Historians say that during the last Great Depression (I say last because undoubtedly history will repeat itself), there were certain luxuries our mothers and grandmothers had to forego, like new clothes and jewelry. One thing, however, seemed to keep their collective sanity and that was red lipstick.
Cosmetic sales also rose during other recessions and times of uncertainty, including after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. This phenomenon has become known as the “lipstick effect,” coined by Estee Lauder Chairman Leonard Lauder.
It refers to a tendency of consumers during a recession to buy small, comforting items, such as lipstick, rather than large luxury items.
Indeed, during the credit crunch of 2008 and the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, sales of color cosmetics–including lipstick and eye shadow–were up 4.4 percent, according to ACNielsen data.From an article at McCall.com
Reading about this got me thinking about all the things the Depression era survivors probably wished they had in hindsight or would have stocked up on had they known what was coming. We are lucky to have hindsight and, hopefully, smart enough to have the foresight to consider these things and then act on them.
I am talking beyond your typical prepper items like food, water, toilet paper, bullets and the like. It’s one thing to survive during bad times, it’s another thing to thrive. Or at least stay sane. Maybe it’s not red lipstick that will do it for you, but there are definitely things that can bring comfort and make life a little easier during hard times.
Here’s a list of a few things that we’re hoping can help save our sanity should things go south in our lifetime (and there’s a good chance they will!).
- New underwear, socks and extra shoes – it seems like a no-brainer that we should stock up on these but it’s not something I see preppers talk about often. Not having to worry about these basic items would be a huge sanity saver, if you ask me! Since we both have our favorite brands of shoes/boots here, I made a point of buying an extra pair to keep in the top of the closet just in case. Extra shoe strings, too!
- Board games, playing cards and (unread) reading material – again, these seem like things most people would want to have during difficult times and while most of us have physical board games and playing cards, not everyone these days does. So many of these games are played online now but having a digital version won’t help much if there’s no power or limited power. Also, it’s great to have your well-read favorite books and magazines, but why not keep some new material set aside so that if and when the time comes, you can break them out and find something new to read? The same can be said for games, really. New ones can help break the monotony of playing the same things over and over.
- Blank calendar, journal, notebook paper and envelopes – it’s pretty comforting to know that if the SHTF I’ll at least be able to keep track of the days and my thoughts with a blank paper calendar I can fill in as well as a daily journal. Notebook paper and envelopes (as well as plenty of pens, pencils and stamps) are other “luxury items” I know for a fact they wish they’d had more of during the last Great Depression. Even a pad for drawing or doodling might be a good idea to keep.
- Aluminum foil, plastic baggies, plastic wrap and wax paper – while I do see some preppers talk about saving these things I feel like they aren’t talked about enough. One of the things my husband’s grandmother and my mother both reiterated to us was that they wished they had more aluminum foil. Every scrap was hoarded and reused and I definitely don’t want to have to go on a scavenger hunt for such a basic item. I have stocked up on foil, plastic wrap, baggies and also wax paper because you just never know.
- Dish rags, towels and baby wipes – another thing I have heard firsthand and read about is how people during the last GD had to make do when they started to run out of things. Old clothes had to be patched using flour sack cloth (or new clothes were made from flour sacks) and towels were used until they were threadbare. Why put yourself through that? I have a nice little supply of new, unused extra dish rags, dish, hand and bath towels and also a big case of unopened baby wipes just in case. Even if the baby wipes lose their moisture after 2-3 years, they can be remoistened with just a bit of water and used for cleaning yourself so it’s a good idea to stock up on them.
- Extra razors, shampoo, soap and feminine hygiene products – these need little explanation except to say that going without them can really take a toll on your mental health. I hand make our soap so I have plenty of extra base ingredients for that. Some women probably want to keep extra makeup or hair dye, too. Different makeup has a longer shelf life than others and hair dye may not be as effective after three years or so if it’s left unopened, but it’s probably nice to have them *just in case*.
There are a lot of other things I could add to this list that I’m just starting to stock up on, like rolls of fabric of all kinds, extra sewing needles and thread, safety pins and I’m even learning how to work my antique trundle sewing machine *just in case* as well. When I can get to it, that is!
Oh, yes, and we’ve laid in plenty of extra dog food, treats and dog toys *just in case*. We even have a doggie first aid kit we’ve put together just for them. The last thing we want to worry about is taking care of the pups if times get tough. They are like our children and we don’t want them to suffer because we weren’t prepared.
That old motto of “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” will probably still apply no matter how prepared you are, but it’s the little things (like red lipstick) that can make or break you mentally during hard times.