cause That’s What Preppers Do”

I’m attempting to win an awesome prize at PreparednessPro. If you’d like to help, please read the article entitled “Cause That’s What Preppers Do” that I just posted there and vote. Your comment is your vote. Many thanks!

After that, please look around the website. Kellene Bishop is the Preparedness Pro and she’s on a mission!

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Crisis Cooker

Posted on 17th March 2011 in Tools & Equipment

Another short note about Solutions From Science. This one is about what they call the “Crisis Cooker.” I’ve seen this advertised elsewhere as the Volcano Stove–and I want one! For a modest price we can have an emergency cooking stove that can use propane (with the appropriate attachments), charcoal briquettes (which I would have to start stocking up on), or wood (that I would scrounge from my environment). It can accomodate various cooking styles from a dutch oven to a grill, and it packs into a convenient carrying case for travel. Do check it out!

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