Dumpster Diving

For the few out there who might be unfamiliar with the term, dumpster diving refers to the act of going through trash to find treasure, in a matter of speaking. There are basically two types of dumpster diving, residential and commercial.

The night before garbage day, take a walk around your neighborhood. Odds are you’ll see all sorts of stuff put out with the trash, from scrap lumber to old electronics. In most areas, it is not considered stealing if you are taking items placed out for trash collection. I’d avoid the recyclables though as some communities are touchy about that. As always though, be sure to check your local ordinances to be sure you aren’t breaking any laws when trash picking. I’ve known folks who have found TVs, VCRs, DVD players, stereos, and other goodies that work perfectly fine or only needed minor repairs. They either kept the items for their own use or sold them for a few bucks. Lumber can always be used for firewood if nothing else.

Always be absolutely certain the items you want to take are indeed being placed out for garbage pick up. I know my own kids have a habit of leaving their bikes and skateboards at the end of the driveway where someone might think we’re just tossing them out.

When it comes to commercial dumpsters, that’s where things can get tricky. It is absolutely crucial you get permission from the business before even approaching the dumpsters. Be sure you are speaking with a manager or owner and politely inquire about the pallets, milk crates, or whatever. If they say no, move on. Quite often, businesses use the dumpster area not just for trash but for outside storage.

No matter where you go dumpster diving, here are some tips:

–Always leave the area looking better than it did when you arrived. Strewing trash all about not only guarantees you won’t be allowed back but you’ve also ruined it for the next person.

–Wear protective gear. Leather gloves, thick soled boots, goggles are all necessary. Saving money by scavenging old pallets does you no good if you have to turn around and pay for a tetanus shot.

–Unless you have a very good reason otherwise, avoid taking any food items. Sure, grocery stores and such will occasionally throw out perfectly good canned food but often there’s a reason why it is being tossed.

–Watch out for rats and other vermin. This is particularly true in urban environments but you’ll find them pretty much anywhere.

Any of my readers here have any stories of great stuff they’ve found in the past?

This Tactical Shoulder Bag Fits Alot of Gear

Despite the fact that this blog is inherently part of a website where we sell various items of interest to the survivalist and prepper, I rarely ever mention any specific products. There’s a reason for this. The purpose of this blog is not to just be a running advertisement for the company. Ideally, the hope is that you come to the blog, read something worthwhile, then end up perusing the store for things you may need or want.

In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, I cannot recall a single blog post in the entire year that I’ve been doing this that I’ve more than made a passing mention about a product or two.

With all that said though, I really wanted to spotlight a new pack we’re selling. I badgered Steve for months to find something like this that was both affordable and did not skimp on quality.

I received my Tactical Shoulder Bag last week and I have to say, it is just all sorts of awesome! Very good quality, well built, and rugged enough for whatever you want to do with it. Tons of pockets to keep your supplies organized. The water bottle pouch is large enough to handle the bottle with an internal filter I use. It is Molle compatible as well.

While it isn’t large enough to fully replace a well stocked Get Home Bag, it is a great addition to your overall survival supplies. It is perfect for taking along on hikes and day trips, full of your “just in case” equipment. It is quite comfortable even loaded to the gills. All told, I give it very high marks!

Layering for warmth

One of my readers here asked me to talk a little about layering. The idea behind layering for warmth is to trap dead air between your body and the outside world. This provides insulation and keeps you warm.

Layering your clothing also gives you a better ability to regulate your comfort. If all you have is a flannel shirt and a heavy parka, you won’t have a lot of “middle ground.” The parka might cause you to get overheated if you’re working outside, but removing it exposes you to dangerous cold, especially if you’ve been sweating as you work.

Where I live and work, winter temps of well below zero are the norm. Seeing wind chills of -20 or more aren’t all that uncommon. Here’s what I typically wear during those cold snaps.

–Long johns
–Cargo pants
–Flannel shirt
–Thick socks
–Hooded, fleece lined sweatshirt
–Knit hat
–Thick coat/parka

If it gets really frigid, I’ll replace the knit hat with a fleece balaclava. Then, while I’m working outside and start to get too warm, I’ll remove the coat. The hat might come off as well, depending on the weather. These different layers keep me much warmer than would just a pair of snow pants and a parka.

Incidentally, this principle works just as well with your home. If you have drafty windows like I do, but can’t afford to replace them like I can’t, first cover them with plastic. You know, those little packages you can buy at hardware stores where you put double sided tape along the window frame, then use a hair dryer to shrink the plastic once it is applied. During the day, leave the curtains open to allow sunlight in, which will not only help warm the room but it warms that dead air between the glass window and the plastic sheet. When applied properly, these do work pretty well.

You might also crawl up into your attic and check the insulation. If critters get into your attic from time to time, you might find out they’ve moved the insulation around, leaving large gaps. You want the insulation to cover all of the attic floor for best results.

Do what you can now to be prepared for the winter chill. I’ve been saying for a while now that I think it is going to be a brutal season this year.

Now’s the time to stock up on food storage

Between now and Christmas, you’re going to see some really good sales on various food items. Take advantage of these sales to bulk up your food storage.

With the holiday season approaching, many folks are looking at parties and family dinners. This being the case, most grocery stores start using staple items as what are called loss leaders. These are things the store is selling at or below their cost, just to get you in the door and hopefully sell you other stuff. So, turkeys for example will start selling at $0.48/lb or maybe even less. Spend six or seven bucks and you’ll have a pretty good size turkey. After it is cooked, you could can the meat itself or use it to make soups and such, freezing or canning it in smaller amounts.

Baking staples like flour and sugar will go down to mere pennies. Pick up a few pounds of each and store them in tightly lidded containers. Toss ’em into the freezer for a few days first so as to kill any potential bugs that might have found their way into the packages.

Canned and frozen veggies also typically go on sale this time of year. Obviously the canned ones are pretty much ready for storage as is. The frozen veggies can be canned up as well.

Shopping these types of seasonal sales is a great way to stretch your prepping budget. If you watch the sale ads closely and pay attention, you can easily spend not much more than say $15.00 and get enough food to feed a family of five for a week.

Conflict resolution

A few months ago, I briefly mentioned the importance of conflict resolution kills. Today, I’d like to expand on that a bit.

When I use the term “conflict resolution,” I’m referring to interpersonal conflicts within a group. I’m not talking about some type of potentially physical confrontation with one or more people outside your group or team.

The first thing to remember is that the vast majority of interpersonal conflicts arise out of a lack of communication. An instruction is misunderstood. A comment is taken out of context. Whatever the case, feelings of anger or resentment come about when quite often, there is no need for it.

When members of your group have a disagreement, it is important to resolve it quickly and satisfactorily. Remember, the success of your group rests upon the members being able to trust and interact with each other.

It is best to let emotions cool down a bit first, to allow the members to think clearly, then address the issue. Choose your words carefully so as to avoid confusion or misunderstanding. Remember, words are like bullets — once fired (spoken) they can’t be called back! Keep the conversation on point as best you can. Though with that said, you just might find out the initial cause of the conflict really has several underlying issues that need to be resolved.

Allow the group members involved in the conflict to each have their say on the matter. Encourage the use of “I” statements, such as “I feel slighted because Suzie never has to pull weeds in the garden.”

Compromise is often the best solution to a conflict. Quite often, there is no clear cut right or wrong in conflicts like this. Successful resolution rests on doing the best you can for all involved, with each person recognizing they might not get everything they want every time.