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What NOT to Prep – 3 Common Misconceptions

By Stephanie Dayle via - The American Preppers Network

That’s right, I said “what NOT to prep.”  If you have made the decision to start preparing, you are experiencing information overload.  When I first started to prepare, I was told and read so much advice on what to prep I came to the conclusion that I should just prep everything!  Well yes, and no.

Questioning the information that you read about prepping on the internet - even my information, is a good thing! Incomplete or in accurate information distracts people who are new to the concept of prepping from focusing on what will save their lives, doing your own research helps fill the gaps of these information holes.  Therefore I always in encourage people to do their own research.

These are some common items I have chose NOT to prep after learning some skills, doing a lot of reading and some testing - you may choose to do differently and that is your right, however this is what I have decided to do and why. I will add more things in future articles.  Always base your preps on common sense, think things through, ask yourself; how will this work in a stressful situation where you will not have the luxury of time?

Three Things  I do NOT Prep.

A Year’s Supply of Toilet Paper:  Although it is nice to have, millions of people live perfectly clean (some may even argue cleaner) and sanitary lives without it by simply using water and soap to clean themselves. Therefore I don't see it as must, I see TP as a luxury item. I wouldn't even stock it for a barter item because I don't believe in prepping barter items.  Stocking TP is bulky (even if you remove the cardboard and vacuum pack it), and not everyone has the room for a year’s supply.  I keep only three months supply of TP on hand for that reason, food and water is more important (I'm sorry it just is).  If something bad happens and we use it up, we will switch to our plan B.  Any “plan B” needs to be time effective.  It is not time effective to pulp the fiber and make toilet paper, chances are you will have far too many other things to do in a prolonged ‘grid down’ situation to even consider doing that. Have a "plan B" that you can quickly implement.

Our “plan B” is taking squares of fabric that are cut from worn-out clothing approximately 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches and leaving a stack near the latrine. You clean up with the fabric, then deposit the used fabric in a #10 can filled with a strong bleach/water solution (not so strong as to eat the fabric but strong enough to kill anything on the fabric). Keep the can sitting near the latrine and cover it with a lid.

Next time you do laundry, you empty the whole can of bleach, water and fabric directly in with the hot soapy water, with your whites, then wash, rinse, hang dry and you’re done.  This process is not so different from the use of the cloth diapers that EVERY child used wear before the invention of modern disposable diapers. It is not unsanitary and does not put anyone at undue risk of disease as long as standard cleanliness procedures are followed (aka - hand washing).  If it grosses you out and you don't like the thought of it - that's fine but don't tell me that its putting you at risk for anything....

Soap Making Supplies:  Making soap takes a lot of time and resources. The oils and fats used to make soap, by their very nature, do not store well. I consider myself lucky to get a year or more out of them even when stored in ideal conditions. Granted you can make soap out of semi-rancid fat, but there comes a time when it is so rancid that you can't. In a long term emergency those fats and oils may be better used in cooking or as food than being made into soap. Then there is the fuel it takes to make it. Even cold pressed soap requires fuel for a stove or fire to melt and render fat. In a prolonged emergency you will want to have a ready supply of soap on hand to use that you don’t have to make.

Same goes with laundry soap and dish soap. Stock up on the store bought stuff (click here--> for Five Great Soaps to Prep) it has no known shelf life, and is still fairly cheap. It’s very easy to purchase a year supply or more of soap. If you want to make your own laundry soap to save money right now - it's a great thing to do for your family and budget, but you may want to consider having some pre-made stuff prepped for emergencies.

At the farmstead I grow two large gardens, my own fruit, raise my own meat, preserve my own food, cook from scratch, clean and do laundry - and I barely have enough time to get that all done right now with no emergency. I guarantee you, during an emergency - we will not have time to make soap. After things settle down and we all adjust to a new "normal" then we may have some extra time.

If you want to learn how to make soap as a hobby it’s a worthwhile skill to learn and you can stock up on homemade soap just like you would store bought soap as long as the soap is not highly ‘super fatted’  (also known as a 'lye discount').  Being able to make soap from the materials you have available to you will be an invaluable skill.  We will always need soap.  In this case keep some lye on hand, it has many other uses and having some will be much easier, and consume less resources, than making your own lye.

Public Domain Image

Gold and Silver for Emergency Preparedness: Now, before the flaming begins, let me explain.  In short-term emergency situations like Hurricane Katrina where we had a temporarily failed micro economy ; did people run around buying and selling with gold and silver? No they didn’t. But, if you had a tank of gas, you could get almost anything you wanted, bottled water became very valuable and clean dry clothing were a big deal.  In a prolonged emergency situation where the grid is down and people are going without food, it's true the dollar may collapse, but people aren’t going to want a gold coin, they are going to want FOOD.

Food, fuel, and possibly ammunition or medicine via barter will become the new system of currency not Gold or Silver.  Precious metals are investments, and should be treated as such.  They are a way to diversify your money and guard against inflation.  If you already have a year of food and supplies stored for your whole family and you are debt free and you have a plan B bug out location ready, then consider investing in Gold and Silver.  Focus on the basics: water, food, and first aid, in that order.  Then do some real research about investing in Gold or Silver and see if it’s the right choice for your family.  Keep in mind the US Government once confiscated it during the depression and don’t listen to those who tell you “…it will never happen again” because it can always “happen again.”  Part of prepping is being prepared for even things that seem unlikely.

Just as a personal note here: I do not apologize for the things I have written. If this article has made you mad - then it has also made you THINK. I win either way and I am not the least bit sorry. I stand behind my work. This doesn't make me "better" than anyone - it just makes me confident enough to say it - that's all. 


  1. I fully agree with you on the storage of gold and silver. I often wonder how anyone would even be able to assign it a value in an emergency. And as you state, other items will have a true value instead of just being something shiny.

  2. Thanks John - and that is a good insight!

  3. I can not get the link - 5 great soaps to prep - to work. Thanks for the article, I like your opinions.

    1. Fixed the link! Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Anonymous9/19/2014

    I fully agree with John, in an emergency how WOULD you assign value to gold and silver, unless you had the knowledge and skills to turn the metal into useful tools.
    I have always agreed with point 3 of this article. In a SHTF situation being able to barter with things people actually NEED will be the currency for a while to come.


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