Over the past few months, I have been making preparations for a major life event that has posed several unique challenges to me as a prepper. At the end of the month, I will be moving. It is the type of move that is not across town where I can simply load up into a rented truck and make several trips to get everything where it needs to go. To assist me, and to further complicate things (in my opinion), my employer hired a moving company that came to pack up my worldly possessions into boxes that were loaded up and are making the trip across the country as I sit here and type this. As a result of this arrangement, I am faced with several unique challenges that would impact any family, but especially impacted mine because of the fact that I have several preparations that I have made to see us through in the event that there is ever a difficult time in our lives.
Here are some of the challenges that I encountered:
Weight limitations: An initial challenge with completing a move is with the amount of weight that you are trying to transport. In my case, my employer is paying for a specific amount. I can move as much as I would like, but I would have to cover the difference in the cost. And to be truthful, why would I want to part with any of my cash? Even if you are making a move on your own accord, the more you have to move, the more effort, space, etc. that is required. A weight limitation can also be a blessing in disguise because it can require that you get rid of all those unnecessary collections of things that have been hanging around in the cupboards.
Hazardous materials: There are numerous regulations and policies that significantly limit the type and/or quantity of hazardous materials that can be transported by a moving company. Unfortunately, many of the items that are stockpiled for survival purposes are considered to be hazardous and cannot be shipped, including:
- Fuels (Sterno, fuel tabs, etc.)
- Lighter Fluid
To avoid having to get rid of everything, consider moving these items yourself or looking into the possibility of shipping these items on your own. This can be an expense but could be cheaper overall, or some items like ammunition just plain can’t be replaced in some areas.
Water: There is no lightweight option when it comes to water. On top of this, water is wet, which can cause issues for the other items that you are moving. The best option, if possible, is to empty and dry your water-storage containers prior to moving and refill them at your final destination. In the meantime, make sure that you have access to a water source and a way to filter and store additional water in a pinch. One of the storage tanks that goes in the bathtub might be a really good option and will not take up much space in a suitcase during your travels.
Food: There are certain foods that cannot be moved. Neither produce nor any frozen, perishable, open, partially used or refrigerated foods can be moved by a commercial moving company. And they can be difficult to move, even if you do it yourself. Plan on using these items up prior to your move. In addition to these restrictions, we are without any stockpile of food for the duration of our move. The best way that I can overcome this challenge is to network with our close friends and neighbors who are willing to help us out if things were to fall apart before we get all of our stuff back in our possession.
Separation from possessions: Just like the food situation, I am apart from all the rest of my safety net. If it is possible, keep at least your bug-out bag or basic survival kit with you. This can be tricky, though, depending on how you are traveling and where you have to travel. Check the local laws for every State that you have to travel through to ensure compliance with laws that govern weapons or any other item that may be restricted.
Operational security (OpSec): There is typically a reasonable level of concern with inviting strangers into your home to help with a move – or with anything, for that matter. It can be difficult especially in the case of movers because they will have a good idea of what you have and where its new location is going to be. One option might be to camouflage preparedness-related items. Another option would be to rent a mobile storage container to pack everything into and then arrange for its shipment. The best overall option might be to move everything yourself if it is possible and you are that concerned.
I will say that with the challenges of relocating as a prepper also come some opportunities that can be taken advantage of as well. During the process of going through your stockpiles, packing, moving and unpacking everything, consider using this process as your chance to:
- Take inventory: Completing an inventory of the items that you have is important for getting an accurate picture of what you actually have on hand as compared to what you think you have. In addition to this, a good inventory is the single best way to make sure that you have appropriate insurance coverage and can recover your losses if you ever need to file a claim. Recording important information like make, model and serial numbers can also be useful for accountability and insurance purposes. Pictures are the best form of proof.
- Identify: Review the completed inventory to identify shortfalls or gaps with the items that have been set aside for an emergency or difficult time. This list can be the outline for future purchases or highlight new skills that should be learned.
- Organize: Take advantage of being displaced by getting organized. As part of the organization process, consider placing caches of your preps in various locations throughout the house and/or property.
- Update: It is pretty easy to miss out on staying current with best practices or the latest technology. As you look over your preparations, see if there are things that need to be updated. Don’t fall prey to buying the latest and greatest if what you have still works and does the job just as well. Update only items that will result in better/safer function or increased chances of survival. Think of upgrading from a black powder rifle to a semi-automatic, magazine-fed rifle, as an example.
- Discard: If there are items that are broken, expired, unserviceable or not needed, make sure to get rid of them. Unless the item can be used for training or parts, they don’t really serve a purpose in being kept around.
- Replace: Don’t forget to replace items that are discarded to keep an appropriate level of stock on hand.
Just like anything in life, moving can be challenging, especially for a prepper. With a little planning and a lot of patience, your move can go smoothly. But always remember to cover your bases and, if possible, never leave yourself or your loved ones protected against a tough time.