10 Self-Reliance Tips from a Surprising Source

By Lee Bellinger

The word is spreading: Prosperity is not coming back for awhile. Not long ago, the normally insular Wall Street Journal even examined the so-called “bunker stocks” – companies that sell survival items!
This email contains some basic lessons in self-reliance practiced by one group of Americans who have mastered the art.

Learn from the Amish:
You Need to Become More Self Reliant

I am personally familiar with the Amish from my four years at Hillsdale College, in South Central Michigan. The Amish live apart from the mainstream. It is a tenet of their faith that they should not rely upon outsiders or become too “worldly.” In fact, the Amish reject the modern lifestyle, preferring to farm their land, build their own homes, make their clothes, preserve their harvest, and craft their furniture. They even travel in horse-drawn buggies!
Say what you want, but they’re the ultimate self-reliant people.

Yet they’re also open to sharing with “The English” (as they call all non-Amish). In 1955, Jay Lehman opened a store to sell the everyday items used by his people and later launched his famous Lehman’s Catalog. He has maintained his tradition of sharing, and a wide range of non-electric products is now available. More about that in a moment.
First, let me summarize some of its most basic survival items and methods you should consider…

Ten Top Tips for Surviving Simply

In today’s shattered economy, there has never been a better time to emulate the Amish a bit more:
  • Food preservation. To survive in a crisis, you may need your food to last as long as possible. Canning can preserve your food for up to a year or more. Basic fruit canning is so simple that all you need are vacuum jars (like those glass ones you see in your grocery store) and a big pot. Low-acid foods, such as meats, fish, and vegetables, need to be prepared in a pressure canner like one sold by Lehman’s which comes with a 100% bacteria-kill guarantee. Make sure you store all canned foods in a dark, damp location, such as a basement.
  • Illumination. One of the first things you’ll need in any emergency is light. The Amish have many traditional solutions such as a Roman-type olive oil jar-lamp and a Victorian kerosene lamp. But they also use solar-power (remember they’re not anti-science, they’re just anti dependence). If you’re using gas or oil – be careful! There’s always a spike in house fires during a power outage. You can even obtain a solar-powered attic fan – a boon if your house loses air conditioning during a summer storm or power outage!
  • Water. One of your biggest survival problems will be finding clean water. Then you have to ask the question: Do you purify or filter? Fortunately you can find items to meet all your needs (including how to sink a pump in your yard!) For on the move, or short-term needs, try emergency water purification tablets. Each one cleanses a quart of water and takes only four hours to work its magic. Colloidal Silver Generators are also fantastic for purifying water. NASA even uses silver to purify spacecraft systems!
  • Composting toilet. If water shortages become more widespread, you’ll need a safe and clean way to go to the bathroom. A composting toilet is the perfect way to go. (Make sure you keep a fan nearby to provide a good draft as well.) For emergency, non-permanent use, you can obtain a portable toilet that works with plastic sacks and sanitary gel. (It’s also useful for camping and RV trips.)
  • Gas refrigerator/freezer. This is a great alternative to electricity for storing food and drink. The Amish use versions powered by either gas or kerosene. (Make sure you stock up on wicks.)
  • Soap making. You’ll need to stay clean and antiseptic following a cataclysm – and that means soap. Real soap making is a complicated process and isn’t without its dangers, but it can be done using basic household items such as fats, lye, wax, and citrus. Soap will be a useful item to barter with in the event of an economic collapse and makes a great gift right now!

  • Tools. If you can’t depend on construction companies, you’ll need to build and/or repair things yourself. So you should have at least a basic toolbox with a hammer, ax, nails, log jack, wood saw, and most importantly, a dependable knife.

    Tip: Another essential emergency tool you should consider is a treadle (pedal) sewing machine. Not only is it useful for your own needs – it could even provide a source of barter/income in a pinch.)
  • Gas or wood stove. Time to reconsider the idea that you will always be able to turn an electric knob and just cook your food. With the power out, you’ll need a solid gas or wood stove. Wood stoves are great if you have ready access to logs as they double for home heating, laundry driers, food dehydrators, and a social gathering point.
  • Laundry. A hand washer is a great way to get your clothes clean without electric power. Some even have a wringer to squeeze excess water from the fabric and speed up drying time.

    Tip: Consider getting some clothesline and clothespins for the drying process as well.
  • Coffee. You’re going to need a pick me up, but forget the electric grinder – you’re going old school. Hand-cranked items like a coffee mill (and grain mill for making your own bread), ice-cream maker, butter churner, and even a hand-wound clock will make difficult days when you’re literally powerless, much, much nicer.
I urge you to consider the items above. Perhaps you can share the costs with neighbors of like mind? Just like the Amish, preparedness and pulling together may be key to survival at some point.
Take a look and begin familiarizing yourself with these options at the Amish informational shopping website: http://www.lehmans.com. (Disclaimer: We do not have an advertising relationship with Lehman’s. And you can certainly find these kinds of items elsewhere as well.)