Wrapping it up. Four sets of mags left.
You know, a big part of being a survivalist is simply being he manager of your own personal warehouse. Sure we have to learn skills, read a lot of books, practice various tasks, etc., but we also have to be curator to a stockpile of gear. Think about it, you keep gear in your vehicle, in your home, at work, at a friends house, buried at some middle-of-nowhere cache, etc, etc. And all that gear has information about it that needs to be kept – where is it, what is it, how much of it is there, when does it expire, etc, etc. It can be a major pain in the ass.

Someone I used to know turned me on to a program called Evernote. It runs on your desktop machine as well as on your phone/pad. I’ve found it to be exceptionally useful..more so than a simple spreasheet (although the data can be imported/exported through spreadsheets). Right about now there’s a contingent of people mentally screaming “No! Government sees everything on the interweb! They’ll know to come to your house for your guns and food!”.

Not worried. If you’re really worried about it, do your inventory management on your mobile device while youre snagging McDonalds free wifi. Or just don’t put your name and address in any of the files.

I find evernote most useful for tracking inventory of Deep Sleep stuff. For example, if a vendor emails me a deal on magazines I can pop into Evernote, bring up my ‘Mag’ notebook (or just search for ‘magazines’) and view my list of what I have on hand. Then I can make an informed decision about whether I need to sell the other kidney and buy more mags.

Another useful thing about Evernote is the ability to selectively share some of the data. For example, lets say you and your brother are planning on riding out the apocalypse together. You can have one notebook that is shared between the two of you. Say the two of you want to stock up on radio equipment. You might have a notebook named ‘Radio Gear’. You give him access to it. Now when he’s at some hamfest in Iowa he can check and see a live version of the list of gear and know what does or does not need to be purchased. Handy. Excellent for avoiding those awkward moments of “I didn’t know if we had [name of item] so I picked up three cases of it. I wish I’d know we already had plenty.”

Having said that, spreadsheets are still amazingly useful…especially if your Excel skills are good enough to take advantage of tables and conditional formatting. Again, it’s going to knock some people’s tinfoil hats off, but Excel is great for keeping track of guns. I also use it to keep track of the long term food storage… having those spreadsheets accessible to me was quite handy when I was up at the Mormon cannery a few weeks back. I immediately knoew what I did and did not need, which means whatever money I spent was spent wisely.

There’s that old saying that the first step to wisdom is knowing what you do not know. If you don’t know what you have vs. what you need to get then you’re not using your resources wisely. You’ll wind up with a hundred AA-batteries and five MagLites that take D-batteries. You can’t be your own quartermaster without knowing what the heck you do and do not have.

Between Evernote and Excel, the savvy survivalist can manage his resources wisely and make the most of their purchasing power. If you’re just going along with a clipboard and legal pad you are definitely doing yourself a disservice.


8 thoughts on “Organization

  1. Those are some very good tips. I used to use Evernote, but stopped because I didn’t like some changes they made. They’re still a good product and work like you say. I have found a couple of other tools that I use and offer them here, just to add another flavor (You might even like them)

    I use Trello (mostly because it is very similar to how my software teams track work). It is meant to be a representation of sticky notes on a board, each placed in a column, the columns representing what stage they are in (To Do, In Progress, Done). But you can scrap all that and use whatever column names work for you. The card themselves can just be fairly detailed, but the “backside” can have checklists, links to videos, huge chunks of text – anything you need. You can have as many boards as you want and each board can be shared or private, much like the Evernote notebooks.

    Additionally, I use dropbox. I have a folder on my desktop computer that automatically syncs with dropbox, so whatever is stored in that folder can be accessed from my phone or a remote computer. But the folder is within a private section of dropbox and is password protected. Dropbox encrypts what is stored on their server, and I have to use my password to open it from my phone or remote computer. That folder is where I store all my spreadsheets.

    And last comment – password protecting a folder isn’t much good unless you use a password manager that generates truly random passwords and you use different ones on every site. I use PasswordSafe, based on work by Bruce Schneier, but there are several other good ones.

    Not trying to start a Ford vs Chevy competition, but all our brains work differently and someone who doesn’t get Evernote might get Trello, and vice versa.

  2. Two real problems with either of these programs, or for that matter with any of the cloud based groupwares; Security, where it is not “yours” after it is sent to the web, and Accessibility, if the world goes down, you are not able to access the content.

        • Can’t share paper and pencil over long distances. Systems that Commander recommends allow for collaboration with others.

          I actually prefer my apocalypse as a collaborative effort with some of my friends.

  3. Soooooo…I admit, I’m not what you could call “computer savy” so I’ll just go out on a limb here and straight up ask….
    Would anybody be willing to perhaps share a screen shot on how to actually use this?
    I downloaded it, but am completely clueless on how to go about setting anything up. But I can’t imagine it’s any worse then the old clipboard and pen trick…

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