The Survival Mom » Organization http://thesurvivalmom.com Helping moms worry less & enjoy life! Tue, 29 Jul 2014 06:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 Every Prepper Should Take a Look at the Purple Cows Laminator http://thesurvivalmom.com/experience-purchasing-using-purplecows-hot-cold-laminator-disaster-preparedness/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=experience-purchasing-using-purplecows-hot-cold-laminator-disaster-preparedness http://thesurvivalmom.com/experience-purchasing-using-purplecows-hot-cold-laminator-disaster-preparedness/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=15842 Introduction/Inspiration I have a friend named Maureen. Maureen is ultra-organized, and I often feel inadequate in comparison to her organizational skills! I tend to have piles of paper that may or may not make it into their proper folders. Maureen Read More

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LaminatorIntroduction/Inspiration

I have a friend named Maureen. Maureen is ultra-organized, and I often feel inadequate in comparison to her organizational skills! I tend to have piles of paper that may or may not make it into their proper folders. Maureen has binders with tabs and laminated sheets. I often think, and sometimes say aloud, “If I ever get completely organized, I’d be dangerous!”

Those laminated sheets really caught my attention. I decided to find out if there was an inexpensive home tool I could use to get my paper organized and laminated, too. I can think of about a bazillion uses for a laminator, and I often use the one at the library.

Purchasing a Laminator

Finding and ordering the Purple Cows Hot and Cold 9″ Laminator Model # 3016C   could not possibly have been more easy. I did a Google search for laminator machines, it popped right up, it was available on Amazon, and I ordered it with my 1-click ordering. Even better, it qualified for Amazon Prime shipping. The cost was a very affordable $22.97.

There it was sitting on my doorstep two days later. Presto! Sometimes Amazon makes me believe in magic/immediate wish fulfillment.

Out of the Box

Getting started couldn’t be simpler. There were only four things in the box: instruction booklet, machine, plastic document feed tray to clip onto the machine, and a plastic package filled with 100 assorted sized laminating pockets (40 8 1/2″ x 11″ 3 mil., 30 4″ x 6″ 3 mil., and 30 3″ x 5″ 3 mil. pockets). The machine plugs in quite easily and the document feed tray snaps right on. So far so good! The machine automatically adjusts for 5 mil. pockets versus 3 mil. pockets, but I haven’t bought any 5 mil. pockets just yet. (With plastic sheeting, the higher the number of mils, the thicker the plastic.)

Deciphering the Instruction Manual

Sometimes when you open an instruction manual, you are lost from the get-go and convinced someone wrote this in another language and put it through an online translator! I was pleasantly surprised to find that this product does NOT have one of those instruction manuals. It was clearly written in English and very easy to follow and well-organized.

Firing It Up and Laminating

Turning the machine on was a snap. There’s an “on/off” switch and a “hot/cold” switch. I turned it on and flipped it over to “hot”. It took almost exactly 3 minutes to heat up. I put paper (my current “To Learn”, “To Do”, and “To Buy” lists, which I have whittled down to one page each, front and back) into a laminating pocket, slipped the pocket (sealed end first) into the document feed tray, and the machine took over, gently grabbing the edge of the pocket and guiding it straight through the machine.

In less than 45 seconds, I had a beautifully laminated page with a completely watertight strong seal all around the 3 edges. Perfect! I’m pleased to report that I did NOT stay up all night laminating everything in sight. I only stayed up until midnight. And I only laminated 25 items (so far), including my concealed carry class completion certificate, my mom’s handicapped parking placard that was delaminating/peeling, and a 7-day free-visit card to my gym that I’m going to mail to my nephew so he can use it over the summer.

Every item, no matter its size or thickness laminated beautifully. The thicker plastic handicapped parking placard needed to be put through the laminator, just like the instructions said, twice.  At the end of 2 runs through this little gem of a machine, it was done perfectly.

The Specifics

The instruction manual and box inform me that the unit is energy efficient and UL-Listed. All brands of 3 mil. and 5 mil. hot-lamination pockets sold at office supply or craft stores may be used with this laminator. The cold (COOL) lamination setting uses adhesive rather than heat so that items damaged by heat such as flowers, fabrics, plastics, and embellishments can also be laminated. Special cold lamination pockets (sold separately) must be used for this purpose. The website www.purplecows.net provides a free library of projects to get you thinking about what you might want to laminate!

Conclusion

Every preparedness-minded person who wants to get their paperwork organized would benefit greatly from this machine. My experience was superb – easy and affordable, works exactly as advertised. I can’t say enough good things about this little purchase. I’m getting on Amazon to purchase more laminating pockets today, because something tells me 100 won’t be enough!

For more ideas, watch this video!

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Try it Today! Create Absolutely Foolproof Passwords http://thesurvivalmom.com/foolproof-passwords/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=foolproof-passwords http://thesurvivalmom.com/foolproof-passwords/#comments Sun, 08 Jun 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14547 In addition to being a disaster readiness consultant and author, I’m also a licensed private investigator. I’ve been working in the security and investigation fields for over twenty years now. I’ve had to learn how to create foolproof passwords. My Read More

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passwordsIn addition to being a disaster readiness consultant and author, I’m also a licensed private investigator. I’ve been working in the security and investigation fields for over twenty years now. I’ve had to learn how to create foolproof passwords.

My specialty is with computer-based investigations, such as e-mail tracing and deep background checks. Many of us spend hours each day working with computers. With that comes the requisite passwords we need to create on a regular basis.

The problem is, we sometimes have a hard time remembering all those passwords. Some of us resort to writing them down, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a password, right? In an effort to create easy-to-remember passwords, we end up with stuff that’s easy for others to figure out.

Think back to the most common passwords you’ve used. I’m betting at least some of them used your children’s name(s) or your pet’s name. For the guys, one of the most common passwords is the make or model of your vehicle.

Now, while you may be at low risk of having someone try to break into your online account at the local library, any time you’re dealing with financial matters, such as making purchases or doing online banking, you want the strongest password you can create.  But, the stronger the password, the harder it can be to remember.

Here’s a trick I learned years ago that you can use to create an all but unbreakable password that is also extremely easy to remember.

Choose a nursery rhyme. For example, we’ll go with Humpty Dumpty. Go through the first line of the nursery rhyme and write down the first letter from each word.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall = HDsoaw

Now, either before or after those letters, write down the last four digits of the home phone number you had when you were a child.  If that won’t work for you for some reason, how about the combination to your locker at the gym?

1234HDsoaw or HDsoaw1234

This can also work by using a book you always have nearby instead of a nursery rhyme. Just use the first sentence of the book instead of the first line of the rhyme.  “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” becomes Iwtbotiwtwot.

Or maybe the first line from your favorite song?  “It’s all the same, only the names will change,” becomes Iatsotnwc.

Some sites and software programs require you to change your password on a regular basis. Just go to the next line of the rhyme each time you need to change the password.

Here’s the best part. If you are extremely forgetful, rather than writing down the actual password, you can just write down the name of the nursery rhyme.  Think about it. Who is going to guess your online bank account password just by seeing “Humpty Dumpty” written down?

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Try it Today! The Organized Prepper Clears Out Clutter – Springtime Edition http://thesurvivalmom.com/organized-prepper-clears-clutter/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=organized-prepper-clears-clutter http://thesurvivalmom.com/organized-prepper-clears-clutter/#comments Sun, 01 Jun 2014 10:00:33 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=14703 Spring is finally here! This is exciting news in my corner of the world. Here, like many places, we had a very tough winter which held on until VERY recently and didn’t want to let go! But finally, spring has Read More

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ClearTheClutter 2Spring is finally here! This is exciting news in my corner of the world. Here, like many places, we had a very tough winter which held on until VERY recently and didn’t want to let go! But finally, spring has arrived – hooray!

Traditionally, spring is the time to clean the house, clean the garage, clean the attic, move out the old, move in the new. Sometimes, we’ve been so immobilized from the cold winter months of hibernating indoors that it’s hard to make a start on this worthy annual activity.

Clutter is disadvantageous to us for so many reasons. It’s distracting, depressing, unsightly, and makes it very hard to find anything. The best way to clear the clutter is to pare down your possessions to what you really need and really want. This will create a lot more space for you to incorporate the items you do want in your life. And for anyone with a preparedness gene, you know you always need more space!

Remember that the clutter didn’t appear magically overnight, and it’s not going to disappear overnight either, unless you’re willing to just chuck everything in the trash. But if you were that type, you wouldn’t have accumulated clutter in the first place, now would you? It will take time to go through your clutter, pare things down, decide upon an organizational system that works for you, and implement it. So set realistic GRADUAL goals, and just get started.

First and most importantly: make a start

Resist with every fiber of strength in your being the impulse to “start” by going shopping at The Container Store or ordering a whole bunch of bins and baskets online or worse yet, spending your hard-earned money on someone else’s organizational system before you even really know what you have that you want to keep.

Don’t do it! First, you have to go through your stuff so you know what you have, and then you’ll know how you want to organize it.

Always be prepared to start. – Joe Montana

For me, when I let things go and there’s a bunch of clutter, it becomes overwhelming and I don’t know where to start, so I just don’t. And then the clutter starts to take over. I also fight perfection tendencies in many aspects of my life, so I have this odd thing in my head where I want to wait until there’s a huge block of time and I can “do it all at once”.

Well, I’m here to tell you that block of time never magically appears. Never. Life goes on, day in and day out, and other things need my attention and I never seem to have a huge block of hours to start on this project. So the clutter just sits. Until I make a start.

One great system for me involves nothing more sophisticated than setting a kitchen timer for 25 minutes. It’s long enough to make some impact, and short enough that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. My rule for myself is I set the timer and when the bell rings, I can quit if I want to, or I can continue sifting through and making piles. More often than not, I keep going!

Momentum is a good thing, and seeing that you’re making a dent can be inspirational. It’s the same philosophy as losing weight – when you see results, you’re motivated to keep going.

I like to tackle things from the inside out. I start with drawers and closets and move my way outward. I touch each item I pick up only once.

I use a sorting system I call GREATER ORG:

G is for Give away to someone else who can make use of it – your sister, the local thrift store that raises money for charity, or the church rummage sale

R is for Return to where it belongs – library, video store, someone I borrowed it from, the drawer I took it out of

E is for Eeeeek do I really need all this paper? Can this be scanned and electronically filed instead?

A is for Another room - relocate it to the room it belongs in at the end of your 25 minutes, don’t just set it aside “for later”

T is for Toss in the trash

E is for Exceptions - this is the stuff I’m not quite sure yet what I want to do with, so I put it in a box and let it marinate for a week

R is for Recycle

O is for OK - this item is meaningful and needs to find a place to stay in my home or this paper needs to get organized in my system

R is for Really? What was I thinking? Return this thing with tags still on to the store and get my money back because I don’t need/want it!

G is for Gift it - because I tend to shop ahead for gifts, cards, wrapping paper when it’s on sale, I sometimes have gift clutter

Once you’ve made a start, commit to keep on going until your entire space is organized and happy. If you can spend 2 hours a day for a week and power through it, great! If it takes 6 weeks of doing only 25 minutes a day, so be it.

Set gradual goals that you know you can commit to. Happy Spring Cleaning and get started today!

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Ninja Style Food Storage: Stocking Up When Your Other Half is Against the Idea http://thesurvivalmom.com/ninja-style-food-storage-stock-half-idea/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ninja-style-food-storage-stock-half-idea http://thesurvivalmom.com/ninja-style-food-storage-stock-half-idea/#comments Mon, 05 May 2014 22:22:37 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=13816 It happens to all of us at some point: we realize the importance of preparing for emergencies, but someone close to us doesn’t. It might be a parent, a roommate, or a spouse, but the dilemma is the same. How Read More

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Image by WiredforLego

Get Ninja With Your Food Storage!

It happens to all of us at some point: we realize the importance of preparing for emergencies, but someone close to us doesn’t. It might be a parent, a roommate, or a spouse, but the dilemma is the same. How do you stock up on food and supplies so stealthily someone you live with (who isn’t on board with prepping) doesn’t notice?

As the title suggests, you can stock up without looking like a hoarder or nut job, or being accused of paranoia. Buying and storing preps over time will seem natural, and won’t set off any red flags or break the bank.

If your other half is not on board, you can’t very well install 8 foot high shelves in the garage unnoticed, so be creative and think outside the box! Again, what do you do? Get ninja with your storage!

Cleaning and Reorganizing

One way to stockpile and store food items ninja-style is while you are cleaning and reorganizing. Pretty much everyone has totes or boxes in closets that have not been touched in 5 years (or more). You don’t even know what is inside of them except from the label that reads “bedroom stuff” or the like. These are perfect for your ninja plan! Clean those totes out but leave the label just as it is. They make an excellent decoy not only to those who call you paranoid, but also for any potential looters.

Long-term food storage needs to be in an environment where the temps stay relatively even from season to season. If you have totes or boxes that are in a good location, empty, repack, and PUT THEM BACK! People are used to seeing that blue tote by the door in the basement. It’s likely they will not even notice it has been dusted off or moved around – or that you just packed 20 pounds of rice and beans in there. Easy, right?

Unused Space

When you are doing your Spring-cleaning, look around your house for unused space. The area above the door on the inside of most closets is unused space – can you put a little shelf in there for storage? Is there space under existing furniture or the headboard on your bed? Can you empty out a drawer in your dresser? What about under the stairs?

One thing we did to make room in our apartment is to move the pots and pans in the cupboards forward (making sure they are stacked to take less space) and putting cases of fruits and vegetables in the back. This makes it easier to rotate in to your normal stock, too. Taking advantage of sales and storing the food is a sort of “food insurance.” Even if nothing ever happens, you are still saving money because food bought yesterday is less expensive than food bought tomorrow!

Storage as Furniture

For those who have a budget tighter than most, you can still accomplish food storage in plain site with a little creativity. Buy a tote and fill it with food. Then, find a nice sheet or some other kind of covering to put over the tote to hide it. Add a lamp or other decoration on top and it serves as a side or end table, PLUS it lets you store food right out in the open. No one would ever know you have 20 pounds of sugar stored inside unless they remove the covering and honestly – how many people are going to do that?

On the same line of thinking, buying a few cases of #10 cans of food and putting a cloth over them will also serve as a nice end table. Are you a big shoe fan? Those boxes could be utilized to store smaller items such as new toothbrushes, floss, and toothpaste. Stacked with the rest of the shoeboxes, there wouldn’t really be a second though as to what may be inside of them, it is assumed!

Extreme Storage

Image by Dave O.

Finding Underused Spaces

There are extremes to food storage I have seen or read about. Some people store food in hollow interior doors (think macaroni and cheese) or in air ducts. Some people even peel back wood paneling and store food in their walls! I do not recommend this route – especially if you are renting. The “other half” will surely notice something like that as well.

One last area to consider is outside.

This makes some assumptions and may not work for everyone. If you have a small balcony you can also make a little ‘end table’ though temperature fluctuations could decrease the length of storage time. (Temperature fluctuations and light are enemies of long term food storage!) Is there a woodshed that can be utilized? Can you put a tote or two in a corner of the garage?

When you really start to look, you probably have more room than you first thought. You will be able to implement your ninja storage easier than expected with a little creative thinking!

Ninja-style meal planning

Many moms plan their family’s meals several days in advance. This can work to your advantage if your food storage strategy is ninja-style.

Include a couple meals in your menu planning each week or month that only use shelf-stable ingredients such as rice, beans, grains, canned foods, and seasonings. Instead of preparing those meals, set those ingredients aside in sealed mylar bags. Label the bag with the name of the ingredient, and store them in a plastic bin in a cool part of the house.

You can always use those ingredients if you must, but at the same time, you have started a nice food storage stash that no one will notice is even there.

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Simply organized: Tips for every Survival Mom http://thesurvivalmom.com/getting-staying-organized-post-brands-home-collection/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=getting-staying-organized-post-brands-home-collection http://thesurvivalmom.com/getting-staying-organized-post-brands-home-collection/#comments Sat, 03 May 2014 12:30:46 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=13832 For years I have been telling busy moms that one of the first steps to becoming better prepared for whatever life throws at you is to get organized. In a world of food storage, home defense, emergency kits, and lots Read More

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For years I have been telling busy moms that one of the first steps to becoming better prepared for whatever life throws at you is to get organized. In a world of food storage, home defense, emergency kits, and lots of technical gear, my advice may seem out of place, but have you ever tried to respond to a household emergency and were unable to find what you needed?

Simply organized

The Post-it Grip Board

The kid with the bloody knee needs some first aid, now!

But where’s that kit?

Hubby was in a car accident and doesn’t have his insurance ID card.

Now, where did that go??

(Can you tell I’m describing a chapter of my life?)

There are many products and books on the market to help families organize, but over and over I return to the most simple methods of posting a list on the fridge or taping a manila envelope inside a cupboard to hold receipts. I don’t want or need expensive products that are just one more thing to maintain.

Now, Post-it Brand, Scotch Brand and Command Brand have introduced their Home Collection, a group of budget and family friendly products that help organize paper clutter, routines, and the family calendar. When they sent me some of these items to try out, it was a happy day in the Bedford household, let me tell you! If there’s one thing that consistently derails my efforts at staying organized, it’s paper.

And, as The Survival Mom, I’m always looking for products that will help me stay one step ahead of the next everyday disaster, and yes, that includes a   kid’s bloody knee.

My favorite products with Survival Mom tips

One of the most useful products from the Home Collection is the Post-it View and Go Pocket. When my team and I got together to brainstorm uses for this see-through plastic pocket, the ideas flowed for a good 30 minutes. This pocket can be mounted on any surface, easily removed, and then re-mounted. View and GoSuper handy!

Check these out these other  uses:

  • Stick this pocket to the inside of your Grab ‘n Go Binder to hold photos and smaller pieces of paper.
  • Use it as a catch-all when preparing for a trip to hold maps, tickets, itineraries, etc. and then take it with you as a handy place to keep receipts as you travel.
  • Older kids could mount the View and Go Pocket on the inside of their locker to hold important papers they don’t want to lose. Since it can be easily removed, they could bring it home, and then return it to their locker.
  • It could be kept in a kid’s backpack or locker to hold a map showing how to get home, contact information for relatives and others to call on in case of an emergency. It could also contain medical information for a child with a health issue or handicap.
  • Parents could mount this envelope inside a kitchen cupboard to hold information a babysitter might need. The flap folds down to keep everything in place.
  • Keep this in a glove box or the trunk of your car to hold important documents, including maps and emergency evacuation routes.

If I said, “I love the Post-it Grip Board,” 10 times out loud, it might convey how I feel about this little goodie! Remember I told you how much I hate paper? Well, after mounting this on a cupboard next to my refrigerator, some of that hate has gone away, a little.

The Grip Board is designed to hold all types of items, from lists to photos, receipts, mail, and my kids handmade birthday cards. Plus, it includes a handy note pad. What a great idea!

No pushpins are necessary to keep everything in one central location, and I can easily tuck some new piece of paper in between each little gripper. It’s a great place to keep birthday cards, invitations, and lists of all kinds.

The Grip Board would be ideal for holding the Family Preparedness Plan checklists found in my book, along with inventories of emergency supplies and your stock of stored food. As well, it’s the perfect place for holding emergency medical instructions and any other piece of information you might urgently need.

Organization is all about being able to find what you need when it’s needed.

Could you use an Idea Catcher?

It might sound crazy, but yesterday I had The Brainstorm of the Year (so far) while I was blow-drying my hair. Thankfully, my brain held on to that brilliant thought until I could write it down, but sadly, that doesn’t usually happen.

An Idea Catcher is what busy moms need, right?

Enter the Post-it Reminder Tile. This small, attractive pad of Post-it Full Adhesive Notes can be mounted just about anywhere, but especially those places where you tend to have ideas and then, they’re gone. I posted one of these inside my closet but other possibilities are the garage, laundry room, in the playroom or basement, by the bathroom mirror, or even by the toilet or shower.

Add the brilliant Command Clear Small Caddy, and you’ll also have a pencil, pen, Sharpie, or crayon (your choice) when you need it. If you mount this high enough on the wall, your little ones will have to be extra crafty if they want to borrow whatever you have stashed there.

(One of our family cats is constantly chewing on phone charging cords, so my son mounted the Command Clear Smartphone Station near his loft bed and just far enough away from the mattress to keep it out of the cat’s way.)

Busy moms always have lots on their minds, so between a handy writing pad, the Post-it Reminder Tile, and a place where a writing utensil can always be found, your grandest and most creative ideas will have a better chance of becoming a reality.

A place for lists

I live by lists and you probably do, too. The Home Collection includes several products that make it easier to keep lists of all kinds.

As the proud owner of a stainless steel fridge, I can’t put anything on it that requires magnets. As soon as I saw the Post-it Dry Erase Planner, I knew where it would go.

For meal planning and even grocery lists, I don’t need a huge chalkboard or bulletin board. I just need something small, posted where I can easily see it, to nudge my memory.

“Were we going to have chicken tonight or enchiladas?”

I’ve been using the Dry Erase Planner to keep track of weekly activities and the dinner menu. It’s small enough to post just about anywhere but because it isn’t labeled in any way, a Survival Mom could get pretty creative with it.

Bonus tip: Mount a Post-it Display Card nearby with it’s stick-able surface to hold recipes for the week.

The planner could be used to schedule gardening activities, household chores for every member of the family, a reading/homework schedule or keep track of medications and dosages. It’s divided into 7 sections, so you’re free to use those however you like in a way that makes sense to you and your household.

One final product that has multiple uses is the Post-it Planner & Perforated List Pad. Whatever is going on in your life at any given moment can probably be noted in one section or another of this pad. There’s a perforated list ready to tear off and take with you on errands or a shopping trip. And, if you have events, chores, appointments, and deadlines, those can all be combined on the handy, lined paper already divided into sections to help you stay organized as life swirls around you.

Sometimes it’s the small things

Sometimes just having a rubber band or a paper clip at the right moment is all you need to organize something. In the case of Post-it Brand’s Home Collection, these are small items, definitely within most budgets, but any of them can make a world of difference to keeping life sane and manageable.

A note pad posted here, a caddy filled with pens and sharpened pencils there, and pretty soon, you’ll be simply organized!

You can find products from this collection at www.postit.com.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Additionally, I was provided with several products for testing purposes. The opinions and tips included in this article are original and are my own.

 

 

 

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12 Days of Back-to-School Giveaways: Day 6, Post-It Swag Bag! http://thesurvivalmom.com/12-days-of-back-to-school-giveaways-day-6-post-it-swag-bag/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=12-days-of-back-to-school-giveaways-day-6-post-it-swag-bag http://thesurvivalmom.com/12-days-of-back-to-school-giveaways-day-6-post-it-swag-bag/#comments Tue, 06 Aug 2013 17:13:13 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12282 This very popular giveaway has ended and Cheryl was the happy winner. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm! I’ve always wanted a real swag bag. You know. Those bags of incredibly expensive luxury items that celebrities get when they attend Read More

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This very popular giveaway has ended and Cheryl was the happy winner. Thanks so much for your enthusiasm!

I’ve always wanted a real swag bag. You know. Those bags of incredibly expensive luxury items that celebrities get when they attend the Oscars.

IMG_20130805_211740_355A whole lot more practical for my needs was this great swag bag I received from Post-It Notes. Chock full of a huge variety of Post-It note products, I was the instant envy of my kids.

Now, I have to admit that when I go to Staples, I always look the other way when passing by the Post-It Notes aisle because their products are so darn alluring! If it’s not the bright colors, then it’s the ingenious shapes and the fact that there’s a Post-It for virtually every imaginable use.

So, just in time for busy moms and students going back to school, I present as today’s giveaway, a colorful Post-It swag bag!

To enter to win, simply leave a comment telling how you use Post-Its in your home. That’s it!

This giveaway ends at midnight on Saturday, August 10. The winner will be selected at random and notified the following day.

Good luck!

Click here to read the true story of how Post-It Notes were invented!

 

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12 Days of Back-to-School Giveaways: Day 5, Finder Codes kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/12-days-of-back-to-school-giveaways-day-5-finder-codes-kit/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=12-days-of-back-to-school-giveaways-day-5-finder-codes-kit http://thesurvivalmom.com/12-days-of-back-to-school-giveaways-day-5-finder-codes-kit/#comments Mon, 05 Aug 2013 17:40:21 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12277 This giveaway has ended, and Mari was the winner of the Finder Codes kit. I just started noticing a new product, Finder Codes, in various stores and immediately thought of all the little things busy families often lose, from small Read More

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findercodesLogo

This giveaway has ended, and Mari was the winner of the Finder Codes kit.

I just started noticing a new product, Finder Codes, in various stores and immediately thought of all the little things busy families often lose, from small electronics to winter coats, expensive textbooks, and pets. Kids who have to lug an assortment of supplies and books to school are particularly susceptible!

Finder Codes is a way to electronically tag anything and everything you don’t want to use and register each item’s code online. If your prized possession is found, the finder can use the electronic code to return your item.

fiinder codesA few of the items that I would tag are:

  • My daughter’s $85 sign language textbook
  • My kids’ backpacks (Finder Codes comes with stickers that attach to fabric.)
  • During snow season, their winter jackets and expensive ski gloves
  • Our pets’ name tags
  • All of our electronics: cell phones, Kindles, cameras, iPods
  • Our laptop computers
  • Keychains
  • My BirkSun solar backpack!

Today’s giveaway is a free Finder Codes kit for one lucky winner! To enter this fun giveaway, simply leave a comment telling me what you have recently lost! And yes, 10 lbs. counts!!

This giveaway ends in 5 days,  at midnight on Friday, August 9. The winner will be selected at random and notified the next day.

Good luck!

Need ideas for your Finder Codes tags?

The 15 Most Commonly Lost Items

Top 10 List of Most Misplaced Items

Lost & Found: Top 10 items left behind in hotel rooms

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A Moveable Feast: Organizing Your Food Storage For Portability and Cleanliness http://thesurvivalmom.com/a-moveable-feast-organizing-your-food-storage-for-portability-and-cleanliness/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-moveable-feast-organizing-your-food-storage-for-portability-and-cleanliness http://thesurvivalmom.com/a-moveable-feast-organizing-your-food-storage-for-portability-and-cleanliness/#comments Mon, 22 Jul 2013 10:03:16 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=12190 Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do, and moving with a full food storage and all of the emergency preparations that go with it can be super-stressful. It’s heavy, often fairly awkward (lots of glass jars Read More

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Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do, and moving with a full food storage and all of the emergency preparations that go with it can be super-stressful. It’s heavy, often fairly awkward (lots of glass jars in my case), and well, there’s just so much of it.

moveablefoodstorageAn organized pantry makes cooking out of it easy and fun. We can all agree on that – but what if you have to move it all one day? I recently did, and I was glad I started off my food storage on moveable racks. And even though I’m staying put for a while now, I can see how having my food storage set up this way will make life easier in the long run – whether I move or not. Here’s why:

If you set up your moveable feast correctly, you’ll be able to clean properly.

I recommend that your food storage be completely – top to bottom – cleaned and sanitized at least once a year (I do mine twice a year, when we change our clocks).

Making your food storage moveable means you can easily reconfigure it when your needs change.

You can store more because racks can be tightly stacked next to each other, and moved when the time comes to rotate your stock. (Uline, a commercial packaging company, has a fabulous sliding shelving system).

Moveable food storage makes it easy to set up a garage or spare room without building in a lot of fixed-position shelving. If you ever want to change the purpose of the room, your racks can be moved out easily.

Many of these shelving units look exactly the same, so it’s difficult to assess which one is right for your needs. There are some granular differences across different manufacturer’s shelving, and even within a manufacturer’s line, so here are some areas to consider when choosing a moveable shelving system:

  • Check the load specifications before you buy. Make sure your shelves are heavy-duty enough to handle the weight you’ll be putting on them. Remember how heavy water is (a gallon is about 8 ½ pounds), and cans are also very heavy.
  • Check to make sure the wheels are heavy-duty. Many shelf systems look great and are heavy-duty, but they cheap out on the wheels. So check unbiased reviews and if you’re very serious, call the manufacturer. The last thing you want is a broken wheel – it’s a hard thing to fix on a fully-loaded shelving unit.
  • Make sure that the wheels are actually included  –  sometimes they aren’t.
  • Some units (especially very inexpensive or smaller) are not meant to be moved when loaded – check with the manufacturer if in doubt.
  • Mix inexpensive lighter-duty shelves with heavier duty shelves for maximum economy.

Moving your food storage doesn’t have to be a nightmare

If you move with these shelves, I have some tips for you (I’m fresh off the moving truck as I write this!):

  • Make sure the moving truck is tall enough to accommodate your shelving – including the wheels. Very important: in addition to checking the height of the inside of the truck, check the door height as well. I had some shelves that fit within the truck but were 2 inches taller than the door. Not a happy discovery!
  • Wrap your shelves with stretch wrap to keep everything from sliding off.
  • If you want to keep the contents private, get black pallet stretch wrap. Remember, movers will see the contents of your bins, and they know where you live.
  • Your moving truck should have a ramp so you can slide your shelves in easily.
  • Know where your racks are going to live in your new location, and create a plan using grid paper. Then, label each shelving unit so when you arrive, the movers can put each rack in the right place. This will save you a lot of time and effort.

Useful clear bins

I also recommend keeping your food storage in clear bins (assuming your storage area is not full of sunlight). Boxes are skidded around warehouses on floors and dirty equipment. Rats and mice may have crawled over them, for all you know.

Some things to consider when choosing bins:

  • Make sure your bins will fit in an optimized way on the shelves you have (or are planning to purchase).  Check the front-to-back dimension as well as side-to-side.
  • Use gasket bins for things critters can get into. There’s a new bin by Sterilite that has a gasket on it. It’s not 100% water/air proof, but it’s a tighter seal than I’ve seen on any bin before – and I’m a bin connoisseur.
  • Use less-expensive bins for cans – the gasket bins are a little pricey, so get cheaper bins for cans of things (since these don’t attract critters).
  • For your home-canned goods, consider a sturdy, more permanent box instead of letting your precious jars go free-range (a slight earthquake, and you could lose it all). I really love these pantry storage boxes from Pantry in a Box. She sends them with a white-board label, so you can re-label easily.

So if you’re just starting out on building a substantial food storage, or considering re-organizing what you already have, please consider using moveable shelves. A well-organized food store is a pleasure to cook out of and makes being prepared a happy choice.

Guest post by Nancy Smith who blogs at Prep Happy. Visit her blog to read more and sign up for her email prepping course.

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A sure-fire strategy for keeping an organized pantry inventory http://thesurvivalmom.com/a-sure-fire-strategy-for-keeping-an-organized-pantry-inventory/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=a-sure-fire-strategy-for-keeping-an-organized-pantry-inventory http://thesurvivalmom.com/a-sure-fire-strategy-for-keeping-an-organized-pantry-inventory/#comments Thu, 28 Feb 2013 19:45:11 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=11293 My husband has told me many times over the years, “Lisa, you always manage to make things more complicated than they need to be.” When we have friends over for dinner, I want to make ALL NEW recipes for multiple Read More

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My husband has told me many times over the years, “Lisa, you always manage to make things more complicated than they need to be.”

When we have friends over for dinner, I want to make ALL NEW recipes for multiple dishes. Before we go on a vacation, I want everyone in the family to have ALL NEW outfits! If we need to make a major purchase, I will research it to death until I’m so confused that I don’t care what we buy!

image by Suus Wansink

image by Suus Wansink

When I decided to create an inventory of my food pantry, I tied myself up in knots just trying to figure out how to organize it. What categories should I use? Should it be a paper/hard copy inventory or should I use Excel? (I am NOT proficient in Excel. At all.)

After much, much thought, I decided to not re-invent the wheel and I used the same categories found on Shelf Reliance for their food products. I figured that the people at Shelf Reliance must have spent a lot of time determining these categories, and if they work for Shelf Reliance, they’ll certainly work for me and my humble inventory.

I also decided to use Excel. I created a separate page for each category (see below) and then entered the name of the food, the size of the container, and how many I had on hand.

Boy, was I surprised to find out that we have 15 #10 cans of freeze-dried bananas.

See what happens when you don’t keep an ongoing inventory? You will almost certainly end up with too much of one thing and not nearly enough of another.

You might like to check out the categories used by Shelf Reliance* or another food storage company as an assist when setting up your own inventory or reorganizing what you have.

Yes, it’s  important to know what you have so you don’t repeat my banana mistake. I’m not working on making sure that I have a bigger variety of fruits and plenty of recipes that call for bananas!

By the way, I saved my Excel inventory and have it stored in Dropbox as well as a printed hard copy here at home. There are issues with saving documents in Dropbox, but I can’t tell you how many times Dropbox has saved my bacon.

Categories

  • Grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Meats
  • Dairy
  • Beans (I separated beans from meat.)
  • Desserts
  • Drinks
  • Basics
  • Entrees
  • Survival supplies (candles, matches, etc.)

Am I missing any categories? What organization system are you using?

* I am an  independent consultant with Shelf Reliance and earn a percentage from any sales derived from my Shelf Reliance website.

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Step-by-Step: A Survival Mom Binder for TEOTWAWKI http://thesurvivalmom.com/step-by-step-a-survival-mom-binder-for-teotwawki/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=step-by-step-a-survival-mom-binder-for-teotwawki http://thesurvivalmom.com/step-by-step-a-survival-mom-binder-for-teotwawki/#comments Thu, 06 Sep 2012 10:49:49 +0000 http://thesurvivalmom.com/?p=10137 Guest post by Jackie K. In 2003 I became a mother for the first time.  Over the years I became a mom 2 more times.  With each new addition, came more things I needed to have on hand.  I did Read More

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Guest post by Jackie K.

In 2003 I became a mother for the first time.  Over the years I became a mom 2 more times.  With each new addition, came more things I needed to have on hand.  I did not know it then, but I was already on my way to becoming a Survival MOM.

Just a little over a year ago, I was enlightened that there was such a blog.  As I read the blog, and now have the book, I have pulled my favorite things all together and put them in my Survival Mom/TEOTWAKI binder.  For those of you that have been following the Survival Mom’s site, you know what this is.  It is a key back up plan to the many other lists and plans we have as moms.

I want to share with you exactly how I have set up my own binder.

Start with organization

My binder has several different parts.  Everything I’ve used for organization are items you can purchase at back-to-school sales and stores like Walgreen’s, WalMart and CVS.  With school beginning again, now is the time to stock up on stuff for yourself and your kids for school.  My husband tells me all the time that I go overboard.  However, he later realizes that it made fiscal sense for me to go overboard when I come home with more than a 50% savings.  Ladies, we all know that is why we are Survival Moms.  It is our job to think of the things our spouses can’t!

Now back to my TEOTWAKI binder.  I use dividers, page protectors and pocket dividers.  Those 3 items make up the main parts of my binder.  In the remainder of this article, I will show you examples of how I use them.  Each mom will have her own unique way to set up her binder.  This is what works for the way my brain functions.  I have included pictures for those of you that need visuals like I do.

Re-purpose, recycle to save money

Some of you may have an even bigger binder than I.  Next to my binder, in the above photo, are some of my favorite books right now.  Of course we have Survival Mom.  Without her book, I would not think of so many areas of planning.  Every mom should have this book, in my personal opinion.

Moving on, for my binder I wanted to make it fun.  So, I used an old binder from college way back when.  I admit I saved this binder when I graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2000.  I just could not part with it.  This binder and I have been good friends for a long time.  I always knew it would find a way to keep me organized again.  You can laugh at me, I laugh at myself all the time.

You can’t fault a mom who likes to re-use and re-purpose can you?  My favorite kind of binder is the one you can place a photo in and use a visual.  Because I have young children, having visuals for them while they are learning to read is important.  So, since one of my big things is to show them what I do as I do it, they will know where this binder is if they need to get it for me.

More helpful supplies

In this photo you see my two favorite note pads.  I use the composition books to help me be a little more portable when I go shopping.  I love the 3-hole punched note books for use in journaling ideas I get on whim a while sitting at my computer reading articles on my favorite blogs and websites.  Another item I love to use with my prepping logs is the Post-It divider tabs.  I LOVE those tabs.  They come in handy for so many things.  I also love that they don’t tear any pages off and you can move them as you need to.

In the third photo you can see that I do love these plastic sheet protectors that allow you to change your mind when it comes to categories and how you want to organize your thoughts and material.  This particular design also acts as a sort of table of contents for my numbered tabs.

Sheet protectors are great for lists or anything you don’t want to have to open the binder for over and over again.  It protects your pages, holds more than one copy of a list you use often and so much more.

Also in my binder are pocket dividers that hold clippings, articles, coupons, blank inventory sheets, maps and more.  Can you tell I let my 9 year-old help me label my dividers with my label maker?  I could not change the spelling of my 1st Things 1sttab because my daughter took such pride in her

1st THINS 1st

work.  So for now, I will keep the typo, and when I look at this tab, I smile

Getting the whole family prepared

My binder also helps me pull together information to help my kids be better prepared. This photo is of one of my “1st Things 1st”, plan items.

I also keep a copy of this list on my refrigerator for my kids and husband.  In case they needed to call 911, my kids would use this tool for emergency crews that would arrive.   I thought of this when I heard about all the children that got separated from their parents after Katrina.  I made sure to teach my kids how to say our first name and last name clearly as soon as they could talk.  This way, if at age 3 my child was separated from me at a store and asked what Mommy’s name is, she or he could tell the store personnel what my name is.

This came in handy when my middle child wandered off in Cabela’s once.  As a Mom, realizing your child is lost is a horrible feeling.  But what made me feel better was when I went to the clerk and she told me, “Oh, we found her; she is at the front desk”.  I showed up and my daughter was telling the clerk at the front desk our last name.  I cried and laughed all at once.

In each section: divider, must-have information, pocket divider

This photo is an example of my divider tab with my pocket divider behind it.  Anything that will relate to my tab for Inventory is placed behind my numbered divider and before the pocket divider, which holds anything that I can’t use the 3-hole punch with. Magazine articles or pamphlets are examples of what I might keep in the pockets.

In my Inventory section I might have inventories of first aid supplies, food storage, lists of what each emergency kit or Bug Out Bag holds, etc.

I love to use the dividers that allow you to write a little list of what you have in the section.  I use pencil here to write things.  As I have learned, change is constant. Never use ink!

Here is a sample of my “Helpful Hints” tab.  This was one of my first articles printed out and I refer to it often.  So I keep it right in the front of my “Helpful Hints”. As you can see, it’s in a page protector since it’s used mostly for reference and I want to keep it in good shape.

Some of the other dividers I have and a few of the informational pieces I’ve collected so far:

  • 1st Things 1st
    • Our plans for both bugging out and bugging in (shelter in place).
    • Maps
    • Emergency contacts
  • Helpful Hints
    • Recipes using food storage ingredients
  • Fun Stuff
  • Family Training
  • Mental Guides
    • Motivational quotes, prayers
    • Tips for staying calm and helping others stay calm
  • Physical Needs
    • How far can each member of our family hike?
    • How many calories do we need to stay healthy?
  • Safety/Medical Needs
  • Rest Needs
    • How to conserve our physical energy if we ever have to hike from a dangerous situation
    • Sleep needs for each age level

You could also use the main sections in Lisa’s book for categories:

  • To Do, To Learn, To Buy
  • Water storage & purification
  • Sanitation & laundry
  • Food storage
  • Power’s out tips and information
  • Organization
  • Personal and home defense
  • Finances
  • Skills to learn
  • Evacuation plans, routes, and supplies

I have these dividers to help me gather and track our progress as a family preparing for a moment that changes our life as we know it to be.  You don’t have to be focused on doom.  This binder works great for camping and family adventures as well.  Having things ready in advance is a must to surviving even a long delay due to traffic.  A Survival Mom tries to be ready for anything, and when she’s not, she learns from the experience and does better the next time!

 

 

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