What a post-collapse world may be like

[The following is taken from my upcoming book, THE PREPPER’S COMPLETE BOOK OF DISASTER READINESS. In this section of the book, we’re discussing how daily routines will be different after a total societal collapse.]

Prepper's Complete Guide cover

In the wake of a collapse, you likely won’t be commuting to and from a day job. Gone will be your morning latte and the daily newspaper. No more hour-long lunch breaks sitting on Facebook, making plans for the weekend. Instead, it will be a much harder schedule. Sun up to sun down will probably involve demanding physical work doing one thing or another.

Many of the chores that are made so much easier today by appliances and electricity will need to be done by hand. Laundry, for example, won’t be nearly as simple as tossing the clothes into a metal box and spinning a dial. Instead, it could take the better part of a day with two people working together just to do the laundry for a week. Waste from toilets will need to be disposed of in some fashion. Meals won’t be just a matter of heating something up in the microwave but instead require a fair amount of planning as well as preparation.

As chores are performed, people will need to be very diligent and careful so as to avoid injuries. Even the smallest cut could become infected and, with a lack of medical resources, any infection could easily have serious consequences.

Forget all about daily showers or baths. You’ll want to conserve water as best you can so unless you happen to be near a lake or river, it’ll be sponge baths most of the time. Clothes will be worn multiple times before washing, with the possible exception of underwear and socks. People will dress much more for comfort and utility rather than fashion. Short skirts, ties, and dress shoes will gather dust in closets.

In the winter months, families will likely sleep all in one room to take advantage of body heat. There will be little to no privacy, save perhaps for sheets hung from the ceiling to create makeshift walls.

Assuming the disaster causes a permanent or at least long-term power outage, people will eventually turn to candles and oil lamps for illumination. Odds are pretty good this will lead to an increase in home fires and with a distinct absence of well-equipped fire departments, many of these homes will be total losses as a result.

Boy, all that sounds like a heap of no fun, doesn’t it? No, it sure doesn’t sound like a good time but the fact is, that’s probably pretty close to what reality will be like during a prolonged crisis. In my experience, there are entirely too many preppers and survivalists who have sort of a romanticized notion of what a post-collapse world will be like. Sure, it’ll be awesome to not have to worry any more about those credit card bills and the mortgage or rent payment. But, like anything else in life, it comes at a price.

The advantage you have now though is you can work to mitigate some of these negative aspects. You can learn the skills you’ll need, you can stockpile supplies, and you can make plans for the future.

Published by

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 SurvivalWeekly.com. 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.

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