A week or so back, Elaine came wandering over to the shop.  “Got a hose washer around, anywhere?”

Whenever she comes to the shop looking for something, my first reaction is to see how big her problem is and confirm that her solution is the ideal one.  She hasn’t been wrong on a parts call yet – but I’m just that way.  Male.

“Sure…right over here in our highly organized parts area…”

This part of the shop is nothing more than a 5-foot high wire rack, three feet wide, on which there are several dozen “shoe boxes” that have been repurposed for storing this and that.  Take a look:

Reaching for the box marked “Hose/Hydropo9nic Parts” I casually looked at her with a Prepper’s Stare of Ultimate Confidence (PSoUC) and asked “What color would you like?  We have black, red, yellow, or green.”

She was impressed.  Having never figured out my organization system, it didn’t dawn on her that there would be a hose/hydroponics parts box and that would be separate from the Plumbing, General Stuff box…which is on the other side of the shop from the shelf for Plumbing, Goos and Glues where the fresh bottles of Oatley hot-set cement,, the purple primer, and more recently, the Purple Primer Cleaner-Upper live.  (Don’t ask!)

If you study that picture, you will see in the lower right a box labeled “Paraffin (hidden it says & Matches).

Living as we do, far from town (and hour round trip) we rely on Amazon and being well-stocked.

What occasioned this morning’s rap is we had a water outage Wednesday and when the water finally cleared up (*Thursday mid-day) when the turbidity settled down I discovered that I had not replaced the last of the water filters for the fridge.  A $45 click on Amazon fixed that – getting three of the necessary Pur filters for KitchenAid refrigerators.

The previous day, I had noted that we were down to a cheap spare air filter for the A/C also…so I put on my shopping list to pick up another half-dozen of those.  And a case of toilet paper, a couple of 12-packs of paper towels and such.

This it occurred to me:  We should probably have a “list of required spares” because we really do have something about like a small hardware store here.  Right down to back-up plywood blades for the table saw, band saws (metal and wood) and the various sanders and….

So, let’s go on a tour, shall we?

Kitchen Required Spares

  • Manual knife sharpener.
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt
  • Paper plates
  • Soaps
  • Dish clothes
  • Sponges
  • Vinegar
  • Baking powder
  • Yeast
  • Cat food
  • 2-cases of water per person
  • “Trading stock” small booze supply
  • Red jug wine


  • Extra BandAids
  • Neosporin
  • Hemostats and tweezers
  • Surgical kit
  • Spare glasses and contact lens crap for six months
  • Eye washes
  • Kaopoopstraight
  • Peptobismerable
  • spare tooth brushes (2 per)
  • Miles of floss
  • Soaps


  • Clorox (unscented, plain, generic)
  • 1-year of soaps
  • 1-season of pet meds (collars etc)
  • LED lights for everything in the house including the fridge lights
  • Batteries – 10 for every one in the house – stored in cool place
  • Matches and lighters
  • ZigZags (you never know…)
  • Pipecleaners (uh huh)


  • Phones that are direct dialing landlines
  • Satellite signal meter and patch cable to realign
  • Space tanks of propane for BBQ
  • A/C filters
  • Water filter spares
  • Niosh N100 Dust Marks (20 per person)
  • Plastic sheeting (Visqueen)
  • 4-rolls of good duct tape
  • Scotch tape
  • Long head push pins
  • Small sewing kit
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue
  • Super Glue gel
  • Elmer’s glue
  • Rubber bands
  • String
  • Baggies and twisties


  • Two switches
  • Two Outlets
  • Single and dual oversized covers
  • Electrical tape
  • Various twist-on connectors
  • 25-feet extension cord
  • Spare plugs with grounds
  • Space GFI unit
  • Tools to install above
  • Test meter for house wiring


  • Hot set glue
  • Purple primer
  • Primer cleaner
  • Light sandpaper
  • PVC pipe cutter
  • Assorted fittings (and end caps!)
  • Spare hose bibs
  • Hose repair  kit (2)
  • Hose washers
  • Space nozzle
  • Spare pet watering unit
  • Spare hydroponics pump, hoses, clamps

Shop Stuff

  • Set of hand tools
    • SAE and Metric Wrenches (box, open, and deep sockets)
    • Box cutters (3)
    • “Squeezies” (Pliers, ViseGrips, Channel Locks etc.
    • “Twisties” Crescent wrenches, hex keys, Torx adapters
    • Best screwdriver set you can find
    • Pocket knife and sharpener.
    • Cheap  “chip brushes”
    • Hand goo
    • 3-in-1 oil
    • Teflon spray
    • Old candles (to wax drawer slides and such)
    • Wood matches (to fill holes when screws get loose)
  • Blue tarps  (enough to cover half of your roof
  • Twine or 250 feet of paracord
  • 2x 50-foot of 5/8th’s rope
  • 25 foot trucker’s chain (pull anything)
  • Come-along (cable winch)
  • Buck saw
  • Optional:  Chainsaw and accessories and fuel.
  • Newspapers or contractor paper being messy and all.

Car Kit

  • Two rolls of TP per traveler
  • 2 per person MRE’s
  • 2-gallons of water per person
  • LifeStraw Each
  • Spare cell charger cable
  • Insurance cards, Triple A card and so on.

And for Defense

  • Long guns
  • Shot Guns
  • Handguns
  • BB and pellet guns
  • Ammo, blanks
  • Ammo, tracers
  • Ammo, franging
  • Ammo, fmj
  • Ammo, AP
  • Ammo, bird shot
  • Ammo, buck shot
  • Ammo, rifled slugs
  • Ammo, subsonics and for that….
  • Empty plastic water bottles and duct tape
  • Combat knife
  • GPS with batteries
  • Another LifeStraw
  • Evasion space blanket
  • Gun cleaning kit
  • Gallon’s of Hoppe’s #9 Cleaner
  • Billions of cleaning patches
  • One or two packs of targets
  • Slingshot
  • Bow and hunting arrows
  • Night vision gear and batteries for 6-months daily use.
  • Binoculars
  • Dozen motion activated lights to attach around perimeter trees..
  • 4 game cameras
  • Tactical gas masks (one each, two rated cartridges each)
  • Bear spray (30-foot)
  • Gunshot wound kit with chest wound equipment


  • Battery powered shortwave receiver
  • VHF UHF transceiver
  • Satcom manuals and orbital apps
  • HF transceiver with batteries or power source
  • HF antennas

Now, a lot of this can be overlooked if you believe – living in the city and in the information bubble – that nothing bad ever can or will be “allowed” to happen.

On the other hand, in the Outback, as we are, it’s only a bare start – much is left off.

We can kick this around in the Comments section this weekend – and this list is just meant to be enough to begin some serious thinking.

If you live in an apartment in an unsustainable city, your best “prepping option” is likely not spares – it’d be a fallback place to live to live with friends in a distant smaller town that is closer to sustainability.

If you’re in the woods, then it’s time to count up barrels of preserved diesel and inspect your seed bank and water resources.

Like everything in life, there’s  a matter of balance.

Write when you get rich,