IMPORTANT: I wrote this post to get people to think about this very likely situation. Some people seem to think that if they have stored up a couple months’ worth of food that they will be just fine, but each SHTF scenario will require different actions, and all those actions will have different consequences and repercussions. Whether you agree or disagree is not important…thinking about it is.
One part of prepping that is sometimes overlooked or not given the consideration it deserves is what you will do when someone comes knocking on your door. I’m not talking about the wondering stranger, I’m talking about close family members that may or may not know you are prepping.
The question we need to ask ourselves and think about very seriously is who you would turn away, and what extended family members would you help out in a disaster or SHTF event.
Unfortunately this is just the first step, now you need to think about how you are going to handle the situation of having extra mouths to feed. This is all dependent on whether you decide to help them or turn them away, and as I said in the last article, (and I am talking about close family, not the entire family) I just couldn’t turn close family members away. If you could, my bet is there are other circumstances that weigh into your decision other than survival.
Missed it by That Much…
How would you decide who could stay and who needed to go away? This is a tough question, but it’s one we really need to put a lot of thought into. Deciding on who would make the cut could be the difference between surviving and thriving, or throwing everything you have down the tubes.
To me there are a few factors that I would have to think about…
1. How Close Are They?
It’s just not feasible to think that you can bring everyone and everyone they bring with them in during an SHTF event, most of us can barely afford to get ourselves prepared. Like it or not, we are going to have to figure out how to say “I just can’t do it”
In the podcast we used my son and his fiancée as an example, I absolutely want him here, and I know he won’t come without her. She has her twin sister that she is very close to and who knows who else she would want to bring along, so how do I handle that situation?
As much as it would pain me I would have to have a conversation with my son and tell him that he has a choice to make. If he chooses to stay it will only be him and her, if he chooses to stay with her I would help as much as I could and send them on their way.
2. What is my Family’s Opinion?
In any marriage we are bound to have different opinions about people than our spouse, and this should weigh heavily into your decision. Your husband or wife’s opinion about your favorite cousin might be completely different than yours.
Have a conversation now with your family about who would stay and why, try to put personal feelings aside and come to a rational conclusion about whether they would be an asset or a hindrance to your survival plan. Also, try not to get into an argument when you’re talking about this, a divorce is the last thing you want.
3. How Helpful Have They Been?
During your conversation with your family your past experiences with this person are bound to come up. What is their personality like? And how has our past relationship been?
Some people are helpful, some are all about themselves and some people are know it all’s. We can tolerate these personality traits now, but in an SHTF situation these traits will be magnified.
4. How Helpful Would They Be?
I dig a little deeper into this later, but think about how they would benefit your situation, what skills do they have that would help you in a disaster situation. Even if someone is a “one upper” and it drives you crazy, they might have skills that would be useful to you.
Do they have carpentry, electrical, gardening or welding skills? In situations like these we will need to weigh the good with the bad to figure out if we give them a thumbs up, or a thumbs down.
5. What Challenges Do They Bring?
Just as important as thinking about what they bring to the table is what they will be taking from the table. The truth is that any time you add someone to the equation the situation becomes more complicated, and sometimes the negatives so outweigh the positives you need to make that tough decision.
The Double Edged Sword
As much as it drives me nuts knowing that I shouldn’t have to prepare for someone who doesn’t see why it’s important, I do understand that this is a catch 22 that I might have to deal with.
We can barely prepare for ourselves, let alone for the family members that might end up on our doorstep, but unless you are willing to turn everyone away it is a problem you are bound to face.
One other option that could be another article all by itself is bugging out altogether. We always think about security from marauders and criminals, but what if so many people end up at your door that you have no option other than leave, you might have to.
How Much Extra do you Prepare?
Because we can only do what we can do, and sometimes storage space and money are limited I think more along the lines of “how can they make my situation better?” Maybe saying that you should turn this into a positive is a little optimistic, but at least try to make it a little less negative.
Storing extra beans, rice, flour and dry goods will go a long way and give you the basics you will need, but at some point it will run out. Have plans in place to use them like you would an employee, start thinking like a post collapse CEO.
Set the guidelines and expectations from day one. You need to let them know that if you are going to let them stay there for however long that might be you expect them to help. What is impossible for 2 or 3 people to do in a day might be possible with more people, expanding the garden, foraging, hunting, raising more animals for food and building/repairing will become more possible with more people.
The Come to Jesus Talk
At first we might need to lower our expectations because most unprepared people will try to hold on to their Pollyanna reality as long as possible, they will be like a junkies going through withdraws. This is why it’s important to set your expectations from day one.
You might hear things like “why are you rationing the water? This will be over in a day or two?” or “Look at all this food, were going to eat like kings!” These people might have no idea what we could be in for, and need to be set straight before it becomes a problem.
At some point it might become necessary to have what I call the “come to Jesus talk” people will tell you whatever you want to hear to get your help, but if they are not holding up their end of the bargain you might have to have the tough conversation neither one of you want to have.
You might have to say…
“This is what you told me you would do when you came here, and this is what you are actually doing (or not doing), how are we going to fix this? Does this mean you need to go? Or are you going to get onboard and pull your weight?”
Problems like these are bound to happen, and these are situations we need to be able to face, otherwise disappearing and not letting people know where you are might be the better option.