Anyone who has been interested in survival or general preparedness for a while knows by now how important food, water and other basic necessities are. For those who have opted to plan for a bug in, or who have a very secure bug out retreat they intend to relocate to and would like to stock ahead of time, this article offers 10 everyday items you could probably live without, but you certainly won’t want to.
1) Soap, including hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap and any other cleaning detergents that your home wouldn’t be the same without; but hand, laundry and dish soap is the most important. You can stock up on soap and/or learn how to make your own soap and possible store soap making supplies if you see fit.
2) Razor blades are a modern convenience that you can pretty much kiss goodbye in a post-SHTF scenario of whatever variety. Still, if you want to be able to shave without needing to sharpen up that knife, several extra packages of blades or a quality straight-edge razor will be worth their weight in gold if you ever find yourself in that post-SHTF scenario. Indeed, you may even find yourself with a valuable commodity that can be traded (so you keep the straight edge and trade the razor cartridges).
3) Toiletries such as cotton swabs, toothpaste, floss and new toothbrushes are all important for maintaining quality dental hygiene, and considering that a disaster could last years, limiting or eliminating your access to medical and dental care, you’ll want to care for those teeth. You’ve only got one set, after all, and brushing with baking soda just isn’t the same as using a nice, quality toothpaste to shine your pearly whites.
4) Feminine hygiene products; ladies know what I’m talking about, and men, trust me you want your wives and daughters to be well-stocked on these supplies. Just because the world as you know it has ended doesn’t mean mother nature’s going to change her course, so unless you enjoy using a rag for a week each month… you get the picture. Stock up and start growing cotton, ladies.
5) Hair care and grooming supplies such as barber’s scissors, clean combs (they are often available in bulk for very cheap prices and in a variety of sizes), several replacement hairbrushes and a reasonable supply of shampoo and conditioner (pay attention to how long it will last, though). Again, learning a bit about making your own shampoo and conditioner may also be a good idea (if nothing else, it’ll be a marketable skill for you to use in the future when the uneducated, unwashed masses would love some shampoo).
6) Toilet paper, oh yes; we’ve been chopping down Canadian old growth forest for decades to wipe our bottoms, but post-SHTF our supply of all those soft rolls of TP may be severely curtailed or cut off altogether. And if you think going without TP is something that might not be so bad, try it for a couple days and let us know what you think then. Call it a luxury if you will, but it’s one you’ll enjoy if you have it; and yes, you might end up in a situation where you decide you want something more than your TP and you trade it away, but hey, at least you’ll have it to trade even if you don’t use it. Personally, I’ll be monogramming my TP stash with my initials for easy identification.
7) Socks are one of those things that are often overlooked, whether you’re bugging in or hightailing it for the mountains and countryside. Our feet take a lot of wear and tear, day in and day out, so naturally our socks do too; but when was the last time you sat down to darn the holes that developed in your socks? Of course, everyone will do what they can to fix and repair their clothing and other materials as they go along after SHTF or the world as we know it ends, but socks are generally pretty cheap and easy to stockpile so go for it.
8) Condoms or another form of reliable birth control; this may seem like something that won’t be a priority, but you might be surprised by how adaptable human beings are. Natural biological functions and urges will still be around, and may even be heightened in some people, but you probably won’t want to risk bringing new infants into the world during a post-SHTF scenario; at least not for a few years or until things stabilize. Aside from their obvious use, condoms can also be used to protect weapons from water damage, they can be used as temporary tourniquets and for a variety of other non-sex purposes.
9) Spare eyeglasses and/or a one or two-year supply of contact lenses with appropriate fluids and eye drops. The importance of your vision in a real survival or post-SHTF scenario cannot be stressed enough, so make sure you have at least one backup pair of sturdy glasses (nothing flimsy or trendy, your backup glasses should be utilitarian and sturdy, they are there to serve a purpose and to endure for as long as possible in case of an emergency) in your current prescription, same for contacts.
10) Comfort food, you’ll want to ration it carefully of course, but a sweet snack here or there or a bit of cinnamon and sugar over your oatmeal can do wonders to improve the mood and raise morale, especially when times are figuratively or literally dark. Sugar, molasses, honey, jams and various syrups can last for years when stored properly, while canned fruits, fruit leathers and dry fruit medleys or trail mix can last anywhere from several months to upwards of several years. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are all reasonably easy to cultivate, as well, as are many fruit trees, which can be planted for long-term production year after year. In a slightly less nutritious vein, many hard candies (like traditional lemon drops) can last for several years when stored properly.