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The All New 12 Months of Prepping – One Month at a Time

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
The All New 12 Months of Prepping – One Month at a Time

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Sometimes we all need to go back to the beginning to regroup, redefine and start over with a new perspective

Back in 2011, when I first wrote about 12 Months of Prepping, I was excited and highly motivated to share monthly checklists with the beginning prepper.  At the time I was somewhat of a newbie prepper myself, and being studious and industrious by nature, I read a lot, planned a lot and spent a good deal of time stocking my supply pantry with goods and gear.

All New 12 Months of Prepping

It was right about this time that the term “prepper” started to enter the mainstream.  Of course this was pre-2012 and the deadline for the apocalyptic prophecies of 2012 loomed ahead.

A lot has changed since then.  Preppers are now a force to be contended with, so much so that they have been defined by Wikipedia as:

“A group of individuals who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. They often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreat or an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.”

Who Are the Preppers?

In reading the comments on Backdoor Survival as well as the many emails that are sent to me from new and old followers alike, I have learned that Preppers are young and old, male and female, employed and not.  They are truly a cross-section of humanity, not only in North America but throughout the world.

Businesses large and small have jumped into the foray, offering products and services designed to capture the attention of this large group who seeks solutions in their quest for self-sufficiency.  Sadly, many of these business are preying on fear, while hawking overpriced goods and info-products that proclaim doomsday is right around the corner – unless, of course, you whip out your Visa card and spend your hard earned money on their products.

Okay, I admit to being a bit facetious but not by much, since I too have fallen for the occasional marketing ploy.

So where are we now? It is humbling to realize that while I now have a lot of stuff, there are still some gaps in my skill set, my gear and my personal knowledge bank.  It is logical for me to assume that you feel the same way.

Getting Prepared – One Month at a Time

You might say that 12 Months of Prepping – One Month At a Time has been a signature series for this website.  That said, it is a bit dated and dare I say, long in the tooth.  Not only that, there were ultimately 14 months with the later two somehow dropping off into oblivion.

And so, as I mentioned in my New Years Day recap of the Best of 2013, I am embarking on a re-launch of the “Getting Prepared Series”.  The plan is to start over with month number one and see where it takes us.

Some things are certain.  Each month will continue to break things down into manageable chunks that do not overwhelm and do not foster frustration and the “P” word, procrastination.  In addition, each month will include a new section for advanced tasks and skills.  These are the extra credit items that you can choose to do in month one or come back to in year number 2.

So What About Those Missing Months?

That is a dilemma.  Rather than losing them, I am sharing them below and will re-introduce them again in the monthly “advanced section” along with other useful tasks. projects and skills.


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 13: Taking Your Preparedness Plan to the Next Level


  • Dried Beans – 1 pound per person
  • White Rice – 1 pound per person
  • Solar battery charger
  • Rechargeable batteries for your flashlights
  • Add a minimum of 3 gallons of water per person and per pet to your existing supplies


  • Evaluate what types of disaster or crisis may occur in your area or in your life
  • Perform a walk-around inventory of your home and using the list compiled above, take steps to mitigate damage if a disaster should occur
  • Examine your financial resources and evaluate how long you could survival without an income from your job of other sources
  • Plan what to do in the event you must evacuate your home
  • Update your emergency contact list


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 14: Emergency Water Shut Off and Practice for Grid Down


  • Dry pasta – 2 pounds per person
  • Toilet Paper – 3  (or more) rolls per person
  • Trauma supplies for your first aid kit
  • Add $100 to your emergency cash fund


  • Practice shutting off your water supply
  • Spend 8 hours without power, water, gas, computers and cellphones

Ready, Set, Let’s Get Prepared Together

I am not an expert.  I have not gone to survival school and I do not have a PhD is bushcraft or bugging out.  Instead, like you, I am an ordinary person that strives to decrease my dependence on others so that I can provide for my own basic needs.

Do things always turn out well?  Of course not.  I have more than my share of bloopers and foolish purchases.  I have days (months?) when my survival gear has not be utilized and tested, leaving myself open to equipment failure just when I need it most.  Sometimes I give up in frustration and say enough is enough.

So you see, like you, I sometimes take a step backward to move 3 steps forward.  I learn from every stumble and expand my knowledge with each mistake.   And as trite as it sounds, I hope that what I learn, what I do and what I share will make the road to self-reliance just a bit easier for the next person.

The Final Word

As individuals, we can not prevent a natural disaster nor can we single-handedly stop the wave of economic collapse that is sweeping the globe.  What we can do is reduce our reliance on others and take steps to provide our own food, water, shelter, first aid and personal defense.

That is what we do here at Backdoor Survival.  So let’s pull on those hiking boots and start anew as we journey toward the all new 12 Months of Prepping, One Month at a Time.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

New:  Click Here To Vote For Me at Top Prepper Websites!

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Bargain Bin: I have cleared the decks and come up the assortment of items I felt were the most important for my needs when the power is out and we are grid down.  Keep in mind that this is my list; yours may be different.  Also, for the most part, this is a hunker-down list and not a hit-the-road and bug out list.

Emergency Radio:  My old Kaito died right when I needed it so now I have two: the compact Kaito Voyager V1 and the Ambient Weather Compact Emergency Radio. While both have lots of features, my primary interest is in using them as a solar/crank radio.

BaoFeng UV-5R  Dual-Band Ham Radio: Redundancy is the name of the game.  I also have two of these inexpensive Ham radios.  Keep in mind that if you are just planning to listen, you do not need a license (I am still working on mine).  The price is right.  Also consider the NAGOYA Antenna for BAOFENG UV-5R.

Mr. Heater Portable “Big Buddy” Heater:  Using propane and safe for indoor use, the Big Buddy Heater features an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system that automatically turns the unit off before carbon monoxide fumes reach dangerous levels in home.

Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stove:  This Coleman One-burner Propane Stove is an easy-to-use portable stove that should meet almost any camp cooking need. The PerfectFlow regulator provides consistent cooking performance by producing a steady fuel stream, even in cold weather, high altitudes, or when fuel is low. Equipped with one 10,000 BTU burner, this fully adjustable stove will last for 2.2 hours on high or up to nine hours on low.

Coleman Rugged Battery Powered Lantern: This sturdy Coleman has a runtime of up to 28 hours on the low setting and 18 hours on the high setting but does require D cell batteries. Personally, I have both a battery operated and propane lantern. Of course by now you know that I like redundancy with my preps.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price. Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant. I can not recommend these enough.

BIC Disposable Classic Lighters:  This six pack of Bic lighters is reasonably priced but check around since these often go on sale locally.  BICs just work – every time.

Eveready 3-LED 6Volt Floating Lantern (battery included): If you are planning to build a 2000-hour flashlight (and you should) this is the one that you need.

Clear Mist Emergency Candles :  Also available at Emergency Essentials (see below).

Amusements:  My favorites are Canasta playing cards and the Ticket To Ride board game.

The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage:  My e-book will provide you with everything you need to create an affordable food storage plan, including what to buy and how to store it. Nothing scary and nothing overwhelming – you really can do this!  Now available at Amazon.


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Although I have plenty of flashlights and batteries, I also stay stocked up with a dozen of these Clear Mist 100 Hour Plus Emergency Candles as well.  For the best deal, purchase a dozen at a time to get a discounted price.  Be sure to also check out the Clear Globe attachment.

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11 Responses to “The All New 12 Months of Prepping – One Month at a Time”

  1. Dear Gaye,

    Thanks in advance for updating and posting the “New 12 Months of Prepping” series. It is just what I need to get back on track and reorganize things … I look forward to it.

  2. I hope this works. Here’s the info on states’ law and rainwater collection.

    Since Oregon allows for alternate methods of construction of rainwater harvesting systems, the Oregon Building Codes Division (BCD) created methods for both potable and non-potable systems. Oregon Revised Statute §455.060
    Senate Bill 79, passed in 2009, directs the BCD to increase energy efficiency, by including rainwater harvesting, in new and repaired buildings.
    Potable Alternate Method
    Non-Potable Alternate Method
    Oregon Smart Guide – Rainwater Harvesting”

  3. It’s illegal to store rainwater in Oregon? Wow. That’s just bizarre.

    That prepping thing you’re doing, Katrina Worley, does sound like fun. And, makes more sense than going on a simple scavenger hunt that seems to be so popular these days. I’ve seen young people playing scavenger hunt a few times. They look around for a pre-hidden something or other in places such as parking lots. They look kind of funny doing it.

    That’s pretty impressive about your 14yr. old.

  4. Dear Gaye;

    I wanted to say how much I enjoy your site. Everyone in my household is on board with being self reliance. I have only been prepping extra food at this time but also trying to learn new skills. I am a gardener. Been learning more on how to do it organically. Every year I look forward to spring to try something new. I also have backyard chickens and love the eggs. I will never go back to store bought eggs again. I have been learning how to shot guns and not depend on my husband to load and clean them either. I also try to learn new and inexpensive ways to make my own survival stuff. I love crafts so this makes it even more fun. I make my own fire starters, candles, and hobbo stoves. I also make survival bracelets, key chains and many more things out of the 550 cord. Enough about me. The real reason I was writing to you, is to tell you what my daughter (14 years old) wants to do to prepare.

    This spring she wants to go out into the middle of the woods (with her aunt for adult supervision) and be left there for 3 days with only her bug out bag (minus the food) and her .22 rifle for getting surviving off the land.

    She also this summer wants us to turn off the power and water to the house. Turn off our cell phones, and pretend for one week that the grid went down. We have to set an alarm now for when it starts because we are allowing 1 hour to prep for it. That means in the 1 hour we have to pretend the SHTF and gather as much water and anything else we need for the week. We are not aloud to go to the store and we can only use the gas that we already have in our cars or stored away. One exception. My husband still has to work. Can’t get out of that one. I think it will be fun but I do worry about my garden since we will have no water to water it. Here in Oregon it is illegal to store rain water so I will have to think outside of the box on that one.

    Anyway. Again thank you about reading about my family and I enjoy your articles. In college I have wrote a few prepper articles myself that earned all As and turned my english teacher into a prepper. Some called Prepare America, Disaster Kit, Do You Have One, Our Second Amendment, TEOTWAWKI, and a practicum about the government not liking preppers. If you are ever interested in reading them just let me know.

    Katrina Worley

  5. As we prepare, we come across new info, evaluate whether it will work for us and keep preparing. I recently read an article suggesting a difference between a 72 hour kit vs a Bug Out Bag. I hadn’t thought about it— the former is for rapid evac with the idea you will probably be returning. The latter if you have to leave your home with possibly no return for a longer period; so it will be heavier with more rugged items inside. I’m now separating and building each, depending on what event comes my way.
    Secondly, you mentioned toilet paper. I’m rethinking. That’s a lot of TP to store no matter how you look at it. Not only that, it can be more of a fire hazard than one might think, given in a fire. And, if like me, a water pipe bursts, if the toilet paper gets wet, then what?? So, though the idea is taking some getting used to, I’m making some ‘family cloths.’ These are reusable cloths; made from recycling old tshirts, towels, flannels of all sorts; to use for cleaning the bum. I had forgotten how while at home, when my children were young, I would use cloth diapers at home and disposables when out and about. So I’m making three layer ones and packaging them in a dozen, then putting them in ziplocs. A little sewing is needed but whether done by hand or by machine, at least they will be reusable. Me? I personally will have some for each person so I’m probably going to color code the thread used. One color per person. Maybe even making it so each person cleans their own. I plan a diaper pail with a lid, maybe one of those stainless steel ones used for kitchen garbage to store the ‘spent’ ones until full, then launder.
    I still plan to store some toilet paper, but I have limited storage, so this may work better for me. I’m also planning an “emergency drill” to see how they work too.

    • Last night as I was doing my 3AM potty run I was thinking the same thing: cutting up old clothing or rags to use if TP is not available. What I had not thought of is a diaper pail for the soiled rags. What a great idea. Perhaps an extra tote-able toilet will work since it has a hinged lid. That coupled with a mobile washer would be perfect.

    • I like the mobile washer for so many reasons even at home. Just a remind, bleach (as in clorox) in toxic to our Earth so soaking in vinegar achieve the anti bacterial and keeping the smell down. In addition, considering the personal according to family members. At least to small, medium and large, for children or those with small hands, etc, etc.
      Gaye those potty runs in the early am—perhaps that’s why seasoned and marinated people have them—it’s their creative time. lol

    • I remember when I was a poor college student back in the 70s. My sister and I could not afford to go to the Laundromat so we drew water in the tub, poured in a bit of laundry soap and used a plunger to agitate the clothing. Worked well. Rinsing and wringing out the water was the worst part of the whole process!

  6. Hi Gaye,

    Maybe i missed it but when are you starting the NEW 12 MONTHS series? I want to forward those posts to my kids. I have tip-toed around their feelings abt this long enough. I’m just going to send it to them, they can do what they want with it. Maybe something will click !


    • Karen – I expect to have month one ready within a week or two. I may actually post the first two months in February in order to get on track with the calendar year.

      Good luck with the kids. I know that many parents are actually prepping for their children (near and far) to help them get started. My family does not prep if that makes you feel any better.

    • Karen – I gave my children Emergency Essentials 6 gallon toilet filled with sanitation supplies for Christmas this last year. Some are on board, some think they are prepped and some just smiling at their Mom. This month they received the 12th month before Christmas 5 gallon bucket (for 72 hour BOB or BIB) and binder filled with info on how to prepare for natural disasters. This week I sent them the post on the 72 Things that Can and Will Go Wrong in a Disaster and asked them to pass it on. I plan on having fun with them this year

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