#9: Maintain Cleanliness
I do want to mention, none of these things will include the use of a generator. While generators do work short term, IMHO, there is no way you can store enough gasoline to keep the generator running for a long term outage. My strategy is to use 18th and 19th century skills to keep my house running. I don't even own a generator.
I created this 'Top 10 List' and the subject matter and countdown order are mine alone. You may not agree with my list. That is no problem! You are welcome to share your ideas in the comments section. We all learn when differing viewpoints are shared respectfully!
Many of you are probably thinking that cleanliness is the last thing you will worry about when the power goes out. I hope that is not the case! Diseases tend to spread rapidly when power and water supplies are disrupted. Today's post is not about the most important thing you should address to prevent disease when you don't have any power/water. In my opinion, that would be sanitation. Sanitation will be discussed in another post in the coming weeks. Still, that is not meant to dismiss the need to maintain cleanliness in other areas. You or someone in your family could end up sick if you don't pay attention to the levels of cleanliness mentioned in this post as well.
A house full of people make a mess. If you are not cleaning the dishes or eating areas as you go, you will soon find dysentery paying a visit! In addition for those not sick, it is difficult to cope with other stressful issues (maybe house or car damage) after a storm if you can't feel human. You will need to address hygiene needs.
A few simple tools and household rules/strategies can help to minimize these problems. Let's start with the kitchen. Simply stated, the dishes and countertops must stay clean. No exceptions! Having a supply of necessary paper items/cleaning items will go a very long way to ensuring your family stays healthy during the power outage. I make these items part of my food storage program so I always have them available. Here is a list of some necessary supplies for the kitchen and eating areas:
- Paper plates
- Paper cups
- Plastic silverware
- Plastic serving utensils
- Paper towels
- Paper napkins
- Disinfectant cleaner for the countertops, tables and floors
- Brooms/dustpans to sweep up
- Garbage bags (all sizes)
- Wet wipes
If you run out of cleaning supplies during the outage, you can always use homemade versions. 1 part vinegar and 1 part water will disinfect the countertops nicely. You can wash dishes by hand if you don't have any paper supplies. (This is a bit harder to do if you don't have access to tap water, or ways to heat the water. I will be addressing those issues in the coming weeks.) But I must say, if you don't wash dishes by hand or use homemade cleaners now, you are not going to want to do it when the power goes out! Stock up on the needed supplies and you won't have to worry later!
How long can you go without taking a shower? Most people can't stand it for very long! Hopefully, if you lose power, you won't lose water as well. But if you do, you will need to get creative on how you can take a shower. While wet wipes will work in a pinch, they won't do for more than a day or two. In the warm months, this really isn't a problem, put on your bathing suit and go outside! When I was a teenager, I would take showers in the rain! There are also lots of camping products available to help with this issue in the camping section of your favorite store. For example, you can purchase one of these. Just fill it with water, set it in the sun, and you will have a hot (or at least warm) shower. I have also read about people who purchase sprayers from the home and garden center and keep them just for taking a shower. (Be sure to use common sense here. If you use a sprayer for insecticide/fungicide on your plants, DO NOT use it to shower. Purchase a new one and label it 'FOR WATER ONLY'.) Both the solar camp shower and sprayer can be brought inside and used in a bathtub during the winter.
Don't forget to stock up on other hygiene supplies, soap, toothpaste, shaving cream, etc. The last thing you want to do is run out!
There is one last point I want to make about trying to keep your house clean without the use of electricity. That is the need to run the vacuum cleaner. As a routine, I don't vacuum carpets very often. If you follow me on Facebook, you would know that currently, I don't even have a working vacuum cleaner! I am trying to go one year before I purchase another one. You can minimize any need for vacuuming carpets if you use throw rugs in all the high traffic areas. Lay them down directly on the carpet - you can use a bit of rug tape if they won't stay put. I have them all over my house! Then, when the small rug gets dirty, take it outside and shake it. Or even better, use one of these.
This is my early 20th century rug beater. I hang it on the wall near my garage when I'm not using it. In my opinion, this does a better job of getting out animal hair than any vacuum. Put the rug on the clothesline, drape it over a fence or over a chair and beat it! You won't believe how clean it will be! If you are allergic to dust, be sure to wear a dust mask. All other messes can be dealt with using one of these. They are quite handy, and easy & convenient to use! The problem is, as I have found, they are difficult to find in stores. I have had more local store owners say that they don't carry them anymore because they don't sell. If you can't find one locally, they do have lots of different options and price ranges on Amazon.com. I would like to ask that if you do purchase one (or anything else I recommend), please use my link to do so. It won't cost you anything extra and I get a few pennies to help support the blog.
While some of these issues may seem minor in the face of a power outage, cleanliness is not something to shrug off. It can make you sick! A few extra supplies tucked away in a closet can eliminate many of these problems and keep your family healthy during stressful times!
If you liked this post, you may also like:
If you liked this post, you may also like:
- 10 Things Countdown: #10 Think Safety First
- 10 Things Countdown: #8 Wash Clothes
- 10 Things Countdown: #7 Cool or Heat Your Home
- 10 Things Countdown: #6 Provide Essential Lighting
- 10 Things Countdown: #5 Store Shelf Stable Foods
- 10 Things Countdown: #4 Have & Use Non-Electric Appliances
- 10 Things Countdown: #3 Handle Sanitation
- 10 Things Countdown: #2 Obtain Safe Drinking Water
- 10 Things Countdown: #1 Keep Your Family Safe From Harm