The Preparedness Primer: How To Get Started
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Lao Tzu (604 BC – 531 BC)
Above is the most popular version of this quote by ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu. But I’ve always kind of liked the more literal translation, which is, “A journey of a thousand miles must begin where you stand.” I find it so inspiring that wherever I want to go in life, I can start working towards that goal, right here, right now. I just have to make the decision to do so.
I can’t think of any place this quote is more applicable than with a journey to preparedness and self-sufficiency. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, you can begin right now, this very day, to ensure the well-being of your family during whatever crisis comes your way.
Lately, I’ve gotten a lot of emails and comments asking where to begin. I think that is a wonderful question because it means that more of you reading this have realized that there’s no time to lose. I have given some brief suggestions, but this is a topic that deserves detail. I brushed upon it recently in an article called, “Is It Too Late to Start Prepping?” but today, we’re going to get down to the nitty-gritty.
First things first, you need to figure out where you’re at with regard to preparedness.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is your significant other on board?
- What crises are the most likely? Think about natural disasters that are common to the area, like earthquakes, hurricanes and tornadoes. Consider man-made disasters like leaks from chemical plants or nuclear meltdowns at power plants. Don’t forget the potential for an economic crisis like job loss, illness, and general inflation.
- How much money do you have to spend on prepping?
- What kind of storage space do you have?
- What natural resources can you tap into at your current location? (This could be a lake for water, wild berries in the forest, wood to heat your house, etc.)
- What do you already have?
Once you know where you are, it helps you map out where you need to go!
Next, you need a plan.
This is where I refer you to another website. I recommend 52 Weeks to Preparedness by Tess Pennington, over at Ready Nutrition. This is a free (FREE!!!!) series that breaks down preparedness week by week. It is incredibly well organized, and by breaking things down into small, bite-sized pieces, it’s far more affordable for those of us who make under 6 figures and cannot afford a fully stocked bunker in the mountains of Idaho. When I first discovered this site, I’d already been prepping for several years, but the sheer organizational genius of all the lists helped me take it to another level. So, whether you are starting from the very beginning or you’ve been at it for a while, this series will be incredibly beneficial.
- 52 Weeks to Preparedness: An Introduction
- Week 1 of 52: Short Term Emergency Food Supply (List 1)
- Week 2 of 52: Hardware List
- Week 3 of 52: Emergency Medical Supply (List 1)
- Week 4 of 52: Communications
- Week 5 of 52: Pet Care
- Week 6 of 52: Evacuation Preparedness
- Week 7 of 52: Basic Home Security
- Week 8 of 52: Emergency Sanitation
- Week 9 of 52: Emergency Medical Supply (List 2)
- Week 10 of 52: Dental Preparedness (List 1)
- Week 11 of 52: Short Term Food Supply (List 2)
- Week 12 of 52: Financial Preparedness
- Week 13 of 52: Spiritual Preparedness
- Week 14 of 52: Mental Preparedness
- Week 15 of 52: Emergency Medical Supply (List 3)
- Week 16 of 52: Survival Tools
- Week 17 of 52: Water Preparedness
- Week 18 of 52: Emergency Food Preservation
- Week 19 of 52: Food Storage Tools
- Week 20 of 52: 1 Month Supply of Food
- Week 21 of 52: Emergency Fuel Supply
- Week 22 of 52: Hardware Tools (List 2)
- Week 23 of 52: External Security Preparedness
- Week 24 of 52: Water Preparedness (List 2)
- Week 25 of 52: Dental Preparedness (List 2)
- Week 26 of 52: Emergency Sanitation (List 2)
- Week 27 of 52: Emergency Light Preparedness
- Week 28 of 52: Pandemic Preparedness
- Week 29 of 52: Charity
- Week 30 of 52: Nutrition and Exercise
- Week 31 of 52: Inventory Management
- Week 32 of 52: 1 Month Supply of Food (List 2)
- Week 33 of 52: Essential Fats and Oils
- Week 34 of 52: Essential Legumes
- Week 35 of 52: Surviving with Carbohydrates
- Week 36 of 52: SHTF Sugars
- Week 37 of 52: Essential Baking Needs
- Week 38 of 52: Emergency Communication
- Week 39 of 52: Alternative Power Sources
- Week 40 of 52: Cold Weather Preparedness
- Week 41 of 52: Self-Reliant Skills
- Week 42 of 52: Characteristics of an Ideal Retreat
- Week 43 of 52: Livestock and Gardening
- Week 44 of 52: Collapse Investing: Money and Wealth Preservation During Times of Uncertainty and Instability
- Week 45 of 52: Long-Term Food and Water Needs
- Week 46 of 52: Survival Caches
- Week 47 of 52: Emergency Medical Supply (List 4)
- Week 48 of 52: Essential Tools (List 4)
- Week 49 of 52: Nuclear and EMP Preparedness
- Week 50 of 52: Bartering the Community
- Week 51 of 52: Home Defense
- Week 52 of 52: Long-Term Security and Defense
- Week 53 of 52: The Preparedness Lifestyle
Take the First Step
Take this a bit at a time. No, you don’t have unlimited time to get prepared, but it’s important not to go out in a tizzy and make rash expenditures, particularly if the budget is already tight. Use the “week at a time” system above to help you break this down. It’s very overwhelming to try and attack this all at once.
If you’re going to go out and do some shopping, put together a list. A good starting target is a two week supply of the following:
- Drinking water for every member of the household (including the furry members)
- 3 servings per day of grains for each person
- 3 servings of protein for each person
- 5 servings of fruits and vegetables for each person
- 2 servings of dairy for each person (more for growing children and pregnant or lactating women)
- Take into consideration any special dietary needs that members of your household might have. Things like baby formula, low sugar foods, low salt foods and supplements are often overlooked.
- Necessary prescription medications
- A method of heating or cooking the above foods in the event of a power outage, along with fuel (alternatively, you can make choices that don’t require cooking)
- Basic first aid kit
- Candles or other light sources that do not rely on the grid
And there you are. It really is THAT EASY to get started.
What caused you to make the decision to start prepping? What was your first step? Please share in the comments below!
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Daisy Luther is a freelance writer and editor. Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org