Have you ever heard anyone utter some variation of one of these comments?
“I’m going to start prepping as soon as I can move.”
“I can’t prepare because I live in a tiny apartment.”
“Well, once we are able to get moved to our farm in two years I’ll start prepping hardcore.”
“I’m saving the money for moving instead of using it for preps.”
“There’s no point in prepping here because if the SHTF I’ll be dead.”
Maybe you didn’t overhear someone else saying it. Maybe you said it yourself. One of the most common excuses that people use for prepper procrastination is the unsuitability of where they currently live.
This is the kind of thinking that will get people killed.
Even if your situation is less than ideal, you have to get prepped.
While your current situation may be less than ideal, you have to remember that very few locations are actually perfect for prepping. Nearly anywhere you live will be subject to some type of extreme weather, be it crippling cold, blazing heat, drought, tornadoes, or hurricanes. Chemical spills can taint water supplies anywhere. Riots and civil unrest can occur outside of the big city.
The point is, to borrow an old saying, you just have to bloom where you’re planted.
There are many things you can do to create a viable preparedness plan wherever you happen to live. Apartment dwellers at the top of a city high rise, folks in the middle of the desert, those in a beachfront condo, and people in HOA-ruled suburban lots all have to examine their situations, figure out their pros and cons, and work towards resolving what they can. With some pre-planning, there is a lot you can overcome if you have the right mindset. I suspect there are just as many (and probably far more) preppers living in the ‘burbs than there are living in perfect rural locations, with a lake, 10 acres of cultivated farmland, and an off-grid house.
Stop waiting until you move to the perfect location. Make preparations for the situation you have, not the situation you want. (Don’t know what to do? Check out this step-by-step guide.)
Moving isn’t always an option.
One of the most ridiculous quasi-solutions you will hear is this one: “Oh, you should just move.”
Preparedness forums are rife with this off the cuff advice from people who haven’t thought it through. And if you’re one of the people giving that so-called advice, you need to consider how completely impractical this is.
There is no “just” when it relates to packing up everything you own; abandoning job, family, and friends; and relocating like money is no object.
“Just” picking up and moving isn’t that easy. People have obligations and ties that some Joe-Blow on the internet shouting out advice can’t even begin to understand. Some in the prepping community have a complete disconnect with the realities of everyday people. There are reasons like:
- Not enough money to leave
- A good job (increasingly hard to come by these days)
- Family members in the area that you don’t want to abandon
- No work opportunities where you want to go
- Custody orders that require you to remain in a certain area
- A spouse who is not on board
- A house that won’t sell or with an upside-down mortgage
The list goes on and on. There are as many reasons to remain in one place as there are people living in cities. While we could sit here and logically refute each and every reason a person has chosen to remain, it’s only philosophical. It still doesn’t address the practical reasons that people have for staying put. Sometimes people who are interested in preparedness are alienated when it seems that everything is black and white or like their personal decisions are somehow less valid than the decisions of some random person on the internet.
So, if you are interested in getting prepared but feel your current situation is hopeless, ignore the naysayers and forum curmudgeons. Take your current situation, warts and all, and work with it. This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your plans for a better location sometime in the future if such a move is warranted. But it means that you shouldn’t put off important preparedness steps until after that move is made.
Assess Your Situation
You don’t know where to go if you don’t know where you are. The first and most vital step is an honest assessment of your current situation. The situation that you have right now, this very minute, not the one you will have in a month or in a year. Assess your needs regarding the following:
- Long-term sustainability
Once you know exactly where you are with these things, you can begin to look for solutions that will work for you, today. Dig in and make a plan for the survival of your family.
Survival in a Population Dense Area
A little note to those who say, “It doesn’t matter, I’m in midtown Manhattan. I’ll die anyway.”
No, you probably won’t.
You won’t be that lucky.
You will be absolutely thoroughly miserable, breathing foul unhealthy air. You’ll be thirsty enough to drink unsanitary water, which will cause bowel issues to worsen problem #1. You’ll be hungry, but not hungry enough that you die of starvation. You will be at the mercy of thugs better armed than you. You won’t die, not right away, and neither will your children. You will live like I just described, and it will be horrible.
Look at the residents of Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy. They didn’t die but they were absolutely miserable, they were terrified, they were eating from dumpsters, and much of it could have been avoided with some basic preparedness.
I’ve lived in the boondocks and I lived in very metropolitan areas. In every place I lived, I did everything I could come up with to make my home as sustainable as possible should the poop hit the oscillating device before I could get out. A disaster in the city IS survivable.
I have planted every inch of the backyard (and some of the front) and grown enough food that the home-canned and frozen produce lasted until Christmas. I’ve grown food on patios in pots. I’ve sprouted microgreens. I’ve stockpiled groceries. I had plywood cut and pre-drilled to cover each window of the house. I figured out ways to cook outside. I got a big dog. I collected rainwater. I purchased an antique oil heater in good working order and stockpiled heating oil. I had enough seeds to plant for the next 4 years. I located nearby sources of water, wood, and nuts. I got a wagon for hauling stuff if the transportation system was down.
In short, I did everything possible to make the best of a potentially terrible location. It wasn’t perfect, but we were determined to resolve as many of the concerns as possible.
The major challenges that you face in an SHTF situation are the same no matter where you are. Of course, the issues will vary from one situation to another – these lists aren’t meant to be comprehensive. This is a starting point to get your wheels turning, so that you can figure out how you and your family can best survive, exactly where you’re planted right now.
Water preparedness should be at the very top of your list. You can only survive for 3 days without water (and you’ll be weak and suffering way before that). A water preparedness plan is essential for survival, even in a short-term scenario. Here are a few ways you can prep for a water emergency, no matter where you live:
- Store a month supply of drinking water
- Acquire a non-electric water filtration system (with spare filters)
- Scope out local water sources that are within walking distance
- Stock up on buckets and be prepared to transport them with a sled, wagon, or wheelbarrow (this depends on the season and climate).
- If you have a house instead of an apartment, set up a water catchment system
- Stock up on water purification supplies (bleach, pool shock, tablets)
- Figure out a system for catching gray water to be reused for flushing, washing, etc.
Figure out how you will go to the bathroom in the event that the public sewer system goes down. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York, it was reported that people were defecating and urinating in the hallways of apartment buildings once the sewer system stopped working. Lack of sanitation is not only unpleasant, but it spreads disease. Figure out ahead of time how you’ll mange this, and then stock up on the required supplies.
Not only should you stock up on food, but you need to consider how you’ll cook it. Most preppers have a food supply, but in a down grid situation, food that takes 4 hours to cook will use a prohibitive amount of fuel. If you’re new at this, you might not yet have a food supply. Here are some considerations:
- Have a minimum of 1 month of food for each family member and pet.
- Figure out a safe alternative cooking method for indoors
- If you have outdoor space, look at cooking methods like a barbecue (beware of tantalizing smells and hungry neighbors), an outdoor fireplace or firepit, a rocket stove, or a sun oven
- Be sure to keep abundant fuel for your chosen cooking method.
- Stock up on foods that don’t require cooking or heating.
If you live in a place with cold winters, a secondary heat source should be a priority. Of course, if you rent or live in a high-rise condo, installing a wood stove is unlikely to be a viable solution. The cold can kill, so this is a necessary part of your preparedness plan. Consider some of these options for a secondary heat source:
- Use your wood stove or fireplace (if you’re lucky, your house is already equipped with your secondary source!)
- Acquire a personal heating unit. Look for one of the following: an oil heater, kerosene heater, or propane heater (We have this propane heater)
If you absolutely can’t get ahold of a secondary heating system, prepare with non-tech ideas like:
- Arctic sleeping bags
- Winter clothes and accessories
- Covers for windows
- Segregating one room to heat
- Setting up a tent in the warmest room to combine body heat
In a disaster situation, the risk of potentially violent civil unrest always goes up. Used a two-fold approach: try to avoid conflict by keeping a low profile, but be ready to deal with it if it can’t be avoided.
Don’t underestimate the value of light in a dark world. Most city dwellers don’t consider exactly how dark the night can be without streetlights and lights from houses. Emotionally, having a bit of light can help soothe frazzled children (or adults) and help the night seem a little less scary. Use caution that your light cannot be seen from the outside. Like moths to a flame, people will be drawn to the only brightly lit house on the street.
Increase Your Personal Sustainability
Of course, all of the above are solutions for a short-term situation. There’s always the possibility that a crisis could persist for a longer period of time. You should include in your plans as many ways as possible to be personally sustainable. This might include some of the following strategies:
- Set up a permanent water catchment system at your home.
- Grow food on every possible space available: balconies, windowsills, courtyards, backyards, front yards, flower beds.
- Consider raising some micro livestock: rabbits and chickens take up very little space and can be raised in most backyards. If your city has an ordinance against backyard chickens, rabbits are quiet and multiply…well…like rabbits.
- Learn to make things from scratch and practice your sustainable skills rather than relying on storebought goods.
You’ve got to have a plan.
So, if you’re reading this and you’ve been putting off preparedness due to your location, what’s your plan?
If you’ve been feeling disheartened by all the folks grimly telling you that your home is a death trap, what can you do over the weekend to improve your chances, right where you are? Check out our course, Bloom Where You’re Planted, to get a realistic assessment of where you are right now, and create plans in each of the categories above to face emergencies. This weekend only, it’s 50% off. Once you’re done with all the interactive worksheets, you’ll have a personalized plan specifically for your family.
What are your difficulties? What’s stopping you from being prepped? And if you are fortunate enough to be in an ideal location, please share your ideas about overcoming some of these difficulties in a less than perfect place on the map. As a community, we can all help one another solve problems that could otherwise seem insurmountable.
“Stop waiting until you move to the perfect location. Make preparations for the situation you have, not the situation you want.”
Many of us do not have the means to purchase and move to a remote bug out location or to purchase a prepper castle.
Thank you for making this statement! It gets kind of numbing mentally to constantly read about the ‘perfect retreat’ all the time. Accepting the fact that one does not necessarily need to relocate to survive is sometimes the first step to survival. There is so much negative talk about surviving any disaster out there that when one hears a positive message it refreshes the soul. Thank you.
Hi Ralph! You’re right – it can really get people down.
I think it’s important to realize that preparedness is sort of an evolution. When I first started doing this seriously I lived right smack between Toronto and Buffalo, in a very urban setting. We did everything we could to increase our chances of survival where we were at the time, while looking at our options for moving to the location we desired. The thing is, had a major disaster hit before we were able to relocate, we would have been okay. Sure, the situation would not have been ideal, but it would have been way better than facing the disaster unprepared.
If anyone reading preparedness information comes across folks that tells them “there’s no point” run, don’t walk, to find another source of information.
Have a great weekend. 🙂
No matter where I am, including traveling in our motorhome, I have plenty of extra water, toilet paper, dog food, and human food! Plus a good flashlight, etc.
Finally got a friend in San Francisco to store some water!
I needed to read this today – thank you! 🙂
You’re welcome! I’m glad that it brightened your day. 🙂
The idea of wilderness survival is fun and exciting to think about,and I used to consider it With a passion, but for the past few years my recommendation has been,”the best way to survive the wilderness is to stay away from it!”
Love it Scoobdid. You made me laugh!
That could also be said about the “urban jungle.” The trick is to find that somewhere in between equilibrium.
I learned long ago that working with what I have will get me much further than complaining about what I don’t have, and doing nothing. I also learned that mindset is the first and most important component of just about every plan. The mind creates a lot of our reality, by interpreting what is. As Henry Ford once said: whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.
One of the biggest obstacles we’ve experienced is financial. So you do what you can, when you can, and try to save for large purchases.
Fixed incomes suck, when it comes to needing to make a large purchase.
Costs are shooting up due to Bidenflation, and that’s only going to get worse.
Good advice but the goal should still be to get somewhere you don’t have to bug out from. If you really believe things are going to go sideways, nothing you do in the blast zone is going to save you so you should do whatever it takes to get out, right now. I know that is hard but getting away from the urban/suburban killing zones is more important than ever.
you know, I live in what would probably be considered the “ideal”. but in reality there is no “Ideal” on this earth. I am in the center of agriculture but I had no idea until I moved here that the air can be absolutely putrid in the spring and early summer after a refreshing rain because it stirs up all the fertilizers and chemicals the farmers use in the ground. I did not realize that when I plant my garden or hang my clothes on the line outside to dry they may be contaminated by air drift of chemicals sprayed from crop dusting planes on the berry farm next to me. I did not realize that in my county studies had been done on the causal effects of the proximity of hog farms to hypertension in humans. Several miles from me is a railroad that could very well have rail cars delivering toxic chemicals to a rural kill zone. Every house int he US is on google map, the state has right of way for public utility lines that run by and on your property even if you aren’t grid tied. Anywhere potential serfs are is a potential kill zone. Most counties know when you build something on your backwoods property and will kindly let you know if you did not apply for a permit. Floods, wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. may make one bug out of the most bug out free location on the planet.
Excellent advice Daisy!
Now I am all for “prepping’. But we need to make a distinction between prepping for Disaster’s and prepping for SHTF.
There ins in reality a Gigantic Difference in how society (or certain elements of society) will react to each of these scenario’s. In the Disaster scenario, every one knows the Rule of Law (ROL) will return and so their actions are some what controlled. In a True SHTF, There is no ROL and there never will be again in the foreseeable future.
In a Disaster if you commit a murder, there is probably about an 80 chance of being caught afterward, due to forensics, etc. But in a SHTF scenario, the chances of being caught afterwards is ZERO. Think about that….
The criminal element in society knows this and will react accordingly. Doing what ever they want to whom ever they want. This will quickly spread through out the rest of societies economic and social layer. The nice neighbor next door will kill, if his kids are hungry and he thinks you have food. Why? Because he will understand that he can get away with it.
This concept of how society reacts when normal restrains are removed is the basis of the Purge movies. Except that that is a movie and is tamed down, racially and criminally sanitized to focus more on middle and upper income America. It is a propaganda piece, but the basic concept is correct.
Even Selco talks about the Lawlessness that he saw in his community. But originally it was far less lawless than the average American city today. So when you start at a lower point it only gets
much, much worse and happens very quickly.
So beware of how you ” bloom where you are planted”, if it is an Urban area, during SHTF.
You had better be building up survival and defense skills for your “preps”, and planning to go Mobile, rather than hunkering down. Changing your location and your “neighbors” often.
That way they might not think you have much. You will look like just another refugee.
Cache your supplies and only take out a weeks worth of food at a time. Even if they do attack you for your supplies. You can give it up without a fight and move on to a new safer location.
As the old saying goes,” never put all you eggs in one basket”, lest you drop it and lose them all.
How do you know when it is a SHTF event or not?
Is that power outage just a failed transformer down the road, that will be replaced in a few hours?
Or a cyber-attack on the grid and the cascading effect will render the grid down for years?
At the on-set of the COVID pandemic, did anyone know if it was just the flu? Or a real SHTF event unfolding?
I seem to recall a few of Selco’s articles about how being exposed, out in the open, on the move was a real bad idea.
If you’re reading this article and haven’t done any prepping…it’s probably too late to make any substantial progress, our timeline for impact seems to be accelerating.
That is actually the type of comment I’m trying to avoid. What is the purpose of coming on here and telling people who want to get better prepared that they’re doomed? Sure, they won’t be as well prepped as someone who has done it for decades but every step you take and skill you learn is just a little bit more insurance against a frightening future.
The reason I didn’t delete it is because I wanted to use it as an example:
Folks, PLEASE don’t let this kind of comment get you down. You CAN improve your situation. No matter who says you can’t, no matter where you live, no matter what your budget. You’re not out of the game until you stop trying.
How many times in the past I thought within myself, if you’re just now finally starting to prep you’re probably entering the game too late! And now here I am years later still thinking those same thoughts! LoL! So glad I didn’t share those thoughts with others! Today is the best day you’ll ever have to begin prepping.
in my almost 2 decades of formally being a “Prepper” (As a kid I was raised to be a “prepper” but didn’t know it – we simply did what poor folks do, we were “resourceful”), this article has got to be the BEST piece of scholary and common sense prose I have ever read. I would rate Joel Skousen’s “Strategic Relocation” as one of the bottom dwellers. Forshem’s “One Second After” was a good piece of fiction that caused me to think differently but I think both of those books along with some of the elite prepping blogs always made it seem like the worst concern from threat of humans was the “golden horde” that would proceed out of the cities and mauraud the country side. I have lived all over the world and the biggest human threat is not going to come from the “city thughs” going to the rural areas and stealing, but rather from the folks living closest to you. If an EMP hit, how many city gangs are going to even make it to your rural home 45 miles away before your next door neighbor makes it to your home?
Another thing that’s bothered me about some “elite” prepping sites is the holier than thou attitude some preppers tend to have. They put all their confidence in what they have stocked up and believe they are safe. You can have a warehouse full of stuff, but it can be taken away in one second. Case in point – When hurricaine Flo hit, Wilmington, NC took the brunt of it. I live 50 miles from WIlmington. Guess what – Much of my preps were in a climate controlled storage facility in Wilmington. Flo then proceeded to move to my area and we suffered damage on the homestead. About two weeks later Michael came through and while doing minimal damage to this area, devastated places in my hometown of Danville, VA about 4 hours from where I live. I own rental property there! Overall we sustained minimal damage, but what are the chances that everyplace I owned substantial goods got hit and could have wiped us out to zero? I do the best I can and trust God for the rest.
Your article was so very encouraging to those who think they are behind the eight ball right now and a good dose of humble pie reality for those who think they have it all because of thier human efforts!!!!
I always wondered why they have not created rooftop farming in the cities? Balcony farming might be another good idea for city dwellers.
Farmers, botanists, gardeners, engineers, architects, etc, should start petitioning for this and create training centers for first-timers as well as design changes.
What a great article filled with practical, affordable advice for the beginner prepper!
Well, that advice was wrong for me. In 1999 I purchased a year’s supply of storable food for the price of almost $5,000. including shipping. I also planned to flee the US as soon as I was able. It took me 21 years to scrape together the money to make it to a county with great leadership that is openly challenging the NWO, easily to obtain cheap food, and mild weather.
So what happened to the stored food? After 20 years of lugging it around, I had to give it away. Now I wish I had put that money I used for the food, towards my get-out-of-Dodge fund. Everyone’s situation is different.
One last thought: no matter how much prepping a person does, if one is not spiritually prepared, it is all for naught. That means never comprising with the evil globalist controllers, and never denying our Lord Jesus Christ.
I think this leaves out community, which is going to be super important for all situations. If you live in a city surrounded by supportive like minded prepped neighbors who share and set up a neighborhood watch, you may be far more safe than if you up and move to the sticks with neighbors who resent you. In general skills are going to be as important as anything: fermenting and distilling are great, especially as many harvests especially of fruit trees drop all at once, creating massive waste if not preserved immediately. Canning, pickling, fermenting, drying and freezing are all good to know for harvests, depending on climate and circumstances. Welders and builders would probably be in high demand. Get connected where you are…