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Staying Prepped – How to stay the course and avoid burnout

I wondered today how many people started prepping in the last year and how many will stay prepped after the pandemic is over.

During a crisis, people discover their vulnerability. 

Empty supermarket shelves, and later on, an empty refrigerator and cupboards drive home just how vulnerable they really are.

During Covid-19, people searched and searched for items they needed, only to find back orders and not in stock or worse, limits on what they purchase. This meant they had to go back again and again during a pandemic and risk contracting a deadly virus every time they went out. It also meant they could bring that virus home and infect their family members.

It happened during the Avian influenza pandemic. It will happen every time there is a disaster.

What I wonder is why don’t people just stay prepped once they discover their vulnerability? They have some preps in place. Why stop?

Do people just lose interest in the absence of a crisis or disaster? Did prepping get to be too much for them and they began to feel overwhelmed? Are they “burned out” from the stress of planning and prepping? 

Is it a matter of money that stops people from continuing to prep? Could it be peer pressure from family or friends who “tolerated” their prepping during the crisis?

Do people believe lightening never strikes twice?

Maybe it happens because they can resume their old lives.

I admit some days I feel like my head is going to explode when I’m trying to decide on something or figure out prepping plans. But you know, the days when I solve a problem or learn a new skill or knowledge are my best days of all.

I can look at my preps or plans and think, yeah, it may be tough some days, but it is so worth it.

How do you stay prepped and avoid burn out? Do you know of other people who prepped and stopped?

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  • Comments (55)

    • 7

      Never suffered from Prepping burn out, I simply made it my chosen way of life in the late 1970s and gradually immersed my self into the lifestyle. I tend to only get anxious and stressed when I’m not engrossed or involved in prepping. I hate it when I think I should be doing something 🙂   To avoid getting overwhelmed when a project or chore gets the better of me I simply leave it and chill out or do something else for a day or two.

      • 5

        Bill, I hear you – I relax by reading prepping or self sufficient books and articles. At least we are busy people (lol).

        But seriously, you make a good point when you said you simply made it your chosen way of life in the late 1970s and then gradually immersed into the lifestyle. And it is very much a lifestyle.

        It’s like some people are very active and athletic because they chose that to be part of their lifestyle.

      • 5

        Yup, for me prepping is not something I drop in or out of like a hobby or pastime or a chore, its my chosen way of life and its the non prepping aspects of life that rile me:)

      • 7

        I think the analogy to exercise is a good one… I train for marathons, or 5ks, or focus on speed work, or trails, or get injured and do low mileage or walk, hike, and do core strengthening for a while instead, but even when I’m “out of shape”, I know I’ll cycle back into running because I like it, I feel better when I’m doing it than when I’m not doing it, and it’s part of my life and my identity.

        Sometimes I’m ready to tackle big, complicated prepping projects that I’ve put off for a long time, sometimes I can’t wait to do my monthly prep buy, sometimes I focus on financial prepping and really try to put money into savings instead of buying another no. 10 can of dehydrated food, and sometimes work gets really crazy for a few months and I do little or no prepping at all (hence my having barely posted here since January— hi everyone! I missed you!), but I’m happier when I’m engaged in prepping than when I’m not doing it, so I’ll always cycle back in. It’s just part of my life.

        Another similarity to exercise, though, is the barriers to entry. Nobody likes going to the gym or the track and feeling like they don’t know what they’re doing, or spending money on classes, training, or gear, or feeling completely out of breath after ten minutes of exertion. But once you have what you need, know how to use it, and begin to see progress, you get hooked. When you start getting prepared, it just seems like so much money, so much research, so much time, and so many scary unknowns to think through. When I really got into it as an adult (Fall 2012), it was basically the only thing I did with my spare time for two months, and I spent a LOT more money than I had planned on spending. But has been much easier to keep up my preps and slowly expand them than it was to go through that initial push of figuring it out. Once you’re over the hump and have a bit of actual mastery, sustaining it isn’t a big deal— or it becomes fun. 

      • 6

        You’re back!  🙂

        I love your analogy and it is so true. I try to do something towards being more prepared everyday. If it’s reading an article on The Prepared, participating on the forum, buying something, using some of my gear, or even something small like cleaning, organizing, or cooking. I try to relate everything I’m doing to being more prepared and keeping that mindset. 

      • 4

        … and I’ll bet you enjoy that, right? I mean, I do. I have a friend who spent time with some very hardcore preppers and was critical of how sort of grim and joyless they were, and how fixated on doom. I didn’t think her verdict on the experience was wrong— I just think her friends approached prepping really differently than I do. One can fixate on the terrible scenarios they are prepping for, or on the enjoyment that they find in building skills, confidence, and community through getting prepared. I choose the latter and it’s not a chore— it’s genuinely fun. 

        As for being “back”, I’ll probably disappear again for a while. Work isn’t going to mellow out until May. I can’t believe all the good discussions I’ve missed… I just want to read the forum all day to see what you all have been chatting about!

      • 3

        I do really enjoy prepping. If my space and budget was able to increase I’d enjoy it a whole lot more! 😉

        There are those people out there who are fixated on the doom and live in fear. I feel sorry for those folks. And while they might be able to survive an upcoming disaster, they are wasting their life now and not being truly happy. All things in moderation. 

        Another point about prepping is to not compare yourselves with any other prepper. This can be hard because preppers love to show off their gear and preps and it’s easy to look at those pictures to try and get inspiration from them, but try not to be jealous. Redneck for example… haha I love seeing his posts of his peach trees, his prepping closet, his fish farm, and everything else he has been doing. True hardcore prepper there. It is extremely easy to be discouraged when you see that thinking you’ll never get to where he is, or even just sit there in jealousy. But he has worked his tail off his whole life to achieve that, I’ve only done it here and there for not very long, of course I can’t have everything tomorrow that he has. And if given that, I don’t think I’d want it. He has learned so many lessons along his prepping journey that has lead him to where he is now, if I was just given everything he has I would give up the most important part, the knowledge and experience.

        Don’t stop posting by the way Redneck. Love your work!

        So don’t be jealous or compare yourself to other preppers. Everyone has different amounts of time, money, resources, and knowledge. Learn from others, but do your own thing in your own way.

      • 3

        Glad to see you back, PNW Sarah. Understand the work obligations. You are, after all, supporting the retirement checks.

        Stay safe and prepared…….

      • 4

        pnwsarah, What Robert said, I second it – love the analogy to training.

        And a hearty welcome back – always enjoy your posts.

        My new motto: “Stay Preppy”.

        Maybe on t-shirts? No, big groan…..It’s all that fruit and cobbler talk over on Redneck’s thread – I’m mentally sugared out!

      • 4

        The-Most-Interesting-Man-in-the-World

        When I heard your motto I just thought of the Most Interesting Man in the World saying “Stay preppy my friends” haha

      • 2

        Robert! ROFL so hard my stomach hurts!

        That is just hysterica!

        Okay we all need t-shirts.

        Code word: Stay Preppy my friends…..hahah……

    • 7

      Ubique, Prepping/preparedness can trigger deep-seated negative emotions within the psyche. For these people it’s less about getting the 10 extra cans of sardines on sale knowing they’ll never go to waste. Frustration, anxiety and fear could be present below the surface.  

      It’s not about money matters.  Prepping is less costly than the party life, the restaurant trade with friends, … 

      I stay prepared with no burnout by treating all this in it’s original form: home economics and the first aid kit. The old Civil Defense and Boy Scout classes are now varnished and presented by FEMA, CDC, National Weather Service, other orgs.

      • 2

        Bob, I never thought about how prepping could trigger deep-seated negative emotions within the psyche. That is an incredible insight and it makes total sense. Prepping for them is emotionally driven.

        At times, it came down to money for me when I had to rebuild. But, most of the time, it was a little extra here and there. My lifestyle is not expensive and prepping is part of it. I’d rather eat my cooking/baking at home (which is pretty darn good -thanks mom/grandmother) and skip the many cases of food poisoning received in restaurants. 

        I think your method of avoiding burnout makes sense – home economics skills, first aid kit, the old civil defense and boy scout/girl guide teaching gave kids the basics which they could devlope from there. 

        Those activities were fun. Even prepping is fun for me. There is the odd time that it might be frustrating, but those days can happen with any activity we like to do. I like planning, organizing my preps and researching or helping others here.

        We’re all like the martha stewart of prepping – and that’s a good thing. Oh man, what does that say about my psyche! LOL

    • 4

      I think you touch on many great points that make up many of the reasons people fall out of being prepared. Burn out, lightening never strikes twice, complacency, going back to their old ways is easier, thinking they are now prepared and don’t have anything else to learn, or maybe even they are trying to deal with their credit card bill where they spent thousands on some pre-made junkie kits.

      I have had prepper burnout before and am a big believer in threat modelling. For those unaware of what that is, you analyze what you are actually are trying to prep for, what is likely to happen, and focus only on those things at that time.

      Threat modeling gives you direction and places boundaries so that you are not spending time, money, and effort towards those things that are not likely to happen. This helps you to prep faster, have fun with it, and prevent burnout.

      For example, a food shortage is probably more likely to happen than a nuclear war. So get your food storage and ways to cook sorted out first before going and buying gas masks and hazmat suits. And guess what!? Many of the basic and most likely preps will carry over to other preps. In the above example, you will definitely want a great food storage if there was a nuclear war because all other food will be contaminated and bought up by everyone else. So if you really can’t shake that need to prep for that nuclear war because it is fun and more exciting than buying canned food, then just think of it as part of your nuclear preps too.

      There seriously is way too many things to prep for, it can be overwhelming, and very costly, so sit down and think about the most likely scenario that will happen for you and tackle that first, then you can move on to the next thing.

      There was another good forum thread a while ago about this if you want to read more.

      The Prepared has helped immensely with helping me keep a sane and level headed approach to preparedness. I’ve studied too many prepper sites that are into doomsday porn and clickbait tacticool gear. Sure a mountain of ammo and five guns in both hands and feet is cool, but sometimes we need to focus on first aid or food storage. Not very fun, but that first aid and food storage will probably save you before you are needing to mow down an entire army coming to take your solar panels.

      KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. 

      I also like The Prepared’s guides because they help narrow my focus onto the top options for each category. Instead of reading reviews from dozens of websites and going through the trial and error myself, they have done the testing and research so I don’t have to. I trust them and know they give good recommendations. I can just buy what I need and have time left over to spend on some of the more fun parts of prepping, like the mountain of ammo. he he he… 😉

      • 2

        Carter, 

        So many good points, I don’t know where to start. Threat modelling is the way to go – just drill down most likely to occur and work from there. Otherwise, it can turn into free floating prepper anxiety (lol). I remember the threat modelling thread. It was very good and should be a read for every new prepper.

        And yes, there is the panic buyer type of prepping – so bad for making unwise purchases. That could really turn people off. It’s best to research and think before buying, especially if you really need the item(s).

        I can only have pictures of mountains of ammo here. I plan to get my FAC and hunting rifles because I want to have some ammo, ehm, I mean deer, too. I don’t know how much we’re allowed. Things keep changing. *sigh*

    • 4

      I think the key is a word you used… vulnerability.  When the pandemic hit & there were shortages at the stores, people felt vulnerable.  That is a feeling many are really not familiar with.  When the storms hit & electric & water was not available, more people felt vulnerable.  This was not supposed to happen to us in the US.  I’m afraid, most folks will go back to their old ways once they don’t feel vulnerable anymore.

      I’ve been able to keep prepping because I constantly feel vulnerable.  I think the seed for that was planted when I was in the Air Force, as a Minuteman Missile launch officer. Today, with the global economy, I don’t worry about a nuclear exchange between major powers but I do know what impact an EMP weapon used by say North Korea would have on our country.  Then I look at what the sun could do.  Plus there are now all these groups of people, both domestic and foreign, that would love to see our government crumble.

      No, I don’t sit around all day, in my tin foil cap, worrying about these matters.  However, these matters make me feel vulnerable.  So I keep prepping.  Keep learning how to be more self reliant.  That is what keeps me sane and keeps the tin foil hat locked up.  🙂

      • 2

        Yep, you have a great sense of balance and you know yourself, Redneck. See, I think most people don’t take the time to know themselves or how they feel about anything.

        The experiences that you have had plus your ability to understand global conditions, threats from within and without and reasonable possibilities all make for how you can recognize and take action on our vulnerability.

        I think a person would have to be (pardon the expression) dumber than a sack of hammers to not see these things and/or take them seriously.

        The self-reliance we gain in prepping is the part that keeps preppers balanced. There is a confidence that grows with self-reliance. Perhaps it is the loss of self-reliance that has eroded the confidence and self-respect of many people I see around me. 

        If I ever knew you were in a tin foil hat, why I would train a carrier pigeon to snatch it right off of your head. : )

    • 6

      As Bob said, a big reason people don’t think ahead about emergencies or disasters is the same reason they don’t have a will or advance directive, they simply want to avoid the bad feelings that come with thinking about bad things.

      Not to mention society the last 50 years has greatly lulled people into a sense of complacency because everything works so dang well for the most part we don’t have to give it a thought. Pretty red tomatoes in the store year around, 25 sents of anti-perspirant, 500 channels of mindless fantasy 24/7, LOL, people are increasingly specialists and have no clue what’s going on outside their narrow, well paying lane.

      But I think the last year has put the wake-up to a lot of sleepwalkers.

      As for staying with it, having a pantry and some flashlight batteries is just a habit I don’t really think about, tho I do harp on my wife periodically, LOL

      I like the DIY aspect of prepping rather than just the buying and the endless repacking of the BOB. I like building a personal infrastructure. Think water /sewer /septic /power /food, I want to make my own because then I know exactly what I have and can generally make it work. But even short that level, there are myriad little projects. Think can dispenser, can goes in at the top, zigzag and out the bottom. Or solar still, or rainwater collection, or generator muffler box or garbage can faraday cage or chicken tractor or any of a thousand projects that involve a little Macgyvering. How can anyone get bored?

      • 2

        Pops, So many good points, where to begin,

        I took a palliative care course. We had to examine our own attitudes and fears about death and dying. Our instructor said we had to know ourselves first before caring for others.
         
        Some of my fellow students had a really tough time with the exercises and became quite unsettled and upset. 

        We don’t deal well with issues of mortality in our society, so it follows that we don’t like to think about threats to our mortality. A disaster, like death is something that will happen at some time, somewhere, to someone else.

        Magical thinking. If I don’t think about it, IT won’t happen.

        Ah yes, the sirens call of the grand bazaar that we have created in the last 50 years. Someday there may be VR tech where one can experience the world as it was and truly understand what we have lost. Then they can decide if what we have gained was worth it, or if it was necessary at all.

        Complacency is exactly the word for it. People are pleased and look no further, either toward the future or to reflect upon the past. A disaster is viewed as a world apart while the media narrative and images become a reality story. 

        One can see this with the covid-19 pandemic. There is a sense of ennui permeating through the masses. 

        If the disaster happens to us, then there is the recovery and restoration. Life goes on. It doesn’t, nor should it go on the same way. Prepping is about making choices, of exercising some control over how we respond to life.

        Prepping is also about creating choices and not just accepting the consequences of someone else’s design.

        It is a matter of getting out of that narrow lane and remaining unafraid to traverse the road you create for yourself. Or as you stated “building a personal infrastructure.”

        It is hard to imagine becoming bored when one is busy and creative. To me, prepping is about creativity and resourcefulness.

        In a world that can be predictable in its workings, it is the joy of breaking out of that stifling mental numbness and the quest to reconnect with the living and natural world. The world of our survival, the Earth that turns beneath our feet, waiting for us to look and see, and recognize what has been patiently waiting behind the endless rows of consumer goods and distractions.

        Prepping is our chance to experience life a different way. 

        Thank you for replying and as always a pleasure to read your response.

      • 2

        Pops, Ubique,

        “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

        Anais Nin, novelist (1903 – 1977)

      • 3

        Very good Bob!

        Nin is not often quoted, but one of my favorite quotes is from her:

        We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.

      • 1

        Pops, I like that Nin quote you wrote above.  I just added it to my Day Planner with my other quotes.  Thank you.

      • 2

        ‘Morning Bob, 

        Today we lose an hour here in the annual spring ahead leap to capture some extra daylight. 

        I believe we will recognize some of the prepper burnout by the want ads. 

        It is no time to quit. I am noticing more foreclosure sales reported in mls listings and local media. (Except for Vancouver and Toronto – big dilemma there – in the game for too much and the ptb can’t let them fall). 

        Meanwhile, the mortgage rates are rising. (“How high’s the water, Papa – 6 feet high and risin’”)

        I hope those who tire of prepping, remember financial preparedness is part of it.

        During one of my bank gigs, I went beyond what I was hired to do and credit counselled as many as I could. I found ways to give clients info that was being throttled.

        It was a tidal wave of overwhelmed and overextended people. All of them living beyond their means. All of them had missed the point of why the financial sector exists: to make money – off them.

        Anais, Miller and some friends sold risque writing for a $1.00 per sheet. They did it as a joke. The financial sector doesn’t kid around.

        “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as we are.” – Anais Nin

      • 2

        Ubique, Do they reflect prepper burnout or the burnout of that bloc thinking they were members of Louis XIV’s court ?

        Here it it difficult to even discuss financial preparedness. The schools and media “brainwashed” so many of the socio-economic population blocs.

        The squeeze is on for all of us in the vast middle class and the dillusional also learn that their party’s over.

      • 3

        Bob, I think it is the latter – their burnout is expedited by peering behind the curtain at Oz.

        It is difficult to discuss these matters. Financial preparedness evokes emotional responses because people don’t value money, they devalue themselves and deep down they know it. The brainwashed masses are just more fodder.

        To me, they were families and people destroyed by that machine. I made calls that turned into a crisis line episode. It was an exhausting slog through the reality of financial unpreparedness. 

        The worst of it, is that most of it was unecessary and avoidable.

        Much more could be said, but limitations of comm. Buckle up, because it’s going to be a rough landing.

        An aside, have you noticed site is slow to load/refresh? It could also be at my end, but I wondered if you noticed it, too?

      • 3

        Bob, Pops – Mind meld. I have the same Nin quote but too many interruptions before I could post it this morning.

      • 3

        https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2021/03/09/604453.htm

        Ubique, Appreciate quote followup. 

        Here, too, was busy/overloaded. I hope not deleted but believe above link is pertinent to this thread as far as focus goes. In what’s otherwise, to most, a bland and boring subject, was reading link when it arrived here 9 March and was “sobered up”. This is the first time I recall that a company … not a government, like USG’s artifical programs … would prepare products re “full war and political violence”. My continued reading kept me sober and focused: “do not require government certification … separate from …(TRIPRA)”.

        Sidebar; Yes, I think TP site slowed down a bit.  

      • 2

        Bob, Just read and saved article. Thank you very much for sharing that information and it is relevant to prepping.

        First thing of I thought of was how that was formerly considered act of god and not insured. Second point you made also noted. I’m curious about the finer details about who is backing this and will follow the money/leads in story.

        I don’t know whether to suggest this to anyone, but I was thinking it would be nice if we had a thread/area for slightly off topic discussions. 

        Prepping can be stressful, and not everyone around us understands what we are doing. Some people have persons they can speak with and others are very isolated.

        Plus some people here are more interested in certain aspects of prepping, like gardening for example and could have more spontaneous discussions.

        Do you think it would be okay to suggest? I’m fairly new here and not sure. I hope the site doesn’t go down. I really like it here and enjoy being able to communicate with.

      • 2

        Ubique, As far as my view, matters indirectly related to prepping, for example, weather, insurance (risk management) food via gardening, fishing (line,net) ,could surely generate more spontaneous posts.

        Aforesaid would, in my view, exclude buying a small fishing boat, a hunting trip, getting a routine medical exam. This would be just too far away from prepping.

        As far as asking John and Gideon, it’s only an email and can’t think it out of place.

        I’m somewhat new here also.

      • 1

        Thank you for the suggestion of having an area to talk about things off topic, it’s a great idea and something that we’ve thought of implementing before. Please send all your suggestions here: https://theprepared.com/about/.

        We want to hear what our users think and want. And although we may not be able to implement everything at once, we discuss it will add it to a list of things to do someday if time and money permits.

        And in response to your comment that you hope the site doesn’t go down, I want to let you know that we are working hard and don’t plan on shutting down any time soon.

      • 2

        Hi Gideon, Thank you for the info. I will put draft a message when I am smarter and sent it off tonight or tomorrow.

        I asked about the slowness, because I run really good security, but wanted to double check if it was just me (possibly security issue if so) or if others were having same problem. Much relief that it’s not me.

        You run a great site and that is evident by how nice it is here and well managed. Thank you again.

      • 2

        I’m also new here and want to complement the moderation. “These Boards” have generally a very distinct personality that is off-putting to a large portion of the population. I’ve endured the politics since dial-up because I like the information. I think there is a growing market for a neutral forum of this type. 

        A bit faster refresh time would be nice tho

        ;^)

      • 4

        I would be OK with an off topic zone BUT, No Religion, NO Politics, I’ve seen some very good forums ruined in short order as soon as politics and religion were permitted.

      • 3

        Bill, Thank you for weighing in on this. I’m of the same mind.

        I’ll tell you why I raised this suggestion. I don’t know for sure, but I think some of us who prep are a bit isolated.

        This can be due to prep stigma and are unable to talk with family or friends. I have one long term friend I can talk prepping with, but he is back at work and busy. 

        It can also be because we are physically distanced from people or close friends. I live in a small town with people and have to choose my words carefully as a matter of course, but there is that concern that I could say the wrong thing to one of the locals. 

        I also caregive and respite isn’t an option for us. My husband was a heavy equipment operator and had many injuries over his long career. Head trauma was part of it, as in repeated concussions.

        He is capable of function (some memory issues), but it is the personality changes that he is experiencing that must be considered from day to day. 

        When they happen, it is a rough ride. He is not always symptomatic, but it seems to be more frequent now.

        Some days and weeks are tough. Per one of his physicians, we won’t know for certain until an autopsy whether he had TBE (traumatic brain encephalopathy) or not. There are also other possibilities for the cause.

        A diagnosis doesn’t change his symptoms or the isolation. I am trying to give him best quality of life possible. It is the two of us and our dog.

        I have my books, and I write. Many years ago, I tried two other online groups, one health related and another preparedness one that got really weird. I don’t do facebook. It’s just not my thing.

        I don’t know. I thought also that there may be other preppers here who are trying to prep and caregive.

    • 2

      I’ve been prepping for 35 of my 56 years. I was introduced to the concept by my older brother, and bought for first rural retreat at age 21.  I lost interest for quite a few years, but joined my first prepping forum about 20 years ago and have been actively prepping ever since. Sometimes I go through periods when I think all this effort is wasted, as I’ve never needed to use my preps. I was using  prepping forums to keep me motivated until covid arrived, and then everything got real. 

      • 2

        Hi Downunder, I’m glad to hear to stuck with it and are still prepping. Also, kudos to you for beginning at 21 with a rural retreat. Well done!

        You bring up an aspect of prepping that is not always discussed. There can be a wax and wane aspect to this approach to living.

        We prep and wait. Without real time and/or an online community, it is a bit like the old Maytag repairman commercials. 

        Then, one day it does get real. There is an event. For me it was a couple of unexpected shifts in the winds of fortune. My preps made it easier to bear. Then 911 and I never second guessed what I was doing again.

        I monitor medical research for certain research or reports. I knew we were heading for a pandemic because of the mindfulness that comes with being prepared. I knew to immediately replenish certain items, rather than wait until Spring and source medical related items as well.

        When covid arrived, I was ahead of the curve because of my prepping mindset. If I hadn’t been prepping to begin with, I would have been oblivious to the situation that was brewing which became the covid pandemic.

        On days when all the associated aspects of how I have chosen to live feels like a bit much, I take a deep breath and remember: a disaster may hurt, but being unprepared is going to hurt worse.

         

      • 3

        I find that there are two areas of prepping. Preps that you can use everyday, and those that are just in case. 

        The everyday preps can be like food storage or solar panels. You can tap into your food storage when your kitchen cupboard is empty and you don’t feel like going to the store right then. Solar panels can give you clean renewable energy everyday and will also keep your house lit during a disaster. It’s easier for me to invest and prep for these situations where I will get short and long term use out of them.

        Those just in case preps are a bit harder for me to wallet over. My BOB has been sad and lacking because those are items that will sit on a shelf and not be used unless there is an emergency. Water filters are the same, my tap gives constantly fresh water and if I bought a water filter, it would pretty much just sit there. But if the tap water became unsafe to drink, then I would be SO happy that I had thought ahead and purchased one. 

        If you are just getting into prepping, I would focus on those everyday preps first as you will see the most use out of them, but have a few of the just in case preps as well, like the water filter. 

      • 5

        Hi Mike, Thank you for bring up some really good points.

        That is a good way of thinking of preps – everyday use and just in case. I use my stored food and rotate it as part of my normal diet.

        Solar panels are going on the garage when I get it built. I think I may have a way to mount a few in my yard as integrated into pergola seating area.

        I like the idea of using preps, like solar panels and rain barrels for the garden that are part of good stewardship of this Earth, aside from disaster planning.

        The just in case preps brought a smile to face. My Mom survived WWII in an occupied Country. One of the life long effects upon her from that experience, plus poverty before the war, was her “just in case” items that she put away. Laundry soap, any other soap, linens, including bath towels stuffed into boxes of laundry soap as a promo item (it meant you got less soap but she wanted those towel), underwear for the family, socks, and food producsts, among other items. That woman was a mini-walmart.

        Her “just for good” items were items to be preserved by using them as little as possible “just in case” some catastrophe happened. If it did, we would be wearing our best outfits and shiny patent shoes.

        When I started prepping, I took care of water filtration first with a Katadyne drip unit that could do about 3 years of water for 2 people. Then I tackled food items and four season gear because of the climate here.

        As the years rolled by, I got tools and started gardening again. I like the idea of enjoying the prepping as well. I also enjoy the projects related to prepping that crop up. 

        I have been building extra storage into my home for two years using vertical storage. I have one I’m working on now and plans for more. I challenge myself to make it look like a normal part of the house and not conspicuous storage.

        I agree with you that a beginner should begin with everday items first and get the basics in place, especially water. 

      • 5

        I resonate with this and both Mike and Downunder.  I have experienced the wax and waning seasons of more or less preparedness.  That doesn’t mean I lost the prepared mindset but that I wasn’t actively reviewing, updating or monitoring/practicing/using my preps.  Some parts of prepping had been in my lifestyle from childhood (the everyday) and others were ‘set’ (just in case) and thus neglected until the urge to act came along.  Sometimes that was just my own cycle and sometimes it was triggered by an event like a wildfire or earthquake.  I’ve even seen my energy in this area wane since December.  This site and Forum have helped me stay somewhat ‘on-task’ and at least not drift completely away.

        So I am asking what it means to you all here to “stay prepped”.  For me, I’ve starting thinking of it like maintenance of anything – car, house, yard, teeth,  etc. Some maintenance is more fun than others, but it all must be done to be a responsible adult and prevent later issues.  Although I don’t live an entirely prep lifestyle, I have committed to a yearly (at least) cycle of reviewing/checking/replacing/cleaning/updating  my kits, threat scenarios,  and paperwork; and addressing one weakness in the system (get the HAM license) not unlike filling out a tax form.  Just do it and you may get rewarded – either in tax rebate or by riding out a windstorm (or pandemic) with less stress.  

      • 3

        Alicia, You clearly explained the prepper environment and you’re practicing it.  Yes, the “maintenance of anything  … car … teeth”.  

        Prepping means getting flashlight batteries when on sale and not needed. Same for dental floss when on sale and not needed. On a time line, this will also show savings.

        Stress management is around the top of a prepper’s list.

        You are definitely a prepper.

      • 6

        Thanks Bob.  This site and especially the forum has been helping me become a better and more consistent one.  

      • 4

        Alicia – I find the positive quality of this site and forum so helpful and refreshing from the alternatives. It makes it much easier to ask questions and share info, and ultimately become a better prepper.

      • 1

        Well said, Bob.

      • 2

        Alicia, For me staying prepped is part of staying aware that there are risks and conditions in the world that could require me to be responsive to the effects of those risks and conditions upon my life.

        Some days, I wonder what it is like to go through life oblivous to that and live as if nothing could happen. I work through my constantly triaged list of “urgent items” and manage what is on hand. Now I am in a research and acquire knowledge stage due to a flaw I found in my planning.

        I think for me, it is a case of once you know, you can’t not know. I can’t go back to living as if none of this can happen. 

        The low energy days happen and that is when I do something different and rest my brain. 

        I think it is something many of us struggle with at times.

      • 3

        I think that I had the ‘can’t unsee it’ moment in my early years.  A blizzard with very low temperatures and high winds had closed the roads and kept us home for over a week as they kept drifting shut after they were cleared.   The county was declared an emergency zone, and power was out for much of the county for that week.  Some people died.  We were fortunate and didn’t lose power in a huge house that could accommodate many more than us but unreachable.  The lesson was that everything in the house was electric (heat, light, well pump, stove, fridge, freezer) so had we lost power, we would have had a different tale to tell.  That was the lightbulb moment for my parents and me at age 11.  We would have had food, possibly no water and definitely no heat – and winter comes every year.  Dad installed a fireplace, got kerosene heaters and other supplies.  Mom upped the blanket count.  

      • 2

        Alicia, That memory would certainly imprint on your mind. The experience of being cut off from the world in a blizzard and that the power could go out without a backup heat source is one is definitely a call for change.

        Your Mom and Dad certainly took appropriate action. You must have felt so safe the first time that fireplace was lit.

        Your story is such a good example of how preparedness can help us live with the extremes that the natural world can deliver such as winter storms.

        Thank you, Alicia, for relating your experience. I think it will help others to see the importance of being prepared.

      • 4

        Thanks, Ubique.  I must admit that it wasn’t all that satisfying at the time as I wasn’t the one responsible for the home and our safety being 11 years old.  But I was old enough to understand the seriousness of the consequences (deaths) and observe my parent’s actions and their implications.  My dad didn’t worry much, and one of his typical responses to things like balls through windows or fender benders was “So what did we learn here?”.  It was a natural thing to act on the lesson or it wasn’t learned. 

      • 2

        Alicia,  How your dad reacted with “so what did we learn here” underscores the opportunities to teach that comes with parenting.

        My dad was like that also and provided many lessons that I think other kids missed.

        We were lucky.

      • 3

        I had a similar experience! Snowed in 6 weeks in northern MT when I was about 10. I learned to drive the Cat to clear a path for hay to the cows. Still a vivid memory of neighbors coming over the snowbanks on snow machines with supplies. Those hardy folks drove those things over 20 miles each way in subzero temps to bring essentials to the neighbors as needed. Amazing, and the memory certainly influenced the prep bug when I had a family of my own. 

      • 2

        CR, Amazing how those types of experiences can leave such an indelible mark on our way of looking at life.

        Those of us from farm backgrounds had different experiences. The blizzard of 1966 was so bad we had to dig out our barn to get to our dairy cows. I remember being taken to school on tractors some days when the snow was too deep for us to walk to the one room school.

        People also looked out for each other in times of crisis which was nice, too. 

        There are not a lot of things I miss, but I miss that farm.

      • 3

        There are parts to miss and other parts that I really don’t miss! I’m sure you can relate. 

      • 3

        CR – Oh yah! There are some things I don’t miss.

        I was cleaning manure out of our barn one winter morning. I had the pitchfork jammed up on my chest so I could get a good push on it (I was a kid). The pitchfork had stopped on a burr on the cement or something. I leaned into it to get it to move and sure enough it let go.

        I shot straight forward, behind the pitchfork and landed face first into the gutter and more manure. I was covered in it! Omg – did it stink!

        The jersey cows were amused. They always had that look when one of us did something ridiculous around them.

      • 2

        Wow CR, amazing that we had similar memories!  Ours was a hobby sort of farm in Ohio:  2 steer a year, large garden, pond and a ‘neighborhood’ sweet corn field.  This was up the road from a working dairy farm.  We didn’t have snow machines, but did have a small tractor with chains.  Dad checked on all the neighbors as a few were elderly (to the 11 year old at least).  Glad to hear of how other communities pulled together too.   

    • 2

      I gotta admit, I get a quite giddy when a new shipment of preps arrive. Not just because I’m a geek about those things, but because I feel a sense of accomplishment that I know I’m doing what I can for my family to help us be prepared in the event of an emergency. 

      It seems like it has taken several years for us to be able to really start “prepping”, but in actuality we have been consistently working towards this goal the whole time. We knew we needed a safer/larger home for our family and worked our tales off to pay off all debt with the exception of the mortgage, and then traded up for a larger/newer home closer to a community with many family members and friends. We also built up savings to give us some financial security. 

      Other preps we did a little at a time. With every grocery trip, we added extra bottled water (our old home had old pipes, so we never drank that water) and pantry goods until we had a 90-day supply built up. When our FSA account had extra in it, we used it to purchase first aid supplies (and in 2020, OTC meds and devices!!) We put together our 72-hr packs with old backpacks and spare items we had in the house and then supplemented with new items when we could afford it.

      Since covid, we’ve simply been able to up our game because we had more resources (stimulus checks) and fewer expenses (no more commuting or eating take-out multiple times a week). 

      As someone that struggles with anxiety, prepping is one thing that calms me and helps me feel organized in a sometimes chaotic world. Give me spreadsheets, inventories, and new things to learn and I’m a happy girl!!

      • 1

        brekke, 

        What a great post! It is an inspiration to everyone who is starting out and to those of us who go through prepping stress and feel like we’re not getting anywhere some days.

        Your methods to plan, build and achieve your preparedness demonstrate how it can be done, one step at a time. And you did all of this while building financial security! You also put your stimulus checks to very good use – I can’t think of a more sensible approach.

        I really like how you put your first 72-hr packs together using old backpacks and spare items and then supplemented with new items as you could afford it.

        You did something many people overlook. You got started with what was on hand and “and shopped at home.” That is so much better than not getting started because the perception is that it has to be “new” to be a prep. Not so!

        brekke, I think your story, told in more detail, could make an informative and  inspirational topic post for the forum, especially for people starting out. I think it will also fire up those of us who may be a bit “prepped out”(lol).

        I would love to see you start a topic about it. You have a great ability to write clearly and I think you could really help others, too. How about it?

        Thank you for such a great post and I hope to see you write and start a topic about how you prep in more detail. Wonderful info and thank you!