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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
How to organize that mountain of prep items and documents? Many of us have our prep items located in every corner of our home. Our pack might be in the closet, our medical gear under the bathroom sink and our camping gear out in the garage. Our digital information is equally as dispersed and disorganized. We have files on our laptops, desktops, phones, tablets on and on. I have been into the preparedness life for decades and in all that time you accumulate stuff, that's part of the game. For years I tried to organize. At first just keeping most of my prep stuff in one area or making sure my BOB was organized and I knew where my food was. As I accumulated more items and digital info things started to get chaotic. I found that when I truly needed things I could not find them. This would be most glaring with medical items like wrist braces or splints. Non emergency items yet still important and needed. So like many I started organizing into sub bags and totes. Especially for things like medical.
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Automotive lighting Motor vehicle Automotive parking light Bumper Automotive tire

I'ts a easy way to kit items into common use groups and keep them together. For items needing more space obviously you need to go with the plastic tote approach. Which works out well because of the storage space you can even keep multiple bags and stuff sacks in these totes if needed. Personally I think of everything as a container whether it is a pack, stuff sack, tote or bin. This method worked. At least for awhile. I was able to keep things together and stored but I still had no idea what was in each container. Sure I knew it was medical but how did that really help if there are multiple containers?
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I needed a better way. Yeah I tried writing on blue tape or paper and putting it on the tote. If I needed to take something or add something though I needed to redo that note. Hardly efficient and I needed to go to the container to see what was in it. Ahhh database. Now we are getting somewhere but tried all that still didnt work well. SO I stumbled onto Trello and QR codes.
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Gas Packing materials Plastic Automotive tire Packaging and labeling


Trello is a free program that allows you to create virtual containers called "cards" and list items within that container. You can also attach to this virtual container photos and other documents such as instructions, notes, medical dosage amounts, etc. etc. You create the QR code online which is also free. When creating the QR code you imbed in it the link to the card that is the container. This allows you to scan the qr code with a phone or tablet and bring up the Trello app and the exact container you just scanned. Here is where some of you will get off the tracks. Yeah I hear you.. BUT, BUT OPSEC. I dont want everyone to know what I have and there wont be a internet and, and.. Stay with me here... Trello database is encrypted. can the .gov get into it ? Sure, but if you are reading this then they already know about you and they dont care about your preps. But if the internet is down! Yeah it works offline. You don't need to be connected as it resides on your device locally also. Now you have the ability to organize and document what is in each container. You can include directions in the "card" on items in the container as well as photos and even videos if you want. You can search by item across all containers and YES you can print them all out for total off grid end of the world scenarios. Search"survival straw" and it will tell you exactly what container and what location that item is found in. Ie "Water filtration tote 1", Bug out Bags 2 & 3" and "Truck Bag 4" the location of the container in the real world can also be displayed so someone like say a spouse or child who doesnt know where the container is located can find it ie garage top shelf in water filtration tote #1. All free and very usable. It works online and off and you can sort, search, print and share. You could even use it for food storage and tie in the bar codes of canned goods to track inventory and let you know item count when you are at the store and score a great sale. Canned corn on sale??? Nope don't need it I have 4 cases already! Spouse is at the farm supply store and they have coban on sale but they dont know if you really need it. Open the app, search for coban... BAMM now you know.. It works for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
On the digital side I use a program called Calibre. It can organize, convert and read multiple formats of digital documents. I have a rather large library of digital docs on survival and it is a huge help in sorting and finding docs. It is a local program but can be setup for remote viewing and management as well as sharing of your library with others if you chose. You can add or edit tags, change the cover images and the file description. The program can search the internet for this data making your management of your library MUCH easier. The same holds true with documents as our physical preps. If you cant find it you don't own it If you have tens of thousands of PDF's and other format files it can be damn near impossible to remember what you read in what file and what it was called. Calibre to the rescue.
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Good post.

Every corner? Not here. I'm talkin food mainly.
Everything in....
Kitchen pantry
Deep pantry
LTS and rotation room (out of sight)

Camping gear and stuff of that nature, in sight.
 

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I keep lists of stuff (not much detail as it'll take forever) but keep it spread all over the place -- the reason, if someone were to rob me, there wouldn't be a method to the madness.
There's no central nor obvious place for any type of stockpiled items especially ammo which is as good as cash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I keep lists of stuff (not much detail as it'll take forever) but keep it spread all over the place -- the reason, if someone were to rob me, there wouldn't be a method to the madness.
There's no central nor obvious place for any type of stockpiled items especially ammo which is as good as cash.
for me that would never work the sheer volume of stuff needs to be organized. I guess there are "reasons" not to organize but for me and my situation thats just not a valid concern.
 

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How to organize that mountain of prep items and documents? Many of us have our prep items located in every corner of our home. Our pack might be in the closet, our medical gear under the bathroom sink and our camping gear out in the garage. Our digital information is equally as dispersed and disorganized. We have files on our laptops, desktops, phones, tablets on and on. I have been into the preparedness life for decades and in all that time you accumulate stuff, that's part of the game. For years I tried to organize. At first just keeping most of my prep stuff in one area or making sure my BOB was organized and I knew where my food was. As I accumulated more items and digital info things started to get chaotic. I found that when I truly needed things I could not find them. This would be most glaring with medical items like wrist braces or splints. Non emergency items yet still important and needed. So like many I started organizing into sub bags and totes. Especially for things like medical.
View attachment 441730 View attachment 441732
I'ts a easy way to kit items into common use groups and keep them together. For items needing more space obviously you need to go with the plastic tote approach. Which works out well because of the storage space you can even keep multiple bags and stuff sacks in these totes if needed. Personally I think of everything as a container whether it is a pack, stuff sack, tote or bin. This method worked. At least for awhile. I was able to keep things together and stored but I still had no idea what was in each container. Sure I knew it was medical but how did that really help if there are multiple containers?
View attachment 441739

I needed a better way. Yeah I tried writing on blue tape or paper and putting it on the tote. If I needed to take something or add something though I needed to redo that note. Hardly efficient and I needed to go to the container to see what was in it. Ahhh database. Now we are getting somewhere but tried all that still didnt work well. SO I stumbled onto Trello and QR codes.
View attachment 441740
View attachment 441741

Trello is a free program that allows you to create virtual containers called "cards" and list items within that container. You can also attach to this virtual container photos and other documents such as instructions, notes, medical dosage amounts, etc. etc. You create the QR code online which is also free. When creating the QR code you imbed in it the link to the card that is the container. This allows you to scan the qr code with a phone or tablet and bring up the Trello app and the exact container you just scanned. Here is where some of you will get off the tracks. Yeah I hear you.. BUT, BUT OPSEC. I dont want everyone to know what I have and there wont be a internet and, and.. Stay with me here... Trello database is encrypted. can the .gov get into it ? Sure, but if you are reading this then they already know about you and they dont care about your preps. But if the internet is down! Yeah it works offline. You don't need to be connected as it resides on your device locally also. Now you have the ability to organize and document what is in each container. You can include directions in the "card" on items in the container as well as photos and even videos if you want. You can search by item across all containers and YES you can print them all out for total off grid end of the world scenarios. Search"survival straw" and it will tell you exactly what container and what location that item is found in. Ie "Water filtration tote 1", Bug out Bags 2 & 3" and "Truck Bag 4" the location of the container in the real world can also be displayed so someone like say a spouse or child who doesnt know where the container is located can find it ie garage top shelf in water filtration tote #1. All free and very usable. It works online and off and you can sort, search, print and share. You could even use it for food storage and tie in the bar codes of canned goods to track inventory and let you know item count when you are at the store and score a great sale. Canned corn on sale??? Nope don't need it I have 4 cases already! Spouse is at the farm supply store and they have coban on sale but they dont know if you really need it. Open the app, search for coban... BAMM now you know.. It works for me.
J.A.G.,

Real good and timely post.....

One of my problems I'm still working on is in need of climate control for a few different categories of stuff eg prepper pharma, some of Madam's and my personal RX medicine currently in use, a couple of temperature, humidity navigation instruments, and my share of custody of some stuff for our dental trailer. (Our DDS has custody of the pain - killer stuff) One item in particular I'm responsible for is X-Ray materials.

Fuel cartridges ... ? needing proper storge ? Yes, of course. This generates another situation for me. An evacuation stove kit will have 2 cartridges in this modified flight bag. Thus, cartridges are throughout this now small shack due the inventories.

Am still working on all this.

"Heaven, the place to do all the things you didn't have time to do here." Anon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
J.A.G.,

Real good and timely post.....

One of my problems I'm still working on is in need of climate control for a few different categories of stuff eg prepper pharma, some of Madam's and my personal RX medicine currently in use, a couple of temperature, humidity navigation instruments, and my share of custody of some stuff for our dental trailer. (Our DDS has custody of the pain - killer stuff) One item in particular I'm responsible for is X-Ray materials.

Fuel cartridges ... ? needing proper storge ? Yes, of course. This generates another situation for me. An evacuation stove kit will have 2 cartridges in this modified flight bag. Thus, cartridges are throughout this now small shack due the inventories.

Am still working on all this.

"Heaven, the place to do all the things you didn't have time to do here." Anon.
Ammo storage for me has been a challenge. I wont go into detail as to amounts but it is stored at 3 separate locations for not only logistics reasons but safety as well. We have been at this a fair bit so you and I have the advantage over the "youngsters" but things like ammo and fuel can be VERY challenging. Fuel in the tens of gallons becomes a safety issue and ammo in the tens of thousands of rounds is almost as bad. I store my ammo in locked job boxes that have been modified to allow "venting" off of over pressure if fire and cook off happens. Propane is far worse than ammo by its very nature. A couple ammo cans is no big deal but 50 of them starts to cause storage issues... Cases of stacked ammo just isnt a good plan in my world. Sounds like you suffer similar obstacles..
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
on the medical side I keep ABX stored in mylar and in a fridge. Stuff like IV fluids dont need refer but do need stable temps so the majority are stored in totes in the cellar. Wine, NS and lactated ringers all like the same environment so that makes it easy..LOL Even stuff like Coban, adhesive bandages and OTC meds need temp controlled environment. When you get a mountain of stuff you just gotta know where it is..
 

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There's just 2 of us so organization (at our house) is easy. Color coded everything, files paper and electronic, FAK human and vet, load out numbered & stacked in order of importance.
Oh Vey! At the three houses of his parents and brother families, IF they have a system, it doesn't make any sense to me. My inlaws moved recently I helped his mom with the pantry, my OCD was stroking out.
 

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I organize on a layered system. Think about a scenario like middle of the night one winter your awoken by your smoke detectors going off because your house is on fire. You reach over and grab your bob and evac out the window. That bob has a a pair of shoes, clothes and your truck keys so you can get dressed before you freeze, get in the truck and back it away from the house. Or its night and power goes off so you reach over and grab the light or headlamp from the bob and your phone and check out the situation. Or you hear shots or a fight outside.
That is the first layer. I dislike calling that pack a bob because so many will automatically say "I'm bugging in, not out". But that pack has your light and pistol, its your first layer of defense pack as well.

So you start with that first layer and take inventory and myself list it on a spreadsheet. Then for each layer I have a directory with any pictures, downloaded manuals for anything in that layer, etc.

Now work up those layers. Say you got a knock on the door for a mandatory evac and you have say 15 minutes to leave. So you grab that first layer if you haven't already and then get layer two which is kind of like the extended bob. It has clothes, medicines, more ammo, cleaning kits, batteries, etc so you can restock and maintain layer one and/or spend a few days in a motel/hotel another town over until the evac order is lifted. Or maybe the evac order was due to a wildfire coming your way so you choose to take that layer two and your next layer which is kind of like the INCH kit where you have your important documents should you need to start a new job/home/life in another area.

So a little bit simplified description to try and keep it brief.
Everything tracked on a spreadsheet as mentioned above with directories for each and an overall document with a packing/checklist.

Electronic origination, I have the above spreadsheets and gear inventory along with a typical home inventory in the same format, scans and/or downloads of other important documents, any current projects, and some reference material. I sync this across all my devices using my own little server running Nextcloud.
 

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How to organize that mountain of prep items and documents? Many of us have our prep items located in every corner of our home. Our pack might be in the closet, our medical gear under the bathroom sink and our camping gear out in the garage. Our digital information is equally as dispersed and disorganized. We have files on our laptops, desktops, phones, tablets on and on. I have been into the preparedness life for decades and in all that time you accumulate stuff, that's part of the game. For years I tried to organize. At first just keeping most of my prep stuff in one area or making sure my BOB was organized and I knew where my food was. As I accumulated more items and digital info things started to get chaotic. I found that when I truly needed things I could not find them. This would be most glaring with medical items like wrist braces or splints. Non emergency items yet still important and needed. So like many I started organizing into sub bags and totes. Especially for things like medical.
View attachment 441730 View attachment 441732
I'ts a easy way to kit items into common use groups and keep them together. For items needing more space obviously you need to go with the plastic tote approach. Which works out well because of the storage space you can even keep multiple bags and stuff sacks in these totes if needed. Personally I think of everything as a container whether it is a pack, stuff sack, tote or bin. This method worked. At least for awhile. I was able to keep things together and stored but I still had no idea what was in each container. Sure I knew it was medical but how did that really help if there are multiple containers?
View attachment 441739

I needed a better way. Yeah I tried writing on blue tape or paper and putting it on the tote. If I needed to take something or add something though I needed to redo that note. Hardly efficient and I needed to go to the container to see what was in it. Ahhh database. Now we are getting somewhere but tried all that still didnt work well. SO I stumbled onto Trello and QR codes.
View attachment 441740
View attachment 441741

Trello is a free program that allows you to create virtual containers called "cards" and list items within that container. You can also attach to this virtual container photos and other documents such as instructions, notes, medical dosage amounts, etc. etc. You create the QR code online which is also free. When creating the QR code you imbed in it the link to the card that is the container. This allows you to scan the qr code with a phone or tablet and bring up the Trello app and the exact container you just scanned. Here is where some of you will get off the tracks. Yeah I hear you.. BUT, BUT OPSEC. I dont want everyone to know what I have and there wont be a internet and, and.. Stay with me here... Trello database is encrypted. can the .gov get into it ? Sure, but if you are reading this then they already know about you and they dont care about your preps. But if the internet is down! Yeah it works offline. You don't need to be connected as it resides on your device locally also. Now you have the ability to organize and document what is in each container. You can include directions in the "card" on items in the container as well as photos and even videos if you want. You can search by item across all containers and YES you can print them all out for total off grid end of the world scenarios. Search"survival straw" and it will tell you exactly what container and what location that item is found in. Ie "Water filtration tote 1", Bug out Bags 2 & 3" and "Truck Bag 4" the location of the container in the real world can also be displayed so someone like say a spouse or child who doesnt know where the container is located can find it ie garage top shelf in water filtration tote #1. All free and very usable. It works online and off and you can sort, search, print and share. You could even use it for food storage and tie in the bar codes of canned goods to track inventory and let you know item count when you are at the store and score a great sale. Canned corn on sale??? Nope don't need it I have 4 cases already! Spouse is at the farm supply store and they have coban on sale but they dont know if you really need it. Open the app, search for coban... BAMM now you know.. It works for me.
Nothing like you. I'm low tech. No cell phone scanner. But I do have preps in every corner of the house. And when my preps eat my preps...I buy replacement preps and hope they don't get eaten.

Being that we look to be headed down the shidder on a rocket sled with Biden and Company. I'm just starting to dig in slightly to organize stuff a notch or two better.

A big problem is space. If you got space, you can have walls and walls of chrome wire shelving and everything in marked totes. Unfortunately for me, I've got little free space.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Nothing like you. I'm low tech. No cell phone scanner. But I do have preps in every corner of the house. And when my preps eat my preps...I buy replacement preps and hope they don't get eaten.

Being that we look to be headed down the shidder on a rocket sled with Biden and Company. I'm just starting to dig in slightly to organize stuff a notch or two better.

A big problem is space. If you got space, you can have walls and walls of chrome wire shelving and everything in marked totes. Unfortunately for me, I've got little free space.
with less space though wouldnt it be even more prudent to be well organized?? I understand if you have few preps and just dont need the organization as you can find everything in a couple totes and a pack or two. If stuff is tucked away into every free corner and closet though organizing it and inventory management will help you know exactly what you have and where to find it. Some dont need or even believe in being organized. The later I don't understand but the former I get.
 

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Ha ha - I had to laugh when I saw the title of this thread.

I started prepping ten years ago. I had preps in a spare bedroom, in two closets, in the basement of my house, and in a rented storage unit. I created an Excel spreadsheet with lots of columns: quantity, packaging type, calorie count (for foods), best by dates (for foods). And, there was a column for the location of each item (e.g., small bedroom closet, basement east wall shelves).

But then I moved to my new house, and my preps got out of synch with my spreadsheet. My preps are still out of synch with the spreadsheet.

I have improved things to the point where I do have a spreadsheet with details about all my LTS foods, along with details about some other foods with long shelf lives, such as tea bags and oatmeal and herbs and spices. All these long-lasting foods are together, in a particular storage location in my house.

Something that complicates matters is the fact that I am seriously lacking in storage space. I have to climb over 5-gallon gas cans and spare tires and various other things just to get close enough to some of the shelving for my preps so I can see what's on the shelves. Because of this, I have a plan to build a storage shed this summer. I'm inexperienced when it comes to construction, so I'm not sure how this project is going to turn out. But assuming I do succeed with construction of this new building, I will have enough space to organize things properly. Once that's done, I'll take the time to enter data about all my preps into my spreadsheet.

For now, though, I'm kind of winging it (though I do have a general idea where everything is located).
 

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I organize on a layered system. Think about a scenario like middle of the night one winter your awoken by your smoke detectors going off because your house is on fire. You reach over and grab your bob and evac out the window. That bob has a a pair of shoes, clothes and your truck keys so you can get dressed before you freeze, get in the truck and back it away from the house. Or its night and power goes off so you reach over and grab the light or headlamp from the bob and your phone and check out the situation. Or you hear shots or a fight outside.
That is the first layer. I dislike calling that pack a bob because so many will automatically say "I'm bugging in, not out". But that pack has your light and pistol, its your first layer of defense pack as well.

So you start with that first layer and take inventory and myself list it on a spreadsheet. Then for each layer I have a directory with any pictures, downloaded manuals for anything in that layer, etc.

Now work up those layers. Say you got a knock on the door for a mandatory evac and you have say 15 minutes to leave. So you grab that first layer if you haven't already and then get layer two which is kind of like the extended bob. It has clothes, medicines, more ammo, cleaning kits, batteries, etc so you can restock and maintain layer one and/or spend a few days in a motel/hotel another town over until the evac order is lifted. Or maybe the evac order was due to a wildfire coming your way so you choose to take that layer two and your next layer which is kind of like the INCH kit where you have your important documents should you need to start a new job/home/life in another area.

So a little bit simplified description to try and keep it brief.
Everything tracked on a spreadsheet as mentioned above with directories for each and an overall document with a packing/checklist.

Electronic origination, I have the above spreadsheets and gear inventory along with a typical home inventory in the same format, scans and/or downloads of other important documents, any current projects, and some reference material. I sync this across all my devices using my own little server running Nextcloud.
Eugene,
I've got a similiar arrangement.

Already preloaded are my field clothes, load-bearing suspenders with cargo pouches already attached ... all adjusted for season, related. My 3 cargo vests are also part of my field clothes.

My next layer is a flight bag w/ water, related.

You've got a good method.

Mine is a little slower and always trying to enhance within my allocated budget for this. For example, in a field shirt pocket is my small Grundid AMFMSW radio packed with an attached flat pack of AAA btrys. If time permits ... Famous words ! ... will hope tp load batteries in radio before leaving. These batteries will be from other inventory source and not from above mentioned flat pack.

Ditto re my hard hat and light. Although my hard hat / helmet is, by itself, a seperate kit, it is part of a layered systemwith a small bag holding various inside the helmet types of hats eg an additional wool sock cap, a flame retardant neck, face hat/hood and some cold weather hats ... again all in same small helmet bag.
 

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What I prefer to use to digitally organize in Microsoft Access as opposed to Microsoft Excel due to it being more versatile and allows you to filter and access specific information more easily than Excel does. The only problem with it is that it isn't very intuitive and takes some time to get the hang of but they teach it at school in one of the classes that I take so it wasn't a problem for me.
 

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what if what is in the container changes?
I use excel spread sheets. Use a marker to cross off used items and update the associated file and make a new sheet. Cut/transfer crossed off items and paste onto a shopping list file. Periodically these files are loaded onto a thumb drive.

I spread ammo around the house and garage. Even the bathroom vanity under the sink has some 9mm and 12-gauge in it. The bottom of my kitchen broom (aka the BOOM closet) is stocked with around 200 rounds of 12-gauge slugs and 00 buck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I use excel spread sheets. Use a marker to cross off used items and update the associated file and make a new sheet. Cut/transfer crossed off items and paste onto a shopping list file. Periodically these files are loaded onto a thumb drive.

I spread ammo around the house and garage. Even the bathroom vanity under the sink has some 9mm and 12-gauge in it. The bottom of my kitchen broom (aka the BOOM closet) is stocked with around 200 rounds of 12-gauge slugs and 00 buck.
seems like a ton of work but if it works for you then thats what matters..
 
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