Organizing Information

If you’re anything like me, you’ve accumulated at least a few gigs worth of survival info from various sources online. Everything from recipes to bug out bag lists to entire books as .pdf files, it all gets downloaded and stored on a hard drive. However, in a true emergency, all that info will likely not be accessible due to power outages and what not.

This is why it is important to print out all that great info so you have hard copies of it. Of course, that will leave you with several stacks of paper that will then need to be sorted and organized.

Here’s what I want you to do. First, if you don’t have them already, hit up Freecycle and/or Craigslist for a printer and several three-ring binders. Ideally these binders will be different colors but if not, work with what you have. If you don’t get any hits for scoring free ones, you can pick up an inexpensive but still decent inkjet printer from Walmart for around $40. Binders aren’t that expensive either. If you don’t have a three hole punch, get one of those as well. Depending on how many files you have, buy the appropriate amount of paper. At the least, I’d start with a couple reams.

Label the binders with categories of information that make sense to you. For example, you might set up binders for Recipes, Bugging Out, Alternative Energy, Firearms, Food Storage, and/or Water Purification.

Set aside a half hour a day to just print out your files. What you might consider doing is setting up a folder in your computer where you put the printed out files, so you don’t end up printing anything twice. Print the document or file, then send the file to the folder, deleting it from the original location.

As you print out files, punch them with the three hole punch and place them into the appropriate binder. This is important, do not just print things out and put them into one big stack to sort later. You’ll never get around to doing that and you’ll find yourself trying to work around huge, toppling stacks of paper. Once everything is printed and sorted, you can go back through and organize each binder. When you get to that point, you can use tab dividers and label them appropriately.

Naturally, in a bug out situation you’ll not be able to lug around a dozen binders full of information. But, given that bugging out is generally going to be your last option rather than your first, you’ll hopefully have all that information at your fingertips when you truly need it.

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Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

One thought on “Organizing Information”

  1. I would assume that most people have a printer already so that shouldn’t be a problem. Where this idea gets you is paper and, more importantly, toner. Instead of buying toner from the store, look online. You can get awesome deals on toner for cheap (ensure it has the chip) and then you can print to your heart’s content. I’ve done exactly this and filled volumes of info. It is well worth the process for sure.

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