Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Girly Stuff

Gentlemen: I don’t know how each of you feel about discussing a lady’s once-monthly personal needs, so please take this as fair warning. However, many of you have women in your lives. If you’re the primary devotee to prepping, you might have to think about her needs when you’re adding to the stash. Those of you who want to add barter items to the stockpiles might also be interested in this one.

When my grandmother was a young woman, during the Great Depression, she used rags once a month. She didn’t have the same options that I have. Even if her family had possessed lots of cash, she wouldn’t have had the overwhelming number of choices that I have today. She was thrilled with the old belt system that’s been obsolete longer than I’ve been buying pads and tampons.

Though I admire my grandmother for surviving the Great Depression, and though I’m very interested in how people got things done during that time, I don’t want to go digging in the rag bag when the economy goes completely insane and one small package of maxi pads costs twelve dollars. Oh, heavens, no. I’m going to be as comfortable as possible one week a month, because there are certain creature comforts that I insist on having. My period is miserable enough, what with the backaches, cramps, and general irritability that come with it. If I have to shove old t-shirts down my pants while the world is falling apart around me, I’m not going to be a happy person at all.

Besides: feminine products are slowly going up in price, just like everything else. What cost me two bucks and change several months ago is a little more than three bucks now. When everything that I buy creeps up in price like this, I can save a good chunk of cash later by buying early, and buying often. Every week, my family and I buy something extra, whether it’s toothpaste or canned food, rice or maxi pads. Whatever we can save by buying gradually is good, because we don’t have much extra money around here. Even if we save only a few bucks, we consider that a good deal.

So, a few months ago, I bought an extra bag of pads. I took them out of the plastic wrapper and put them in a Ziploc Big Bag. This bag went into one of my storage boxes, where it’s nice and safe. Over these last few months, I’ve added more when I could, building up a nice little supply just in case they become too expensive, too hard to find, et cetera.

The pads have adhesive strips which, over time, can break down. This is why we should change out the bandages in our first-aid kits, and keep an eye on our stashed maxi pads. I do not know how long a maxi pad has to sit before that process becomes noticeable. Even though I’m sure that broken-down adhesive won’t prevent the pad from doing its job, I’d really rather have something that functions as it should. Rotating is good for the stocks, and good for me, so why not, right?

I should mention that I bought the plain, unscented pads. I despise the scented, foo-foo version, but there are other reasons to buy the “regular” kind. One huge advantage to unscented maxi pads – even for those of you who don’t use them once a month – is their ability to absorb lots of liquid. Blood, urine, whatever: these pads will soak up a good bit of whatever you’re trying to clean up. You can use them as bandages, which was actually their earlier purpose, for example.

There’s more to this than the pads, though. Midol’s good to have on hand, too, because of the backaches and other symptoms. I also like keeping chocolate around because, sometimes, a bite or two makes me feel better than all the Midol in the county. If there’s something else that makes you feel better when you’re riding the crimson tide, go ahead and add that to your stockpile.

How much feminine-related stuff do you need in your stash? I don’t know. Are you planning to not buy anything related to your period for a month, or six months? Figure out how much stuff you use, on average, and go from there. Don’t forget to account for any girls in the house who haven’t yet started menstruating: plan for their needs, too, especially if you think that you’re going to be without a means of buying more stuff for a while.

Also: even if you don’t have gals around, guys, tampons and other such things could be very easy to trade with other people. I would consider throwing some generic tampons or pads in with the other supplies if I were you, guys. The tampons don’t take up all that much room, are individually wrapped (meaning that you don’t have to trade away a whole box unless you want to do so), and can sit in storage for months, if not longer. If a woman’s feeling rotten enough, she’ll give you pretty much anything for some Tampax or a dose or two of Midol. That’s worth considering when you build up a pile of things to trade.


  1. There are "Mensturation Cups" or what is commonly called the Moon Cup" which is made either of latex or silicone and has a usful life span of over ten years. My gf has used hers for almost 6 years straight. They run about $30.00 apiece. Not bad for a simple device that can last so long. She also has purchased three more to place in our long term survival stash.

    Just "Google" moon cups to find out more info for yourself.

  2. Thanks for the heads up on that, Anonymous!

  3. Here is another option for you:

    P.S. I hate your comment box :) I'm a computer programmer by trade and I use all of the keys on my keyboard so not being able to use some of them or do simple paste operations is killing me. Just thought I would throw that out there so I could type somemore into this evil comment box :)


“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
-George OrwellAnimal Farm