How to Start Prepping in 3 Easy Steps

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you'll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

By Daisy Luther

One day, you’re just moving through life with everyone else in your office or at your church, and then, for whatever reason, the reality of how tenuous our current lifestyle is, hits you squarely between the eyes.  You realize that electricity and grocery stores and transportation are all things that you’ve been taking for granted and that these things could actually disappear. Maybe you’re concerned about a natural disaster. Perhaps you saw something on the evening news. It could even be a job loss that puts these things out of reach.

But whatever the reason, suddenly, you know in your heart that you need to prepare for a different type of future, just in case.

Where on earth do you even start with something like that?

Start with information

Before you start making enormous purchases or moving your family to a bunker, take some time to learn.


That is the key that unlocks the door to preparedness.

When you begin reading websites about prepping, sometimes it can be overwhelming. You see people talking about their one-year food supplies, their bug-out lodges, their ammo collection, and their homestead that is so far out in the wilderness that they have to climb a big pine tree on top of the mountain to get an internet connection (where they then boast online about their seclusion on a prepper forum).

Most preppers are just regular folks with a self-reliant mindset.

Getting started does not require a $20,000 investment or your children feverishly packing beans and rice into Ziplock bags late into the night. It requires enough information to properly assess your situation. It requires some guidance to help you develop a plan to keep your family safe, housed, and fed, regardless of what comes in the future.

So I want you to do three things. First, bookmark some websites. Second, begin building your preparedness library with books. Finally, create your own reference book from the information you’re collecting.

#1.  Bookmark these preparedness websites. (Free)

The internet is a wonderful place, and best of all, this knowledge can be found for FREE! The more you know about crisis situations, the more ready you will be to face them. Some sites are friendlier to beginners than others, so if you stumble upon a forum where people seem less than enthusiastic about helping people who are just starting out, don’t let it get you down. Move on and find a site that makes you feel comfortable. Following are some of my favorites, and the link will take you to a good starting point on these sites. In no particular order:

Some sites are friendlier to beginners than others, so if you stumble upon a forum where people seem less than enthusiastic about helping people who are just starting out, don’t let it get you down. Move on and find a site that makes you feel comfortable.  If you see them utter the words, “If you aren’t already prepared, it’s too late,” run, don’t walk, away from them. No one needs that kind of doom and gloom. It’s stressful, unhelpful, and honestly, kind of mean. Plus, I firmly believe it’s never too late as long as you just get started.

Following are some of my favorites, and the link will take you to a good starting point on these sites. In no particular order:

#2.  Build your library. (Small expense)

This is where some money could come into play. Most of the time, people in the preparedness world like to have hard copies of important information. This way, if the power goes out and you can’t access the internet or recharge your Kindle, you still have access to vital advice.

Some of these books are for just such an event, while others are guides to building your self-reliance skills.  Commit to picking up a good book each pay period until you have a library to reference during any type of scenario.

Be sure to check out used bookstores, libraries, and garage sales, too. Look for books that teach self-reliant skills like sewing, gardening, animal husbandry, carpentry, repair manuals, scratch cooking, and plant identification. You can often pick these up for pennies, and older books don’t rely on expensive new technology or tools for doing these tasks.

#3.  Start a notebook. (Free)

The next step is to create a preparedness binder. If you use a 3 ring binder (swipe your kid’s school binder from last year for a freebie), you can print information from your favorite websites and keep it in the binder for future reference. You should also make your own section, with notes, lists, important phone numbers, and addresses.  Add something with pockets to keep photocopies of ID, insurance documents, and physical maps in case GPS is not working.

Keep this in a safe, accessible place. In the event that you have to bug out, you should be able to grab this and take it with you. Some people keep a second copy of the binder in their vehicle with them, in case disaster strikes when they’re away from home. If you do this, consider excluding your personal information from the travel binder, in case it gets stolen.


If you’re new to this, there’s no better time to start than right this minute.

Start reading. Do all of the plotting and planning, and then put your plans into action as your budget allows.

Whatever you do, stop waiting around. Disasters won’t wait until it’s a convenient time for you.

If you have been at this for a while, please share your experience with newbie preppers in the comments below. If you have friends and loved ones you’d like to help get started, send them this article to start them on their journey. Help encourage people to join our community of self-reliance!  By turning neighbors and loved ones into allies, you’re building a team instead of burdening yourself with added responsibilities, or worse, having to turn them away later when they’re desperate.

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Hi, Daisy,

    I check your site a couple of times a week. You’re in my “favorites”.
    Good info in this article.

    I have those three ring binders you mentioned. Anytime I find some good info, I print it out and pop it in a binder. I have several.
    Gardening, How-To’s,(two of these!) Home Remedies, Sewing, etc.

    I also have several cook books for canning, dehydrating, etc.

    It doesn’t cost a lot and the info is right there when (or if) I need it.

    Keep the good advice coming!

    • Thank you, TC! It’s a great idea to have all of the different binders like that 🙂 Hard copies are essential.

  • There is 1 book that I find essential that you left off, the Ball Blue Book, you can pick it up all over even Walmart carries it, cost is less than 10 bucks and worth 10 times that!

  • I have two elementary age kids, so I started binders for them too. Just small folders, really, to keep in their backpacks. But they have important phone numbers and stuff they can do in a bad situation, where they might have to wait for me to find them, or we get accidentally separated. There are checklists for them to follow in each situation, mostly, call the numbers and wait, but these will be updated as they learn new skills and get older.

  • For folks just starting out, find $5 in your budget each week ($20 a month, but you don’t need it all at once) and go to your local Dollar Store or supermarket with good sales and buy some rice, canned tuna and soup. For $5 you should be able to get 5 – 7 items of food each week…which would be 20 – 28 items each month…or 240 items a year…(I have a coin jar that I take to Coin Star and get an Amazon Gift Card to use on the larger ticket items I feel I need to have to feel more prepared for an uncertain future)

    I totally agree that information one of the most important things you can have, but being so hungry you can’t remember what that information said or where you left it isn’t going to solve any problems.

    (Almost)Everyone can find $5 a week…even if it means one less pack of smokes or meal out or cup of coffee…if you can find $10 a week ($40 a month)you will have twice that amount of food and truly on your way to feeling more in control of how you will survive any problems that come your way. And that’s what it is all about, feeling you are back in control of your life and able to handle any situation that arises.

    • Definitely! You just have to do things a little bit differently, Carol Ann. For example, you can’t make structural changes to your property, but you can store things in every nook and cranny. I lived in an apartment while prepping, too, and while it isn’t as easy as a home with a garage and outbuildings for additional storage, it can absolutely be done. 🙂

      Here’s an article about storing things in an organized fashion:

      Feel free to post questions in the comments. The readers here are a very knowledgeable bunch! And welcome to prepping. 🙂

  • My husband thinks I’m nuts for wanting to prep… so I keep putting it off. Thanks for the start up tips… they’re something I can do inexpensively and on my own! Our daughters have severe food allergies… so I want to find safe canned goods to store… but ultimately can my own in the near future. Every little bit helps.

    • I got on the path to doing a lot of my own food preservation due to my daughter’s food intolerances, too. 🙂 Baby steps will get you there!

  • On the books, I’d put in a plug for the vegetable gardeners bible. Wealth of information re: growing your own food

  • Daisy, what is the name and address of that dome hard sided shelter that was posted on oath keepers long ago from your sight. I am very serious about GOOD and setting up a way back long standing bug out shelter.
    If ya can’t remember, your not alone it’s been along time sense it was first posted.

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