Friday, March 19, 2010

Prepping 101

Did I mention that I write these prepping blogs as much for me as anyone out in cyber space? I mean, no one in my family was ever a prepper and only until a few years ago did I seriously consider this. Hmmm... does Y2K ring a bell for anyone? 

While we didn't have a world-wide collapse on January 1, 2000, many have thrown in the towel and said "Never again" because they felt like fools preparing for something that didn't actually happen. But honestly, we should be thanking the Lord that He spared us from our own foolishness - an overall attitude and mindset that we will always have what we want when we want it! 

Photo Credit: mellowynk

There will always be those who fail to prepare and have an arrogant attitude that food will always be there when they need or want it. On the flip side, there will always be those who will prepare, but as if they are going to "cheat death" or avoid ever being in need. The last time I posted on prepping, I spent quite a bit of time looking at the folly of both (See The Spiritual Aspects of Prepping Biblically).

Today, I want to talk about how to actually begin preparing. This is just an overview and I'll continue to work from the broad big picture to the small details as time allows on future posts. It's a big topic out there - entire blogs are devoted to it. I'm just giving you an overview here with the intent to eventually give my take on each area in light of what I believe is biblical. (I cannot do justice to these things in one post so I plan to cover each item listed in a blog post of its own in the following weeks.)

12 Areas of Preparation to Consider

1)  Get your house in order financially. If an EMP ever hit, this might not make a whole lot of difference, however, many other scenarios that are more likely to happen will be effected by this single area. If we move from a recession to a depression, being debt free might mean the difference of whether or not  you keep your homestead. And you can imagine the trickle down effect if you loose that! A job loss or natural disaster will still mean your bills are due, and while they may grant you a period of grace to get back on your feet, having your finances in order will determine how well you're sleeping at night! (Proverbs 6:1-11)

2) Consider where you can store bulk food supplies in your home. Whether you choose to store food rations and supplies for 3, 6, or 12 months, your kitchen cabinets aren't going to be enough. Begin thinking about this, but think outside the box if your house is small. When my husband and I first married, our apartment was 385 square feet. Yes, indeed. You could almost walk in it! Seriously, it was very tiny and my mother was amazed at how much I could get in there (I have a gift for visual space). It can be done. But more on that another day. Just start thinking for now.

3) Begin keeping a record of what you cook regularly and start buying extra. Know what your family likes and doesn't like. Kathy Harrison, who wrote Just in Case, makes a terrific point about stocking foods that your family is accustomed to and enjoys, because in a time of crisis, food can offer great comfort. When everything else around us is spinning out of control, a familiar meal can remind us that God is still there providing for us.

4) Start looking for non-electric tools for cooking and other uses. When the power is out, know that you have things you will need like a non-electric can opener. Some type of light source. That kind of thing. But in this category, I'm also thinking of guns and ammo. You might need to hunt. Riots happen when people panic and you may not have police protection. (Oh, this will open up a lot of debate, but can we save it for when I do the actual post on this subject? It does need to be discussed, especially for the Christian, but let's do it at the point it is most appropriate.)

5) Consider your options for cooking and heating in winter. Will you eat the canned beans cold? Do you have the ability to use a non-electric grill? And if it's 20 degrees outside, how will your family keep warm. Blankets might work for a while, but the longer you are without electricity, the colder your house will become.

6) Know your local food and water sources. If a crisis lasts for more than a few days, what options do you have if FEMA or the Red Cross doesn't arrive? After Katrina, we all learned not to depend on the Cavalry to show up. Does your local water district have a back up non-electric pump? Does your community allow for water tanks on individual properties? Start brainstorming.

7) Communicate with neighbors NOW. This one can be the hardest because we fear being rejected and thought of as "crazy people". I was surprised to find my own neighbors were ahead of me in prepping in some areas, although lacking in others. Be that as it may, I have begun to learn where each person can contribute their expertise in a long term event. I now know who might need food. That kind of thing.

8) Have a family meeting place. And maybe a back up meeting place. Since we live out in the country, but two family members are in town each day, we would be separated if a crisis happened between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Talk about this and make sure everyone understands where they are to go in various situations.

Photo Credit: SlipStreamJC

9) Begin collecting supplies for Bug-Out Bags. A Bug-Out Bag (hereafter known as BOB) is a bag for each family member containing at least a few days worth of food and rations, some basic necessities for survival, and extra medications. And other stuff, too. But you get the idea. A backpack works great because you might actually have to walk out!

10) Start a small library of how-to resource books. If the electricity is off, you can't pull up information on google or a blog. You need a book. My first purchase was The Encyclopedia of Country Living because it covered so much stuff that I would use in a crisis or not. You can't believe how much is in this thing! Keep your eye out at garage sales and used bookstores. And don't discount those old Y2K books. The ideas people had about preparing were right despite the outcome of the event.

11) Begin acquiring skills. Don't wait for a crisis to start a garden. Begin now and get it going. Learn while you have time to make a few mistakes and learn from them. If a disaster happened and you waited until then to begin your garden, would the vegetables have time to grow before your stored supplies ran out? And there are other skills, too. Hunting, fishing, chopping wood, repairing things, recycling and reusing things, canning food, cooking over a flame, gardening year round... I could go on, but I'll stop there for now.

12) Put on a mindset that prepping is a life skill you keep all the time. Prepping shouldn't be a fad, but a way of life. If you were to prepare for 10 years and then give up because nothing happened that required your efforts, where would you be if the crisis happened in the eleventh year? No man knows the hour or day that these things take place. Only God knows. Our job is just to be faithful stewards of the resources He gives us. 

Okay, let me know what category I forgot. I know there has to be something! And I could use your input.

Let me close with an encouragement to read Proverbs 3. It just seems to be a good passage to balance this all out. May you be at peace as you prepare!


  1. GREAT post Amy! Thanks so much for putting some calmness & peace into this topic. Last year I saw a post called "Bucket List"....not the movie, but using a 5 Gal bucket with a gamma lid for your BOB! One for each family member and you can color code them. Everyone just grabs a bucket if/when we have to G.O.O.D (Get Out Of Dodge)! It seemed easy enough to do, but I still haven't put together my buckets. Actually I found a much needed use for the gamma lids and never finished that BOB project.

    I guess the next thing to do is put together a bucket list...but the problem is I wouldn't leave here anyway. I've got livestock to care for,\. Besides us and them can't all fit in the minivan! Speaking of's feeding time....gotta go.

    This is certainly be a prayerful topic.

  2. You did a great job covering Prep 101! Can't wait to read the great comments too.

  3. Instead of preparing for a catastrophe, we are just choosing to live a different way. One that is debt free (ASAP), sustainable and local. That way, if something happens, we can be observers and not participants. If nothing happens, we have spent more quality time with family and friends, become better neighbors, and learned to live differently.

    The current way we live is long term unsustainable, so we want to just change ourselves. But not to the point of weirdness, just sustainable.

    Thanks for your great ideas.

  4. Thanks for this post! I'm excited to see what's coming next. We are doing many of these steps right now. You're right, the book by Kathy Harrison is really helpful.

  5. Now more than ever we need to think of these things. I get more worried as the days pass. I have faith in God, but none in man.

    I look at my daughter everyday and wonder what we are leaving for her. Her innocent face. I can't even turn the tv on I am so angry and frustrated.

    Thank you for this post. It makes me feel like I can do something instead of waiting for it to happen.

    From one Mom to another. God will bless our children.

  6. Thanks for the comments, Ladies. This conversation is awesome!

    Amy, be sure to read my previous posts on prepping if you haven't already. I address a lot of what you (and all of us) are experiencing in terms of emotions on this whole situation in America.

    Cindy, I totally agree with the concept of being sustainable. You will see more of that in posts to come as I lean mostly in this direction. But having lived in earthquake, fire, and mudslide country (and formally living in tornado alley), being sustainable is not enough. You must be prepared to evacuate if necessary we must put on the mindset of being sustainable in order to survive any thing long term. It should be a top priority!

    Diane, I understand about the livestock issue, but you still must be prepared to evacuate. Here in fire country, people are faced with this each year. The firemen do a great job helping to get livestock out, but when it comes down to your cow or your child, you know what you'll do. So get that BOB ready anyway!

  7. Great post... This isn't a freak out thing at all! This is being smart with the realities that we face in our future in this country.

  8. Let me say with the other comments so far, THANK YOU THANK YOU. For my family Y2K was a wake up call to understand that the local SaveMart may not be open 7 days a week at some point in the unknown future and to that end we do try to keep the pantry full. Over the last 10 years there have been times when it has helped out during a lean month or even when the plenty comes along (knowing how to save.) With my New Year's resoultion to clean up God's temple (my body) He is leading me in ways that go far beyond just what goes in me. I need to be more deliberate about what and how much is in the garden, pantry, & on the table for my family and myself. I'm also having to consider the other many ways things that aren't food that go in and affect my body. That list is getting longer for my consideration. Your post and many of your linking blogs are very helpful in this journey. God has inspired some very knowledgeable Ladies to share out here in cyberspace. Thank you again for your time and effort to get our creative juices stirred up to action.
    Also I strongly agree with were you are headed in #4 I want to be able to be helpful, not a victim in a time of need.
    Keep up the great work.

  9. Great points in this post, and the picture of blueberries is a killer!

  10. Thanks for your feedback everyone! I'm looking forward to exploring this further!

    Those blueberries were my husband's purchase - he loves the things! I can't remember how many pounds this was, but it was a LOT! I froze some and made a honey syrup with the rest. Not sure I'll do the honey again, but the frozen ones were awesome.

  11. Great stuff - We haven't had the BOB since we left earthquake country, but your post has made me rethink our situation. We are still suceptible to flood, fire and freezing that has been known to leave us without electricity when we need it most. Thanks for your wise words.

  12. Hi Amy,

    You offer solid observations - and without a hint of mania. I don't suspect you're donning a tin-foil hat or anything :-) It feels more like wisdom from one who has sat in the stillness, listened and received

    I very much enjoyed your initial posting, "The Spiritual Aspect of Prepping Biblically." What I particularly like about your ideas is that anyone can start from where they are right now. No working at a feverish pitch. Simply one step after another building while continually giving thanks.

    But for a brief period in my younger days, keeping a pantry has been a way of life. Lately, it's just become a bit more expanded. After getting clobbered by two blizzards and unable to travel on roads for days, it was a blessing to know all needs were met until enough snow could be removed for passage.

    Thank you Amy. I'm looking forward to this series of posts!


  13. Good morning Amy, me again!

    I've been thinking about this post in relation to daily routines that could be impacted by a severe change. In tallying up expenses this week (currently entered into a Google document), I was thinking about not having computer access. This actually occurred during a period of time when the hard drive crashed and couldn't be replaced immediately.

    Do you, or any of your readers, have thoughts about handling household bookkeeping? Whether it be through a program like Quicken, MS Money or a plain ledger pad and pencil.

    The "plain and simple" gal within me favors paper and pencil, yet experience has taught that this isn't always the most accurate accounting - especially when preparing annual tax filings. I find this question similar to weighing whether to use an electric grinder or hand-operated grinder. And as with kitchen tools, I'm thinking much would depend on the size of the household/homestead and the variety of activities.

    This question sort of took on a life of its own, and may be better as a post for another time :-)



  14. Jean, I use an on-line budgeting system through Crown Ministries called Mvelopes. I do a lot of banking and almost all my bills on-line. In the case of lost electricity, I would be up a creek without a paddle. (Well, almost. I keep paper copies of bank statements.). If the electricity were only off a couple of days, it's no big deal, but for a long term outage, it's not good.

    It's really funny that you brought this up. All day yesterday this thought kept coming to mind... try real, old fashion envelopes and using cash. Hmmm... wonder if the Lord is prompting me here? Anyway, I'm considering it for everything except for bills like the electricity. I need to think more on this and write a post on it. Any ideas you have would be appreciated.

    As far as household appliances, my goal is to have a simple, non-electric backup for those items that are necessities. I'll be talking more about this when I discuss #4 above.
    Thanks for bringing up some great thought on the subject!

  15. Amy, I feel like you are a dear friend of mine, and I haven't ever met you. I love your blog and I love how inspiring you are. I hope you don't mind, but I wrote a post for my blog tomorrow and linked it to your blog.

    Thanks for the great writing!
    backyard farming

  16. Awww, thanks Marisa! I just love all the friends I've made blogging and I'm always excited to see what you are posting on over at Backyard Farming! Thanks for including me in your post!

    Now, if my husband will just get home with the camera, I hope to take some chicken pics!

  17. Thanks for the great post! I've been doing this for awhile, but you gave me some great new ideas.
    (And, regarding number 6, Calvary did show up. But the cavalry might not.)

  18. SO TRUE!! Thanks for pointing this out. Blogging really stretches my grammar skills a lot and sometimes I still get it wrong. But there is a lot of truth in what you pointed out.

  19. thanks for this great post, although the biblical aspects of preparedness don't interest me, I really enjoyed the "food for thought".

    We had a lot of unexpected really cold weather in Ireland this winter which surprised everyone and caused a few to wonder why it was so hard to cope with just six weeks of unusually cold weather.

    My husband and I live off the grid, making our own electricity so we would power in most situations although of course we would not have access to the internet if the servers and phone providers were out of action.

    We built our own wind turbine with help from some local people who teach these skills and right now we are cooking lunch using an old electric slow cooker bought at a car boot sale.

    It'a a great resource to have your own power and to be able to fix the turbine yourself if anything goes wrong - after all - you made it so you can fix it. So even if we are snowed in as long as the wind blows we can use our electric blanket and have a warm bed.

    These are the people who helped us build ours - and they sell the books that we used as a basis for building ours.

    Obviously this only works in the countryside, wind turbines are not much use in towns and cities. I was glad to find your blog through and wish you all the best :)

  20. Scribhneoir, Thanks for visiting Homestead Revival. Glad you came by. That's quite an accomplishment to go off grid! I'm fairly familiar with the wind turbines as we live where they are all over the mountain tops (lots of commercial wind farms here because this is the second consistently windy spot in the USA). A few people have wind turbines on their own property, but there are some restrictions where I live that won't allow me to put one up. We are hoping to move where there are less restrictions and we are considering alternative fuel/energy sources - wind and solar are both options. Thanks for the link - it may come in very handy when the time comes! Hope you can come back often and comment. We'd love to hear what all you're doing to be more self-sufficient.

  21. (Oh, this will open up a lot of debate, but can we save it for when I do the actual post on this subject? It does need to be discussed, especially for the Christian, but let's do it at the point it is most appropriate.)
    I had a a question: Why is it especially important for Christians?

    1. Anonymous,
      Is that the question you are planning to write a post about and you're wanting to throw it out there for thought or is that a question for me? I wasn't sure if you wanted me chime in or not. I believe I've answered that somewhat directly (but maybe it was more indirectly) on some of my other prepping posts. Did you get a chance to read through all of them?

  22. I just found this site and am so happy I did. I live in the suburbs (while my husband finishes uni) and am itching to get a few acres out in the country. We have no debt and save as much as we can and I'm trying to learn and get inspired now so that, little by little, I can start to implement the idea of homesteading and prepping. I've started storing foods (little by little each time I go to the store) and am interested in growing some vegetables but it's hard with the small amount of space we have. I want to make it work, though. I'm so glad this site is from a Christian perspective as well so that gives even more insight. I really look forward to learning more :)


Thank you for visiting Homestead Revival™! Please feel free to contribute to the conversation by leaving your comments. "Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear." Eph. 4:29


Related Posts with Thumbnails