A "Collapse Now" Checklist

Maybe it's a little redundant, given that this whole forum (and the Green Wizardry book) are themselves a kind of blueprint/guideline for how to "collapse now and avoid the rush," but I've been toying with the idea of creating a checklist to serve as a framework for step-by-step action.

This kind of thing works well for me (and maybe, therefore also for others, which would be a plus) because I tend to be somewhat overwhelmed by a) the big picture and b) all the things that I need to do in the face of the big picture. Lists in general and ones that incorporate the breaking down of a goal into its manageable steps have turned out to be a great tool for me both in terms of keeping me on track AND to help me realize that I am actually making headway on something.

Maybe this is, itself, a very large undertaking (as is the whole project of reducing energy use & technological complexity)? But maybe it's an undertaking that could be shared, if anyone is interested. I'd at least really love feedback on the things I come up with...

Just for ease of reading (since the original document link is kind of buried in the responses), here's what's been listed so far. 

The Green Wizards’ Collapse Checklist (as of 5/5/2016)



  • Producing/growing

    • If you don’t have access to a garden plot, try container gardening or other small-space options. Even if you have space, consider these:

      • culinary herbs, sprouts, greens (extend harvest, “cut & come again”  types > “heading” types), a variety of things can be grown from kitchen cast-offs (ie. green onions - just use the tops, replant the white end with roots)

      • “micro” livestock - mealworms, crickets, snails, coturnix quail, guinea pigs (cavies), rabbits, chickens.  This involves also growing/gathering fodder for the animals.

      • Foraging for underutilized fruits in your landscape.

    • General vegetable gardening (locale appropriate)

    • With more space, attempt some calorie storage crops, such as grains, tubers, dry legumes, and squash.  Non-traditional options (for many Americans) might include amaranth, quinoa, and rice.

    • Guerilla Orcharding.  Guerilla Gardening.  Community Gardening.

    • Learn your local wild foraging options.

    • Seed saving.

  • Preparing

    • Learn to cook from basic ingredients

    • Learn several alternative cooking methods, depending on the cookware and heat sources available:

      • Small hot fire, suitable for wok cooking Chinese style with little fuel.  Rocket stove cookery.

      • Simmer on the back of the wood stove for hours in the winter using available heat.

      • Solar oven, suitable for low temperature slow cooking.

      • Baking in a wood fired bread / pizza oven.

      • Wood barbecue.

      • Haybox/fireless cooker

    • Develop a personal style, based on your tools and ingredients available.  

    • Explore setting up a community kitchen, for group dinners, shared equipment, and larger scale processing tasks.

  • Storing & Preserving

    • Root cellars

    • Evaporative cooling - zeer pot

    • Solar Dehydrators

    • Fermenting Foods

    • Home canning in glass jars

    • Threshing and winnowing of grains and legumes.

    • Pest free dry storage, insect and rodent proof.

    • Charcuterie

    • Smoking

    • Pressing fruit - cider and wine making



  • Collecting

    • Sources

    • Containers

    • Possibly a cart/vehicle

    • pumps

  • Sanitizing for potable water. / Ensuring safety.

    • Boiling.

    • Filter systems

    • Bleach chlorine treatment.

  • Graywater disposal and utilization.

  • Managing ponds, dams, and canals.



  • Identify what garments are necessary for local conditions -- minimize number of garments (few quality garments > lots of low quality garments)

    • Outdoor clothing

    • Indoor clothing (cooler indoor temps will require more layers)

    • Specific requirements for work or other activities.

      • Aprons for cooking, shop work.

    • Change of clothes for sleeping.  Warmth, comfort.

    • Bedding.

  • Locate sources of used clothing

    • Thrift stores

    • Young families (also to give clothing to)

    • Church sales

  • Locate sources for quality new clothing or make it yourself

  • Learn to knit and/or crochet.

    • Learn to un-knit items and re-use the yarn.

    • Learn basic knit and purl stitches, stockinette and garter stitch for basic flat knit items.

    • Learn to increase and decrease for more shaped items.

  • Learn mending

    • Attach buttons

    • Simple hand stitches: basting stitch, straight stitch, whip stitch, bed stitch

    • Patching, darning

  • Learn tailoring

  • Acquire tools for basic mending

    • Needles

    • Pins

    • Thread matching the color of your garments

  • Acquire tools for more complex sewing jobs OR find skilled sewers you can barter with

  • Clean clothes in a way that uses fewest resources

    • Hand wash > dry clean

    • Cold water > warm water

    • Airing clothes regularly > washing

    • Develop a line-drying system/habit.



  • Evaluate your needs

    • Proper size (not to big or too small)

    • Shared vs private space.

    • Fully conditioned space vs rain shelter vs semi-sheltered work space.

    • Secure from theft.

    • Outbuildings:  Garage, barn, tool shed, animal shelters, separate work spaces.

    • Location, location, location.

  • Energy Efficiency

    • Insulation levels

    • Air leakage levels

  • Durability

  • Ease of self-repair and maintenance or owner build.

  • Moisture flows through the structure.  Risk of mold and rot.

  • Annual cost of residence.

  • Cost offsets

    • Use as live/work space

    • Seasonal rental.

  • Mobile alternatives.



  • Become energy literate, knowing the quantities of fuel for a given task and their heat values.  Know the combustion efficiency of the stove or engine, and how much is lost to exhaust.

  • Understand the trade-offs of speed, energy consumption, and safety/comfort in accomplishing an energetic task.

  • Track your energy budget for:

    • Cooking

    • Transportation

    • Home heating

    • Home cooling

    • Machinery tasks.

  • Retrofit your home - maximize passive solar, insulation, energy efficiency






  • Reduce incoming waste (esp. important as recycling industry is fragile, don't want huge piles of plastic piling up at your homestead if curbside trash/recycling goes away)

  • Re-use items for their intended purpose

    • used damaged items -- “make do”

    • repair/mend -- “make it do”

  • Repurpose (eg. pants to shorts, rags to 'stuffing', broken crockery for soil aeration)

  • Recycle (home metal smelting, paper making, commercial recycling)

  • Compost (include worm bin, bukashi, trench, 3-bin system, humanure, composting noxious weeds)



  • Where can I safely/comfortably travel on foot?  

    • Bags or carts for stuff (shopping)

    • Carrier or stroller for infants

  • Where can I safely/comfortably travel by bicycle?

    • Luggage for things

    • Seats, trailers for infants/small children

  • What is available public transportation?

    • Bus

    • Train

  • Explore options for sharing/renting car, especially for larger vehicles used for infrequent tasks.

  • Keep your existing car running efficiently for as long as possible.

  • Boat skills

    • Paddling

    • Sailing

    • Rowing

    • Navigation

  • Keeping draft/riding/pack animals.



  • Practice penmanship

  • Journal and write letters.  Practice composition.

  • Oration.  Reading aloud.

  • Ham Radio



  • Understand basic small business paper accounting.

  • Assume that at some point you may need to be entrepreneurial.

  • Assume that you need a present livelihood for the present economy, and a post industrial livelihood.  

  • Livelihoods might be classed by skill level, or by mobility.

  • A list of post-industrial likely livelihoods (rough examples. More ideas needed):

    • Itinerant:

      • Knife sharpener

      • Tinker

      • Sheep shearer

      • Piano tuner/ instrument repair/ sales

      • Musician/performer

      • Seasonal Farm Labor

      • Portrait artist

    • Semi-mobile, working away but with a fixed base:

      • Thatcher

      • House Carpenter

      • Slaughter/butcher

      • Dentist/Dental Hygenist

      • Doctor/Accupuncturist

      • Midwife/Herbalist

      • Veterinarian

      • Cobbler

      • Market forager

      • Trader/Travelling Merchant

      • Moonshiner

      • Teamster

      • Freight sailor / River Bargeman

      • Extension Agent

      • Mobile Mechanic

      • Custom harvest-machinery owner (horse-drawn?)

      • Boat builder

      • Postal mail carrier

      • Engineer

      • Scavenger/recycler/Ruinman


  • Fixed location  

    • Nurseryman

    • Baker

    • Dairyman

    • Cheesemaker

    • Miller

    • Smith

    • Farmer/Orchardist

    • Weaver

    • Tanner

    • Salt production (coastal)

    • Malt producer

    • Brewer / Publican

    • Potter

    • Lathe turner, Carver

    • Luthier

    • Tailor

    • Sail maker

    • Cart wright

    • Mill wright.

    • Seamstress

    • Innkeeper

    • Teacher/Librarian/Archivist/Historian

    • Basketmaker



Non-Professional Creative Skills:

  • Slojd.

  • Needlepoint

  • Quilting

  • Musicianship

    • Read music

    • Play an instrument

    • Shape-note




  • Get out of debt

    • Stay out of debt after.

I think this has turned into a great list. I'm printing out a copy to put in my projects binder. Thanks for the great food for thought, everyone. Though there are still a few headings that can be fleshed out, I think this is a great template to work from.

I hadn't looked at the draft document in some time, but I see at least a couple of terms used that I am not familiar with - luthier and slojd/sloyd are two that I spotted quickly. I had to look both up. For purposes of usability, it would be handy if the person who added each of these to the checklist also would add a brief parenthetical remark after each to indicate what they refer to, as these are not common terms here in the States. Similarly, one might expand "miller" to say "grain miller," or smith to either say "blacksmith" or "smith/metal worker" to be more easily understood. And so on.

Unless, of course, the goal is to have a checklist that only insiders would understand...[just kidding]

Kevin Anderson

Just wanted to add / interject: I fully agree with Sophie Gale below. While the interwebs are still available, I am using them for all they're worth in mining data on home-making, home-doings, building a backyard kiln, soap recipes, canning, etc. that my friends and neighbors here are as clueless about as I am.

Most of my surfing in the past few years has been in this pursuit.

Wellness Mama is a great site for all sorts of soap/detergent / makeup / cleaning supplies, etc..

Home made videos on Youtube from other folks out there sharing has been the biggest wealth of crafting how-to's.

Well, it's pretty much like what we're doing here on this site! Using it productively while it's still here.

Awesome checklist! Thank You so much for compiling this. It will definitely be tweaked for each Wizard's personal situation and needs, but a fantastic jump on the task.

Under 'Health', maybe invest in a medical encyclopedia? When my kids were little we bought a big doorstop of a book, 'The Harvard Medical Encyclopedia' which we used at least once a week to look up common ailments, rashes, toe-fungi, etc... for remedies, it included prescription items, over the counter and even some home remedies, in case one didn't have quick access to mod-meds. Saved a fortune on doctors' visits. Definitely worth the investment.

Also, a cross-skill of knowing, recognizing; maybe even growing common medicinal herbs? E.g. plantain which grows wild, is considered a weed that can be found almost everywhere in the world, and is or has a mild antibiotic, or aloe-vera which pretty much takes care of any skin burn or rash. These may be especially useful for those of us with little to no garden space as they are small and can be grown in pots indoors. I'm behind on this. I know very little about them - one of my immediate goals is to learn the properties of the 'weeds'/ old Chinese herbal medicines growing in our area. It's not easy here in Hong Kong where almost all are simply called "green plant" because there are too many variations to even track! But a poster on ADR, Violet Cabra is well advanced and she has a beautiful blog called "Winter's Trickster" with info and lists of N. American weeds/herbs.


Again, Thank You so much.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Thanks for that link. This really is something I should study. I already recognize a lot of plants, wild and domesticated. I even do know some of the medicinally useful ones, so I'd have a good jumpstart on learning.

A funny thing: The first herb on her list at the bottom of last blog entry is boneset. I have a lot of boneset in my ornamental garden that I have let seed and re-seed because it is pretty and I thought it had medicinal value. Well it turns out the species I have is hightly poisonous, not the one used as Violet Cabra describes.

You know you can add directly to the list, Caryn? I had a couple items to add to the list, but composted my hand written note and will have to see if my memory brings them back.

Must admit, I have nowhere to collapse DOWN to in terms of computer sophistication. I haven't a clue how to add to a google docs page. I will ask my kids when they get home.

I've been mulling over this list for about a month, wondering if I should comment on it. It certainly looks comprehensive, but I've been told that an effective checklist needs to prioritized and followed with a timeline of some kind. And the first priority that leaped out at me was "age specific". I'm 65 and optomistically I've got maybe 15 years left. I'm as collapsed as I ever hope to be. Fresh lettuce and tomatoes on the patio are nice, but I'm doing more for local sustainability by supporting area farmer's markets. I rent; I'm not retrofiting this drafy old barn, but I am working with a couple of local groups to close down out-dated power plants and pass a clean jobs bill will provide work for people in my home town. And I was born to surf the Internet! While I'm alive and the Internet is still kicking, I am going to be mining this system for all I'm worth, finding obscure ideas and tech that need to be preserved. And there are other people here my age who are already "downsizing."

There are folks who are approaching retirement age, folks who are just finishing school and starting careers, and folks who are raising young children, and their priorities will be different. Especially the younger folks...

Back around 1978 I was in a Philosophy 110 class. I was about 27 and there was very young woman about 20 years old. She had been raised in a fundamental Christian community. All her life she had been told that the world was going to end before she graduated from high school. It didn't. Not only did she have no idea what she wanted to do with her life, but she was still struggling with the idea that she had a life to do something with! We are starting on the LONG Descent, and when I think of this kid, I just want to say, "No! Don't collapse now! Get out there, see things, do things, learn things while you still have time!" Go to college in Denmark (free tuition?), go to a Maker's Market in Africa, teach English in Guatemala, join Builders without Borders, set up an art studio in Detroit...

Seriously, does anyone here think their child is going to be an itinerant knife grinder? Teach them gardening and homemaking, but also teach them community building, community service and entrepreneurship. --And it looks to me like community building should have its own skill set here. Way more than communication. Among my worries: Green Wizards is too focused on families/individuals. I think, when the bottom does drop, we all better have a community in place. I don't think individuals are going to make it. I just don't.

As I said before, I'm involved in the Fair Trade Movement. One of our importers started out 30 years ago as two kids backpacking in Nepal. They bought a suitcase full of Nepali sweaters to take home as Christmas presents. Now their son is traveling to Nepal to help rebuild the health clinic they co-founded and rebuild homes for their artisans. And they are doing some really cool building with bags of dirt! Read their blog:


I don't have any kids, but I have a bunch of great-neices and nephews, and I would like them to go places, see things, learn things, and then bring all that experience back to their communities.

THE OTHER THING: The checklist just leapfrogs from learn "this stuff now" to "post-industrial livelihood" without any middle. But I'm off to a board meeting, and I'll get back to that. (Threats! Threats!)

Magpie's picture

As a younger person (I'm 28), I agree and disagree with your advice to build community and to get out and travel the world. I agree that building up a community of supportive friends and acquaintances is of critical importance, but this takes time and is at odds with frequent travel. It is so hard to stay in one place anymore anyway, and traveling on purpose makes it even more challenging. Now that I've been in one place for two years, I finally feel like I've begun to get a support network--people I can ask for tools, exchange produce with, teach and learn new skills, and barter for various goods and services. I don't want to have to uproot myself again and again by traveling, and start the whole process over--I feel like I just barely settle in before being swept away again.

Maybe I'm reading too much into what you're saying because it's so much like what my mother tells me. She worries so much that I'm missing out on things. But I'm not! For me and my husband, 'collapsing now' has meant less screen time and more real life--more metalwork, woodwork, carving, bicycle maintenance, gardening, mending, spinning, weaving, and cooking. We've become a hub in our social network--people are always offering us goods and services, and we are often offering them to the community as well.

As an aside, there is at least one (semi-) itinerant knife grinder in this city! He sharpens knives, lawnmower blades, and old hand tools, and makes most of his money by buying old beat up tools and fixing them up to sell. There is space for this sort of work right now. In a previous town I lived in, I sharpened knives in exchange for local currency, which I then used to buy luxuries (oyster mushrooms!)--I didn't make a living at it, but it did afford me a little breathing room in my budget. It is a very good skill to have, and I am thankful every time I hone a scythe, kitchen knife, or straight razor for the summer job I had out in the fields where I was taught how to sharpen a broccoli knife.

I may get flamed for this. In my younger years, before I was very cognizant of limits to growth or even global warming, I and my family did a lot of travel. Some was air travel, some car or train, some boat and ferry. In some measure, I feel guilty now for having sucked up more than my fair share and in some measure, I'm supremely grateful I had the chance to experience so much wonder in the world.

Travel has been one of the greatest blessings in my life on this planet. My husband is fond of saying, "The best education in the world is travel". With 2 teenaged boys, now biting at the bit to see some of the world themselves, I do hope they have that opportunity as well. In my own experience, I grew up poor, worked the typical crap teen jobs and saved and moved, then saved and moved again, and again. I kind of worked my way from west to east across the US. I got a work-abroad visa in college, (College being another great blessing.) Post college, my then fiance/now husband and I jumped at the chance to take a post abroad and we haven't been back since. As an adult, due to my husbands great well-paying job, for a time, we have also had the ability to tourist-travel, jetting in, staying in nice hotels, secured away from whatever unpleasantries of any given locale and only seeing the 'best' or noteworthy of some places.

So I've done both. I have learned that fast or easy travel, (and in our coming-post-industrial future I guess all air travel will fall into this), is my least favourite; not as good, as educational, or even as fun and enriching as 'slow travel'. Working your way across, perhaps like a gypsy musician or that itinerant knife sharpener!, or even getting to a place, via train, boat, whatever and staying a while working and living amongst other people, other cultures is what teaches and enriches one.

I have been super lucky to have seen a lot more places in this lovely planet than I ever would have imagined, but not all, and not all that I've dreamed of, and that's OK too. My kids, any young person with itchy feet doesn't need to see them all. They will get their fill, when they get their fill. I don't think it's an either/or, air-travel or stay home. Luxury hotels, even backpacking just long enough to see the famous cathedrals or unique rock formations of a place then jet home actually teaches very very little. IMHO, it might even be counter-productive, and this is what I've been impressing on my kids. If you want to go, go and stay for awhile; work with the the locals, commute on their trains and subways or walk their dusty roads, shop at their little local grocers for your daily meals, suffer the bureaucratic nightmares of their utility bills or whatever, all of those little mundane things that build together to make a lifestyle, a culture and community: THAT teaches and it's far more fun.

When the internet gets to be too expensive for most of our kids or the younger generation will have to - and they will - accept a slower lifestyle. Perhaps next / perhaps simultaneously, Air travel will become as it used to be too rare and expensive for most people, and they will get along with slow travel too. Young people will not stop traveling, whether or not they have to schlepp along with them a whet-stone or a guitar, walk or train, pass through or stop and work and stay awhile. It's the nature of youth. ((Of course not ALL youth, but I'd wager, for the majority)).

I will be 67 this year and it is a lot harder now to get that garden put in and maintained.

However I would never counsel anyone to travel by air. Less travel by all fossil fuelled engines would be my advice.

While it is a good thing to support small business in the poor parts of the world...see my comment about air travel.

I choose to buy local where I can and if I can't I often choose not to buy. I doubt I would ever intentionally choose to buy something made thousands of miles away.

I don't have a check list. There are many items on it that would be good to know but some are beyond my abilities.

I do practice and expend on the skills I have knowledge of. This may help me in the future but if having to know how to run a solar heater will be necessary to keep me alive then I will most likely die.

ClareBroommaker's picture

How one could be a world traveler --now-- on less energy than a jet? Is international travel one of the most energy consumptive things we could choose to do? Actually I don't know, yet knowing the energy use of things we do is one of the items on the checklist. I am already grappling with whether I will be able to attend my father's funeral(when the time comes) halfway across the US without hopping on a plane.

Speaking of aging, I am finding more physical limitations and some of them are the result of the hard physical work I have chosen to do in the way of gardening over the last decades. There is a 17 year old in the neighborhood who just got his first full time job, but he rang our doorbell yesterday to say that he still wants to earn something working in our garden. I'm about ready to pay for some help, and I can see that he genuinely wants to learn even some of the tedious skill like pulling the appropriate weeds and what to do with them afterward. He forsees a side business of mow-and-blow, but wants to know more, too. This will be a chance for me to pass along to a younger generation some of the stuff I have practiced. I can think of it as collapsing into the next generation.

By the way, there is no way this young man is going to travel the world unless he does something like join the military. He doesn't have the money to buy his way; his family doesn't have the money. Their life, as long as I have known the family, has been about survival. He has a crap education. Honestly I doubt he understands even that there are other continents across oceans.

I have done some preliminary work setting up a spreadsheet for collecting these suggestions. I find I will need more community feedback to make some of the critical data decisions. If I focus the categories on Less Energy, Stuff and Stimulation, this excludes such categories as acquiring MORE skills, more hand and foot operated tools and more root-cellar building and pantry stocking. Thus, I have tentatively divided the suggestions into two worksheets one for MORE and one for LESS. Other options for classification welcome.

Magpie's picture

I think it's important to remember that "LESS" often involves significant lifestyle changes that involve learning new skills (and other things you might call "MORE"). Just as an example, less energy usage involves changing water usage habits, cooking habits, and potentially installing permanent or temporary insulation. To get to less seems to regularly involve more individual time and effort. Not sure if it makes sense to split them out into two lists.

I was looking at the document again this morning. While the food/clothing/shelter organization is an obvious good start, I'm concerned it will quickly be overloaded.

Where does draft animal harness making and repair go? In transportation, or in something food production related? (I don't mean this as a particular skill, but as an example of a crossover skill set.) Should there be an editor who says that this is too much detail and we need to stick to basic skills?

Where do you draw the line between home mending and professional tailoring? The same question applies to many fields.

Is this supposed to be the outline for a book by committee? I'd point out that Carla Emery's "The Encyclopedia of Country Living" started out as an accumulation of suggestions and recipes for how to do things. Compiling a Green Wizard's Encyclopedia is not beyond imagination. See the table of contents (and the rest of it, for that matter) here: http://www.housegate.net/woodvival/manualistica/The%20Encyclopedia%20of%...

Are these skills that should be present in most households? Most streets? Most neighborhoods/villages? Should there be separate urban and rural skill lists?

VERY good point Scomber.

I'm not really sure where to go/how far to go with it... I've been out of commission for a few days with my dad in the hospital. Honestly, I've not looked at the checklist since maybe Wed or early Thurs.

Perhaps a 'LESS' approach is appropriate - maybe the bare-bones of an outline and then fleshed-out sub-groups that touch on evaluating your current situation & basic tacks to take from there.

I have to admit that there have been some really interesting additions - things that, because they're not my "specialties," wouldn't have occurred to me and that are really quite educational.

The irony of creating a checklist of this nature using modern internet tools is not lost on me, but if we can figure out a mechanism on how to cooperatively edit a document in an orderly fashion we can use Google Documents to create the checklist. This will allow anybody to edit the document, even if you don't have a google account. Have a look at this link as an example: Document.

It can also be setup with more restrictions, limited to certain people, only allowing comments etc.

A spreadsheet format can also be used if a word type document doesn't work.

How about - whenever someone adds/updates something, leave a comment here?

I just added a section under food production for techniques suitable for small-space dwellers.

Also, I formatted the section headers to a larger font & bold.

I might add this one: Rat Catcher/Rat Dog Trainer.


Haha, me too! I've taken the opportunity while JMG is on hiatus to go back and re-read from the beginning.  I've been bookmarking the posts that seem to have helpful advice (either in the post or in the comments) - :D

It's only a half-formed idea - kind of open to interpretation/adaptation as it goes along but, well, let's take the bare bones of what I have so far. On one front, I'm looking at my family's electricity consumption. So this part of the checklist could start with tasks involved in figuring out where one stands currently at with electricity consumption/production:

conduct an audit of current usage

then there'd be subgroups - basically how to go about doing that:

  • obtain electricity billing rates and current total usage from your utility company
  • use a kill-a-watt or other electricity meter to track usage by appliance
  • calculate usage amount and/or cost
  • find the biggest energy hogs
  • set reduction goals

so, if I had a checklist, I'd mark off that I bought a kill-a-watt and have my electricity bill plus I printed off the last 12 months of usage data. Next I'll be pinpointing biggest users in the house.

Then, reduction goals would lead to various methods to improve home efficiency (like in the Master Conserver document).

There could also be prompts or cross-references about specific energy functions, like lighting (basics about lightbulbs, but also non-electric lighting, just a to get folks thinking about options  - like every evening I use an olive oil lamp at my bedside instead of an electric light).


Now it wouldn't have to get too detailed, like say, for the gardening aspect - which is really location specific in a  lot of ways - but there'd be entries dealing with things like:

  • start composting (investigate bins, piles, vermicomposting or feeding kitchen scraps to livestock like rabbits, cavies or poultry)
  • investigate what grows in your bioregion (native plants & introduced varities)
  • conduct a soil test so you know what's needed
  • investigate container gardening if you rent or don't have space for a traditional garden


I could see the basic categories as conceived of here on Green Wizards as forming the backbone (with the addition of water because it's not included, oddly). 

So, here's my VERY MUCH a DRAFT beginning (and obviously NOT totally taken from the way it's conceived of here on GW just because it came straight out of my brain the other day):

Energy (Electricity, Natural Gas, ?)



Doing Without












Maintaining Physical Health - exercise, diet

Healthcare - healing & improvement

Spiritual & Psychological Health



Useful skills - maintenance/repair, handicrafts, etc.

Sharing with Community














Like I said, it's pretty half-formed - but full of potential, yes? :D

Maybe too, it's just a matter of pointing out places that this kind of thing kind of exists, like Bob Waldrop's site: http://www.energyconservationinfo.org/compendium.htm

Anyway, I'm glad you're interested. Let's talk about it!


but I am building on the skills I already have.

I already am a seamstress, I can make and repair most clothes and home furnishings. I am now looking at items that are not so easy to make. Shoes, Bra's, carpets and rugs among others.

I can knit and I have a good selection of wool yarns that I can make up into warm garments.

I already garden. I try to add a new vegetable each year, that grows well in my area

I also try to find good easy ways to add more nutrition to meals using things I can grow and forage

I'm increasing my skills in using herbs and making ( as I can them) "soaps,lotions and potions"

Having these skills and using them every day seems to naturally lead into getting involved with the LESS concept and it becomes a way of life.

So rather that a list of things I want to do and learn I have a list of things I want to unlearn like instead of shopping and buying I want to make it myself.

The "clothing" item: Identify your needed outdoor clothing for your climate and travel mode. (waterproof bike wear only if you are likely to commute by bike on rainy day) Identify needed indoor clothing for your home and workplace (cooler indoor temps need more layers).

Locate nearby thrift stores.

Children's clothing: find local families with older children who can hand down to yours, and local familys who can accept your children's outgrown clothes.

Learn mending skills, fitting skills. Start with sewing on buttons, work your way up.

Acqure tools for sewing, knitting, mending, or develop a network of skilled people. ("If you can patch these pants for me, I will bring you a pot of home made tomato sauce!")

Choose cleaning techniques for least resource use. Hand wash prefered over dry clean, cold water over hot water, etc.

Minimize number of garments. Fewer high-quality, durable garments will be more satisfactory than lots of cheap stuff.

Shoes for walking. Find a shoe repair shop.

Home ec textbooks from teens, 1920s, 1930s will have information about mending and wardrobe planning.


I think it's great that folks are chiming in with the particular sections that they have experience with /inspiration for.

We really need to come up with a format

Wow! You have progressed much further than just an idea! I like the thought of having various levels with an increasing amount of details. Perhaps we can start with: "Collapse now and avoid the rush" as the top tier. Then L.E.S.S. as the second tier and so on. Maybe we can also included a list of book recommendations as made on the blog? I must say that I am in awe that you are reading both the blog AND the comments!

Just let me know how I can help.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Pardon me, but what is "L.E.S.S."?

LESS is one of John Michael Greer's acronyms. It stands for "Less Energy, Stuff, and Stimulation".

Magpie's picture

I think this sort of list is a great idea. Different people in this community are doing a lot of neat things, but it's really scattered amongst all the pages--even Green Wizardry only realy covers some basic areas.

Regarding the "Waste" section, I would expand it somewhat like this:

  • Reduce incoming waste (esp. important as recycling industry is fragile, don't want huge piles of plastic piling up at your homestead if curbside trash/recycling goes away)
  • Re-use items for their intended purpose (repair/mend or used damaged items)
  • Repurpose (eg. pants to shorts, rags to 'stuffing', broken crockery for soil aeration)
  • Recycle (home metal smelting, paper making, commercial recycling)
  • Compost (include worm bin, bukashi, trench, 3-bin system, humanure, composting noxious weeds)

It's too bad that this forum doesn't allow multiple bullet levels--that'll make the checklist a challenge for sure!

magpie said, "It's too bad that this forum doesn't allow multiple bullet levels--that'll make the checklist a challenge for sure!"

No joke!! I also get so confused by these forums and the way replies are layered!!

Maybe a wiki?

I honestly don't want this to be an unending project - so setting some hard & fast limits early on would be good. Like maybe 10-20 bullet points under each topic? Or dividing things into "easy, moderate, advanced" levels? OR??

I really like your breakdown in the "Waste" section, magpie.

Oh, and I should mention that I've been trying to see if such things already exist, with search terms including "collapse now checklist" (! you never know, maybe it was going to be that easy, "sustainability checklist, " resilience checklist," "homestead preparedness" etc etc...

Nothing has quite been close enough to what I have in mind, which is neither emergency preparedness (though each of the actions will make one more able to respond to emergency situations), nor lists of "homestead" tasks, but a kind of "if somewhere on the typical-modern-human spectrum in terms of your resource use and you want to craft your life so you use far less, here are options for action."

Anyway, my thought is to use the GW framework and draft a list of at least some basic steps that we can take to work our way toward a more stable mode of living.