Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Home Front: Salvage

 Sometimes preparedness takes the form of being able to spot and collect items that have been discarded or lost, and make good use of them. I've always had an eye for the left-behinds and dropped, and discarded. When "hard-waste" removal comes along, and the sidewalks are loaded with other peoples junk, I can't but help to pass my eye over it. I think there is probably a fine line between salvage and hoarding, and I hope I stay on the not-scary-cat-person side of that line. Same goes for items dropped on the street, or left behind of trains and trams. Here's an example of this. The checkered and tasseled shemagh was laying by the side of the road after a storm, and after a run through the washing machine I found that it was one of the softest and warmest I've ever had. The soft-shell black vest vest was laying over the back of a park bench in the morning, and still there when I passed in the afternoon.

Into the bag it went.

It has a nice mesh liner and internal and external pockets. And it was free. Under that is a red hard-shell jacket, with reflective tape, internal and external pockets, zipper and hook-and-loop closure, a hood under the collar and is waterproof. Again, a dropped item left laying on the footpath. I make a habit of leaving things where they lay for a decent length of time, so their rightful owners can happen back that way and collect it, but after that, I consider it fair game.

Same goes for junk left by the road-side. This high-chair was left out for the junk collection, but made it's way into the back of my car, and with some scrubbing and adjusting to make up for its missing parts, both Triceratops Girl and Tactical Baby have made good use of it. This is more a factor of mindset rather than any particular skill-set or item.

Knowing that you can make something that was otherwise scrapped function again, and suit your needs is a great boon in a survival situation, I feel, and the same goes for a disaster situation. "going to the store for a new one" may not always be an option, even if you have the resources to do so.

Seeing alternate uses for things, or the opportunity to breathe new life into what would otherwise be discarded like the "Pathopak's" I reviewed, which I use for food and hardware storage, those Grolsch bottles which I use for brewing I reclaimed from a bar I formerly worked at, and my beer drinking friends supply me with, and even the crate they are sitting in.

There are many day-today opportunities for salvage, getting into the mindset and habit of it could well put you in good stead in the event that either the supply chain is broken or disrupted, or your ability to purchase or acquire needfuls is impeded somehow. Be smart, be careful and be safe. Adapt, innovate, overcome.

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