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.