As is often the case, I received an e-mail question from a reader which required more than just a simple yes or no answer. Now that I'm receiving 500+ of e-mails a day, I'm trying to be smart in managing my time better, as such I thought it best to begin a new procedure when responding to reader's e-mails. I'm frequently asked questions which require detailed answers and yet, when I get the questions posed to me via e-mail, none of our other readers benefit from the information and I'm spending an awful lot of time just answering one person's question. While I'd love to answer everyone's questions individually, I need to get real and remind myself that I simply cannot afford that kind of time and still meet all of my other commitments. So in the future, as I receive good questions that I believe will affect more people, then I'll be sharing the questions and my answers here on the blog.
Today's question is one that I'm sure most of you can relate to--not enough space to hold everything we need. But this reader has an additional curve ball thrown at her in that as a military wife that rarely spends more than a year in one place, she's also restricted in terms of WEIGHT since the military moves her and her family each time he is reassigned.
I'm writing you, hoping you might be able to respond with some helpful tips. My husband and I have been preparing for a few years now. I still consider us "new" to emergency preparedness. I am confident that I have 6 months of food and water for my growing family. My one concern? We are a military family. I have to move often, this time around we are only staying put for a year. My supplies are growing, but the amount of weight the military allows us to move stays the same. How do I do it? How do I keep cold/frozen things fresh with us constantly on the move? Is there a better way that my brain is just over-looking?
I respect your opinion, and look forward to hearing from you AND, thank you for all you do, my family appreciates it so much!
First of all I want to thank you and your husband for the sacrifice you put forth on behalf of our nation. I know that moving all the time is difficult for so many reasons.
Now, let's get to your answer:
It sounds like you'll need use a few strategies. First of all I'd eliminate any superfluous items and use my allotted weight as wisely as possible. The best use of "weight" would be sprouts and grains.That's getting the most bang for your buck and using your weight allotment with premium nutrient foods. What few preppers realize is that the freezer really isn't their greatest asset in a crisis. There are many more crisis scenarios which involve losing power than not. So I'd be sure to plan on not having access to electricity with the majority of my preparedness supplies.
The next thing I'd consider is to go the freeze-dried route for much of your food supplies since it weighs so little. A lot of folks think that freeze-dried is so much more expensive, but when you stay away from the entrees and focus on the individual produce you'll see that it's actually comparable to fresh produce but with the benefit of no bruising and such PLUS it's actually a cleaner food.
Next, if I were you I'd be sure to incorporate more of my "food storage" into my regular kitchen pantry supplies and keep them replenished as I used them. The reason being is that you have to use space in your kitchen for food anyway, it might as well be food that you can enjoy long term. Instead of having "food storage" which is just more weight for items that you're not really using, I'd start using my kitchen as my training ground for working with less familiar ingredients.
Next, every time I moved I'd dump my water storage from the containers and then make it a priority to refill all of the containers again as soon as I get to my new location.
Also, worst comes to worst you could consider just focusing on having the 5 basics: wheat, powdered milk, honey, salt, and oil.
Lastly, I'd invest heavily in the aspects of preparedness which require very little space such as Spiritual Preparedness, Mental Preparedness, and Physical Preparedness. These are the 3 most important priorities of being self-reliant and other than some books or some resistance weights, they require very little space or money. Books, classes, how to videos on YouTube and excellent articles you can find throughout the internet--these are all free or cheap ways that you can strengthen these first 3 Principles of Preparedness. I've discovered time and time again that focusing on these 3 areas is just as liberating and effective source of peace as an 1,000 square foot room full of prepping supplies.
I think one of the challenges that you have with your spouse being in the military is you being the point man to protect and provide for your family as it's likely that your husband will be away when trouble strikes--even if all he did was a desk job because when a crisis scenario strikes, it's all hands on deck in the military. So I'd invest in the knowledge, skills, and maintaining a strong mental fortitude so that you can be an asset to those around you in a time of crisis.
Another thing I'd advise is that you deploy a strict rule of multi-purpose prepping supplies in order to conserve space and weight. For example, a Global Sun Oven is great for cooking/baking but it's also a great way to can a lot of foods, it's also a great dehydrator, and you can even use it to sanitize bandages, dry clothing, and water purification. Not only will this strategy save on space, but it will also ensure you're intimately familiar with your prepping supplies which will go a long ways to reduce stress in a time of crisis and not the least of all, it will save you a lot of money!
Forward thinking, I'd also make sure that you and your husband have simple yet effective ways of communicating so that he can just give you a benign code-word and you know exactly what that means. Obviously in the military there might be some advantage he'd have in finding out what crisis is looming before the general populace and yet he'd be ordered to not share specifics with anyone. If he could simply call you and use a code word then you could at least make use of the advance notice he might have on a crisis without him needing to compromise his ethics or proprietary information with specifics.
The good news is that yes, it's perfectly possible to be more self-reliant, even in your scenario. It's just all about being strategic in your planning and making the most of what you've got to work with.
Here's to peace in your preparedness!
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