The Survival Mom » Organization http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Mon, 25 May 2015 07:00:20 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 My DIY Pantry Storage Solution for Small Spaces http://thesurvivalmom.com/pantry-ideas-small-spaces/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/pantry-ideas-small-spaces/#respond Mon, 25 May 2015 07:00:20 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22829 For a while now I have needed more space to store my extra preps, especially my homemade canned goods and Thrive Life freeze dried foods. As cans and jars began piling up, I had a small basement room dubbed the “future pantry” with stacks of boxes and Mason jars. Whenever I needed something, it took forever to locate […]

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pantry storage for small spacesFor a while now I have needed more space to store my extra preps, especially my homemade canned goods and Thrive Life freeze dried foods. As cans and jars began piling up, I had a small basement room dubbed the “future pantry” with stacks of boxes and Mason jars. Whenever I needed something, it took forever to locate the right box, unstack everything, then restack again when I had what I needed. I even labeled the outside of the boxes, and it was still a challenge to find things!

Add some Christmas decorations that got shoved in that small space, my husband’s work boots, and a filing cabinet, and what I had on my hands was a junk room.

Something had to change. We needed pantry ideas for small spaces!

Getting Started

After we got our tax return this year, we decided it was high time to get this project done. I had looked online at various ideas and decided that I wanted a rustic look this newly organized space. Basically, I wanted planks of wood set on cement blocks, and then repeated for more shelving space. I knew that I needed something heavy duty for the weight of the many Mason Jars I would be putting on it, and large cans of freeze dried food and other staples can be quite heavy.

pantry storage for small spacesI also wanted the 4″ block instead of an 8″ width. They are the same length (or depth, looking at shelves) but because they are narrower, I could squeeze one more Mason Jar in that space for every 4″ block.

We went with the following supply list:

  • 2″x8′ treated lumber
  • 2″x10′ treated lumber
  • 4″x8″x16″ cement blocks
  • Drywall screws & Mollies
  • Step runners (small, thinnish pieces of carpet) to protect the linoleum
  • 6 sets of adjustable shelving brackets

One challenge we faced was that for me to walk into the room comfortably, I had to have the shelves on the left side be shorter than the right wall. If they were both the same, when I opened the door, the shelf would jut out into the doorway. Our shelves would be 74″ on the left wall, 90″ on the right wall, and the shortest wall going across the back was 31″.creative ideas for small pantry space

The 31″ wall has adjustable metal shelving to support the boards. We found one stud to anchor the first side. On the other side, we couldn’t find another stud so we had to use Molly bolts. Because these don’t support as much weight, I placed lighter freeze dried #10 cans on that shelf.

Building the Shelves

On the 90″ wall, we added an extra cement block in the middle of the shelf to prevent sagging. We set several step runners down where the first cement block would be placed to prevent damage to our our linoleum. Then a block was set down on each runner. For our walls, we set a 2×10 and a 2×8 down to get the width of the shelving we wanted. From there, it was just repeating the pattern.

We started the first boards 15″ up from the bottom of the floor. This left space for boxes of Mason jars, my large stock pots and other cooking pots on the floor under the first shelf. The next set of boards needed to be high enough for an 8″ Mason Jar to slide under, so we laid the next set of boards 8 1/2″ above that. That gave me a little wiggle room to fit my hand in and grab a jar.creative pantry storage ideas

Once we started, it went very quickly. Something we found out that we didn’t account for was that we had to anchor the 74″ wall into the drywall because when we leaned on it, it would collapse! The 4″ blocks weren’t sturdy enough to keep the shelves from moving. If we had wider blocks, that wouldn’t have been a problem, but we wanted the space to accommodate extra Mason Jars. On the 90″ wall, it was snug, and didn’t need the anchoring.creative pantry storage ideas

We left a space of 24″ from the ceiling, so I have space for my large pressure canners, food grinders, sausage making equipment, blenders, etc. I can’t believe how much I put on these shelves. I was worried that that there still wouldn’t be enough room for everything, but it exceeded my expectations. The cost was around $400.00 and was worth every penny.

The room that looked like it belonged to hoarders is now a thing of beauty and efficiency — proof that you don’t need a huge amount of space to store a huge amount of food and supplies!

pantry storage for small spaces

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27 Creative Uses for Everyday Items http://thesurvivalmom.com/everyday-life-hacks-for-the-survival-mom-in-your-home/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/everyday-life-hacks-for-the-survival-mom-in-your-home/#respond Wed, 06 May 2015 07:00:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22118 Everyone, especially busy moms, need shortcuts and smart tricks, now known as “hacks” to make life easier. I put these ideas together from things that have worked around my very busy household with 5 kids and a husband. I’m also a prepper and have worked on having a prepared home and family — which just […]

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creative uses for everyday itemsEveryone, especially busy moms, need shortcuts and smart tricks, now known as “hacks” to make life easier. I put these ideas together from things that have worked around my very busy household with 5 kids and a husband. I’m also a prepper and have worked on having a prepared home and family — which just adds to my To Do list!

These are great!

1.  Put a wet clean sponge in a zip lock bag and keep in the freezer for a non-drippy ice pack. This same sponge in a bag could also be used to keep food cold in a lunch box.

2.  Slice a pool noodle length wise and wrap on legs and edges of furniture, outdoor poles and walkers for the elderly. This will prevent bumps on toddlers, kids and cuts on fragile elderly skin.

3.  Put hanging shoe holders inside all of your closet doors. They hold bathroom items, office supplies, cleaners, toys, emergency items and shoes!

4.  Keep those plastic pant hangers when purchasing clothes. Use them to hold purses, hats, scarves and other items in your closet. They keep things off the ground, save space and are free.

5.  Can’t find a good long handled kitchen brush to clean water bottles and other containers with? Buy a toilet brush! Get one where the bristles are rounded at the end.

6.  Put money in a small envelope and then place in a sanitary napkin wrapper. No one will ever suspect that there is money inside.

7.  In a pinch, you can use metal pots, pans and baking dishes to make ice. The metal will help freeze the water faster, and you determine the size of cubes you want when you break up the large piece of ice. Large chunks or ice frozen in a bundt pan works well in punch bowls.

8.  Pin a safety pin or two inside the straps of your bras and in your key chains. In an emergency, you will have one handy.

9.  Upload your user manuals onto a cloud. You can obtain the digital version of the manual from the manufactures website. You’ll be able to access these anywhere that you have a wifi connection, and there’s no personal information floating around that you wouldn’t want someone to access.

10. If you have broken glass on the floor, use white bread to get the small pieces up. Blot around the floor and the glass will stick to the bread.

11. Clean your BBQ grill with a cut onion. It will help remove food and leave some flavor on the grill.

12. Save prescription containers, plastic gum containers (like Mentos, Ice Cubes) and use them to hold small items that get lost or tangled in your purse. They are great to hold earbuds, small first aid kit, loose change, etc. Don’t forget to put them in your glove compartment too.

13. Keep emergency cash in between your phone and its case.

14. Use dishwashing gloves to open difficult jars.

15. Line taco shells with a lettuce leaf. If the shells break you won’t lose your filling.

16. Use utensil trays in other rooms in the house. They are great for jewelry, sewing notions, hair items, make up, craft drawers, office desk drawers and small items on the work bench in the garage.

17. Use dryer sheets everywhere! Under the car seats, linen closets, air ducts, dresser drawers, empty suitcases… the possibilities are endless.

18. Schedule your families’ doctor, dentist, and other appointments during their birth month. It will help you remember when to schedule the appointments!

19. Keep grocery bags in old tissue boxes. They hold more than you think!

20. Don’t throw away old socks. They are great to dust with. Put them on your hands and easily clean blinds and other odd shaped things.

21. Tiny octopus type hair clips are great for holding rolled up earbud cords.

22. Always keep some gallon size zip lock bags in your vehicle. From trash to vomit, it will contain most messes. Zip the top and drive to the nearest trash can.

23. In desperate need of a ruler? A dollar bill is about 6 inches long. The tiles in most stores are 12 X 12.

24. Use your camera to take pictures of items while you are taking them apart. It makes it easier to put them back together.

25. Use an apple corer on potatoes. You have perfectly shaped wedges.

26. Use a shower caddy in the truck of your vehicle to hold funnels, oil, antifreeze and rags.

27. Line the shelves of the refrigerator with wax paper or the press and seal type paper. It makes clean up easy!

creative uses for everyday items

 

 

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18 Brilliant Home Organization Tips: The Struggle Continues! http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-organization-struggle-survival-continues/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/home-organization-struggle-survival-continues/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:36:19 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=22664 Yes, it sounds like the title of a National Geographic documentary, delving into the plight of some animal near extinction. Is your dream of home organization near extinction? I understand. There are days you may want to be on the endangered list, hoping that someone will save you. Not only is an orderly home important for […]

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Home organization

Yes, it sounds like the title of a National Geographic documentary, delving into the plight of some animal near extinction. Is your dream of home organization near extinction? I understand. There are days you may want to be on the endangered list, hoping that someone will save you.

Not only is an orderly home important for your peace of mind, but it’s also a vital component to being prepared for all types of emergencies.

Many years ago our family went from three kids to six kids in a one year. Our children were all between the ages of 5 to 11 years old. I knew I was in trouble if I did not find a way to establish order, and fast. What followed were years of trials and many errors. Our kids are now older and the struggle still continues. My mom recently moved in and our college age children will be in and out for the next few years. I have learned that life will always be changing and my home will, too.

Download this FREE Survival Mom mini-guide, “Organizing and Reducing What You Own.”

Staying organized is a constant work in process. Hang in there, don’t put your lucidity at risk. You really can get your home and life off of the endangered list. Below are some tips that have saved my sanity and helped me conquer much of the chaos that is always a challenge to home organization.

Simple rotating menus

Buy and store what your family eats. You will save money, time and peace of mind knowing you have what you need on hand. have 12-15 dinner recipes your family enjoys and rotate through them. A great app is “OurGroceries”. The free version is all you need. Set up does not take long. This app lets me know exactly what to buy from which store and helps me remember the odd things I often forget to purchase, but need.

Everything in the home, has a home of its own 

School backpacks, keys, batteries, Legos, half-dressed Barbies and bread twisty ties — each one must have a place where it is kept. If you are always losing an item, it is because it does not have a home. Give items a permanent home or get rid of it.

Have multiples of things in rooms

Pencil jars, tablets of paper, scissors, waste baskets, flash lights, water and blankets are in almost every room. We have flash lights stashed in almost every drawer in the house. We all have our own bath towels, but keep many additional towels in other rooms. One cannot predict vomit from a kid or a cat.

Use the inside of cupboards!

Post grocery lists, baking conversion charts, emergency contacts, evacuation info, CPR instructions and anything else you may need. It keeps your information handy, but out of sight.

Each room has its own cleaning supplies

The kitchen and each bathroom should have a bucket of cleaners that are specific to that room, along with a small broom and dust pan. You won’t waste time hauling a bucket of supplies from room to room and the moment you see something that needs to be cleaned, you can handle it right then and there.

Label everything that you can!

Seeing on a label what is in containers /boxes will remind you what you have and what you may need. It saves time looking for items in closets and in the garage. Own many Sharpie type markers.

Inside every room is a list of how to clean it

These lists are kept inside a cupboard or closet. It will remind kids, big and small, what needs to be done for that room to pass inspection.

Place a BIG calendar where everyone can reach it

If it is not on the calendar, it does not happen. Have a pencil attached to a string nearby, so each member of the family can add appointments, activities, due dates, etc. Using a pencil will make changes easy to make. At the beginning of the week, ask family members to fill in their activities. Family members are responsible for putting all family info into their own calendars/phones. Two family calendar phone apps that help with this are Cozi and Hub Family Organizer. Google Calendar can be synced to multiple phones and desktops.

Assign a “laundry” day and a “deep clean your room” day to everyone

Hopefully when they deep clean they will find all of the clothes that have been stuffed under the bed and in corners and wash them! Have them choose a day when work or school responsibilities are usually light. Post the laundry schedule on the inside of a cupboard along with any other instructions concerning laundry.

When age appropriate, have your kids help with the laundry

At the age of 8 years old, our kids could do most of their laundry without too much assistance. For older kids, hang a squirt bottle of stain remover (we do homemade) over the edge of the hamper. This will encourage family members to squirt the stain before they toss the dirty clothes in the hamper.

Have chargers in every room for tablets, phones or any other items

This will prevent WW III at the computer desk and you will have extra cords available when one breaks. Try to keep items regularly charged in case of an emergency.

Replace items as you use them and buy an additional one

This method works best on things you don’t use often. Examples-Propane/charcoal, matches, batteries, candles, duct tape, permanent markers, OTC meds, rope, fluids for car, etc.… This principle also work well on canned food items and staples. Let you budget dictate what you replace. Do what you can afford to do at the time.

Fill up the car with gas when you hit ½ a tank

Murphy’s Law can and will dictate that your car will run out of gas on the busiest day of the month.

We spring clean and fall clean for better home organization

Spring cleaning allows you to get out all of the summer gear, toys and clothes. In spring, go through the “hand me down” clothes box, replace broken gear, clean out the garage and put away the winter stuff. Clean and prep your home for the upcoming warm weather. Clean screens, replace home filters, etc… In the fall, pull out all the winter clothes and replace what is old or outgrown, prep for back to school and the holidays. Clean and prep your home for the winter and upcoming holidays. Remember to toss what you don’t need.

Go through 72 hour kits in spring and fall

Like the above suggestion, you can prepare your emergency kits with proper clothes for the season. Check to make sure flashlights and other items are working and in good condition. Replace the food too! Use the food you have been storing for 6 months for kids lunches or snacks. Check expiration dates on medical items in kits.

Have a cleaning schedule

You may not always be able to follow it, but a cleaning schedule will help you maintain some feeling of control in your day to day life and also when an emergency occurs. I have always struggled with this one! Children need to feel a sense of pride and responsibility for their home. Begin early and teach them how to care for their belongings and home. There have been days in our home when dinner wasn’t served until chores were done!

Make more copies of your home and car keys than you need

Leave some with a trusted neighbor or friend. You will thank me for this one day!

Have a “beginning of the day” and an “end of day” routine

Whether you go for a walk with your family, eat dinner at a specific time, say night time prayers together, feed the fish or watch a favorite show; routine makes us feel good. We create habits that make our days and nights run smoother. We also create rituals that bring us closer to those we love and reminds us to start and end the day on a positive note.

Remember, the struggle will continue! There will be times when life will not go as planned and that is okay! As time goes by, you will develop your own tricks of the trade that will guarantee your families sanity and survival. Do what works for you and your family and get off the endangered list!

home organization

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Tight Space Prepping: Make The Most Of The Storage Space You Have http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-storage-space/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/finding-storage-space/#respond Fri, 06 Feb 2015 08:00:16 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20437 When you are living in a condo or a small apartment, there is only so much space to keep a food storage. You need to be able to use all the storage space you have available to you. You also need to use storage space that you never considered before, thus finding storage space you didn’t […]

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Tips for finding storage space in your home. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comWhen you are living in a condo or a small apartment, there is only so much space to keep a food storage. You need to be able to use all the storage space you have available to you. You also need to use storage space that you never considered before, thus finding storage space you didn’t know you had!

Finding storage space in your doors, walls, & ceilings!

I look at my home in three dimensions. The floor is a given space storage area. It’s the easiest space when it comes to storage. Gravity even cooperates. The spaces that we rarely use are our walls, doors, and ceiling. Here are a few tips for utilizing those spaces for storage.

  • Doors are a great place to put hooks, and hooks can be placed on every door in your home.
  • In the bathroom you can place hooks for your towels and bathrobes on the back of each door.
  • Hooks on bedroom doors can hold a laundry bag.
  • Putting hooks up in the coat closet affords you the opportunity to store more coats, jackets and other outerwear.
  • The ceiling is a great place to put stuffed animals. Stuffed animal hammocks are good for storing items that may have been taking up floor space in your rooms or closets. String them across a corner of your room.
  • Also use those hammocks for storing items like soft toys, pajamas or socks. This works particularly well for those small rooms that have small or no closet space. These hammocks, however, should never be hung over a bassinet or baby crib. Clothes or stuffed animals falling on your sleeping five year old is one thing. It’s more of a concern when these items can fall into an infant’s bed.
  • Other items that can be hung on the wall are cooking pots (especially a copper set, which can pass as decorative) mugs,(in the space on the wall between the wall cabinets and counters) and blankets, which can pass as a tapestry like decoration.
  • Utilize the space above doorways by installing an attractive shelf in that area.

Creative ideas for storing linens

Blankets are the easiest items to store. We store them by not storing them. I have had some great feedback about blankets being stored by covering both furniture or windows. Our family stores blankets at the foot of each bed. On cold nights we don’t even need to get out of bed to find a spare blanket. Extra sheets can be stored in pillow cases and used as extra pillows.

Another space-saving idea for storing blankets is to lay them flat between the mattress and box springs of a bed. You can store several on each bed this way.

TIP: 6 Reasons to Stockpile Blankets!

Closets can store more than clothes!

Now it’s time to  make your closets into water closets. ( No, I don’t mean bathrooms). Water is sometimes one of the hardest items to store. It has to take up space somewhere, and it’s heavy. In our home our stored water lives in our closets.  We keep our clothes hung up and place the five gallon bottles of water on the closet floor. Smaller water storage (refilled juice and soda bottles) get stored on the higher closet shelving. This includes the linen closet and coat closet. Even in our postage stamp apartment we can store enough water in our smaller bottles for six weeks. Perfect for times of drought or a water sanitation plant malfunction.

The only closet space we exempt from water storage is the bedroom shelves in our master bedroom closet. That space we use to store first aid and medical supplies. There is a lock on the bedroom door and the medications are stored up high. This works great if you have a toddler who likes to engineer climbing apparatus.

The closet in a child’s bedroom or playroom is ideal for keeping a home safe, since many burglars first look for valuables in a master bedroom. Disguise your safe in a toy box or cardboard box marked, “Old Toys” for both security and newly found storage space.

TIP: Check out the details on these home safes. Be sure to find the right one for your own needs.

Kitchen Storage Space

When working with kitchen cupboards you want to be able to get the most out of your space for extra food storage rather than storing other stuff. In our home this means having the minimum amount of dishes and cookware for our family. For example, we have four people in our home. We also have only four place settings of dishes. We have four glasses and four mugs. As your family grows and changes you may need to add a few things such as sippy cups and bottles (two each, one can be dirty while the other is clean). All dishes get stored in one cupboard, preferably the smallest one. When we have guests we simply get paper products. This also helps with the clean up when people come calling.

TIP: Find out why paper plates are a great item for stocking up.

Pots in our home don’t go in cupboards at all. We have found that most apartment stoves have a drawer under the oven. That is where we keep our pots, pans and other cookware. These items don’t take up any cupboard space at all.

My mixing bowls ( a new addition to the kitchen) double for storage items when I need to put leftovers in the fridge. Before I got mixing bowls I simply used pots for both mixing and storage. My favorite was the crock pot. This greatly reduced my cupboard clutter leaving room for plenty of food storage space.

Outside Storage Space

If you have any outside storage space, it is the last place you want to put your food storage. You can’t control the temperature of the storage area and your food could be compromised.

TIP: Learn about the 6 enemies of food storage. Your stored food is more vulnerable than you might think.

Instead, this is a great place for survival hardware that you don’t keep in your 72 hour kits or use on a regular basis. For example, keep your hand cranked washer and drying racks in the patio shed. The hand cranked power generator or that camp stove that can run off a car battery could live in the patio storage space as well.

What other creative storage spaces have you discovered? Visit Survival Mom’s Creative Storage Ideas Pinterest board for more tips.

 

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Creative Storage Solutions for Your Stash http://thesurvivalmom.com/creative-storage-solutions-stash/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/creative-storage-solutions-stash/#comments Thu, 29 Jan 2015 08:00:40 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20506 I took one of those online Facebook quizzes titled “How Organized Are You?” The results were less than flattering, but true. You are 45% organized. You separate your recycling, but it doesn’t matter, because you always forget to take it to the curb. At least you don’t get in the car and realize you have […]

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Where to Store the StashI took one of those online Facebook quizzes titled “How Organized Are You?” The results were less than flattering, but true.

You are 45% organized. You separate your recycling, but it doesn’t matter, because you always forget to take it to the curb. At least you don’t get in the car and realize you have no idea where you’re supposed to be going…

I’m a bit of a “Messy” by nature, but I am always trying to find new ways to be organized. As a prepper who has a large stock of food storage and supplies, I have to find places to store and organize my preps.

Make Space by Purging Stuff You Don’t Need

Don’t let what you think is a lack of space prevent you from building up your supply of preps. Most of us have at least a few shelves (if not whole closets full) of stuff we rarely use and don’t really need. Be honest and set some priorities. Getting rid of what you don’t need in order to have a higher level of preparedness for yourself and your family is a positive step to take.

TIP: Purging old clothes, coats, and shoes from a closet not only gives you space to store more preps, but donating it all to a charity will also help others.

Utilize Available Spaces

Many open areas in your home could hold your supplies. Put a photo storage box on a shelf and store first aid supplies. The space under a table could have a basket full of bags of pasta. And a storage bench at the end of your bed could hold your family 72-hour bug-in storm kit.

Overhead Storage 2One feature it our new home leant itself perfectly to long term storage – ceiling ledges. Most of the time these are decorated with tchotchkes and decorative elements. I saw one thing…out of the way, long term storage! I used baskets that I already owned, bought a couple on clearance at Michael’s, and a few more at a neighbor’s garage sale. Then I loaded them up with long term storage prep items like personal hygiene items, batteries, and water purification supplies.

Under the bed is a great place to store items. If your bed is low to the ground, you can get risers to create more space. There are all kinds of storage bins that will allow easy access and keep your preps dust free. Even the modern style platform beds with sides the go all the way to the floor and without a traditional under-the-bed area, still have a great deal of storage. It’s not accessible without moving the mattress, but it is valuable space indeed.

Under my own queen size bed we have more than ninety #10 cans of long term storage food (over four months of food for four people) along with other preps. It’s not visible to others and is completely out of the way.

As a bonus, if you put your preps under your kids’ beds, they won’t be able to shove toys and dirty clothes underneath!

TIP: When storing items in out of the way spaces, be sure to make a list of what items are in which location. This will allow you to not only remember what inventory you have on hand, but also make it easy for you to find the items you need.

Find Creative Storage Solutions for Your Stash

Bookshelf CansIs your couch up against a wall? Do you know that you can stack canned goods behind it and no one will know it’s there? A six-foot couch can easily hide 48 cans of soup leaving a lot of open space in your pantry. You can also put softer items like toilet paper or paper towels, but they will almost certainly get smushed when the sofa gets shoved back.

An end table can have fabric draped to the floor to cover preps hidden underneath. You can even turn your decorative pillows into storage places by filling them with rice or beans like the woman at this website.

Take a look at your bookshelves. If you pull the spine of your books to the front of the shelf, you can create hidden space behind them to store canned goods or other supplies. No one knows it’s there, and it takes advantage of previously wasted space!

There are SO many places to add storage to your home. Check out our Pinterest board with ideas from all over the web.

TIP: Don’t get caught up in the idea that personal hygiene preps need to be stored in a bathroom or that food must always be stored in the kitchen. Find or create an open space and fill it with what fits!

Questions to ask yourself about each item before you store it…

How often do I need to access this? This seems like a no-brainer, but consider how often you need to get to something before you store it. I initially put some OTC meds up on the ceiling ledge and realized two weeks later that I needed them. The problem was that I needed the big garage ladder to reach the baskets. That’s just not convenient at all. I now store the meds in a more easily accessible location. It’s not just about convenience either. Items that you need quickly – flashlights, first aid supplies, and tools – need to be within easy reach.

Is there an issue with temperature control? Food storage is very temperature sensitive so you don’t want to store it out in the garage, attic, shed, or anywhere that will have temperature fluctuations. Toilet paper and paper towels can store in the heat or the cold. Because they are so bulky, it seems to be a waste to use valuable, usable indoor storage on them. We keep these items out in the garage on a top shelf. Since they are so light, a top shelf is a great place for them.

Is humidity a concern? The bathroom is possibly the worst place in the house to store medicine for this reason, and yet most people keep it there. Likewise, a damp basement floor will leave you with rusted cans of food if you put them directly on the floor.

Take a walk through your house. Find places to organize and repurpose in order to be able to increase your volume of preps. Your home will be less cluttered by unneeded items and your family will be better prepared for hard times.

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25 Top Pins to Help Get You Organized! http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-organizing-pins/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/best-organizing-pins/#respond Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:24:03 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=21256 As our January Skill of the Month comes to a close, I rounded up some of the best organizing pins from prepper/survival/homesteading bloggers that give tips you won’t want to miss. I’ve included a few of my own as well. If you like the pin, follow the blogger on Pinterest! And if you’re new to […]

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Get organized with Pinterest! These are some of the top 21 pins to help you!  | www.TheSurvivalMom.comAs our January Skill of the Month comes to a close, I rounded up some of the best organizing pins from prepper/survival/homesteading bloggers that give tips you won’t want to miss. I’ve included a few of my own as well.

If you like the pin, follow the blogger on Pinterest! And if you’re new to the whole Pinterest thing, just click on each graphic below that you want to read about.f

Follow my Pinterest boards!

Organization for the busy homesteader

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Decluttering and organizing kids toys

7 tips to spending less and living the good life

 

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A Sure-Fire Strategy for Keeping an Organized Pantry Inventory

Clearing out the clutter #podcast

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 window box bathroom storage

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A Prepared Cook’s Guide to Creating an Ideal Kitchen Space

spring cleaning zones

DIY battery storage cabinet

DIY Battery Storage Cabinet

What I do to be organized.

What I do to be organized

Daily decluttering missions

iphone organizing

mason jar spice organization

 

 

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Shaking the House: Getting Started With Decluttering http://thesurvivalmom.com/getting-started-decluttering/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/getting-started-decluttering/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 08:32:10 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20603 Have you  heard the story about a jar, rocks, and sand? It’s a great life lesson about setting priorities and is a great demonstration of getting started with decluttering. If you put the sand in, then the small rocks, then the medium rocks, you run out of room long before you get to the bigger rocks. […]

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Shake that house and start decluttering by deciding which items you own are most important. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comHave you  heard the story about a jar, rocks, and sand? It’s a great life lesson about setting priorities and is a great demonstration of getting started with decluttering.

If you put the sand in, then the small rocks, then the medium rocks, you run out of room long before you get to the bigger rocks. But if you start with the bigger rocks, everything will fit in because they slide around each other and fill every last bit of space.

Here’s a great video illustrating this.

 

When you think about it, getting started with deluttering is much the same as this illustration.

Whenever I start cleaning, decluttering, and organizing, I say I’m “shaking the house”, in reference to the way you would shake that jar with rocks and sand to get every last thing to fit in. It can be a pain, and it’s definitely a chore, but it’s worth it.

How does it work?

Pick a specific area to work in. The example used here is the kitchen, but substitute “closet”, “bedroom”, “laundry room” and the plan works for just about everywhere else. You are looking to priorities items that are most important and frequently used to those that are never used, are broken, dated, worn out, or otherwise useless but still taking up space.

  • Take out everything so you can see it all at once.
  • Start pulling items you no longer need or use, or that are duplicates you don’t need. Put them in a box, or take them out of the room.
  • You may need more than one of some items, and that’s okay. No one is saying only keep one plate or one pot! But if you have extra plastic plates left from when your kids (now in middle school) were toddlers, toss ’em in the box.
  • Pick out things you use rarely but regularly, at least a couple of times a year, such as a gravy boat, and put them into the hardest to reach cabinets. You have them on hand for the times when you really need that specialty item or, perhaps, an item with sentimental value, but it isn’t taking up space in areas that are easiest to access.
  • Now take the things you use most and put them in the cabinet, drawer, or shelf most convenient to where you use them. Our dishes are close to the dishwasher to make emptying it go faster. I keep pots and pans just a step or two away from my stove. As you put them away, evaluate whether you really need them all or if you can let some go.
  • Now look at what is left and evaluate them according to these questions. Your answers will help you evaluate each item. It may be very hard to make some of these decisions, and in those cases, if you have the room, I recommend keeping the item. You can always decide what to do with it later.
    • When was the last time I actually used it?
    • Does it serve more than one purpose?
    • Do I like it?
    • When will I get around to finishing it?
    • How much is it worth to me today?
    • If I do need it down the road, how much will it cost to replace it?
  • Organize what is left in a way that makes sense to the person who uses it the most, whether that’s you, the kids, or your spouse. Then put it away with their help (if possible) – again, trying to keep things near where they are most likely to be used, whenever possible.

The basic idea is to find every single item you really don’t need, want, or use – no matter how small – and get rid of them all. Don’t focus on the size of items or getting rid of “all” of something. If you have a set of 12 wine glass but now only use 4, get rid of 8 and keep the four. Don’t worry about the fact that they are a “set” – just let it go and keep what you use.

How is that different from what you are usually told? Not much, but here’s the thing: even getting rid of single items – one coffee cup, one old board game, one unused throw pillow – can make a difference when you add it all up.

If you think about it, just those three items would fill up a fairly standard size box. Not a big one – but that’s only three items, and you can probably find more than that in your home. That gives you either plain old empty space to enjoy, or space to put other things away so there is less clutter out and visible. Either way, it’s a win.

Here’s an example of getting started decluttering

Sticking with the kitchen, since it is a common area that accumulates gadgets and things you don’t need, if you don’t ever use your blender, why do you keep it? A stick blender is much smaller and might be all you need, and it’s cheap. Personally, I use either a whisk or a pastry blender for almost everything most people use a mixer for, so I don’t need a big fancy mixer. Other people use theirs almost daily.

Don’t keep appliances because everyone else uses them or you might use them someday. Keep them because you use them, now.

Once you have looked over your appliances, move on to the pots, pans, casserole dishes, etc. If you notice you have three casserole dishes but you don’t really use them often, pick your favorite and put the others in a box with the appliances you’ve already selected to give away or sell. Don’t forget to toss the owner’s manuals, if you still have them! It opens up a little more space in your home, and useful for the new owner.

Look at your serving dishes – the gravy bowl, platters, soup tureens, and all those other specialty items, even the electric carving knife. Do you still use them? If so, great! If not…box ’em up.

The same for your cups, plates, bowls, and utensils (for eating, serving, and cooking). If you don’t use them all, get rid of what you no longer need.

Finally, look for items in the hard to reach cupboards that none of us really use. Maybe yours contain personalized goblets you received as a wedding gift . Do you seriously still care about those or the personalized plate with your wedding date that has never ever been out of that over-the-fridge cupboard? Trust me, I know it may be hard, but just let it go.

I kept the unity candle from our wedding for 15 years. Why??

Rethink the “convenience” gadgets

I vaguely remember using an electric can opener when I was in high school (or maybe junior high?), but I have never owned one myself. A hand-held can opener is easier to wash, a good one lasts a LONG time, and they can be used camping or when the power goes out, if you’re used to an electric can opener. It also doesn’t need any counter space. Likewise, an electric carving knife has never really made sense to me for healthy people.

Do you still need a VCR and VCR rewinder? (Remember those? Is one hiding in the basement?) How about the DVD player you replaced with a BluRay three years ago? The same DVD player that is now almost ten years old, and four times the size of a comparable new one that costs under $100?

Set those aside to donate to a thrift shop.

How much does your house cost?

We used to live in Los Angeles and at one point, our house was worth over $500 per square foot. (Nope, not a typo, and that’s not the dollar amount when we bought it.) That meant that buying a Little People toy for the kids was $30 or so for the toy, plus $750 in space in our house! That made it nearly an $800 toy, which was far more than I was willing to pay for it.

Your housing (and ours, now) is probably far less expensive, but even if it’s $100 per square foot, is that old chair you are keeping because, well, you aren’t quite sure why, really worth $400+ in home space to you? Or could you dump it and buy a chair you actually like later, if you ever actually need it?

The cold hard fact is that there is cost involved when it comes to clutter.  You need a bigger and bigger house to hold it all. Sometimes it is worth it. I stand by my choice to stuff a closet with cardboard boxes of my son’s clothing to keep for my younger son, but I am ruthless about donating anything they outgrow to charity.

Shake, shake, shake!

You may not have a lot of extra items, but even removing one casserole dish, three glasses from fast food restaurants, half the contents of the kitchen junk drawer, and those old kiddy plates and sippy cups your children outgrew years ago can free up a surprising amount of room, making it easier and more pleasant to put things away.

It’s great if you can get rid of some big things, but just getting rid of little bits and pieces can shake free a surprising amount of space in your home and get you started on the path of downsizing and decluttering.

Keep what’s most important and get rid of the dozens of items that are cluttering your home and your life.

 

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Try it Today! Meal planning in 6 easy steps! (Skill of the Month) http://thesurvivalmom.com/meal-planning-6-easy-steps/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/meal-planning-6-easy-steps/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 13:51:48 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20794 A very long time ago, I used to be able to go grocery shopping without a list. I could think of meals for my husband and I while I was at the store and gather the ingredients. Of course, this meant I didn’t have a set budget, never knew exactly what items I had on […]

The post Try it Today! Meal planning in 6 easy steps! (Skill of the Month) by Sarah Anne Carter appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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Meal planning in 6 easy steps - the Survival MomA very long time ago, I used to be able to go grocery shopping without a list. I could think of meals for my husband and I while I was at the store and gather the ingredients. Of course, this meant I didn’t have a set budget, never knew exactly what items I had on hand and lots of last-minute trips to the store for the “Oh, I forgot …” item.

Then the time came when we needed to stick to a budget with the arrival of our children. I needed a list to make sure I got everything necessary because I did not want to do any last-minute shopping trips. I wanted to make getting dinner on the table easier. So, here’s how I went from being a no-list shopper to a meal planning, list shopper.

1. Compile the recipes you use

I made a list of the meals we typically had for dinner. I organized the recipes in a binder with page protectors. Today, I have a Pinterest board specifically for recipes I have tried and used. Getting a list of meals with their ingredients is step one. You can consult this list every time you plan meals and then try a new recipe out each time and decide if it will be put on the permanent list or not.

2. Decide how many meals you need

Look at your calendar for the next week, 2 weeks or month – however long you will be shopping for. Are there any planned nights out? Don’t forget to check for school “spirit nights” and such that you plan to attend and days off school when you will need to feed the kids lunch. How many days will you need a slow-cooker recipe instead of a baking one? Figure out how many nights you will need to make meals for and what kind of meals you need.

I shop for a month at a time, but I usually only need about 20 meals or so, with about 7 of those being in the Crock-Pot, because several will give us leftovers or we use food in the freezer from the previous month.

3. List out your meals and ingredients

I write down the meals and whether they will feed us for one or two nights. Then, I list the ingredients I will need next to them. This is done on the back of my shopping list. I’ve made these files to help me.

SHOPPING LIST MENU LIST SHOPPING LIST

Listing the ingredients may seem tedious, but it only takes a few minutes and serves two purposes – transferring to the shopping list so an item isn’t overlooked and knowing exactly what is in your pantry. I know what meal each jar of spaghetti sauce in my pantry is for because I can consult my ingredients list. I also write out what meal I am going to use on what day. A calendar clipped to the refrigerator is an easy what to do this step.

4. Know your store aisles/make your list

My shopping list is broken down into categories based on the aisles in the store I usually shop at. You may shop at more than one store and just want to use generic categories. If you mainly shop at one store, it can save you time to organize your list by the aisles. It keeps you from having to go back to a section.

Knowing how the aisles are broken down in your store can also help you if you coupon. I sort my coupons by aisle and can easily compare them to what is on my list for that aisle’s section. You can jot down the aisles on your next trip or see if the store lists its aisle breakdown on its Web site.

If you aren’t sure of the aisles or your store recently remodeled, did you know there’s an app for that? Seriously, grocery stores now apps to help you find the goods in their store quickly and easily.

5. Cross off/Add on

One last step that can save you money is to check your pantry for anything left that can be crossed off your list. Forgot to add the tomatoes into a casserole? You won’t need those next time. Do you have enough of your basic ingredients, like flour, sugar and seasonings? What breakfast items, snacks, and dairy products do you need? If you have food storage, also check if anything was “borrowed” from your supplies or rotated out and needs added to the list to restock.

6. Shop and cook

Check off your shopping list as you go. Check unit prices to be sure you are getting the best deal. Use coupons if you have them on hand. Organizing your pantry when you get home while putting things away helps you know what you have on hand. If you feel motivated, you can always cook up the meat you’ll use for the time period and then freeze it. I save a lot of time pulling pre-cooked meat out of my freezer for meals.

I keep all my lists clipped on to the refrigerator to stay organized. Once I got into the habit of doing this, I started really enjoying planning meals. I know what meals I have on hand for the month, when we’re going to have them and that all the ingredients needed for the meals are in the pantry. No last-minute trips. No figuring out what’s for dinner at 5 p.m. It means a lot more time enjoying my family and less time worrying how (and what) to feed them.

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January Skill of the Month: Organize & Reduce With These Tips! http://thesurvivalmom.com/january-skill-month-organize-reduce/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/january-skill-month-organize-reduce/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 08:06:53 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20499 Every year more stuff seems to accumulate. The closets, drawers, and cubbies become cluttered. Things are not as organized as they once were, and spaces just feel overwhelmed with stuff. Deciding what to keep and what to reduce is difficult. Here are a few skills that I have learned when it comes to organizing, and […]

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Organize and reduce what you own for a tidy home and more peaceful life. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.com

Every year more stuff seems to accumulate. The closets, drawers, and cubbies become cluttered. Things are not as organized as they once were, and spaces just feel overwhelmed with stuff.

Deciding what to keep and what to reduce is difficult. Here are a few skills that I have learned when it comes to organizing, and reducing my household clutter for the New Year.

Reduce What You Own

The Magic Questions

  • Have you used it in 6 months?
  • Does it have a place (a spot on the shelf, in a drawer, or other storage area)?
  • Is it a specialty item with a specific use that is hard to replace?

These are a few questions I have learned to ask when contemplating getting rid of an item. They really do help with decision making. Usually I never miss the item if it answers the first two questions with a “No”. The third question can be a bit tricky if it is a specialty item.

Clothing

When going through clothing, I inspect it for holes, and make sure it still fits comfortably. Is it something you would buy if you were shopping in a store right this minute? I keep this question in mind when I try it on. If it isn’t then I purge it. I also have the kids try on their clothes and decide if they still love certain outfits. I find that they have their favorite outfits, and other pieces just sit in their draws.

Gadgets

Do you have electronics or tools that do the same job? In the kitchen I found that I had a few gadgets that did the same job. Some tasks I didn’t mind doing the old fashioned way, so by reducing my gadgets I cut back on counter clutter.

Books and Media 

Everything is going digital these days. I still keep a nice selection of hardback books, but I try to buy digital instead of paperback. Sometimes I will rent a digital book (especially my college books) or check it out at the library. The same for media such as DVDs or CDs. Another plus is that most digital media is stored on a cloud drive which is accessible through many devices.

Important Papers

I try to keep everything in digital form when I can. If I can’t then I try to go through, and sort it out at least once a week. The kids’ homework piles up quickly, so I have them go through it and make two stacks. One to keep, and one to toss. When they finish I go through both piles just to make sure that nothing got miss filed. I keep the important papers in file box. The kids’ treasures such as artwork goes into a special box designated for them. This way all the memories are kept in one spot, and do not overtake my office space.

Toys

One way I keep a handle on toys is that everything must have a place. If it doesn’t fit in their room or a designated space then we contemplate purging it. Also if they want to buy a new toy, I sometimes have them donate one of their old ones. I rarely face any resistance with this technique.

Pantry and Freezer

As preppers, I find that our dry storage and freezer get crowded sometimes. Every 6 months I make it a point to go through and reorganize these spaces. I check the packaging to make sure it is still air tight, and the expiration dates. If I overstocked Items we donate them to the food bank. If I have some items that are about to expire we try to work them into our meal planning for the week.

Organizing what we own

Containment makes organizing simple. I evaluate an area and make sure that everything in that space has a place. If it doesn’t then I make it a space usually by incorporating baskets, bins, or re-purpose food storage containers.

I have found that the new designer duct tape is a friend in re-purposing food storage containers. I will wrap duct tape around empty oatmeal canisters or smaller boxes, and use them to organize toys and craft supplies. I can easily color code containers, and it makes the container sturdier.

Labeling is a sanity saver. It stops the seemingly never ending question about where things are. When my children were too young to read I incorporated pictures next to the words to help them find the right bin.

What To Do With All That Stuff

Some ways to earn a little cash for your stuff is having a garage sale. Another option is selling on Ebay especially if it is a specialty item. Items such as clothes and toys also do well on Ebay. Check out a local consignment shop too. There are many children and women’s shops that will give you cash or store credit for name brand clothing and toys. Amazon is great for selling your used books, or look for a bookstore that accepts used books for store credit, such as Half Priced Books.

There are many places that you can donate your stuff, too, as well, and they will give you a receipt that you can use for a tax write-off. Also check with your local shelter, food bank or senior center to see if they accept donations as well.

Making sure that everything has its own place is the key to organizing. Don’t be afraid of becoming more minimalistic, and letting things go. Honestly, all the things I have parted with over the years, and through several moves, including overseas, I have not missed (ok, I’ll admit maybe a few specialty items). Tackling organizing and reducing as a family makes the job easier, and offers a fresh start to the New Year.

The post January Skill of the Month: Organize & Reduce With These Tips! by Jessica Hentze appeared first on The Survival Mom. Be sure to check it out!

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Introducing our Skill of the Month Club! http://thesurvivalmom.com/skill-month-club/ http://thesurvivalmom.com/skill-month-club/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 19:20:25 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=20611 A few years ago on this blog, I started a Skill of the Month Club that focused on a new skill to learn each month. I posted an article or two about that skill and encouraged readers to try something new. Now, in 2015, I believe it’s more important than ever to get our homes, […]

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Join the Skill of the Month Club and learn tips for getting organized and reducing your clutter. | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comA few years ago on this blog, I started a Skill of the Month Club that focused on a new skill to learn each month. I posted an article or two about that skill and encouraged readers to try something new.

Now, in 2015, I believe it’s more important than ever to get our homes, families, and selves at a point where we are more self-reliant. A big part of being self-reliant is having a bank of skills and knowledge from which to draw.

When your child has a sore throat, knowing multiple natural remedies comes in handy, and may eliminate the need to head to the doctor or the drug store. Living on very little money,  yet knowing how to knit, crochet, and sew, allows you to provide new, handmade clothing items for your loved ones and, perhaps, open the door to a source of income. And how about being able to make your own household cleaners with super-cheap ingredients, shunning store-bought foods because you know how to make homemade versions that are far better and healthier?

This is just a sampling of how learning new skills can make you more self-reliant and, at the same time, able to live more frugally and more healthy.

Well, our new Skill of the Month Club is riding to the rescue to give you a boost throughout each month so you can learn these skills and much more.

The first level of the Club is what we’ll provide here on the blog, new articles and resources every month, focusing on a new skill. We’ll provide a round up of the best Pinterest pins for that skill, to give you even more sources for learning.

The second level, and this is what I am completely giddy about, and believe me, The Survival Mom is giddy about very few things in this world, is our membership website for The Skill of the Month Club.

Perhaps, for you, just being steered in the direction of a new skill, with a few articles and resources, is all you need. You tend to stay on track until a task is completed. Good for you! We’re ready for you with Skill of the Month articles on the blog. You’ll find 2 or 3 of them every month.

But a lot of us, me included,  need a bit more. We need a community to help us stay motivated, a place to ask questions, and more detailed information. We might do best with a tiny bit of accountability. That will be provided with your membership to The Skill of the Month Club.

In this special membership area, you’ll find:

  • Extra “enrichment” articles and printables
  • Exclusive webinars with experts in each skill area
  • Baby steps if you’re new to the skill and Challenges if you’re ready to go for a more advanced level.
  • Ad-free podcasts
  • Free ebooks with resources, links, and a lot more.
  • Newsletter boosters to give you a single, important tip each week for the Skill of the Month.
  • Exclusive giveaways, just for members!
  • Access to experts
  • A private Facebook group where you can mix, mingle, and share information with other members.
  • …and a lot more!

I’ll soon be offering a pre-launch, one-year membership to this club, so be watching for it. I can promise you that the pre-launch price will be about equal to just 2 or 3 dinners out, and will be well worth the money! Plus, you’ll have access to all this great stuff, 24/7 and can move through it at your own pace and refer back to favorite articles, videos, podcats, and webinars as needed.

Even as I write this, we are busily putting into place details for this new website.

So what is the January Skill of the Month?

Yeah, I thought you might like to know!

After a lot of thought and discussion, I realized that in order to add something new to your life, you have to get rid of something else to clear the way. In most cases, that’s literally!

Before you can focus your time and attention on something new, learning some time management strategies, such as a master family calendar and cleaning out cupboards and drawers, and general decluttering really needs to happen.

So our first Skill is… Getting Organized and Reducing What You Own.

Here’s the great news about this first skill. Everything we have scheduled for it will be available to every reader, free and forever!

That includes an upcoming webinar with Taylor Flanery of Home Storage Solutions 101. She’ll be sharing her best tips for decluttering. I’ll be adding a couple of videos showing you how I manage to keep the horizontal surfaces in my home looking tidy and organized. Shortly, we’ll have a free eguide available with dozens of resources to help you on your journey.

I know from personal experience what a difference it makes when your home, life, and brain are decluttered. This is why I wanted the January Skill of the Month to be open to everyone, throughout the year.

The membership site will launch in early February — keeping my fingers crossed. Creating a new website is like building a new house. There are almost always unforeseen glitches and delays, but we are well on our way to having something very special for our members.

Upcoming Skills for 2015

Battling the household Clutter Monster and managing your time, using January resources, will be a continuing task, but here’s what we have for you to look forward to in coming months.

February Skill  of the Month: Replace Store-Bought with Homemade

We’ll share recipes for homemade spice mixes and other foods, cleaning solutions and even cosmetics! Our special webinar guest is Adrienne Urban of  Whole New Mom, who is an expert in this field.

March Skill of the Month: Learn a New Handcraft — Knit, Crochet, Sew!

We’re rounding up the best resources for beginners and experts alike!

April Skill of the Month: Gardening From the First Seed

Watch for webinars with gardening expert Mike Podlesny, Mike the Gardener and with Marjorie Wildcraft of Grow Your Own Groceries. I might even be able to get a hydroponics expert to join us for a Q&A session!

May Skill of the Month: Get Your Prep On!

You may be well-prepared for emergencies, but this is the month to take on one or two new prepping challenges! And, be ready for webinars and Q&A sessions with survival and prepping experts!

June Skill of the Month: Off-Grid Living

July Skill of the Month: Canning & Dehydrating Food

I hope all this gets you as excited about the Skill of the Month Club as I am.

I’ll have that special pre-launch price for you in another few days. In the meantime, watch for upcoming articles about planning meals and decluttering your home.

 

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