Author of The Blackout Book and the online course Bloom Where You’re Planted
Do you prep every day?
A lot of people have the wrong idea about the preparedness lifestyle. They think it’s all big things, like digging a bunker, buying a year’s worth of food at a time, having an arsenal, or moving to an off-grid retreat in the mountains where you will live in conditions so austere it would seem like you took a vow of poverty.
But really, the thing that makes you truly prepared is turning it into a habit. It’s more about the little things you do each and every day that help you make the shift to a preparedness lifestyle. If you do one thing each and every day to make yourself a little bit better prepared, at the end of the year, you will likely be much further ahead than the weekend warriors who perform an occasional grand gesture.
A preparedness lifestyle is about the little ways you prep every day.
Over in our Facebook group, a few years ago we did a monthly challenge called the Take Action Challenge.
The challenge is simple. Each day, we post some small thing we did to make ourselves more prepared. It can really help you to see that these small steps really add up. 30 days of small actions beat an occasional larger action hands down.
If you aren’t a social media person, you can still start your own version of this. Get yourself a notebook and write down something you did each day that made you more prepared. These little things are unbelievably motivating because every single day you are thinking of something to add to your list. It means that you are making prepping a daily priority. It means that you have shifted from “someone with a few things put back” to someone who lives the preparedness lifestyle every single day.
Need some inspiration?
Some things may not even really seem like official “prepping” but will still lead you to be better prepared for a variety of emergencies. You have to think outside the beans-bullets-and-bandaids box to see how the tasks below take preparedness from an occasional huge project to a daily lifestyle.
The moral of the story is…choose ACTION. Every day. No matter how small it is, it all adds up to a much greater level of preparedness.
Below, you can find a list of actions inspired by ones that folks took over in the group.
- I got two months ahead on my prescription medication.
- While I was cleaning the kitchen I rotated stock in the pantry.
- I bought white vinegar on sale for cleaning.
- I bought extra gloves for each of us to keep in the car this winter.
- I put back a whole bunch of Halloween candy for an emergency. (In case of chocolate deficit emergency break glass!)
- I bought a huge bag of apples to turn into applesauce and apple butter.
- I converted my Get Home bag into a 3-Day Away From/Get Home bag by changing out seasonal clothes and adding extras, rotating meds, eliminating some comfort items.
- I went to a ham radio training meeting tonight.
- I packed up all of the leftover paper plates/disposable products from last night’s Halloween party and put it away in long-term storage for wash free emergency extras.
- I Added 6 kg of rice, 6 kg of lentils, 6 kg of pasta, 1 kg ground coffee, 1 kg hot chocolate powder, 500g powdered milk, and 20 instant noodles to the stockpile.
- I dehydrated some onions before they went bad.
- I infused vinegar with lavender trimmings (to use instead of fabric softener).
- I added a huge bag of leaves gleaned from my neighbor’s yard to our compost bin.
- Today, I put extra money into my emergency fund.
- I bought extra cat litter on sale.
- Finally, put batteries in lanterns I bought on sale several weeks ago.
- I finished my CERT class tonight!
- I inventoried and reorganized first aid supplies.
- Finally bought some potassium iodide pills and some N-95 masks and several other items.
- I bought batteries on sale.
- Paid off the home improvement loan 18 months early.
- Switched the car emergency kit supplies to “winter mode.”
- Bought an extra bag of food for each pet.
- Dehydrating catnip, chocolate mint, garden sage, oregano, and sweet potato leaves from the garden.
- Hung laundry to dry instead of using the dryer.
- Got a porta-potty ready today, stocked with garbage bags and wipes. Will add a bag of kitty litter later.
- Got rid of stuff we no longer need or use and to free up space for my preps.
- Caught up on all our dirty laundry. That might not seem like a prep but after being without power AND running water from the well for 3 days after Irma I now appreciate an empty basket.
- Today, I made salves and Fire Cider.
- Put our raised garden beds to bed for the winter. Set up the hoops over the strawberries ready to cover them.
- Today I washed the flannel and cut 46 squares for a start of our family cloth. (TP replacement)
- I made breadcrumbs from ends of bread and stored for later.
- We raked leaves, cleaned out the gutters, and I put the remnants of my container garden in the compost bin.
- This winter’s supply of cranberry relish, canned and in storage.
- Washed all blankets and warm weather clothing that has been in storage.
- Did an inventory of all my essential oils.. was low in a few.. (placed another order for them).
- Finally got my truck into the shop to be repaired. But it brings up an important concept: KEEP UP ON HOUSEHOLD AND AUTO MAINTENANCE. If something breaks (or is wearing out) and the SHTF, there may be no way to fix it
- Made more vapor rub for the winter
- Made lots of pumpkin puree to freeze.
- Repackaged 35 lbs of sugar into large mason jars (tucked safely under the bed). About to repackage 20 more lbs of flour and 12 lbs of cornmeal. Repackaged 7 bags of pinto beans and about 12 lbs of jasmine rice.
- Made a meal entirely from leftovers, the only thing I added was pasta. I’ve been trying to practice using our leftovers up as extra meals instead of putting them in the freezer, only to be forgotten about and freezer burnt. Saves me a trip or two to the store!
- Set up laundry lines in my basement so that we can hang our stuff to dry now that the weather is cold and damp outside.
- Cleaning out the closet: Purging, sorting, getting some stuff ready to sell (to put monies into ‘reserve’ funds) and will donate the rest.
- Downloaded months of copies of bank statements, financial docs, etc. Getting copies of deeds, pink slips, legal docs, organized and filed to be able to grab quickly in case we had to evacuate.
- My daughter was home sick from school. I picked up double the soft Kleenex, cold medicine, cough drops, and ginger ale and put half of it back for future needs.
- Killed and dressed out an 8 pt buck. Meat in the freezer. I will make jerky later.
- Our church put together a security plan. We have never had one before today.
- We bought some rechargeable batteries and a charger
- Bought some extra OTC medications.
- Set up a galvanized steel Faraday cage.
- Bought extra shoe laces and heel savers because shoes will be hard to replace if the SHTF. Or maybe you just can’t afford to replace your shoes right now.
- Today, the vacuum cleaner was disassembled, cleaned and repaired instead of replaced.
- I filled three 7-gal water jugs with drinking water.
- We cleaned out our basement storage unit, purged it of junk, and organized some of our preps… camping equipment, food buckets, off-grid light sources, etc.
- While in the checkout line at the grocery store this morning l picked up 2 lighters. I realized l only have matches.
- Studying for shortwave radio exam and getting familiar with my handheld.
- My green tomatoes were rotting instead of ripening, so I made a monster batch of green tomato enchilada sauce.
- Ordered more ‘fish’ antibiotics. Just in case ‘the fish’ get sick.
- I’m going to the Seahawks game tonight! I will be working on Situational Awareness when I go, so that’s today’s action.
- Hiked a proposed bug-out path out of the city. Took me three hours on foot.
- Fasting today, 500 calorie limit. I do this twice a week if I can. It helps ‘harden’ my tendency of assuming I’ll always have food available.
- Covered asparagus bed with leaves/mulch to get them through winter.
- Potatoes were on sale so I got 70 pounds. I will freeze-dry and can them.
- Mended my husband’s jeans so they could last a few more months.
- I stocked up on feminine hygiene products. I don’t even want to imagine a world without them.
- Put dates on new things (like the fresh toothpaste & laundry detergent l just got out this morning) to give me an idea of how long these items last (on average).
- Dehydrated bok choy stems and scallion tops; I turn these into powder and use as flavoring for homemade flour tortillas and flatbreads.
- Added wool blankets to the car.
- Read When There Is No Dentist and ordered some of their recommended basics.
- Boiled the turkey carcass for stock, picked every speck of meat off the leftovers, refrigerated all of the above and plan to can spicy turkey soup tomorrow.
- Used my new immersion heater to make hot chocolate in the car!
- Had to go to the ER! Did a little snooping on making a more advanced first aid kit. Didn’t steal, just made some mental notes on what they have.
- Made up a travel sewing kit.
- Purchased 8 yards of denim on sale.
Today, I hit a grocery sale that was Buy One, Get One. I added lots of stuff to my stockpile at half price.
- Pulled out recycled (from last year and previous) wrapping supplies for presents.
- Hauled out the tote of winter outerwear. Paired up mittens, inspected everything for holes, and chucked the machine washable ones in the laundry. Ones that need small repairs are in the fixit basket. Really damaged ones were sneaked into the trash. Single mittens and woolly stuff will get hand washed tomorrow. I use the singles as ornaments or the base for other crafts.
- Purchased emergency supplies for family vehicles. When it comes in.. I will package it all nicely and give as Christmas gifts.
- Turned our never-used formal dining room into a huge pantry with heavy-duty shelves and yardsale cupboards.
- I canned 6 quarts of organic green beans I found on clearance at Sam’s
- Started a batch of jerky in the dehydrator to keep in vehicles for a protein source.
- I winterized the chicken coop by covering the windows with plastic and putting the water warmer in.
- I made little travel sewing kits.
- I am working on a generator shed near our back door. It will hold oil, cords, and quick tools so we don’t have to go all the way to an outbuilding in the cold and wet.
- Prepared some ingredients for meals/holidays and put in the freezer.
- Went through the potato storage and cooked/mashed questionable ones, then froze them.
- Garden planning to increase yield easily: add raspberry bushes (strategically) and increase Jerusalem artichoke area ( easiest food source to grow!), and add herbs, especially medicinal.
- Bought a few cases of bottled water to have in the cars.
- Got extra bleach
- Found 5-gallon, food-safe buckets on sale and bought them ALL. (You can never have too many, right?)
- My family and I talked about what to do if my kids got lost. We were at a large party with 300 people. We had the kids point out who they could locate if they could not find us.
- Inspected the property for security concerns and began taking steps to increase our security.
- Printed out how-to articles from my favorite websites and put them in a binder so I can access them if the internet is down.
- Went through food storage and made meal plans based on that for the month of December.
- Got eye exams for the family.
- Inventoried emergency medical supplies and put them in one place. I had them in 3 different spots and ha forgotten about some tucked in a closet!
- Been taking pictures, researching and listing items no longer needed to get extra cash for savings.
- I have been practicing setting things up at night to be ready to grab if I had to get out quick. Purse, BOB etc..
- I’m putting together a “pantry meal” basket to each household in my family for Christmas – containing 1 pint of soup per person and a loaf of sourdough bread.
- Got a reusable coffee filter
- We are getting our fireplace cleaned so it is ready for winter
It’s so motivating! One member of the group said:
This challenge has taught me that writing down my achievements on a daily basis keeps me motivated. I would never want a day to go blank just because I did not want to do anything that day. I will now keep a daily journal listing what I achieved in a day but will also include what I have done to be frugal. This way whenever I feel that I am not doing enough to prepare I can just look back and see all that I have done.
I really recommend you give it a try.
Live a preparedness lifestyle and prep every day.
Give a preparedness action journal a try and let me know what you think.
Awesome…it is always something to be thinking about. I spent a year off grid not by choice but because of the job loss . I looked for work but there was none. I fell back on my military training, years of camping hunting and fishing. I gathered all my gear sold what I didn’t need and moved out into white mountains. I vowed to live as long as I could and look for work once a week or so when I went into town. It worked I learned so much take nothing for granted and years of training saved my life. It was over a year before I caught a break. But I say prep if you can.. always be prepared and have a fluid plan. That was a decade ago. I was not young but I could and would again.
#93….what is the site that you like to use?….i would LOVE for EVERYTHING to be on one site…so much easier to follow & print.
This is a genius idea. Most people who start off in a new area will become demotivated and move away if they don’t realise what they’re actually achieving. But this can really help to make people realise what they have done. That’s why it’s genius. You have made a system that not only motivates people, but also keeps them interested in a field and keeps them going, even if it starts to seem “too hard”. Thank you for this magnificent idea ????
Very good, thank you
Daisy, your superb 100-item list inspired me to jot down a few items, none of which are intended to duplicate what’s on your list:
1. Built a storable removable platform-lid (from scrap wood laying around) for a leftover trash cart (on rollers) from a previous city trash pickup company, so that a solar box oven or panel cooker (and/or solar battery charger) could be positioned high enough to see the sun most of the day from behind a tall fence, but not high enough to be seen by nosy neighbors.
2. Built a folding iron 3“ high trivet to improve the efficiency of highly portable (even backpackable) solar panel cookers, such as both versions of Jim LaJoie’s All Season Solar Cooker and Sharon Clausson’s Copenhagen solar cooker. (See the YouTube videos about those cookers.) It allows more sunlight to be reflected from below onto the bottom of cookpots from sun-up to sundown. It works best while resting on a steel mirror, such as a polished steel serving platter that local India grocers typically carry.
3. Made a cheap (under $10) clone of the Copenhagen solar panel cooker — per the YouTube instruction video. Sharon Clausson’s $48 retail version on eBay is out of stock for awhile.
4. Devised two high temperature silicone sheet gaskets to improve the production rate (by diminishing steam leakage) of Glenn Meder’s non-electric Survival Still.
5. Finally located my long hidden commercial software (Spotmau, from spotmau.com — for Windows users from Win98 through Win7) that I’ve used to extract precious personal data from a crashed Windows hard drive, and the invaluable key code so a cheap $5 restore disk from eBay can get you going again. That is far better than suffering the mercenary bill at one’s PC repair and extortion shop. That bill used to run into the thousands, but I haven’t needed to track the price for a long time, for obvious reasons. It’s all about conservation of resources, both digital (especially your long years of preparedness files) and monetary.
6. Devised a way to build a backup foot-pedal-power-with-large-flywheel contraption to operate my 1950 cast iron Shopsmith (table saw, wood lathe, drill press, 12“ disk sander, horizontal boring, jig saw et al) in the event of a long term power outage — inspired by similar non-electric man-powered gadgetry in an 1890s Sears catalog.
7. Acquired plans (think portable knowledge) on how to build a dirt cheap backyard (or anywhere else) combination concealed root cellar / tornado shelter / etc, based on a few enhancements to what the Viet Cong used successfully usually to survive repeated B-52 bombing during the Vietnam war. If a 70 year old guy with one leg could build it, so can I.
8. Acquired the how-to knowledge on restoring many different battery types. That will pay for itself with just the dead battery accumulation I already have, but might even serve as a useful income generator in SHTF times.
9. Used the uShip.com service to negotiate a successful purchase of an across-the-country discount estate sale deal (advertised as local pickup only) on a used (but probably never used) India-manufactured Tulsi hybrid solar box oven (hybrid meaning it has electrical backup for either regular use, or just for when the sun gets clouded over in the middle of a long slow cooker recipe). A camouflaged version is issued to some Indian army units. There is a US-made version called the SunFocus which is a little bigger and a lot more expensive which also has the electrical backup — which the more well known SunOven does not. Run a search engine query on how many sunny days per year does the nearest major city to you have. That will tell you how much of the year you wouldn’t have to pay (or work for, in the case of chopping wood) for energy to cook.
10. Acquired a combination solar or AC powered battery charger for my new replacement coat pocket-sized shortwave/AM/FM/weather band radio that only needs two Nimh batteries.
11. Used my side-cutting (usually store labeled as “comfort” or “safe” cut) can opener (~$10 or so) to make a continuing supply of reusable food can lids for 1) keeping a lid on remaining cookable/edible contents in the fridge, 2) squirreling away small valuables in what looks like a normal food can, or 3) lining the insides with either bubble wrap or, better, cut to size pieces of yoga mats, inside the can’s bottom, side, and lid to make small Faraday cages for small electronics — in the locations where I use them — so I don’t have to run to the big metal trash can every time I want to use something electronic, and then run back when I’m through with it.
12. Converted a two-child bicycle trailer (cheap thrift store deal) into a cargo trailer, in case a bicycle becomes the only way to acquire or move “stuff.” Note: such bicycle cargo trailers have been used often for cross-country trips.
13. Added some rolls of textured bag material to the supplies for my vacuum sealer.
14. Checked to see that the Dehydrate2Store.com website is updated, back up and running, which is complementary (but not duplicative) to the owner’s book on Amazon.
15. Regularly check the natural / holistic medical literature in order to avoid what Ty Bollinger calls the “medical mafia” which has killed so many friends and relatives of mine.
16. Saved a sliding glass door from the dump by squirreling it away for a slant top to a pool table shaped passive solar distiller, as Sharon Buydens describes in her version 1.0 book, freely downloadable on this page of hers:
Her version 2.0 is described in her book on Amazon, starting from a Kindle version and going up through print versions.
17. Just learned how to use a discarded plastic soda bottle and a straight pin or sewing needle to make a system so you can wash your hands with only one ounce of water. Think Puerto Rico — where clean water is scarce and priceless. Here’s the how-to link:
Great list, I would suggest on item 89 minimize bleach and add dry bleach (calcium hypochlorite) keeps longer , takes less space and is cheaper. It also has other uses.
I would also add pick up some cheap used solar panels, a charge controller, a deep cycle battery and a inverter off craigslist and build a solar generator. When our power was out for a couple of days I hooked the inverter to my truck and let it idle. It kept the fridge and the freezer running.
When my husband was alive we made it a habit to eat all the leftovers from the week on Friday nights instead of making a meal. We dubbed it “scraps night”. That way nothing was wasted and the fridge routinely got cleared of leftovers.
My group does a weekly email to each other staying what we’ve done. The categories are:
It allows us to see where the others are at and shows who’s real and who isn’t.
Like your saying it’s a lifestyle not something you did one time.
I had totally been feeling dis hearted by it all and this has helped. Being the only one prepping and being told I’m constantly nuts. Prepping isn’t very big here like it is in America.
Vi, so sorry to hear that!!! I know I wouldn’t get much done if my hubby wasn’t behind me. But try to keep up your efforts and your spirits. Someday, your loved ones will be ever so glad you did!! You know everyone here is sending you good thoughts of encouragement!!!
Vi preparedness isnt crazy. Some of the ideas that folks use are. Some folks are also lazy and just want to push you down so they don’t look or feel bad.
I’ve got a fire extinguisher. Does that mean I’m nuts for thinking I might have a fire? I don’t think so.
I’ve got a keychain ferro rod and charcloth in my wallet. Does that mean I think I’ll flip over in the water and have to start a survival fire while wolves circle me after an EMP strike caused by the lizard people? Nope but I can carry my fire on the plane while you gotta ditch your lighter.
I carry a knife. Period. Every Christmas at the in-laws there 15 folks looking for a knife to cut stuff open. Guess who they KNOW has one? Yup me. But I’m crazy? Your the one who shows up annually knowing your gonna need it but ain’t got it. After 20 yrs you should learn.
It’s just a way of life and thinking combined with action. Nothing crazy.
You keep the faith and stay the course.
Great article, Daisy. By the way, have you run an article on ham radio skills and advice related to that? I would be interested in that kind of information.
Vi, there’s an old expression that says “in the land of the blind, even a one-eyed man can be king.” In today’s era of the world’s largest ever library [the internet] it’s easy to research the historic successes and disasters that nearly every land has experienced. Some of them have been nature caused, but many have been human caused, either from incompetence or outright malice.
The British founder of the Boy Scouts organization (which eventually spread to 170 nations) in 1908 was once asked about the Scout motto of “Be Prepared” and what calamity or opportunity it was intended to address. His answer was “just any old thing.”
Typically, before any culture has suffered some painful experience, it’s a lot more difficult for them to be motivated to prepare related defenses or make alternate plans. And then once some disaster makes a mess of their world, much of their remaining life may revolve around defenses or alternate Plan B thinking related to such disasters. The list of examples in country after country and century after century is probably endless. But people who are the least informed about their local history are probably the hardest to convince — until they’ve seen the disaster up close and personal.
There are also tradeoffs to make. Nobody can afford insurance for every possibly calamity, nor are insurance companies willing to cover every possible disaster — as their written list of exclusions demonstrates. And nobody’s resources are sufficient to cope with all the possibilities — so it only makes sense to address the most likely kinds of disasters in order to remain solvent. And that’s a judgment call that every individual has to make for themselves and their unique circumstances, wherever they are in the world.
The flip side of that issue is that people who are unwilling to address any of the most likely kinds of disasters will be the earliest and most painfully damaged people when such disasters surprise them.