What habits have you developed related to prepping, and what habits do you wish you’d develop?

Being prepared for … whatever really is probably as much about small habits and routines as about gear and skills for dramatic situations. What habits have you developed that are somewhat prepping related, and which habits do you think would be good but you haven’t ingrained them so far? Did you develop habits that are somewhat harmful for you in the course of prepping?

I’ll start:

 * When grocery shopping, anything I buy with a long shelf life, it’s always a handful (cans, packages) more that what we need right now

 * I want to be better at this, but when riding public transport I check if and where fire extinguishers or first aid supplies are

Habits I want to develop:

 * being more organized around paperwork

 * routinely checking for emergency exits when inside buildings

 * better situational awareness in public spaces. I think I’m decent at spotting people with aggressive vibes, but beyond that …


  • Comments (14)

    • 5

      Big preparedness habit starting a few years ago: Carry an N95 everywhere. Wear it when in public buildings or when overly close to people outside my household. Know how to wear it properly so that no air leaks around the edge.

      In three years I’ve never had COVID. And I no longer get common colds either. Respirators are very effective but require skill and consistency to use them correctly.

      • 1

        That’s a good idea!

    • 3

      Situational awareness is very helpful, there’s been handfuls of times keeping an eye out and checking where things are has really been helpful. Especially driving,people drive really bad now.

      I think while I’ve been decent at critical thinking, breaking problems down into actionable/reasonable solutions, I’ve gotten a bit better at it with prepping. Combining info from many places, identifying the important features and needs to be met has definitely gotten a lot more use and has had good effect when things happen.

      I’ve always carried a small everyday carry, usually just phone, knife, pen, now hand sanitizer, short cord length, a small mirror, magnifying card.
      I keep my house keys separate from my car keys so I have them if I lock myself out of the car at least.Could be more useful with a Swiss army knife or pliers multitool. Almost always have a flashlight even at home, it’s much more used than a knife, and most people still don’t carry them. 

      I used to bring a bag with me with a lot of equipment and it’s saved the day a few times, and kept basic tools in my school bag that’s also helped when I repaired equipment in the lab.I don’t go out as much so it’s been trimmed down to just pocket gear, but trips have a dedicated wait in place bag for hanging out in the car. 

      I’ve definitely developed a habit of refilling things: charging my lights when they get down to half, refilling water jugs when they’re out or used, daily water bottles at least before bed. Trying to keep gear reset right after use so it’s not sitting around unprepared.

      I would like to figure out or teach myself or whatever to organize things better. The pantry shelves we have are almost unusable and we loose bags of stuff all the time. I also want to put a shelf up just for mostly prepping gear, but getting things out of the way to get to that is an extreme event. Mostly organizing, my other stuff isn’t exactly accessible and everything is very haphazard.

      I would also like to in general, keep my executive function actually functioning, it would help in getting things done.

      Then organizing information. I know there’s a prepper list building app that’s like really cool but expensive, and I make a lot of lists in different places and have only so much cross referencing.

      I would also like to get moving again, but that falls under the executive function thing.

      • 2

        “Trying to keep gear reset right after use so it’s not sitting around unprepared.”

        … is something I need to get better at!

      • 1

        You have done an important piece of prepping by understanding your executive-functioning deficits. No judgement here, just admiration. 

        We all need to be both aware of our weaknesses and to focus on our strengths.

        For example, a paramedic might have a storage room full of emergency medical supplies where a cook has canned food.

        Perhaps it’s best to prepare in areas that are familiar or easy for you.

        Play to your strengths and then ask for help with your shortcomings.

        Self awareness is a huge part of being prepared.

    • 5

      I believe the single biggest asset is a “sane prepper” mentality that helps prevent the normalcy bias (“oh, that’s not gonna happen to me/my family/my city/state/country). 
      If something happens, sane preppers will have the priceless ability to assess and respond without panic, quickly and intelligently.   

      • 2

        It took me a while to understand this … you mean normaly bias in the sense that in a possible acute emergency situation (real life example: conspicious smell at a gas installation), this bias (“nah, no overreacting”) stops you from treating it seriously?

      • 3

        “normaly bias in the sense that in a possible acute emergency situation (real life example: conspicious smell at a gas installation), this bias (“nah, no overreacting”) stops you from treating it seriously?”

        Yes, normalcy bias is a tendency to assume things are more normal than they are. Basically a refusal to adapt. Normalcy bias makes people ignore or underreact to the emergency.

        And it’s not just acute situations… COVID for example remains a severe problem but is now chronic. Many of the people who protected themselves and their families in year 1 ignored it in years 2 and 3. COVID remains one of the top causes of death and disability but most people pretend everything is back to normal.

        I spoke with one of my neighbors recently. He and his wife avoided COVID for 3 years then finally got it this February when a sick repairman came to their home. They both had the worst sickness of their lives for over a month. She now has long COVID. He (coincidentally?) developed a back problem and can barely walk. His big takeaway? Blame the one vaccine shot he took years ago and rejoice that he now has “natural immunity” and doesn’t have to worry about COVID anymore.

    • 6

      Great topic Nice Badger !!!

      Twice a year, we do a fiscal audit to look at our net worth and tweak our spending and savings as needed.  At the end of year audit, we agree on a # of how much $ we will be “tithing” for the end of year.  Then I play “Santa” and give $ to various charities.  I believe that our givings to the community is part of why we are doing so well.  I also do a “preps” audit and we try to do a good cleaning/maintenance of our weapons.  This year, I started dating items when opened, so that I can figure how much is needed for my goal of a year’s worth of supplies. 

      Every time, I have an empty gallon jug, I wash and sanitize w baking soda (learned in the prepared’s WATER class :)). After the gallon is filled, the container is dated and I feel gratitude that this represents another day that myself or someone (or some animal) can live should SHTF.   

      As I take care of our home and roam around our 10 acres, I think of ways to make safer especially from fire since we are in Norther CA.  This year, we had some dead and dying trees taken out. Unfortunately the dying trees aren’t dead yet and low growth needs to be ground down, so that goes on “the list.”  Luckily, we have been blessed with a mild summers far.  

      We do as much “skill learning” as possible.  Last year I did The Prepared’s ‘Austere First Aid”, and “WATER” classes, and we got our Ham Radio Licenses.  The year, I am studying how to be a Pilates Instructor and taking parenting classes because we now have a little dragon living in our Fun House with his grammy.

      Last year, we got a Harvest Right Freeze Dryer, and because of this, composting and keeping chickens and pigs, our food waste is close to zero and in a year, we have amassed over 20 tote boxes of FD food as well as having given away a fair amount to friends, family and mercy bags.

      For the last 37 years, I start my day with Tai Chi.  Lately, I also do Barre, and Pilates for ~ 5-8 hours a week.  My experience has led me to believe that there are so many things we cannot change and this can be very frustrating.  So I focus on what I CAN change which is how I move with my body, my actions and my thoughts.  These exercises help me both literally and figuratively with moving in a good way and staving off the pain that an older previously damaged body has as well as keeping my lifelong problem with depression in check.

      I would like to do a better job of checking viability of older stuff, especially my cars’ “BoBS.”  The heat and time can destroy the elastic in clothes, food, and first aid supplies. 

      Also, I would like to find a good habit that led me to getting to know my neighbors better.

      Finally, I wish I could develop a habit of practicing with my weapons more, especially the firearms.

      Any suggestions for developing new habits welcomed and appreciated!

      • 2

        thanks for the detailed answer, looks like your very organized! 

    • 4

      We’ve gotten good at always bringing one of my Get Home Bags with whenever I leave the house (in a car). 

      We have two Get-Home bags. One is for when I’m not far from home (under 8 miles) and the other is for farther distances.  Living in the SW desert, there are some specific items that are necessary, here.

    • 3

      Despite emergency preparation being on my radar for about four years, I haven’t come all that far. The things I have done seem a bit disorganised. But I can at least see that I’m better than I was.

      Additions to my car have come in handy in small ways; a multitool regularly gets used opening the seal on a new bottle of oil (old car, loses oil, but otherwise trusty), sanitiser for so many situations, toilet paper for when the public toilets are out, garbage bags, a back-up power bank, etc. I’m reassured I’ve a couple of waterproof bags I can switch things to if my car ever gets in an accident in very wet weather. 3 kinds of torches/ lanterns. First aid. Hi-vis jacket. N95s. And other bits and pieces, some more ‘just in case’, e.g. long-term water pouches & ration bars that can be stored in hot environments.

      I also now carry a tiny torch, with a teeny lantern, in my bag. Wouldn’t want have to rely on my phone battery in an extended situation. Also in my bag, 2 or 3 muesli/nut bars. Sometimes 4. Nice to have choice but also, there was one day I depended on the 2 bars in my bag and, while they keep energy up & most of hunger away, I learned they’re not actually that satisfying. I look forward to an opportunity to offer to others. 

      I now have something like a Go Bag, with first aid, cash, a map, etc. No doubt missing a few things but then it’s also a little heavy for me. Need to actually practice walking with it, too. But then I also have my Hospital Bag. This feels like it might be more useful. Not actually expecting to go into hospital (thankfully) but if I wake up in a hospital bed and need to stay a night or two, right now, it’ll prob be my dad I send to bring me some essentials from home. I realised having a designated Hospital Bag would make that process so much simpler. 

      I’m perhaps a little more regular at Topping Up. Petrol, groceries, phone battery, whatever. When I use up the toothpaste, I refill from one of my 4 or 5 tubes and replace from the store. I was shocked one day when I ran out of muesli and discovered there wasn’t any in my Emergency Food. How did that happen!?

      Things I’m not so great at?

      Washing and refilling my meagre water storage when the time comes around. Seems like pretty basic stuff…

      I learnt a knot once, and now I can’t even remember which one!

      There’s another thread on this site:


      It’s too easy to think that, because ‘I don’t have much money, it’ll work itself out’. I want to organise a will and other important documents (Power of Attorney? I think that’s what we call it here in Australia) because I don’t want my loved ones to make any more decisions than they absolutely have to at a difficult time. Or have any doubt that they made the right decisions. I would happily write things down, it’s the making an appointment and realising I need to get proper organised that makes me baulk. And choosing a lawyer (will they be competent? Nice? What if I feel stupid?). But maybe if I do that first bit (write things down), I can ask people I know for recommendations for an estate lawyer and start organising my paperwork, at least. 

    • 3

      What I’m good at – stocking up when things are on sale, always filling car gas tank when it hits half empty, keeping some cash on hand, keeping my preps neat, organized and labeled.

      What I need to get better at – rotating stored food and OTC meds, growing more of my own food.

      What I need to start – get a handgun and practice using it, reroof the house and set up a rain catchment system. 

      • 2

        Ah, with the hand gun, I need to practice with mine. You can create and solve a lot of issues by practicing dry firing, saves money on ammunition and gets you used to handling the firearm. There are a bunch of fancy training kits with lasers and targets, but regular dry firing can do just about all the work, outside of live firing.

        I think another thing I need to work on is just pure skill work, there are a few I do a lot because they’re easy because I do them a lot but there’s some I know I need and haven’t touched because I never use them.