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
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.
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).
- 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
- Personal and home defense
- 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!