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10 Things To Do in Thirty Minutes to Up Your Prepping Game

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
10 Things To Do in Thirty Minutes to Up Your Prepping Game

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There are times when we get so busy that we set aside our prepping for another day.  From my perspective, that is perfectly okay.  On the other hand, we can be our own worst enemies and sometimes the guilt from not prepping frustrates and upsets us.  I know since I have personally been there and done that.

As a solution, consider taking an occasional small bite of prepping such as once a day or once a week.  Set aside one day or one evening a week, and spend thirty minutes attending to your preps.  Need some ideas?  Here are ten things you can do to prep just a little bit for the next ten weeks.

10 Things To Do in 30 Minutes | Backdoor Survival

10 Things You Can Do to Prep in 30 Minutes or Less

1.  Store some water

Carefully wash some empty soda or juice bottles then fill them with tap water.  You can also use mason jars or meticulously clean glass jars.  Municipal tap water is typically pretreated so no additive is needed.  If you want to be extra safe, or if your water comes from some other source, add a drop of fresh, unscented bleach to each bottle.

Label each bottle with the date and the type of water.  For example, in my own household, I will label them “Tap Water” or “Berkey Water”.  Sharpies are the perfect tool for labeling and work much better than stickers.

If you have a freezer that is not quite full, store these bottles in the freezer. The frozen water will allow your freezer to run more efficiently, plus, help keep things frozen for longer in the event of a power outage.  Another good place to store extra water is in the dead space between the sofa and the wall or in the back of a cupboard that is too high or t0o deep to be of practical use.

Additional reading:  16 Food Storage Tips for the Space Challenged Prepper

2.  Raid your pantry for staples and canned goods and set they aside in your long-term storage area

This is the time of year when many useful food products are put on sale at bargain prices.  You did stock up, right?  Spend thirty minutes going through your pantry and pulling items that can be added to your food storage.  Some examples included canned chicken broth, spices, sugar, salt, and canned veggies.

Additional Reading:  Save Money By Raiding the Pantry for Food Preps

3.  Inventory your supply of spare alkaline batteries and charge up any depleted rechargeable Ni-MH batteries

If you are anything like me, you have a huge supply of rechargeable Ni-MH batteries. Murphy, however, is a frequent visitor in my home and it seems like I never have a charged up battery of the particular type I need.  When that happens, I grab an alkaline battery and use it.

In this 30-minute prep, round up your depleted batteries and set them up to be recharged.  If you are so inclined, you can also charge up alkaline batteries as long as you have the right equipment.  Both the Maximal Power and the Mighty Charger work well, although the latter is becoming a favorite because it automatically senses the battery type and charges it accordingly.

4.  Inventory Day-To-Day First Aid Supplies

With so much emphasis on survival preps and emergency first aid, it is easy to run out of day-to-day first aid supplies.  Do you have enough bandages, gauze pads, and vet wrap?  What about antibiotic ointment or, preferably, lavender and melaleuca/tea tree oil?  Don’t forget OTC pain meds which definitely have their place in the first aid kit – just don’t overdo it.

5.  Practice starting and building a fire using your preferred method

It goes without saying that fire, and the ability to start a fire will be important following a disruptive event.  When is the last time you built a fire that actually stayed lit for an hour or longer?  Get out your preferred fire starter and put your skills to the test.

I like to use a lighter plus cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly but I also know how to start a fire with a magnesium fire steel.  Both make starting a fire easy; the challenge is to keep them lit.  Take thirty minutes out of your week and practice!

6.  Check under your bed for a pair of sturdy shoes, socks, and a flashlight

Disasters often occur in the middle of the night.  Even in broad daylight, panic can set in as you mobilize to find safety.  One extra step you can take to be prepared is to stash some supplies under the bed so you can get to them quickly.  This is not just your bed but every single bed in your house!

On your way out, snag the Bug-Out-Bag or Go Bag from the hall closet by the door and you should be all set.  Not sure what to put in the Bug-Out Bag?  Everyone’s needs are different but here is what I have done for myself.  Now that I think about it, it has been a year and it is time to take everything out to re-evaluate and test.

7.  Learn how to text and then use that knowledge to communicate with loved ones

If you don’t know how the moment is now.  I held out for years and am very late to the texting game.  Even though I knew that texting was likely to work when other methods of communication did not I resisted.  I am slow and inefficient but now I text almost daily.  During a recent family crisis, being able to text allowed me to stay in touch with family and in just a few minutes, get updates.  This is important.

While you are at it, review your contact list and make sure you have current cell phone numbers and email addresses for everyone that matters to you.

8.  Make sure you have a viable vehicle kit and that it is in the car!

Every vehicle should have, at a minimum, water, blankets, emergency lighting, a first aid kit, and a battery jumper. When is the last time you checked?  Here is the deal: from time to time you need to load up the trunk and need every bit of space you can find.  Your vehicle kit gets set aside in the garage, and the next thing you know, it does not get put back in the care.  Note to the Survival Husband:  the vehicle emergency kit is more important than your buddies golf clubs! 

Make it a point to ensure that your emergency vehicle kit is with you at all times.

Additional Reading:  46 Must Have Items for Your Emergency Vehicle Kit

9.  Cook something from scratch

Admittedly, the cooking may take longer than thirty minutes but if you chose your recipe wisely, the actual prep time should take less.  And that is the point; you need to know how to prepare easy meals when the situation is dire.  Julia Child is not invited to this party.  You need quick, wholesome, food, prepared from simple ingredients.  It is no wonder that beans and rice are so popular.

10.  Sit down and make a master of list of your short-term preparedness goals then prioritize the top three

Breaking things down into baby steps will make your journal infinitely easier.  Even as an advanced prepper, my mind begins to spin and because I have so much I want to do, nothing gets down.  (Re-doing my Bug-Out Bag on annual basis is just one of those things.)

Start by making a list of everything you want to get done over the next ninety days.  After making your list, pick three of those items and move them to the top.  Those are your goals for the next three month.  One a month;  surely you handle that.

The Final Word

There is an idiom “do as I say and not as I do”.  In truth, I need to join you in learning to break down prepping goals so I can tackle them just a bit at a time.  It really is no fun to spend an entire weekend organizing preps and learning new things out of guilt!

Taking a one step at a time approach, like I did when I was first getting started should rule at all times.  For that reason, I open up the comments to you.  Do you have a thirty-minute prepping task to share with the rest of us?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Below you will find the items related to today’s article as well as other personal favorites.

Potable Aqua Water Treatment Tablets: Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets make questionable water bacteriologically suitable to drink. Easy to use and the water is ready to drink in 30 minutes. One 50 tablet bottle treats 25 quarts of water.

Sharpie Permanent Markers: Sharpies were invented for preppers!

Panasonic Eneloop AA New 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries:  These days, I try to use eneloops as much as possible.  They hold a charge forever – or so it seems – and work well in flashlights and small electronics.

Mighty Charger for NiCD and NiMH Batteries:  I don’t know why I have not written about this charger before now.  It is a compact charger that works with both Alkaline and Ni-MH AA, AAA batteries and 9V batteries. I like it’s small form factor and the fact that it will automatically detect the type of battery and charge it up.  There are no switches.

Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: This nicely built charger will charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box.  Read about it in this article: How to Recharge Alkaline Batteries.

Maximal Power battery charger from Amazon

First Voice Self-Adherent Stretch Bandage (Pack of 10):  I first learned about self-adhesive bandages when my dog came home from the vet with such a bandage wrapped around his leg.  A light went off telling me I needed to add some of these stretchy bandages to my first-aid kit.  And so I did.  This is a fantastic price and rivals the price at the farm supply.

The Amazon Top Ten Most Wanted Survival and Outdoor Items Backdoor Survival

Survivor Outdoor Fixed Blade Knife with Fire Starter:  This knife measures 7 inches long overall, has a full-tang stainless steel blade, is equipped with a thick green cord-wrapped handle and has a nylon sheath plus a magnesium-alloy fire starter.  How well does it work?  This is not a Kershaw, Gerber or other high-quality blades.  On the other hand, the fire starter works great (better than great) and is worth the price entire set.

Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket:  I was interested in a re-usable emergency blanket so I purchased one of these based on the excellent reviews.  This space blanket is definitely “heavy duty” compared to the cheapies (not that they don’t have their place because they do).


What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

Aff | Tactical Flashlight

[DEAL] Ultrabright Tactical Flashlight

Never be Vulnerable in the Dark Again

Get This Deal
Aff | Emergency Blanket
[DEAL] Emergency Survival Blanket Get Cheap Security

13 Responses to “10 Things To Do in Thirty Minutes to Up Your Prepping Game”

  1. I live in South Texas with long hot springs, summers, and falls. Drinking water can’t be stored safely in your vehicle or garage in the summer time. Garages may be 80-90+ degrees every day in the summer, while cars could be up to or over 100’s+ if left in the sun. Drinking water must be stored inside your home.
    It’s my understanding the plastic bottles will start breaking down after prolonged exposure to the heat. I did think about using the largest glass canning jars but how to keep them from being broken is difficult. I also thought about using a small empty cooler without ice in it for the jars, but it would slide all over the back of my vehicle without a place where it could be attached to something.
    The best I could think of is that the cases of water are stored about 5′ from the kitchen door, out of the way, but close enough to load into my vehicle quickly. Any other Southern’s have any different/better ideas?

  2. make a hard copy of your contact/phone/address list. We have all gotten so used to cell phones that most of us no longer have a written copy of these things. you never know how easy it is to lose/break/have stolen or just have a cell break on you and poof you are up a creek, unless you have an awesome memory (I dont). I had a cell take a dump on me and it took me over 6 months to get most of my phone numbers and such back.

    Also make note of out of town/state relatives actual addresses since you dont know if you may end up leaving your bug-in or out place or maybe even the area or state if the situation warrents it, and it might be nice to know where your cousin 3 states over actually resides more than just their town and state.

  3. While I have done this for the fact we are in earthquake country, it is good, just so you know where these items are at, at all times.
    Take an eye glass case and secure it next to your bed on the wall or night stand; your glasses won’t end up on the floor and step on them.
    I also took a piece of ABS pipe and screwed it on the wall and have my flashlight secure and placed at various locations in our home. I also hang my head lamp on the one in my bedroom.
    I also attach my knife close to the side of the bed area in case I can’t get to my gun. (2 is 1, 1 is none)

  4. great article! it’s so easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated by prepping, because it’s such a high-stakes game and because everything in our environment tries to pull us back into the “normalcy bias” mindset. it takes constant effort to resist that pull, and that can make us a little obsessive. so the more often we can simplify our approach, the better. 1. if you keep medications in your edc or bug-out bag, as i do, you can spend 30 minutes or less exchanging the old meds for new ones. i do this every 3 months and keep track by writing reminders in my pocket calendar. 2. check and replace perishable supplies like batteries, lightsticks, emergency rations etc. i put these things at the top of my get-home bag so they’re easy to access (on the other hand, i recently ate a millenium bar that was over a year past its expiration date, and it was fine–just a little drier and slightly crispy). 3. conduct a surprise fire drill (or earthquake drill, etc) for the household and keep a record of how long it takes everyone to get out with their go-bags and whatever else they should have. 4. go through one drawer or storage area and remove anything you don’t want/need anymore and put it in your “donate” container. 5. call or email one of your out-of-town emergency contacts to make sure your info on them is still accurate. 6. learn a new knot. i could go on all day–but that would be obsessing!

  5. One thing I have done is quiz my daughter and her fiancée on uses for items in our BOBs or vehicle bags. I will ask them “3 uses for bandanas” or “why would we buy kitty litter when we have no pets”. It helps us all to think outside the box and reiterate the information in our brains, so if needed, the info will be an active item ready to use. Last week my daughter and I took a course which will allow us to purchase and own firearms (long guns), so for now – until our licenses arrive – we discuss the pros and cons of each long gun, our preferences and which gun club/range we want to join. It has been enlightening ????
    Thank you Gaye for all the pearls of wisdom you share with us. Since finding your site, your articles have provided my family with loads of conversation starters. Most importantly, it has kept us all talking. And perhaps that is the best “practice” and “10 minute prep” a family can do!!

    • “Last week my daughter and I took a course which will allow us to purchase and own firearms (long guns), “

  6. Bungee cord a pair of shoes to your bed; in an earthquake (or even day-to-day shuffling) the shoes can be scattered & trying to escape your house barefooted in the dark can be dangerous.

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