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When I first got terrified into prepping, I was a new father. I am very thoughtful in how I present that first sentence. I was terrified into prepping. A long-running history about the fear of the end of it all, coupled with being a new husband and father pushed me into the prepping world. I landed into the prepping world not on my feet but on my head. In fact, I felt like a wet rag on spin cycle.
All the early mistakes you could make, I made them. One of the first things I purchased was silver. I look back on that and just laugh. I was certain the American dollar would be devalued in a year and we were going to be using silver to buy food.
The hard-red wheat came next. Everything I read talked about the importance of this red wheat. I was so malleable and scared. I was just filling holes. The read wheat arrived in a “Super pail.” I remember looking it over and cocking my head. It was a moment when I realized that I had to slow down.
After a few years, I found myself on a well-worn path. I knew my prepping direction and I felt like I was close to meeting my preparedness goals and get back to my career and my life, at the time. For anyone who has been prepping for a long time, you have likely broken through to the other side. You have reached journeyman status and you realize that prepping is but one piece of a greater calling.
Because of this journey its hard to look into the world of a single prepper and know what they are working on or what they are trying to accomplish. It brought me to the writing of this article and determining some important winter projects for preppers.
Theme your Preparedness Future
We all need motivation. While prepping can come on hot and heavy it doesn’t take long for the tentacles of complacency to weave their way into your life. There is just so much to worry about. There are lots of little fires to put out and we can fall victim to that overwhelming feeling.
The winter brings on lots of thinking time. Whether you are faced with feet of snow or just cooler temperatures, things slow down in the winter. It’s a great time for planning. There is something so inviting about hot coffee, a notepad, and a fireplace burning.
About a year ago I started theming out my shows on I AM Liberty to create something for my listeners to hold onto week to week. What I quickly found out was that theming helped with my personal preparedness goals and duties, as well. It was a great way to cut up the responsibilities and processes so that they could all be touched on in a years’ time.
Having a month dedicated to personal financial preparedness really pushes you to dig in. Instead of spending a weekend or a few days, maximum, on things like an emergency fund or preparing for a personal financial crisis, give it a month.
Some of my favorite themes are as follows:
- Workplace Preparedness
- Community Prep
- Fitness Prep
- EDC and Urban Prep
Then I wrap the year up with a December on preparedness review. It’s a time to look back. I find several things that are glaring and need improvement from those months. Now I know this method won’t work for everyone, but it makes a huge difference for an airhead like me!
This winter, spend some time theming out 2019.
Another great prepper goal for winter is to look at how your preps are organized. While I would never claim to have the best answer, it seems that categorized Rubbermaid containers can make a great home for preps. They are light, cheap and easy to stack.
They come in a variety of sizes which make them ideal for all sorts of collections and categories. To give you an idea of what categories can be piled into these bins I will list a few:
- POWER (power supplies, batteries, solar bits)
- LIGHTS (candles, flashlights, headlamps)
- FIRST AID
- SKIN CARE (lotions, bug spray, ointment, sunscreen)
You can even gather items up that are specific to a certain threat. The pandemic kit is a great example of this. It can allow you to store everything you might need to create an in-home quarantine or just prepare for going outside during an outbreak.
Having all these items in one spot is priceless.
I use masking tape and a marker to “label” them and this assures that I can reuse each container over and over again. Another incredible benefit to this method is having the ability to pack all these preps up in a matter of minutes. You grab all of your containers and they can be transferred to a bugout vehicle or in an evacuation scenario.
If you take the time to categorize and organize preps you are going to see benefits in ease of access, mobility and you will even save space for more preps!
Hard Copy Paper Plans
There may be no other preparedness project on this list more important than creating hard copy paper plans. It’s something that I hear a lot of preppers talk about, but I don’t know how many people really take the time to knock it out.
Of course, I can understand why it doesn’t happen. We are busy people. Time is short and it’s hard to understand the value of these hard copy paper plans until you need them. That means they are often left on the lower part of the to-do list. It’s much more exciting to do things like purchase fancy gear or put away food storage.
It all starts with a binder and some dividers. Yes, we are going back to binders in 2019. It’s not the most technical method and it’s not the most impressive but I have not found anything that gets the job done like a good three-ring binder.
You are going to create documents that are designed to address you and your family’s needs in times of disaster or for drilling disaster recovery or reaction. On Microsoft Word, I have found a format called Polished Resume and it translates very well. The sections can be modified and used to address a number of different subsections in a particular plan.
This might not work for you, but I wanted to give you a starting point. It’s a lot better than just looking at a blank sheet and wondering:
“Where do I start?”
The basic layout or sections that I like to include are as follows and you can see them pictured above
- Short Description of Plan
- Immediate Response or Action
- Items Needed
- Duties for Each Family Member
While you might spend a lot of time reading about preparedness and working on skills, not everyone in your family will have the same enthusiasm. These plans can act as a primer for someone who is out of the loop. So, my final piece of advice is to write them in a way that anyone can understand and act on.
Create an Evacuation Safe
Evacuation has taken center stage in terms of disaster preparedness, as of late. From the hurricanes to the wildfires to the erupting volcano in Hawaii, we have seen people thrust from there homes with their lives in the balance.
In the case of the wildfires, some people had only minutes to react. This meant there was no time to consider what to grab and what to leave behind. Instead, it was a matter of getting clothes on and getting to safety.
What if you were faced with a necessary evacuation in the next 5 minutes. Would you be prepared to leave, take the necessary items and move to a safe location until the emergency was over?
Evacuation is a very important part of the prepping process, but it has been overshadowed by the idea of the bugout. These are two very different things. I want to offer you up an evacuation project that you can complete this winter and will help make evacuation easier.
I want you to create an evacuation safe.
This is merely a small safe or a fireproof document bag, that is filled with a lot of the necessary ingredients for a successful evacuation. If you want to spend $50 on the safe for this project you will get a hardened layer of protection for your documents and other items. If you are on a tighter budget, look into silicone fire bags that can protect your documents as well. These go for around $12 dollars. They might limit what you can store inside a bit but its certainly going to help in the long run.
I prefer the safe because of the other things that you can store, safely, within.
Evacuation Safe Contents
- Insurances Docs
- Marriage Certificates
- Important Medical Info
- Back Up Prescriptions
- Some Method of Self Defense
While this safe will not address all the issues or all the items you should take with you, it will save you precious time if you are ever faced with a moments notice evacuation. Imagine just grabbing this safe and throwing it in the car or slipping it into a backpack. There is a lot of power in knowing all your important information is in one place in the worst-case scenario.
Don’t let the winter be a time to hibernate. There are tons of ways that you can spend your time with disaster preparedness in mind. We have discussed a mere four projects that you can undertake in the winter. There are many more and, of course, there are going to be projects that are unique to you.
Winter is also a great time to build relationships. I think one of the most overlooked opportunities is harnessing the skills and expertise of people in our neighborhoods. Winter is a great time to start building the fundamental relationships that will stitch everything together when times are at their worst.
I guess the overall message in this article is not about the DIY projects themselves. While they will offer you tremendous benefits in the face of disaster or calamity of any kind, its more about staying busy. We are creatures that operate on momentum. Just ask anyone who has retired and slowed the machine down.
If you can keep that prepper momentum rolling, you will be amazed at how many hurdles you can jump in a year’s time. It’s not as much about money or support as many people make it out to be. It’s those little steps that keep the momentum building.
I liken my prepping and survival journey to the myth of Sisyphus. I am pushing the boulder every day and when I feel like I have made it to the top, and its time to sit down and take a break, the boulder falls down the other side of the mountain. Then its back to work.
James Walton is the host of the I AM Liberty Show (www.iamlibertyshow.com) a podcast about 21st-century freedom. He is a freelance writer in the prepping and survival niche and likes to keep a healthy balance between prepping and enjoying life.