It’s the Little Things That Matter: 100 Survival Items To Help Keep A Sense of Normality and Sanity After the Collapse
December 30, 2012
“Enjoy the little things, for some day you may look back and realize they were the big things” – Robert Brault
Bullets…check. Beans…check. Band Aids…check. The list goes on and on sometimes doesn’t it? As preppers, we all are stockpiling the items and supplies that we plan on needing if and when it hits the fans. We all need to make sure we can eat, drink, protect ourselves from the elements and defend what needs to be defended. However, today I found myself thinking of things that weren’t on my “Need in order to survive” list. Little things that we all take for granted today, but someday, we may look back and think how simple it would have been to pick up a couple of those items when they are no longer on a store shelf near you.
Don’t get me wrong, the “Need in order to survive” list is far more important than this one because that is priority number one. But ask yourself, what is priority number two? I would call this the luxury list. These are things that people don’t necessarily need, but will help to keep a sense of normality and sanity when possibly cut off from our instantly able to be gratified society. Things like chocolate. Many preppers stock it because of its shelf life. I stock it because it will lift the spirits of those who will be close to me. It’s a little thing now with shelves stocked in the local big box, but one year after the collapse, it will be a big thing!!
If you have children, think about when their birthdays arrive. Can you imagine how great of a present it would be for them to get a chocolate bar, or a new dress, or a cap gun? Think of things that would make that day extra special to a beautiful seven year old birthday girl. Think of something that could be brought out and given to your husband or wife that would take their breath away that is taken for granted today. In a recent post, someone mentioned the empathy they had for the children that are going to be robbed of a fun filled youth if society turns brutal. I too think constantly of what can I do to help my kids still have a childhood that has days of fun instead of bullets, beans and band aids.
Here is a list of 100 things I thought of off the top of my head mixed with a little humor. Things that would add a brief moment of joy to the potentially dreary days ahead. Many of them have both luxury purposes as well as useful purposes with respect to survival mode, not to mention it would be something you could barter because these aren’t necessity. I would love to hear the ideas of others of things to add to the list.
- Bible – This actually isn’t a luxury item, it’s a necessity in my book, but for some…
- Toilet paper – LOTS OF IT! Like my brother told me recently, before he would want to take a soiled rag and clean it by hand he would rather go Fido and ass drag himself across the lawn! Sorry for the language, but that’s funny! This would be on his survival list!
- Crossword puzzles
- Rubix cube – This will provide adequate frustration to the survival group.
- A new outfit to store away for each kid for their next 10 birthdays. If next year’s birthday comes to pass without a collapse, you already have a present purchased!
- Board games – Lots of them
- Playing cards (both regular and pinochle)
- New pairs of shoes – Priceless in a SHTF scenario when the old ones wear out.
- Make up – Kids or womens…unless you are in California! (Sorry Mac!)
- Cap gun – This can also be very handy teaching the little ones to handle a sidearm.
- Magnifying glass – fun for kids, but can also start a fire.
- Boxes of color crayons
- Tablets/notebooks/construction paper
- A photo album (Make sure you print off whatever pictures you want to have access to!)
- Scrapbooking supplies
- A basketball/football/baseball with baseball mitts and bats
- Telescope – It’s fun to look up at the stars and moon when there aren’t the lights of the city to hide them. Get a star chart to pick out the constellations for your area of the globe.
- Pens/markers/pencils (don’t forget a pencil sharpener!)
- Books – kids/history/romance/survival/fiction/biography’s (check out local garage sales)
- Mountain House (or other) dehydrated ice cream.
- Tonka trucks or Matchbox cars
- Ipod touch preloaded with game apps, music, movies (You need to have the ability to recharge them)
- A globe – To describe to the next generation that the world isn’t really flat
- Dolls – Barbie or other
- A small mirror – Could be used for fun or for signaling
- Gloves – Working, gardening, warming…imagine 2 years in to get a new set of gloves?
- Bug catchers – Nets and the screened containers to put them in. Kids love it.
- Fishing equipment – Fun and can provide food.
- Long underwear – Watch the episode of M*A*S*H* where a pair of long underwear were being stolen and bartered across the compound to understand their value.
- Kites – If your mother in law moves in, wait until there is a storm and….nevermind. Kids love em!
- Musical instruments – harmonica, guitar, fiddle. Doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to play, you will have time to learn!
- Sheet music – Easier than trying to remember all of the words and chords!
- Model cars/boats with model paint
- Wax and wicks to make candles. If you want, add colors and fragrances.
- Spices – I’m sure these are already on everyone’s list, but they are a luxury.
- Coffee – Again, this may seem necessary, but it is a luxury.
- Scissors and razors – for crafts, hair cutting, shaving. When the power runs out and everyone’s electric razor runs out of juice, a disposable razor will be great for barter.
- Sewing kit with material and a book on how to sew. Don’t forget a measuring tape and patterns for different sizes. When we all lose weight because the fast food joints are boarded up, the ability to hem and take in existing clothes will be quite handy.
- Rechargeable vacuum cleaner (assuming you have the ability to charge it). Carpet will become very dirty.
- Fresh sheets and blankets
- Hammer, nails, saws, wood. Survival stuff I know, but have enough extra to make a tree fort (Listening post to the prepper)
- Short wave radio with rechargeable batteries. This could be important to get news from around the world as well as regionally, but imagine being able to turn on a radio instead of the dead silence.
- Plastic Easter eggs – An Easter egg hunt would be huge fun for the kids. Think of little toys/things to stuff in them.
- Sleds – If there is a hill and snow there is fun.
- Kid pool – Capture some rainwater in it and let the sun heat it up for some fun in the pool.
- Alcohol – I’m not talking for sterilizing a wound. I’m talking a glass of wine or the spirit of your choice to open on an anniversary or something. A few bottles of wine in the basement can make for a nice get away. Great barter item as well if you remember Selco’s story from surviving Sarajevo.
- Condoms – This goes well with #49 and let’s face it, an EMP isn’t going to stop this from being a very useful item! Great barter item as well.
- Joke books – Is there anything that can lift the spirit of a fellow more than a good laugh?
- Toothbrushes – Eventually yours will wear out. Have a lot of these on hand.
- Small cooler that can be plugged in to the solar power. I once took a trip by myself in to the boundary waters in northern Minnesota. Had a great time, caught lots of fish, did plenty of reading and hiking, but left two days early because the one thing I missed most was drinking something cold.
- Flower seeds – Nothing herbal or edible as those are survival seeds. These are for growing a few flowers to put on the table to add some color to what may be an otherwise gray world.
- Hankerchiefs – Tons of uses.
- Yard games – Horse shoes, yard darts…etc.
- Domino’s – Not the pizza!! There won’t be a lot of delivery going when SHTF! J
- Hard candy
- Dental floss
- Shoe laces – many applications with the main one being the ability to lace your shoes/boots.
- Fireworks – Can be used for fun as well as survival applications.
- Targets – If you have enough ammo to spare for target practice it is loads of fun. (Pun intended) I realize ammo will be at a premium, so will the ability to shoot it accurately.
- Wood carving tools – Great hobby, creates kindling and if you screw up, hide the evidence by heating your house.
- Pets – Great companions as well as security. Even a little yapper like my neighbor’s can save your life. Make sure your preps include food for them as well!
- Socks and underwear – Feet smell and socks get worn out. A new pair of socks will be a huge luxury. Shouldn’t have to tell you the benefits of fresh underwear.
- Solar charger with USB port – Apps on your mobile phones will still work, music, pictures and videos from the past not lost.
- Bow and arrows – Again, target practicing is fun and it is extremely useful for providing food. Make sure you have a lot of target arrows as well as your broadheads.
- Home schooling materials – educate your kids to be able to read and do math.
- Walkie talkies – Kids love playing with them (Don’t forget your rechargeable batteries)
- Food coloring – Purple rice tonight? Now the kids like it!
- Binoculars – It’s amazing how much fun looking at things closer can be. For example, people climb to the top of the Sears Tower so that they can look through binoculars at the ground where they just were. This is proof that it is really fun to look through them! (that might have been an old George Carlin joke…not sure)
- Yo yo’s, Slinkies, jacks, etch-a-sketch…think of the non battery operated toys of days past.
- Magazines – Get a subscription to your favorites and don’t throw them away. Ask friends and relatives if you can have theirs when they are done with them.
- Flash cards – You can get them on many different subjects from math to reading to picture recognition. You can use recipe cards to customize them to whatever you want.
- Christmas ornaments – If you celebrate Christmas, there is a lot of fun in decorating a tree. Ask your parents and grandparents if you can have a few of theirs. These end up being precious heirlooms and may remind you of stories to tell of Christmas past around a campfire.
- BB guns – Fun for the kids, cheap ammo and great for getting them used to handling a rifle. Can’t tell you how many hours of fun my old Daisy provided.
- Balloons – Nothing says birthday like a balloon. If you have young kids that can’t walk yet, but can roll over, put a red balloon on the floor and watch them go to work.
- Polaroid camera and film (don’t forget your rechargeable batteries!). Yes, they still exist and are available to buy on Ebay. You can capture a precious moment on film and it will print out the picture for you.
- Knitting supplies – Provides scarves, blankets to newborns and can be a good hobby.
- Written stories from grandparents and parents about their past to read to the group over a campfire.
- Ammo reloading supplies – It is a fun hobby to reload ammo and a useful skill to know. Saves money on ammo as well. This could also be a skill used for bartering for goods.
- Metal detector – If you have the ability to recharge the batteries it uses, it can be fun to go on a search for things buried from the past.
- Rakes for the leaf piles in the fall. If your mother in law moves in with you, cover a fire hydrant with a pile of leaves and….nevermind. The kids love jumping in them!!
- Skip ropes/hula hoops/frisbee’s
- Set of golf clubs and golf balls – Have chipping contests in the yard.
- Snorkels and fins if you live near a lake or the ocean. Grab a spear and you can even provide a shore lunch!
- Microscope – If seeing things close up from behind a set of binoculars isn’t fun enough, you wouldn’t believe how much fun it is for kids to look at some things through a microscope.
- Rope – Make a swing from a tree or a hundred other fun uses.
- Bird feeders with bird seed and bird houses. I’ve never gotten in to watching birds that much, but people love it.
- Sling shot – Give a sling shot and a few rocks to a 10 year old and they would be in heaven! When they get good enough, they may just put a rabbit in the kettle too. (Don’t forget plywood for over your windows!)
- Snowshoes – When there is 2’ of snow on the ground going for a nature walk or hunting trip will be much easier.
- Solar shower – A hot shower can make a world of difference and really lift spirits when everything is dirty.
- Hand held back massager – People are going to be working hard and using muscles that normally don’t get used too hard. This will lead to knots in muscles and back aches.
- Hand crank radio – If any local station is still broadcasting the ability to listen to local news or music will be critical.
- Reading glasses – Maybe you can see well now, but when you and others grow older, eventually a set of reading glasses will be a priceless gift.
- Sunglasses – Sunglasses get broken and scratched. A good pair of sunglasses can provide light protection as well as eye protection.
- Nintendo DS or other battery operated hand held games. Again, you need to have the ability to recharge the batteries.
- Skateboard, rollerblades or bikes
- Letters from loved ones – Just think, it’s 3 years after the collapse. Mom and dad in laws live in Florida and who knows if they are even alive. Ask them if they would write a personal letter to your wife or husband and kids telling them about themselves and how much they are loved. I can’t think of a greater present than a hand written letter to give on a birthday.
- Bible – All things including this list in my opinion should begin and end with God. His grace is truly the only thing that can really save us all.
With all of these remember to keep in mind safety first. Obviously if your neighborhood is surrounded by the golden hoard, don’t be having fun flying down local sledding hill shooting off bottle rockets. Everybody will be faced with different levels of security. Some in small towns may find themselves in relative security; others in the big city may not feel comfortable venturing out on their front door step.
Assuming the upcoming collapse is about as bad as it can be, what good does it do to just survive other than get you to another day? Why not stock up on a few things now that would provide for fun in the future? Regardless of what is yet to come, kids need to play, have fun, smile and laugh. Let’s not forget to take some time away from our preparing for survival and prepare for some fun.