Blankets are awesome. If I were going to be a hoarder of anything, it would be blankets. Although where I live in Texas isn’t commonly known for cold weather, the Texas Freeze of 2021 was a wakeup call for all us to be better prepared for frigid temps, and blankets are useful for far more than just bedding. Here are some reasons you should keep a supply of blankets and quilts on hand for emergencies.
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10 Reasons to Stockpile Blankets
- Warmth. Let’s start with the obvious. Blankets keep us warm, and in an emergency situation, sitting underneath and on top of blankets when there’s no or little heat can quite literally keep us alive.
- Share with others. Having more than enough on hand means we can care for extra people as well – the elderly neighbor, extended family and friends who come to visit, or those suffering catastrophic loss.
- Frost Protection in the Garden. Keeping a garden is an important part of the homesteading lifestyle and a late spring or early fall frost can destroy our plants quickly. Keep extra blankets in the garden shed or garage for frost protection. When the weather forecast looks ominous, toss the blankets over sensitive plants to protect them from the damaging effects of a light frost.
- Window Insulation. Add a pocket to one edge of a quilt and hang it from a tension rod in windows, to add an extra layer of warmth during frigid cold spells. This helps keep the cold out from drafty windows or even just large windows that get cold from sheer size. These window quilts can help keep cold out and heat in, helping us use less wood or other forms of heat energy.
- Makeshift Beds. A few blankets piled on a floor add padding and a slightly more comfortable sleeping space. It’s not as comfortable as a bed, but for extra guests in an emergency situation, it would be appreciated. In fact, it used to be the norm for a lot of kids when visiting relatives.
- Makeshift Tents. Toss blankets over a dining room table to create cozy, insulated nooks. These smaller spaces are easier to keep warm. You could also use real tents indoors for this same purpose.
- Animal bedding. Pets and livestock occasionally need bedding beyond just wood chips or straw, and your spare blankets can be a just as much a lifesaver for them as they are for humans. Keep a pile in the barn or outbuildings specifically for animal bedding. At worst, they get destroyed and can’t be used again, but most likely they can be washed and re-used multiple times.
- Scrap Fabric and Sewing. Receiving blankets and other thin cotton and wool blankets can make great scrap fabric. Hold onto these to repair thicker quilts that get torn or for piecing together larger quilts and throws. Depending on your sewing skill level, they can often be fashioned into coats, pants, pajamas, and more.
- Hypothermia and Shock. Blankets play a crucial role in retaining body heat and helping individuals maintain their core temperature. Wrapping a person suffering from hypothermia in a blanket helps to conserve body heat and prevent further heat loss, which is particularly important in situations where the individual may be exposed to cold temperatures. In cases of shock, the body’s vital organs may not receive enough blood, which can lead to a drop in body temperature. While blankets alone cannot address the underlying causes of shock, they play a supportive role in maintaining body temperature and providing a sense of security during critical moments before professional medical assistance is available.
- Psychological Comfort. Being covered by a blanket can have a calming effect. Emergencies and traumatic events create physical and emotional distress, and the security and warmth provided by a blanket can help reduce anxiety and stabilize the person’s mental state.
While I advocate decluttering to make space and to be able to organize your preps so you can find them for fast access, certain items, like blankets, warrant a stockpile. Blankets serve many purposes, from providing warmth during emergencies to offering comfort and makeshift solutions. A well-managed blanket stockpile ensures readiness for various situations, striking a balance between minimalism and preparedness in a practical and comforting way.
Do you have any favorite uses for old blankets?
For practical purposes, there is no need to buy anything expensive, not when there are always older, maybe even oddly colored, blankets at thrift stores and yard sales. Those cheap blankets can serve many purposes and can easily be tucked into corners until needed.
To keep your blankets in good shape, store them in plastic bags, space bags, or tubs to keep them clean. (Space bags are especially useful if you have limited storage.) This also helps keep away bugs and mice, especially if you store them outside. I use cedar balls to keep bugs away from my blankets.
Originally published September 19, 2017.Save