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12 Months of Prepping: Month Eleven

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
12 Months of Prepping: Month Eleven

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As we enter month eleven of 12 Months of Prepping, it might be easy to become complacent and decide to set aside this month’s preparedness tasks until some other, more convenient, time.  After all, if you are following along in accordance with the calendar year, there are family gatherings and holiday preps to attend to this month.

Please do not slough off and let that be a deterrent to the task at hand.  Prepping is a lifestyle and a commitment to preparedness, courage, optimism, and family values. Let us use this opportunity to continue our learning and to continue to pursue our quest to be ready for whatever disruptive event may cross our path.

12 Months of Prepping Month 11 | Backdoor Survival

Speaking of which, what is a “disruptive event”?

The Dreaded “Disruptive Event”

Back in 2013, I started using this term to describe any event that could potentially transform our personal lives into one of chaos, distress, confusion, or all of the above.  Interestingly enough, today I could not find many references to this term using Google so the how, where, and why I started using it most likely has to do with my own thoughts on TEOTWAWKI.

Note:  TEOTWAWKI = The End of the World as We Know It

TEOTWAWKI was a commonly used acronym in preparedness and survival circles until the end of 2012 when various predictions of the end of times did not materialize.  The term is still used today, in a much broader sense.  At Backdoor Survival, for example, TEOTWAWKI refers to anything that disrupts our normal way of life.  This could be something as devastating as an EMP taking down the power grid, to a more mundane (but equally devastating) job loss or loss of a family member.

Disruptive events are common and that is why we prepare.  In Twelve Months of Prepping, we are preparing for short term disruptions of a few weeks and in doing so, we are going to be better prepared than 95% of our friends and neighbors.

What about the longer term?   We do that too. On the Backdoor Survival website, there are do-it-yourself projects fostering self-sufficiency, food storage and first aid tips, gear and book reviews, think pieces to help us learn, and a myriad of other tools to foster preparing for a long term disruptive event.  Each topic and each article is there to help you come up with a preparedness strategy unique to your needs.

For now, however, let us set aside thoughts of that dreaded disruptive event and move on to Month Eleven of prepping.

Twelve Months of Prepping: Month Eleven


  • Package of paper plates
  • Package of napkins
  • Package of eating utensils
  • Package of paper cups
  • Garbage bags and ties for the disposal of used items

As much as I hate to use disposables, there is a strong likelihood that water for cleaning will become quite precious following a disaster.  Even if you normally shun paper goods, it is prudent, in fact necessary, to put aside a supply of paper plates, napkins, cups, and plastic eating utensils for emergency purposes.

You are also going to want to purchase a supply of garbage bags so that you have someplace to store the garbage and the used and dirtied items until things get back to normal.  Personally, I prefer tall, kitchen type bags but you may prefer the larger, garbage can sized bags.  Whatever you decide, be sure to take the time now to look around your home and property and to identify a location where you can store excess garbage if normal collection methods are shut down for a while.

These are the basics.  And although we have covered these items in the past, double check that you do indeed have a manual can opener, a sharp, all-purpose knife, and some paper towels as well.

But there is more.  For extra credit, think about what you would need if you had to cook outdoors.  Perhaps a rocket stove (you can build your own!) or grill that burns wood or biomass?  How about some waterproof matches or a Zippo lighter?  If you have room in the budget, think about these things now and add them to your month 11 purchases.


  • Exchange work, home, and emergency contact phone numbers and email addresses with family neighbors for use during an emergency

Neighbors helping neighbors is an important part of emergency and disaster preparedness.  This is not to say that you are going to have to provide for your neighbors, after all, they need to provide for their own basics of food, water, and first aid supplies.  On the other hand, when something bad happens (that “disruptive event” I spoke of) you will want to get in touch with your neighbors and of course, you would want them to get in touch with you as well.

Think about this. You are at work and you receive a news alert indicating that there is a fire in what appears to be your neighborhood.  Who do you call?  Is it your house?  Is it the house next door?  What about your children and pets?  Are they safe?

Although this is a simplistic (yet dreadful) example, having neighbors that are able to contact you directly or that can pass your contact information on to first responders will go a long way toward keeping panic and fear at bay.

Your only task this month is to contact your neighbors and exchange emergency contact information for use in an emergency.  Telephone numbers, cell phone numbers and email addresses should be gathered and stored in a safe place in both printed and electronic format on a hard disk, smartphone (if you have one) or flash drive.

Now I know that these days, with OPSEC and all, the idea of neighbors helping neighbors is becoming unpopular.  I challenge you, though, this month, to look at this from the standpoint of YOU being the one in need.  Wouldn’t you want someone to contact you?


The Final Word

Although the purchases and tasks this month seem like no-brainers, they are critical to putting together a complete preparedness plan for you and your loved ones.  Furthermore, although the words “disasters can and do happen to ordinary folks” has become a time-worn cliché, it is true.  Disruptive events and disasters happen to anyone and everyone, rich or poor, young or old, urban or rural.

The best we can do is take steps now to prepare for the unexpected.  Remember:  You are responsible for your own preparedness. No one else will do it for you.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!  In addition, SUBSCRIBE to email updates and receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Bargain Bin:  Today I share a few of the items that are part of my personal preparedness kit.  These items were acquired slowly and over time, in much the same manner as everything else in 12 Months of Prepping.

GI P38 & P51 Can Opener Combo Pack (Made in the USA):  This is one of the army’s greatest tools. Can be used for dozens of jobs. Makes a great can opener, cutting edge, groove cleaner, screw drive, clean fingernails, open seams and many, many more practical uses.

can opener_0

Coghlan’s Waterproof Matches 10-pack: That is a good deal for 400 waterproof matches.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: FAVORITE! Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.  Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too.

Zippo Brushed Chrome Pocket Lighter: When it comes to lighters, the Zippo is ubiquitous. They are refillable and have a “fix it for free” live time guarantee.  Everyone should have at least one Zippo!

LifeStraw Personal Water Filter:  The LifeStraw is considered the most advanced, compact, ultralight personal water filter available. It contains no chemicals or iodinated resin, no batteries and no moving parts to break or wear out.  It weighs only 2oz. making it perfect for the prepper. There is also a larger sized LifeStraw Family currently available with free shipping.

On Duty Emergency Gas & Water Shutoff 4-n-1 Tool: This 4 in 1 Emergency Tool was designed and tested by professional firefighters. It is light-weight, heavy duty, and easy-to-use for shutting off gas and water.  Plus, it can be used to pry open doors and dig through debris.

Kingston Digital DataTraveler 16GB USB:  I have learned the hard way that thumb drives with plastic key ring holders break.  I store a backup of my contact list and Outlook data file on a flash drive along with encrypted documents and my password list.  There are photos and survival books in PDF format.  You will be amazed at how much you can store on an 8GB or 16GB flash drive.  They are dirt cheap too.

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8 Responses to “12 Months of Prepping: Month Eleven”

  1. Hi Gaye, I like the emphasis on paper plates and cups, rather than just disposables. We camp with some people now and then who are dedicated burners of food cans and trash, but they insist on bringing plastic plates and cups. I despise sitting around a campfire breathing in the delicate aroma of burning plastic.

    A family member of theirs chewed them out a few years ago over burning plastic, but it accomplished nothing except create bad feelings. We now bring our own disposables and burn them, and they are all paper. At least we aren’t contributing to the burned plastic.

    I think that in any disruptive event longer than a very few days, people will be far better off burning what they can rather than bagging and piling up the bags. Food remains on disposable plates, cutlery, and in cans would be a terrible attraction for rats, mice, raccoons, cats, and dogs. The latter may not be in themselves a health problem, but they will tear apart the trash bags and strew the area with food covered trash.

    Burning wouldn’t accomplish much in cities as there is always far too much of it whenever there is a garbage department strike, but in the suburbs or rural areas it would go a long way toward preventing an explosion of rodents and their diseases, and keeping the smells down. Who needs to live surrounded with rotting food remains? Burning will create smoke, but that is better than rats, flies, disease, and the stench of rot. Paper goods are much better than plastic- although burning plastic might well be better than not burning it.

    Now that you have made me think about it, a metal trash barrel for burning trash would be a good addition for some people’s preps. We already have a couple small ones we use for scrap lumber which would be easy to use if trash collection stopped for a while. Poking a few holes around the bottom edges would improve the air draw a lot. Thanks for getting my brain working this morning1

    • This made me remember the burn barrels from when I was young. They had holes, but not at the bottom. Must have been up about 6 inches and just above that, there was some sort of grate to catch the garbage before burning. It also allowed the ash to filter down to the ground, where a door was. This door provided access to the ash which could in turn be used for fertilizer, make soap and other uses. Depending on location, a 55 gallon metal barrel would work, or different size garbage cans, though since most of those are aluminum, they may not hold up to the many fires. Just something additionally to consider. Yes, I would be burning cans to for sanitary reasons as you have said.

  2. I know this is odd, but something to consider. I bought a plastic owl. When I first saw him I thought he was cute. I sorta wanted him, but couldn’t think of a reason to justify the purchase. Then I remembered field mice and squirrels. When it gets cold, my garage becomes a haven for field mice. I tried poison blocks, they liked them so much they stashed them in their nesting space. Hopefully, my owl will scare the mice back to the fields and perhaps he will scare away the squirrels that steal my pears every year. But primarily I got this to protect preps.

    • Great idea! Any bird of prey ‘roosting’ in a garage or shed might work. So any ideas about how to keep the coons out?

    • Hi Dee, the best thing I know of is a galvanized metal garbage can with a tight fitting lid. You might need to tie the lid down, which would be easy enough as the cans have two handles, and the tops have one through which you can pass a rope or bungee cord. Raccoons might get a bungee off, though.

      I just looked at Amazon for ‘galvanized trash can” and there are a variety of sizes and prices.

  3. Adding to your list. Coffee filters. I don’t drink coffee, but I was given some by a friend who was moving. I couldn’t think what I could use them for. Well, over the past year, I’ve been discovering many ways to use them. Not just one size, on my list, I now have to discover and buy as many different sizes as I can find. These filters work great for a preliminary filter for water, for used cooking oil or grease and even the small ones for straining my herbal teas; to put as a cover for your plant pots drainage holes before filling with soil; to use as cheesecloth when doing my vinegar/oil infusions; and those are just the ones off the top of my head.
    It pays this time of year to have these disposables on a list to buy now in this holiday season, often, there are sales on them and again in the summer. Take the times when sales are on, to buy so you have more $$ to spend elsewhere.
    When it comes to waste, as preppers, are you already recycling and reusing? If not, begin. So you have lots of paper products being used due to holding on to precious water supplies, those products can be separated into compostibles, tinder for fires, etc. We’ve been practicing this last year and found our waste is much reduced this way. Human and animal waste? Even those can be recycled if you are willing to learn how. If anyone can remember watching tv when there would be a garbage strike somewhere, you know waste can build up quickly, the more you can reuse, recycle and spread out, the less area will be needed for those trash bags. That is not to say you won’t need those bags. I have some of varying sizes because even those may become a premium bartering item. Even my plastic grocery bags (I have reusables mostly, but still get those too)we have begun to find ways of reusing and re-purposing.
    Finally, do you have a neighbor or are you the one who stays home most of the time? When you know your neighbors as Gaye has described, this can become the focus of the neighborhood to use as a rallying point. So you’re away from home, you have family, children etc. Do you really want your children coming home to an empty house, where you may not be able to reach them so they can survive? Hopefully it would be someone who is centrally located in the area but the key is a focus person to rally around and THEN disperse as people gather together. I have seen this work. It’s not a new concept, just one which has been forgotten over time.
    In this spirit of giving thanks. I just want to thank you Gaye, for all you do to keep this blog going. It’s a lot of work, THANK YOU.

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