Thursday, March 10, 2011

Practical Preparedness - Organization

Last spring, I needed some simple canning lids.  As I waded through piles of supplies, camping equipment and off season clothing that were stored in our "container", in attempt to reach the canning supplies, I realized that we had a HUGE problem.  Although we had food stores, hygiene items and extra socks, I wouldn't be able to find them if I had to.  Our storage container had become such a mess, that although I knew we had whatever we needed in there "somewhere", it was most often easier to go buy something than dig for it.  My struggle to get from one end of the container to the other was the impetus I needed to get organized and inventory our supplies.  What a revelation!  I had tons of some things and not nearly enough of other things.  Without organization, it was impossible to have an accurate idea of what we had and what we needed.

Miscellaneous Storage

Clothes Storage

Maid Elizabeth and I, armed with clipboards and sharpie pens, tackled the beast.  Starting at the beginning, we inventoried our supplies and began the arduous task of organizing and rearranging.  We combined half buckets of supplies, put like things together and stowed loose items in tubs, barrels and extra buckets.  We threw an entire horse trailer (O.K., it was only a two horse trailer, but still!) load of garbage away.  Empty boxes, torn bags and broken equipment were all thrown in the trailer as we made our way down a 40 foot hallway.  Little by little, order was restored.  At the end of the day, we had inventoried an entire 40 foot container and organized so many buckets and barrels that we lost count.  Finally, if we really NEEDED something, we would be able to put our hands on it.

One of the indoor pantries
Trauma Supplies
Medical Cabinet
Communications Center
Charging Station
Alkaline Battery Storage
After that fateful day, we have never again succumbed to a messy container.  And little by little, we have organized and inventoried pantries, cupboards and every little nook and cranny.  From a preparedness standpoint, we have struck gold.  Not only do we know what we have, but we know were it is.  We also know what we need.  In a grid-down situation being organized is being prepared.  Rather than fighting our way through a mess, we will know exactly were to find something.  In reality, organization could be the difference between life and death.

Oh, and by the way, I did find the canning lids....eventually.


  1. wow, I am also in the process of organizing, with spring on its way this is the best time to do it. I love the medical cabinet idea with numbers, can you explain more?

  2. This is great! We are constantly trying to find a way to organize and keep prepared without letting it overflow into our living area Thanks for the pictures, they provide some good ideas.

    Semper Peratus

  3. I'm sorry, organization is a word I don't seem to know. The old saying "there's a method to my madness" has gone beyond method to skirt the edges of pure madness. Stuff is tucked everywhere! If I had a 40 ft container, I'm sure it would just get as mad as the rest.

  4. Thank you for the inspiration! I'm going to start on at least one thing fabric and sewing stash. There are boxes & boxes of stuff; I KNOW I have XYZ, but not sure WHERE it is!

  5. Enola, You are a living testament and inspiration!
    I am literally tripping over items at present that I need to box up and store and can't find things when I need them.
    The most organized spots on our farm are in the barn and the animal stable areas. There everything is organized and arranged to meet any emergency or need. This is because our animals ARE a great part of our livelihood and we have trialed and error-ed our way through many adverse situations over the years in dealing with difficult birthing presentations with our cattle and amending field injuries sustained by them in the muckiest of conditions.
    There is nothing more frustrating and defeating in an emergency situation where the balance of life and death is ticking against your minutes of action, NOT be able to find the piece of equipment or medication you NEED!

    I'm sorting stuff this weekend and clearing my path!

    Thank you for the mindful nudge!


  6. Very impressive! It truly is motivational. I have started an inventory list, but need to finish it soon. The recent spate of earthquakes around the Pacific Rim have me sitting on the edge of my chair.

    Take care, all.

    NoCal Gal

  7. getting organized and knowing where stuff is and what it is for really important. i am a very organized person who goes through her checklists about every 3-4 mos. it is also a good thing to have a very simple lifestyle and simple needs...that means that everything being stored is a necessary and not necessarily a want-with a few exceptions of course. i have a serious balance problem and i am also night blind-so neatness is a great attribute to being organized too.

  8. Prepared Teacher -
    The medical cabinet is actually a military field dispensary. It is housed in a trunk that is stood up and opened. On the door is a spot to put a list of equipment. Each drawer is numbered and the list in the door corresponds with the numbered drawers. We are planning on labeling each drawer, rather than using a master list system. We would like to be able to glance at each drawer and know what is in it.


  9. I'm happy to hear about your canning lids! ;-)

  10. So inspiring. I needed to pull out the next-size-up for the baby just yesterday, and an avalanche fell on my head. A lack of organization can be dangerous!

  11. Ah! what a dream...some day I dream of using our container for my storage/pantry...for now I am living in it. LOL

    Good organization...working on that in my barn for now...

    I've been reading your blog for awhile now, it's wonderful to find someone like me ;-)

  12. Hi there, I have a question about the storage containers for food - what kind of containers do you use and do you use any type of liners. Where can I purchase them?

    Thank you,