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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Some Prep Tips From the Southwest

Hello to all from New Mexico! Kymber has graciously permitted me to share some lifestyle and prepper tips that will help you out long term in many a crisis situation. Learning how to function without all the cozy comforts most of us have in our day to day lives will most certainly make all the difference. I live on a small farm smack dab in the desert and very close to the border with Mexico. I have spent several years learning to use less and live a more simple pleasant, slow paced life. I hope you can find this post useful and I would not mind one bit if you leave me a comment!

Important to Remember the Mundane
The lifestyle of a prepper has so many facets. The initial concern is always to outwit, outlast, and survive any given situation. But then it becomes critical to think beyond and to the mundane. Yes, the mundane.

This is a post to explain how to maintain your laundry in a situation that changes your lifestyle. I play scenarios and then see if I can resolve them. So what happens if our electricity is out for a good period of time? How can you do laundry then? Well our ancestors lived without power and they wore clean clothes, so what is the secret? Do we have to spend several hundred dollars on an electric free washing machine from Lehman's? Or is there a frugal tip that will help post emergency for ones mental well being?

I am making an assumption that you have access to water, as that would be key. Then you need 3 five gallon buckets, a washboard, and a clothes wringer, a plunger, some rope and clothespins, and a large kettle. But wait, washboards and clothes wringers are once again causing one to spend money on something that is most often already in your home. Scratch the washboard and find your broiler pan. You know the pan that comes with your stove and usually lives in the bottom drawer of the oven. Take the top pan with the slats out and flip it over and viola, a washboard. Now the wringer is something you need to spend for, but not from Lehman's but a standard store. I bought a mop bucket and it has a wonderful wringer in it, that squishes out the water on your clothes.

Now to another simple tip, whatever you are spending on laundry soap, I can guarantee it is too much. I use ZOTE soap which costs $.99 a bar and it lasts three to four months. I have two in my laundry bin, one that is for whites and one for colors. I then use vinegar.

To wash your clothes start the kettle over an open fire and have it filled with water. Then sort your clothes and when the water is hot, fill one bucket with hot water and grate theZOTE soap into the bucket. I usually count ten scrapes(this is just me). Let the clothes soak in the soapy water, then one at a time pull an item out and use your washboard and scrub the item on it. Work out any stains or spots, then toss this into bucket number 2 which is filled with cold water and ¼ of a cup of vinegar. Finish the load in the bucket...and put all in bucket number 2, take your plunger(new one please OK folks!) and plunge the laundry up and down for several minutes. Wring out each item and toss into bucket #3 which is filled with cold water. This is the rinsing stage and swirl each item up and down and then wring out and hang up on the clothesline. Repeat until all the clothes are finished.

I use less than 15 gallons for a standard size laundry basket of clothing. When you run a standard washing machine, you use 60 gallons for each load. This is costly when you are paying for water (especially in the southwest US where water rationing is rampant-but not for me as I have a well).

Tips to hand washing:

  1. Cut your bath towels in half and sew them or use only handtowels to dry off after bathing, as it is easy to wash as a small towel instead of the large bath towels we are all familiar with.

  2. Plan a three day wardrobe and put the other clothes up. This way you will not be overwhelmed with laundry, as the more clothes you have the easier it is to put off doing laundry. Of course underwear and socks should be at will and needed.

  3. A fourth outfit is for going to town or looking presentable. If we are in a scenario that is catastrophic then we still need to have a day of rest and gather to honor our Lord.

  4. If you have a crisis with underclothing because of small children or health issues that cause diarrhea, separating the soiled clothing andpresoaking in the bucket alone with hot water and a capful of bleach is a must. Then rinse squeeze out and wash with the regular clothes.

  5. When I hand wash it is a time of reflection and thought over every member of the family. I have time to think of them and even to flash back to a moment when the loved one was wearing the clothing item. Cherish every opportunity to think on your loved ones. Time is precious and short.

  6. Washing bedding requires using bedding such as the Europeans use. They use a cover over the quilt or comforter, like a pillow has a case, that can be washed and the comforter then is hung on the window ledge to sun air out. I lived in Germany for almost 4 years, and witnessed bedding hanging this way all over.

  7. Without the mop bucket or wringer, one just needs to have a partner in the laundry that helps twist and squeeze the water out of the clothing.

I do not hand wash clothing all the time, but I know if I need to I can, because I have thought about something that may happen, then plotted out a solution. I read a blogger that uses regular old Ivory bath soap for her laundry, so feel free to test a few simple methods out.
(c) Double Nickel Farm
Remember times are changing and you need to ask yourself one question: Are you prepared?


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