New Preppers – Where to Begin

By  Michele O

I’ve noticed a lot of new preppers on the site lately, and I wonder if there are any, who like me when I started, are so overwhelmed they don’t know where to start. So, if you fit this description, I’m going to give you some sound advice, and I’m sure the rest of the pack will add great advice in the comments.

First of all JUST DO IT! When you go to the grocery store, buy extras of what you already eat. Get as many extras as you can afford, and store it – preferably someplace cool. Living in an apartment with no room for storage? What about in boxes underneath the beds? Food beats dust bunnies any day. Be creative. Use an old trunk for a coffee table and store food in there. Cover boxes of food with lovely fabric, place a lamp on top – end tables!

Next, look around this site. There is a wealth of information here. Start with M.D.’s articles 10 things to do now, and 10 more things to do now . When you find articles of great value – PRINT THEM. Binders are really cheap at the moment with the back to school sales. If we have an EMP event, we will lose electricity, possibly for months or YEARS. If there is a major pandemic, we could also lose electricity, as many people may choose to stay home rather than go to work and risk their lives and those of their family. Many other SHTF (SH!% Hits The Fan) scenarios also include the loss of electricity. There are also many great books out there – M.D. has recently published 31 Days to Survival – A complete plan for surviving TEOTWAWKI, which contains a lot of great advice for new preppers.

The library, another wealth of information – and free. Learn about edible and medicinal plants in your area. Remember those cheap school supplies? Buy a couple of notebooks and keep notes. Make it a priority to notice edible plants when you walk the dog, and/or make it a family game. Dandelions, for one, are very nutritious and are everywhere.

Get a free food storage calculator, like the one here: Don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of food needed, slow but sure wins the race (but make sure you are at least entered in the race – don’t wait). Start with working on a 3 month supply, unless you have lots of disposable income. If you do, go to Emergency Essentials, or COSTCO or Shelf-Reliance, or… and buy a one year or more supply of food for each member of your family. Somehow, I’m thinking that most of us do not have that much extra cash lying around.

Don’t talk about your food stores to anyone. When people get hungry, they WILL remember you.

While it is important to have a way to protect your supplies, do NOT go out and buy a million guns at the expense of storing food. You can’t eat bullets, and most of us who do have a good supply of food have guns as well. Further, we spend a great deal of time practicing and have worked out good scenarios to protect our stores. If this is a priority for you, read the many great articles on this site. Find the best for you gun and buy it and get 500-1000 rounds of ammo for it. You can always buy more guns AFTER you have food to feed your family.

Find alternate sources for safe drinking water. Safe water could also go the way of electricity in an EMP or pandemic. One gallon of water per person is recommended, however, remember, if you are cooking up dried beans and grains, etc., you will use more water.

If your life depends on prescriptions, either try to store extras, or find medicinal plants that can do the same thing. Don’t forget things like Kaopectate, OTC pain meds (like aspirin), etc. Start a walking program to get in shape, and do everything you can to get healthy before TSHTF.

Define the REAL necessities and purchase those FIRST. Food and water are needed to sustain life. Try eating a year’s worth of toilet paper. Might be great for fiber content, probably a little low on life sustaining nutrition. It is not necessarily a fun thought, but “toilet paper” can be torn up rags, that are hand washed and re-used. Remember, before there were Pampers and Huggies, people used cloth diapers and washed them. Feminine products??? Where do you think the term “on the rag” came from?

Learn to garden. You can grow a lot of vegetables in pots if necessary. Dry extras in the sun if you don’t have a dehydrator or even if you so – the sun is free (bring them in at night if you get a lot of morning dew). Dehydrated vegetables take up less space than canned – just make sure they are really crunchy dry. Slice them thin for faster drying. You can use a nylon window screen to dry them on, and another to keep the bugs off or buy nylon window screen at places like Home Depot or Lowes and make a wooden frame with 1×1 boards.

I could go on and on, but too much information could overwhelm you. Remember, the Wolf Pack are here to support you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Now, it’s time for the rest of the pack to add their input for the new preppers – and most importantly – DO IT!


  1. Good words for the starter. Sometimes I forget that we are getting more and more people with us, which is good. The more that are prepped, the less victims we’ll have.

    The worst thing you can do is spend months waiting to get the perfect plan together before you get started.

  2. Great article for new preppers, and I never get tired of reading them!

  3. This is good advise. The best plan for food storage is to just buy extra of what folks already use. The two articles you cite (10 Things to Do Now and Another 10 Things to Do Now) were incredibly helpful when I first started prepping.

  4. Good article. I like the point that just start doing something.Some poeple may be intimidated by all of the list that we see on this site. There is no one size fits all formula to survival.Start out just buying extra food and figure out where to put it.Buy food that you already eat. You also don`t need a gun before you start stocking up on ammo. If you start buying ammo get some 22 and maybe a centerfire round that is you plan on buying soon anyway. Or maybe put a gun on lay away and start ammoing up for it before you have said gun.Like that nike ad just do it.

  5. GeorgeisLearning says:

    Thanks for the article. Great stuff.
    Had to laugh a bit at teh tolite paper having great fiber content but little nutrition. Depends on what one eats before using the tp I reckon lmfao
    sorry, God Im sick!

    On another note about being newer to prepping. I was working on making a wooden spoon. I was bringing the wood down some using my hatchet. Try working that hatchet for 15 min at a time and feel the burn in your arm.
    Don’t forget that exercise and muscle building and conditioning are good. 🙂 The spoon turned out pretty cool tbh. I was making it with my daughter shes 8, well she came in to check up on me every so often as I explained what I was doing.
    I told her next were going to make some arrow heads, so she gathered up some stones.
    She already knows how to make a decent bow, with some help ofc but shes getting the ideas. If something happens to me they have to know what to do.
    Shes a decent shot with the wrist rocket as well.

    Kinda off topic from your article but I think its a great information site

    the guy was in the Balkans during the war and lived to tell his story. Great stuff for beginners and vets. Hopefully all of us have already devoured his information if not, so glad I could bring it to you.

    Have a great day

    • GeorgeisLearning says:

      wanted to add a part after the spoon story. I also tried to start a friction fire. Was not able to get it done. will keep trying as my body recovers from the previous attempts 🙂 I was sweating like a fool . again I realized my endurance was not up to par. Florida , humidity, heat, and a 44 yr old makes for good lol’s while trying to start a friction fire.

      Anyone have any success with friction fires yet?
      ps love my striker that started it up right away with no issue.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Enjoyed reading the link, george. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Great advice for preppers just starting out. One thing I would like to add is just try different things when it comes to gardening. Most of the time there is some lesson we all can learn. We just need to get out into the yard to learn them.


  7. There could be a million thoughts on this topic, but when I got started (before Y2K) I devoted half my preps budget to durable goods such as clothing, bail-out bag, water containers, weapons, fire starters, tooth brushes, etc. These items will likely remain in like-new condition for years and do not need to be replaced while they are on the shelf.

    The other half of the budget was spent on long-term storage foods (e.g. rice, MRE’s, whatever could last 5-10 years or more). I focused on this kind of food so I wouldn’t have to be bothered with a rotation schedule for a very long time.

    After many months I had a good supply of both durable goods and long-term storage food. It’s a good feeling to reach this point, but it could be improved with a greater variety of food. I adjusted the budget to focus 100% on short-term consumables such as canned goods and medicines (typically things which have a 2 year shelf life). After several months of doing that I had a very nice stockpile and it was time to begin a rotation schedule.

    What worked for me might not work for others, but planning it out this way made sense given my situation, budget, goals, etc.

  8. Starter here. And yes, feeling overwhelmed. I started by accumulating basics like rice, salt, sugar, beans. I bought my first gun and plenty of ammo for it. Even started to accumulate some precious metals (silver for me, can’t afford much gold)

    But then as I read more, and thought more about the actual scenarios I might encounter I began to get confused, overwhelmed and stifled by those feelings.

    For starters, I can’t buy extras of what I regularly eat because I eat whole foods, meat, fish, vegetables, they go bad quickly. I typically buy food the day I eat it, a couple days in advance at the most. I guess that means learning more about prepared foods and how to make bread from wheat?

    I believe I’m set on water as I’m an avid backpacker, I have multiple water filtration and sterilization mechanisms, I have multiple gas stoves, a swimming pool and a Koi pond. But the food and the defense just leaves me confused and frustrated. Despite getting the gun, I can’t imagine using it on anything other than paper and I have no idea where to start on the food.

    I’ve given up prepping for any sort of apocalyptic scenario because I just don’t feel qualified. But living in earthquake country I’ve decided to focus on a medium-ish term power outage for now.

    I’m an engineer, I’m a big fan of “Plan the work, work the plan” thinking but I just seemed paralyzed on the plan-the-work part.

    Sorry, I realize I’m all over the place on this post.

    • Kevin,

      You can still eat real food and do long-term food storage. Learn how to can your own food. Learn how to make bread from freshly milled bread. I cheated and bought a bread machine. But that works given my busy schedule. The other thing is to learn to garden. Just work on acquiring one skill at a time.

    • Kevin,
      Welcome, and while you may have some thoughts of confusion and paralysis, you seem like you have made a very good start in a lot of ways and both your engineering and backpacking background should be very valuable. It sounds like you have your water needs pretty well taken care of, which is huge (but will the pond and pool stay filled after TSHTF?), and stocking up on basics is also great, even if it isn’t what you usually eat. I’d recommend dehydrated veggies, they aren’t as good as fresh, but they aren’t bad. Could you add catfish or other edible fish to the koi pond, and do you have room for a garden? What do you eat when backpacking-some of the things you use for that should work for you.
      I don’t know whether you ae talking about a handgun , rifle or shotgun, but I think the advice of others here with more experience than I have is to practice, practice, practice with the gun, think hard about the situations you would use it in, and if a bad situation arises, don’t pull it unless you’re willing and able to use it.
      Anyway, it seems to me like you have made progress and have a good foundation.
      Good luck.

    • Indiana joe says:

      kevin.. I’m about 6 mos into prepping and it does seem overwhelming at times.. Md and the pack are my inspiration….and having my family prepared. I have found to stick to one are and build up a months supply and then go the next and so on. Trying to do everything at once is expensive and confusing.. Not to mention discouraging when you feel inadequate. Keep on keeping on my friend and happy prepping!! Btw I recommend the book 31days to survival…it has really helped me in my I just now put my everyday bag together…!

    • Kevin,

      None of us start “qualified”. We were all just starting at one time.

      Yes, you will need to consider some additional foods that you normally do not currently eat – although I applaud your current diet, and a good diet will keep you healthy – which is another important thing you’re doing right.

      There are some wonderful companies who offer freeze dried foods, Emergency Essentials, Augason Farms and Shelf Reliance immediately come to mind – Shelf Reliance because I buy it and sell it (at cheaper prices than you can get on their website – and it still comes directly from the company to your door).

      • To the New Preppers of the pack: We dont like using credit but when it comes to being prepared we have done so to get a good
        start on food and it makes shipping easier also. We have used
        Emergency Essentials (and tell them you saw the recommendation on
        this website ) and their shipping is free or nominal and we have been very pleased with their service and products.M.s house and
        Provident taste exc. We also recommend the http://www.epi center for food. We also use our regular grocery stores,our garden and Bjs Warehouse. .Also stock up on water from your tap ,flashlights with renewable batteries and a battery charger .
        Exc books on prepping are also available. MDs are very good as well as inf from the LDS web site Any questions please ask.Arlene

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Welcome to The Pack, Kevin.

      Don’t be overwhelmed. Just take a deep breath and start sifting through the info, starting with what interests you most.

      First of all, living in earthquake country, you definitely DO NOT want to put all your eggs in one basket. You need another location – a like-minded relative, friend, private property (if you can afford one – a “BOL” (Bug Out Land). But you don’t have to BUY land – just find a like-minded person whom you trust. That may take time, but now is the time to work your contacts, if you don’t already have one.

      Given that you are concerned about whole foods, now is the time to learn to compost. Do you know how? There are posts on this site that teach you. Read them. Then go buy whatever you may need to get started. A hot compost is a good starter; you can do an internet search, but I just used a plastic trash can, holes drilled in sides (not bottom); a large bag of Ol’ Yeller Dog food (NEVER feed this to a dog!), a pile of dried leaves, an equal size pile of green grass clippings, thrown out green veggies from your local grocery (Whole Foods gives them away!), etc. Keep a balance of 50/50 brown and green. Keep this mixture moist, but not wet the entire time you are cooking it.

      Put all the “mess” in “holey” trash can; put lid on; secure lid with bungee cord. Turn on side and roll with feet twice a day for two weeks, adding moisture as needed to keep moist – not wet.

      In 2 weeks or less, you should have a good cook goin’ on. If you are a “natural eater”, then you already know you are making your own organic soil for growing your own food.

      When this gets ready, put it in a bigger container. You can buy a fancy one – I did that, and it lasted only 2 seasons; or, build one out of free wooden pallets – I was lucky enough to get oak. Yes, there are some folks who don’t like this because of the possibility of chemical treatments in the wood products. I find most of these are NOT treated wood; they are cheap to make and cheap to replace, so, why bother with “making them last”? Anyways, I love mine. We live in high heat and humidity 7-8 months a year, and it does not have an odor! Enough O2 gets in through slats, if you keep it refreshed, moist, and turned, no problem. If you let it sit there, unturned, and keep throwing “garbage” in, it will stink at some point.

      If you have not already stocked HEIRLOOM seeds of foods you’d actually eat after growing, NOW IS THE TIME, and you’re running out of time to get them. Not only because of the season, because of the times we’re in.

      I can send you a step-by-step tutorial on making your own whole grain bread, from grind to finish. I’ve sent it to a few folk on here. It’s a bit “long-winded”, but I wrote it for a single Dad friend of mine. He had no problem with his first attempt!

      If you would like instructions on bread, please email me: [email protected] – put your name (just the one here, please) in the subject line. (My address is an H, T, O as in Orange, I as in “In”, T, and A 2012 with no space between).

      We’re ALL here to help. Step back. Take a deep breath. Now email me if you want these bread instructions.

      Grace and peace,

      • If you decide to use pallets as walls why not have them do double duty as vertical gardens.

        And one pallet laid flat is a great and easy way to start learning gardening. Just lay a pallet flat and empty a bag or two of store bought compost onto it and work it all into the spaces between the slats. Then plant your salad garden. It’s almost an instant garden to learn on.

        You can recycle green onions as a way start to learning gardening. Just buy the ones with the most root on them and trim a bit more onion off with the roots. Stick it in a pot with some compost and before you know it you’ll have onions to pick. They can be “recycled” like this several times. This also works with regular onions even if you have sliced the root in half like I do when cutting onions. And in the right pot this onion garden makes a nice center piece on the kitchen table during the winter.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Kevin, I also have a “quick start” package on foods I can send you. See note to “New”, below. Email me if you want it.

    • Jennifer (Prepping Wife) says:

      I started because of my husband but really found my niche with it when I thought about our earthquake prone zone – it’s what got me started on teaching the kids about prepping too! Grab the earthquake inspiration by the horns and run with it! It’ll help get you where you need to be!

    • If you’re an avid backpacker you should have a dehydrator. Everything you don’t eat can be dehydrated and used later, much later if you vacuum seal it. Think of your food storage as month long backpacking trip and start there, but with weight not much as an issue 🙂

      Personally I make all my backpacking meals (the store bought ones are too expensive) so I buy a lot of tuna/beans/rice/ramen. Dehydrate lots of veggies and add them to the meals. I make jerky religiously as it’s my fav food and amazing on the trail. Hell I’ll even make extra when I cook and dehydrate the leftovers to use as a backpacking meal (spaghetti with meat sauce is awesome).

      Don’t worry about the gun, when the time comes and you have to defend your family, you won’t hesitate.

      If you want more defense, invest in a good security system, including windows. And a good dog is always a bonus.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      Please take a basic firearms course and a ‘practical’ course. Tactical level courses would be nice but at least get the basics. As a combat vet and ex-LEO, the last thing I want to do is shoot another human being. Good awareness and tactics can minimize that possibility but you must be prepared to use deadly force as a last resort.
      Take several tactical firearms classes. You fight/react as you train. The military and law enforcement don’t luck out and hire folks who can kill when necessary ….. they train them.

      • SurvivorDan says:

        Bad guys often ‘pick-up on” hesitation and reluctance on the part of good people like yourself. They also sense the determination, confidence of trained defenders. Your training/confidence and consequently how you deal with a serious social encounter may persuade your attackers to seek a ‘softer’ target. I have on many occasions, not had to kill folks because I was in command of the situation and they knew it. Good tactical firearms training may save some fool’s life because they may back off from an obviously prepared/trained defender and you won’t have to kill them. Food for thought….

        • Great advice Dan. Before I bought the handgun (2 actually) I hired a n ex LEO to provide me with some 1-1 training. But your right, the kind of training you mention would be very, very helpful.

          Its a wee bit ironic, I’ve put together many Disaster Recovery plans for the IT shops at which I’ve worked but until now I’ve never had one at home. Kinda silly.

          Again, thanks so much for taking the time to respond.


    • Kevin, many of us have been there. As for learning how to put food by, you said you were an ‘avid backpacker’. Have you ever used freeze-dried foods backpacking? Or dehydrated foods such as Mountain House? If you had a food dryer you could make that type of food yourself. Start off with individual ingredients such as buying celery, carrots, onions on sale. Wash them, cut in small pieces or slice thinly, then blanch by dropping veggies into boiling water, letting boil for a few minutes, drain and put in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dump on a cotton dishtowel to get rid of most of the water. Spread on the drying racks (use the mesh because when they are totally dry they will be so small as to drop through). Dry according to manufacturer’s directions. You want them very crisp. Let them cool to room temperature, place in a closed canning jar overnight. If in the morning there is moisture on the inside of the jar, you must continue drying as there is too much moisture to preserve them.

      My oldest son would cook a meal he liked such as Mexican Lasagna, then measure out a serving, put it on the solid rack (or use plastic wrap) – one serving per rack. Oh, he would first weigh the portion. When the meal was nice and crisp, he would break it into chunks and weigh it again. That way he knew how much water he needed to reconstitute the meal. He took these meals backpacking and they tasted better reconstituted than the best commercial meal. He even dried cooked scrambled eggs, cooked rice (makes instant rice) and potatoes.

      Besides drying, there are many other forms of preservation. Canning is another one. Or buying already canned foods. We all know eating fresh is best. If you have a sunny south window, you should be able to at least grow salad greens in the winter. You won’t know until you try.

      BTW, Michele, great article.

  9. As a newbie myself and a momma to 5 kids, 3 under 2, I also have moments of severe panic that it’s all too much, too sudden. I have gotten a start on food, a .22 and a 12 gauge, a little band aids, etc. but one thing that continues to evade me is suggestions for surgical stuff like scalpels etc. What do I get for things like this and from where? Also, if anyone has hints for a large family I would love you forever if you shared! My hubby is only half-way on so that is a little struggle but I think more and more he is seeing my position! Thanks!

    • New,

      I have a suggestion for a large family. Start by cutting your weekly food costs and use the money saved for food preps. Here’s a good article.

      You could also save by making your own laundry soap.

    • You can get sutures from vet suppliers on line. Yes, they are the same ones as they use in the hospital, at (Use MD’s link), probably on ebay, from emergency supplies companies – there are links on this page.

      Also I strongly encourage you to just ask when you have a question, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just need some calm advice – we’re here for you. It seems like everyone gets in on the weekend “What did you do to prep this week”. Post your question early Saturday and you should get a lot of responses.

    • New,
      Welcome, and hey, if you’re doing anything, and it sounds like you are, you’re making progress. A company called AD Surgical sells scalpels and related items for what sem to be very reasonable prices, but unless you know how to use them I think you’d be better off spending the money on other things.
      I can’t help with prepping for the little ones or for such a big family-my two are all grown up, more or less.

    • Newbie,,,,for scalpels and other medical supplies try
      of course another source is eBay and Amazon.,,,you are going to need clothes for those kids,,garage sales and Goodwill,,,if you have not gotten one yet,,your priority needs to be sometype of water filteration,,,and of course some water storage.

    • GeorgeisLearning says:

      ebay has lots of survival surgical kits available. I need to learn a bit of medical as well Knowledge of how to do that sort of thing would be key and a awesome barter skill.

      • Homeinsteader says:

        Be careful about buying this sort of thing off ebay, GeorgeisLearning. They are NOT all the same. Just know what you want and ask a lot of questions, if there is any doubt (and, yes, I’m an ebayer – have been for a lot of years).

    • I’m also a mom with four kids, not as young as yours, but I still understand the protection instinct that is driving your decision to prep.

      I’m new to prepping but with small children and little money, time or patience I would say start reading and learning new skills would be a good investment of time. Lots of drs and dentist appts I’m sure so use that time to read about survival, depression era recipes, etc. There are too many topics to mention like medical care, herbs, etc.

      I felt I should think about the basics. Food, learn about preserving food there are thousands of books you can get from the library about this. Water, we have city water but we are also having a well drilled. Shelter, hopefully that won’t be an issue. Fire, how to start a fire, light a fire without matches, how to waterproof matches. This is where I started and still so much to learn.

    • I have a few hemostats but no full blown surgical kit. Oddly I have often seen this stuff at flea markets. If you live in an area where they have these give one a try. One guy is selling salsa, the next booth over t-shirts and tube socks, the next one over scalpels, retractors, hemostats, etc. ?!?!

      If that doesn’t work I have found some nice military surgical kits for sale on for reasonable prices.

      But like I said I have never bothered to spend my limited resources on anything to purposely cut someone open, only to stop bleeding.

      Good Luck!!!

    • Hi New,

      I too wondered about ‘surgical stuff’. If you can find a gun show you maybe able to find what I did. I found a vendor selling small military type medical kits. While I didn’t have enough $ for the big ones, I did have enough for one of the smaller ones. It contained quite a bit of tools and while I’m adding more to my medic bag as I go, it was a great start!

      • Homeinsteader says:

        Check out this online site, ladies:

        Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy. They have a great book out, too.

      • You can check hospital/ surgical supply places local or find some online. I had a customer at work who bought a bulb at one to fix the lumbar support on her supra there. Cheaper and more acessable then a toyota part. Another thing, I was just on the lucky gunner website looking at z45 acp.Buying ammo online may be good for op sec.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Hello, New! Welcome to The Pack. Large family? Can you find a food co-op in your area? Great values. If not, you could start one, but, somehow, I don’t think you have the time and energy, with a large family..but I could be wrong!

      Do you have a Costco? Sam’s? Do you have a membership? If not, get one a.s.a.p. – they’re well worth the investment.

      When you go grocery shopping, try to add an extra jar of peanut butter or two. Mark the dates. Put it away. When you have to get it out, make sure you replace it with a new one. That’s prepping.

      When you go to the food club, buy a large bag of rice (while they’re still available and still cheap). Set it aside. If you have to get into it, buy another a.s.a.p. and replace it. That’s prepping.

      Actually, you should be EATING FROM your prep items. They should be the same food your family eats every day; just put it back as fast as you use it up.

      Start with just a couple of extra things…keep adding…make a list of what your family needs for one week…now how much will it take to add one week PLUS three (3) days of those items? That should be your goal – an extra three (3) days of everything you’ll need.

      When you reach the 3-day goal, reset the goal: to 7 days. When you reach 7 days, reset the goal: to one month. When you reach one month, reset the goal: 3 months; then 6; then one year….no need to be overwhelmed, hon, one step at a time.

      My DH (Dear Husband) was not onboard at all for a long time; now he is. He’s “seen the light” of what’s going on in our world and what it all means. He’s a true help to me now. Just be patient, go about our prepping quietly (just as everything else we do as ‘keepers of the home’), and he will come around. Just love him right where he is!

      There a SOOO many helpful links on this blog site. At the home page, look at all those blue links on your left. Now, pick one that interests you and start learning!

      When you have a specific question on a specific matter, ask it here; there is ALWAYS someone here who has the expertise and knowledge to answer it, or, tell you where you can find the answer.

      I do have a quick start package I can send you (DH and I teach prepping 101 to churches). If you’d like that, or my instructions on wheat bread, or anything else, email me: [email protected]
      (see my message above to Kevin if you need clarification).

      How do you eat an elephant? ONE bite at a time! ; )

      Blessings, dear one!

    • New, welcome to the Pack. You can buy surgical kits online and also at gun shows. I have also seen them at Army Surplus stores. You can buy sterile needles already threaded with the stitching material attached, sealed. You can sterilize instruments in a canning pressure cooker.

      With your small children, I would buy a food grinder (you turn the top to grind the food). That way you can make your own baby food. You can pull out some food before you season it if you want for the babies, and then season as the rest of your family likes (but don’t forget to lower the seasonings as you took some out). Grind up the babies’ food and you aren’t buying all those little containers. You are feeding them fresh, home cooked food. You can use the grinder for applesauce, pureed bananas and many other good food. Use a ice cube tray, fill each square for one serving, when frozen pop them out and put in a freezer bag.

      For a large family, a garden is a must, I would think. That is the most economical. You can also do as Michele said, buying twice as much each time you shop of foods you eat all the time. You will be surprised at how much you accumulate. Another hint is to keep track of how long a certain item lasts such as TP, toothpaste, diapers, etc. That way you can judge how much you need to buy to last 3 months, 6 months, a year.

      I would also suggest for your big family to join a food co-op or food buying club. You can save a lot of money that way as you will be paying just over wholesale prices. Call up a local health food store and ask if they know of any food co-ops in the area. Most college towns have them, as do most larger towns. But we live in the country and we found one here. You just have to do a bit of research.

      It can be overwhelming but if you do something every day, you will be ahead. Remember, you only eat an elephant one bite at a time. Do what you can today; keep track on paper what you have on hand; keep your supplies in the same general area – if you need to spread it out, keep track on paper WHERE you put it!

      Read M.D. ‘s 10 things and 10 more things. Great articles!

    • Homeinsteader says:

      One of the standards in the prepping world for learning survival medicine skill (for anyone!), is:

      Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy


      • Thank you everyone for the ideas! I really appreciate it. Love this group for the amazing community there is here.

  10. Agreed. And the second worst thing you can do is get so overwhelmed with the “bigness” of it that you don’t do anything (“analysis to paralysis”). Another good thing to do is talk to your grandparents or older family members. Many of these folks lived through the Great Depression and can tell you some helpful stories about how they got through it, and also share some skills that have been lost over the years as we’ve moved into the modern (automated, electronic) age.

  11. Thank you so much for this list. I’m very new to prepping and was so overwhelmed at the wealth of info that I had no idea where to start. Your best tip was “Just do it”. Thanks again

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Hello, Vicki! Welcome to The Pack. See my notes to Kevin and New, and email me if I can help you. Otherwise, just post questions here, there’s ALWAYS someone able and willing to help!


  12. SurvivorDan says:

    Well done Michelle! “First of all, just do it!” Says it all. Well written. To the point. Very nice job.


  13. Although I have been an overwhelmed but knowledgeable NEW Prepper for a couple of years now, I found your article entertaining and very useful. You are correct. There are more and more NEW preppers, many uneducated but realizing what is ahead WTSHTF.

    Yes and YES! To the binder or spirals for documentation.

    I loved your tidbit on drying fruits, veggies, herbs, etc. Gonna try it ASAP!

    Simple and Free things I do is rotate water gallon jugs. I sterilize and reuse Milk jugs & OJ jugs too. I date them and rotate them out (Water plants). Collect condiments and extra napkins when you eat out _ EVERY TIME – store the napkins in ziplocs. Don’t forget when you are traveling (if you can still afford to – to take all of those hotel items you pay for…soap, shampoo, even TP – YOU PAY FOR THEM – the same holds true for the hospital).

    START NOW practicing your couponing and shopping around for dry goods every week like you referenced. is a great tool. Publix may be expensive for regular shopping but I get so many FREEBIES using their BOGOs with coupons for canned goods, pasta, sauces, cereal, crackers, juice, first aid supplies, shampoo, soap, etc. The shelf life on Pasta & Rice is ridiculous -YEARS- buy it every week.

    CVS and other drug stores are also great for those kind of deals. BATTERIES! It is a little time consuming but get a routine down and it is well worth it.

    Invest in Rubbermaid bins if you plan to homestead it.

    We have a chest of drawers in the hallway with our BOB & Stuff plus more in the car and two routes to safety zones. We have a select few we discuss our plans with – including our food storage and protection.

    Something else to consider….WTSHTF…is all in the eyes of the beholder. My husband lost his job and was on unemployment and I was practicing this stock-up method and it helped ~ then the unemployment ran out…we had over three months stocked while he was still job hunting.

    I agree – JUST DO IT – Do a little something every week. Even if its just buying a bag of rice or a box of bandaids, salt, . Think about simple things you take for granted like toilet paper, tampons, diapers. I used to laugh at my parents for buying 24 packs of toilet paper when they had 14 rolls in the house…go figure..

    AND READ UP! Do your research! We all live in different parts of the world – learn more about where you live.

    Thanks Michele O!

    Most of us if we try can at least manage $5 or $10 toward becoming a better Prepper every week.

    • Indiana joe says:

      One of my reasons for prepping is unemployment. We all want to feel safe in our job but let’s face it…are we ever really safe when we wrk for someone else.. Getting my wife on board slowly with that thought. I also use 2litee bottles for water as the ate double lined and tented to prevent as much sunlight from growing algae and such.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Hey, DannyLB! Good to “meet” you here.

      Just a thought: those milk jugs ARE NOT good long-term prep water containers; water weighs about 8 lbs. per gallon; they are not strong enough to last “indefinitely” (for long-term water storage). We started out this way and quickly learned that these jugs leak, even when protected by heavy cardboard boxes. They leaked everywhere, we had a mess to clean up, and we DID NOT have our emergency water supply.

      One product I like is the Ozarka Spring water in the round, heavy plastic jugs. I hope you can find it in your area; in our area, they are available at Wal-mart, and most grocery stores, for $1 per gallon. Groceries want $1.49, but I just wait for them to go on sale.

      What I like about these jugs is not only how heavy they are, but they have a serious indent in the bottom; as a result, they stack like “building blocks”. Drink the water. Now refill it with whatever you have; throw in a tiny, tiny bit (1/2 tsp will do) of bleach – NEVER SCENTED – or a few grains of Leslie’s Pool Shock, 73%, cap, and stack these. Now use them to build walls in outdoor buildings. We are using them for walls in our little greenhouse we built. Yep. They work great for walls. Now you have “two-fers” – walls and emergency water supply – in an unexpected place!


      • I use milk jugs to collect my drain oil and take to walmart or the local recycle place.Then I dispose of the used jug. I do use 2 litre pop bottles for water though. I freeze some and put some in my garage. I keep one in the saddle bag of my motorcycle.

    • DannyLB, welcome to the Pack! And welcome to all the other cubs (newbies) that I have missed personally greeting.

      DannyLB, be careful with re-using plastic milk jugs. You can never get all the milk residue out – it really sticks. That is why milkers use stainless steel containers/buckets to milk into. Also, the plastic in the milk jugs is very weak. I use them to store water to water plants indoors. I can’t tell you how many have failed in a matter of weeks. The same goes for store-bought water. We use distilled water for a CPAP machine and I have found them sitting on the shelf we store them on, empty, still sealed. They spring a leak in the bottom seam. I just take them back to the store and get my money back. The only water containers that are sturdy that I have found are the Ice Mountain brand – the big ones. They are very sturdy and I have been re-using them for years with no leaks.

      Just don’t put any stored water above anything that can be ruined with a leak.

  14. BTW everyone….

    has been running sales the last few weeks in some items that are very useful.

    I work for a sporting goods distributor that carries this line and even with my discount – cost plus 10% – I cant beat some the some of these prices. Obviously some these items are not worthy of WTSHTF but quite a few are – especially for a BOB!

  15. Thanks for this article. As new preppers ourselves this gives good pointers, both in what to, and what not to do. We’re getting stuck into the basic stuff while we work out a more comprehensive plan for everything else.

  16. I would have to take exception with the “Just Do It” philosophy of prepping.

    This is tantamount planning for failure w/o planning to prep.

    Lets presume that one is brand new to the prepper scene…been lurking on the different sites for a while & reading everything that one can get their hands on…congratulations, you are doing exactly the right thing…RESEARCH!

    Once you have researched all of the different scenarios, etc. it is time for…EDUCATION! Take those FEMA courses & the many other Free courses on-line & from local resources to get a solid background in this business.

    Next & do not even think of skipping this step, is PLANNING! Yes, time to put ideas to paper, for w/o a well thought out & written plan, you are just chasing your tail.

    These few steps should get you heading in the right direction as a new prepper and as you proceed you will fine tune your plan (remember, it is a living document…NOT carved in stone) and tailor it to your unique situation.

    Now get in there troop & get some…

    • With food preps, I still say – Just do it. Right now, the world is getting incredibly unstable. We are on the brink of a major depression, and there are many people in many countries who would like to do us a lot of harm. Having a few months to a few years of food around might actually give them the opportunity to get some research done.

      Not that I don’t agree with you about education, and planning, but there is certainly no harm in gathering extra food while you do it.

      My whole point was that new preppers actually get some food and water NOW, while they are learning.

    • SurvivorDan says:

      I think her point was to nof be overwhelmed and intimidated by all the available info and different approaches to preppimg to the point atwhich a novice freezes up…not sure where to start and with what emphasis. A plan is best but don’t over think it to a stand still. Sure u will make mistakes, but u r at least on your way to survivability, self reliance. All long jourmeys begin with a single step. I think one of my honorable ancestors said that. 😉

    • Let me take exception with your exception.

      If you think your plans just might include, say… eating. Then you shouln’t need any courses. Use MD’s 10 things to do now, and 10 more things to do now lists today.

      In which scenario is it a bad idea to have a minimum of long term food storage?

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Greetings, Westpac!

      I think what you are trying to convey is that it is NOT better to do something than to do nothing when you are doing the wrong thing?

      I agree that it is better to learn first then do! Most of us do not have unlimited resources for prepping, thus, it is imperative that we place those resources for the best possible use. How do you know what that is? You learn. From places like this, for starters. In fact, it may well be the BEST place to begin.

      Yes, you’ll make a few mistakes, but, minimize those mistakes as best you can through learning first – then doing. It is not complicated – just read.

      Ask questions here: someone will know how to answer it.

      But I think Michelle was also trying to say, “don’t make it harder than it is”. If you buy one jar of peanut butter, buy two; one is prep; if you buy one box of rice, buy two; it is prep. That’s how you “just do it!”, IMHO.


    • Jennifer (Prepping Wife) says:

      I have to take exception with some of your ideas. Many new preppers are parents – for example the one with 5 kids who already posted. I know the courses are on line but I am willing to bet she doesnt have any time for that at all. For her kids sake, I’d much rather her toss in extra formula, food, water etc., at the grocery store than simply abandon the whole idea because she thinks it’s no use unless she can take classes.

      • Homeinsteader says:

        And you are right, Jennifer. As long as the new prepper is buying foods her family is already eating and not “experimenting” (buying things not in the regular diet). SHTF is not the time to discover new food allergies or learn that no one likes the food stored – things will be stressful enough, already. This should make it easier– just do more of what you are already doing.

  17. vlad strelok says:

    Grind grain and beans. Make a batter. Fry pancakes.
    It uses much less fuel and water, and you don’t
    have to wait so long to eat.

  18. Look around and inventory what you have in your house , car , yard , etc . You may have more than you think you do and that will make things less overwhelming . Dont panic and think you have to get it ALL now , this minute . Most of us cant afford to do it that way .

    • T.R.

      This is one of the ways my husband I started after researching and wanting to start but unable to really jump in like we wanted. We inventoried our “stuff & place” and started from there. Also, it did not hurt that we spent 10 years in Scouting as Leaders – for boys and girls. You take it with you!

  19. Thank you MD for helping those of us connect by e mail. I appreciate it very
    much. Arlene

  20. I just started to seriously prep about 18 months ago. But I have always been frugal and shopped for deals and stocked up so always had a few months of food on hand. After I got the basics done what I have done now is make three lists
    1. Things I need now (next month).
    2. Things I would like to get (next 6 months)
    3. Things to wish for (to get when I have extra money)

    What I do now is allow an extra $20-30 a week to stock up on stuff when it is on sale and I can get a good deal. I also keep some extra money in the back of the wallet for when I find some great deal on something wherever at any time, yard sales, auction, walking thru target/lowes/etc and find some great markdown/end of season clearance etc. You need to be prepped to also take advantage of great deals when you find them.

    Now that I am pretty well situatated with a years worth of food, and other essentials I am trying to work on stocking up on silver, ammo , tools and barter items on regular a regular basis.

    When I first started out I did do some “panic” buying when I would read someithing and think that shtf would happen that night and I would not have somthing on some list I had read , but since I am more prepped now I don’t worry as much and stick the plans I have and don’t worry as much on physical stuff and instead work on more skills and learning to work with what I have.

    • Good point George. When we feel panic or fear, we can do stupid things (like buy 20 buckets of wheat and then realize your MIL who just came to live with you is gluten intolerant…just an example!) If you are a brand new prepper, feeling overwhelmed, sit down and write out one week of meals your family normally eats. Go out and buy one weeks worth; next week buy two more weeks worth. You now have three weeks of preps all done. Now look at your menus and figure out how to make the same, or very similar recipes, using canned, dehydrated, freeze dried items. If you eat lots of salads, get a grow light and start growing salad greens indoors. I’ve done it, it is easy.

      I cannot follow the “lists” as there are too many things we do not eat on them. We never use Crisco or other shortening or even margarine. I have been downloading or copying to a Word Program stuff from www. and putting it all in a notebook. (You can sign up to get the BabySteps in an email every week for free, or just find them on the site and copy all out at once. Most have additional info you will end up copying out, too.) Most of the stuff I already do/know but copied it out anyways. Go there to get ideas. They have an Excel downloadable program for storage BUT they also have sheets you can copy out if you want to do it by hand. The Menu Plan pages are great and you then transfer that info to the Inventory Sheet and note what you have already and what you need to buy. Make quite a few copies of both sheets and go for it.

      For instance, we love Bean and Ham Soup. The original recipe called for soaking the beans overnight, cooking them for X number of hours, adding the rest of the ingredients (onion, carrot, celery, salt, pepper, a ham bone or cubed ham). Well, I can use canned beans, dehydrated onion, celery and carrots, and a DAK ham, cubed, after it has been soaked at least two times to remove the too much salt. Add pepper, skip the salt. I have also found we actually like the canned/dehydrated version better because I use chicken broth instead of some of the water in the soup base. If I do not add ham, I do add 1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke and make biscuits to go with it for complete protein.

      Look at some of your favorite recipes and try converting them to foods you can store long term. Suggestions: 1. Spaghetti (or any other pasta) with marinara sauce made with canned tomato sauce, canned diced tomatoes, dehydrated carrots (helps remove acid from tomatoes), dehydrated onions, dehydrated green sweet peppers; toss in a can of chicken (or home-canned ground beef), can of mushrooms. If your kids hate “thingies” in their sauce, use a blender/food processor/food mill and they will never know. 2. Mac n Cheese. Pasta, dried cheese reconstituted (can use more than one kind, best), dehydrated onion, carrot; can add canned mushrooms, chicken, or ham. Or heck, buy Kraft Mac n Cheese and add to it!!

      NO FEAR HERE!!

  21. Surviving in Ky. says:

    I enjoyed the article and was the primary basis of how I started almost 2 years ago. I have always had the boy scout mentality but nothing like a true prepper. This journey is not to be taken lightly and will not be easy, but it is important to stay focused and not become discouraged. I was almost overwhelmed at times and discouraged at others. I finally read a statement by a fellow prepper which basically stated what you did to prepare today put you closer than you were yesterday. Remember, no step is too small. I finally settled down the more I accomplished. I did start a monthly rotation program. One month would be food, the next would be first aid, the next would be ammo, the next would be water and so on and so forth. This system works for me because I am covering each area. You will slowly begin to gain ground and be covered in every area. It does no good to have 10,000 rounds of ammo and nothing to eat. It does no good to have a years worth of food if you get blood posioning from a simple cut which wasn’t dressed properly. You can get a good first aid kit at Sam’s Club for $20. You don’t have to know how to remove a bullet when getting started, nice but not a first priority. Get started, ask questions, watch world events, maintain (OPSEC) operational security. I can not stress this last point enough. Family and friends have to be brought in slowly or you will be labeled a kook, paranoid and those are the good comments. Point out local and natural disasters and say what would we do if that happened. I will finish with one last comment “Narrow is the road.” God Bless!

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Matthew 7:13-14

      Trekking toward the narrow gate, my friend.

    • Surviving in Ky., you are on the way! The OPSEC is so very, very important. Do not leave your supplies in full view of anyone who comes into your home. Think it through…does the gas meter reader come into the basement? The washing machine repair man? How about the electric meter reader – can he see through your window and see supplies or a gun case stuffed full? Do your kids have friends over and when they go into the basement to play, do they then go home and tell mom and dad that “Danny’s mom has a whole wall of TP!! And there are cans and cans behind the sofa! Why???” Don’t parade your neighbors or even your relatives down to your storage area to brag. Be very careful…you don’t want all your neighbors and even strangers showing up at your door when SHTF. If someone comments in the checkout lane at the grocery store, tell them you are picking up stuff for the local shelter. Then drop off a few things. It is never a good thing to lie.

  22. MountainSurvivor says:

    Here’s my two-cents: Stick with the basics of water, shelter, fire and food and you will do just fine. Remember, one gallon of water is better than none. One tarp is better than none. One pound of beans is better than none. And one lighter, match or fire steel is better than none. But, the more you have of each, the better off you will be.

  23. @ Kevin… Actually you “can” buy extras of what you regularly eat, just dehydrate them and store in a sealed bag or container.

    As an avid backpacker, you can get some single serving or two serving freeze dried food like Mountain House… get a number of varieties to try out, then when you discover which ones you like best, then buy them in #10 cans from one of the reputable vendors that get mentions here and add some other items like veggies, powdered milk, etc. I am a scout leader and have done just that.

    I too have many single burner backpacking and multi-burner camp stoves that use various fuels, some dedicated to white gas, a bunch of alcohol stoves, a couple multi-fuel stove that will burn whatever fuel is used (white gas, gasoline, kerosene, diesel, alcohol, jet fuel…) with minor adjustments; however, the best stove I have found is the wood stove known as Bush Buddy, or Trekker (Fritz Handel in Canada designed the Bush Buddy and he has since stopped making them and passed that on to Jeff Tinker of Nomadic Stove Company and his Trekker is Made in the USA). Throw in an alcohol stove made from a pop can and you have most bases covered that fit nicely into a Snow Peak 900ml pot. Sure $120 sounds like a lot for a backpacking stove, but IMHO, not having to buy fuel ever again and I have a durable stainless steel stove to boot… in the long run it pays for itself and I could not go wrong. Then again, as a scout leader, I have enough camping gear of various skill levels to individually supply a group of 8 easily (my barter items after ensuring my family is covered).

    @New… a .22 for varmint hunting and a .12 gauge for personal protection are great starts, IMHO all you would need to add is a good sidearm. I am sure many would chime in as to what they believe to be the best. All I would say is find one that uses a more common load of ammunition (.357, .45, 9mm), one that fits well in your hand, and you have no problems breaking it down to clean and service.

    I believe water will be the most crucial item and I would NOT use milk jugs because their caps are too weak. I would start with 2-Liter pop bottles cleaned out with boiling water and a few drops of bleach then air dry before refilling; then move up to the larger 5-gallon water jugs. Get those cases of bottled water as they go on sale and rotate them. Those collapsible water bags (1-3 L) and jugs (2-5Gal) are good too, especially for putting into a BOB. I also have a 100-gallon water tank (bladder) that fits in the bathtub for each tub in the homes for everyone in our close community.

    It is easy to pick up a couple of extra items during the normal shopping run, just add a bag of rice, beans, lintels, salt, can of tuna, chicken meat, other fish, another jug of cooking oil… whatever you can easily add one or two (more if you can afford) of items you normally use as you do your regular shopping and start placing them into their own container on a top shelf. You will be surprised how soon your items build up. As your ‘stores’ of foods you normally use begin to accumulate, then you can start to organize them better and fill in the blanks as required.

    • P.S.
      The Bush Buddy and Trekker stove is small, but I have cooked stew in a 4-quart pot many times without having to worry about the sturdiness.

  24. about having meds on hand, you might want to try and get your hands on some pain relief that is stronger than over the counter stuff. I had some bad neck pain last year that didn’t respond to any over the counter stuff. This showed me that i should have something stronger around for emergencies, even though I don’t like to take medications. My neck eventually got better, but lesson learned.

    • Very good point, Banaras. The problem can be getting them prescribed.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Hello, banaras! Here’s a recipe for a pain relief tincture, but it takes 6 weeks to “brew”:

      • 1 c. 100-proof vodka (or, 1/2 cup Everlear + 1/2 cup spring water)
      • 4 tbsp. devil’s claw – (from whole foods herbal section)
      • 3 – 4 small slices fresh ginger (Whole Foods or any grocery carries this – preferably organic)
      • 2 tbsp. skullcap (from whole foods herbal section)
      Add your devil’s claw to a small mason jar. Add the ginger slices. Add the skullcap. Now, add the vodka or Everclear/Water.
      Put a lid on it, then shake, and let it sit for 6 weeks in a dark/cool place. Then, you’ll decant/strain the mixture.
      Store in a glass jar away from heat and light. Dark brown glass would be better (or put clear jar down in a heavy paper bag to store); I don’t have any at this time so I’m using clear. I store mine in a cupboard up above my stove where the kids can’t reach. Label it so you know what it is…especially if you have as many tinctures around as I do.
      To use, simply take 2 – 3 drops under the tongue, or add them to a small amount of water. It’s strong. Then go rest.

      • Thank you, Homesteader! I use alternative remedies a lot, always glad to receive a new recipe, especially for pain. It’s hard to find alternative pain remedies that work well. I don’t mind waiting 6 weeks for it to “mature”.

        • I used a mix of cold cream and ground cayenne while recovering from a bad car accident many years ago. Worked great on my back.

    • banaras, buy some Arnica Rub. It is wonderful on muscle pain. Just make sure there are no open cuts/wounds. It burns like heck in open cuts. It is great for bruises, sprains, pulled muscles. Even helps get rid of old black and blue marks faster. It works on sore joints. We use it a lot! I always make sure I have at least two unopened tubes on hand. You can find it at health food stores and some bigger grocery chains. I know Whole Foods carries it. You can also buy it online.

      • Banaras, for muscle pain, you can also use essential oils (these come in very small bottles and are easy to store). Mix together 15 drops each of peppermint, camphor, and wintergreen oils, then mix all that with some unscented lotion or oil. Works better than Icy-Hot or Ben-Gay! 🙂

        • Wow, thank you Encourager and Petnumber1! I have seen arnica gel in the store, but haven’t heard of the essential oils mix. I will try both, I always have a lot of aches and pains due to old injuries. What a wealth of knowledge here!

          I also plan to make the tincture recommended by Homesteader, it reminds me of a couple of moonshine home remedies I heard about a while ago. Vodka is much easier to find!

          • Homeinsteader says:

            Just remember, banaras – 2 or 3 drops under the tongue – YOU AREN’T SUPPOSED TO DRINK IT!!! ; )

            • ahhh….okay – didn’t read it closely enough!

            • brouhahahaha!!!! @ banaras! Homeinsteader, can you imagine his shock if he drank it? It is hard enough to use 2-3 drops under the tongue! Ack!!

              Banaras, I am just teasin’ you, not mocking you. BTW the Arnica Rub I mentioned earlier is by NatraBio and is called The (arnica) Rub. It is in a cream base that rubs in nicely without too much pressure.

  25. Athen Baxter says:

    Good ideas but I think the beginner should start preparing for the most likely emergencies; tornado, flood, hurricane, blizzard, etc. Preparing for an ordinary emergency is less intimidating than trying to stock three months worth of food. After that process is complete move on to progressively bigger possibilities as time and resources permit.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      AB, stocking 3 months worth of food IS preparing for each of these natural disasters. I know. I worked more than my share of them for 20 years with the world’s largest disaster relief agency, the majority of them tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods.

      What do you think is needed in order to “prepare” for an “ordinary emergency”? The same thing needed for any other emergency (not sure there is another category): the basics of life: water, food, medicine, personal care needs, heat source, cooking source, pet supplies, sanitation, etc.

      It would be so much better if EVERY FAMILY had not less than a 3 months’ supply of everything they might possibly need, especially to live off-grid; heck, we’d take 3 weeks! But the majority are not ready, can’t even hold out for 3 days without help, and, like the people of N’awlins, when you tell them to prepare, they won’t — then they’ll stand on rooftops screaming, “why haven’t you saved me yet?” AFTER the SHTF.

      • If I were the rescue people Homeinsteader – I would tell them that
        when its too dangerous for rescuers to come you will need to stay there until its safer. Do you think more people would then prepare?
        Sort of how Mt climbers must now pay for the cost of being rescued.
        Keep prepping… and praying…Arlene

        • Homeinsteader says:

          You would think it would work like that, wouldn’t you, arlene? But it didn’t. The POLICY of the disaster relief agency FORMERLY was that we went in after the fools IMMEDIATELY after the event; fortunately, they have since changed that policy. Someone with common sense must have prevailed, eventually….but, no. It didn’t change them mindset of the sheeples. You only had to be here for Isaac to see it.

          Always prayin’, and KEEP STACKIN’ IT HIGH!

      • Athen Baxter says:

        Yes, stocking three months of food is preparing for all these disasters, so is stocking ten years of food. The point was that if you are just beginning it is less intimidating to prepare FIRST for a small emergency than the end of the world.

        • Homeinsteader says:

          O.K., THAT point, the one you are making in this comment, is much more clear, and, of course it makes sense. Your original comment sounded very different and could be confusing to “newbies”, IMHO, in merely trying to understand, “well, what is an “ordinary” emergency vs. an extraordinary emergency? Do I prep for this and ignore that? That is my point. There is NO “ordinary” emergency.

          As the DH and I teach others, “BE READY – FOR ANY THING – AT ANY TIME – FOR ANY REASON”.

    • For new preppers-buy a hand operated can opener.keep one in your
      kitchen,one with your preps and one for your vehicle. All the food
      will not be available if you cannot open the cans. (a few canned items come with pop tops now)
      Food and water are essentials. Arlene

  26. Water. Learn where to get it in your area, how to clean it and store it. Learn what edible plants are as well. The other night the GF and I had a salad made from some of the stuff growing wild in her yard. (Note: don’t do this if you use chemicals please).
    Heat/warmth is another concern. Wool blankets are the best, IMHO, and for cooking/heating, I have a plain old charcoal BBQ grill. You can use regular wood in it. Propane has its uses, but when you run out and there’s no more to be had, you have a poor excuse for a charcoal grill, usually.

    Yard sales and thrift stores are your friend, but you have to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for. Don’t trust your memory, write out a wish list and work off of that. Look for items that can be used for more than one thing, too. Look at the stuff you already have and decide if it will serve in place of something “survival”-oriented.

    As for firearms/weapons, I always say keep it simple. Think about how much you’re willing to lug around if it comes to it. That 10-11 pound .308 semi may not be much on the range, but after 5-10 miles on your shoulder they tend to gain weight. Also, don’t succumb to “tacti-cool”-itis. Every firearm made will work perfectly straight out of the box. Yeah, it’s nice to be able to hang different tools on it when needed, but that adds weight and cost.

    • Homeinsteader says:

      If you really want to be all snuggly warm, buy yourself a vintage wool quilt, made from men’s suits. You can still find them in excellent condition, if you are careful. Find them on ebay, etsy, (I’ve found several there!).

      Happy snuggling!

  27. Bright minds have big ideas – Successful people take ACTION on those ideas.
    Great points guys! Keep it up!


  28. Good stuff ,Michele O.
    I remember when I was just starting out, I didn’t know i was a ‘prepper’ or ‘survivalist’,just was doing what made sense to me. Got things I needed or could use slowly at first, adding gear as I went. One day I realized what I was, and I wasn’t alone. By organizing I was able to see what worked and what didn’t work for me,made mistakes along the way,but eventualy got it figured out pretty well. It’s a constant upgrade of gear and supplies as money allows or new stuff comes out. There’s so much info available, thanks Pack, that it’s easier than ever to get started.There’s an incredable amount of gear and equipment ,with quality and price levels for everyone, that even 10 years ago was unhead of. Make a budget, jump in and get going,most of all have fun!

    • SurvivorDan says:

      As an avid hiker/trekker I no longer have to go out and shop prior to a trek. I merely rearrange a pack or two, grab whatever gear I need from my ample supply of survival gear (including weapons and ammo), choose from the ol’ prep food supply and go! I don’t even have to necessarily budget for gas as I can even draw down on my gas reserves for the trip. The ‘peace’ dividend of prepping.

      • Homeinsteader says:

        The same “peace” we enjoyed when all the sheeples were running about like chickens with their heads cut off (don’t tell the chicken racers I said that!) for Isaac, and we were just going about our business as usual.

        It’s why we prep, eh, SD?!

  29. Good article, Michele. Wow, we have a lot of new preppers (cubs!) I take exception to the above statements that first you have to ‘research and plan’. You can research and plan and find yourself with the wolf at the door (not one of us…). Just do it! Buy a few extra things when you shop. If you use one box of Mac n Cheese per week, buy two or three. Eat one, store the others. When your grocery store has 10 for $10, buy 10 cans of fruit, 10 of beans, 10 of whatever. Especially if the regular price is way over $1 a can. When you get home, write it down. Eventually take some time to get a list going of what you need and what you have. Look at the ads in Sunday’s paper and plan what you are going to get that week that is on sale. Oh, and always, always, always! check the expiration dates! Reach back in the shelf for the longest time out. Do SOMETHING every day!

    I just bought 10 boxes of Kleenex for $10 with the 11th one free. It was any box, so I bought the ones with the most in the box. Most of the time that big box is at least $1.49 so I not only saved 49 cents but got one box free.

  30. Gosh, can you tell I am going stir-crazy sitting around the house?! I am actually all caught up on reading this blog! Amazing!!

  31. Thanks all for the kind words. I love you guys!

  32. Yard sales are a great place to get preps. I got pretty lucky this last weekend. I got a few good things and I did not spend much at all.I saw a coleman 2 burner stove I may go back this next weekend. The box is a bit rusty but it is complete and looks like it will work.

  33. Too much great advice and kind words to thank everyone directly so let me just say thank you to everyone for taking the time to offer up such great advice.

    In an odd sort of way, reading all of these posts have made me feel that I’m better prepared than perhaps I thought. Still much to do though.

    Many thanks,

  34. BullDogBeau says:

    All good things!

    My only addition that I haven’t seen (could be blind) is information. I spent just a few days researching the net on things I may need to know and didn’t. Simply made a list, making bread, growing different veggies, solar heat, where there’s no doc etc.
    Sat down in front of the computer and googled “How To’s” printed them up and try to attempt them. If I don’t practice these things before TEOTWAWKI, I still have the printed references. To include publications from this site.
    good luck

    • Homeinsteader says:

      Greetings, BullDogBeau!

      you do well to learn as much as you can as fast you can; as I’m sure you already know, it is much more difficult to learn under stress…and when SHTF, there WILL be new and added stress.


  35. Several people have already said this, but MD Creekmore’s “10 Things To Do Now” will get you started in a big way. Then “10 More Things To Do NOw” Also, his book “31 Days To Survival” just can’t be beat, IMHO. It is clear, concise, and compact.

  36. Warmongerel says:

    I’m new to prepping, too, but I don’t seem to be overwhelmed by it. I just buy extra food and camping/survival gear as my budget allows. I already own firearms and have been stocking up on ammo – which leads me to the one thing I have a question about:

    I have two handguns (9mm, two different size shells,one is a 9×18 which is very uncommon), a 12 gauge, a deer rifle (.30 cal, also an uncommon shell – it’s an antique) and an SKS “assault” rifle (7.62mm). Do I stock up on ammo for all of them, or concentrate on 1 or 2?

    If the SHTF, it’ll most likely be just my daughter (13) and me to begin with, so that would be a lot to carry if we had to BO and had no vehicle for some reason.

    On the other hand, it might be nice to have all of those different calibers if we should happen across a stash of ammo somewhere or run into someone who had one of those particular calibers they were willing to part with.

    What think you?

  37. Warmongerel says:

    If I might make a suggestion, it might be a good idea to make a separate tab where all of us “noobs” could ask questions of the more experienced members of The Pack.

    After all, the more of us “good guys” that survive, the better for all of us. Learning from your mistakes is usually good…unless it kills you. Better to learn here.

    Thanks for what you’re doing.

  38. Warmongerel

    Perhaps if you sent an email submission to M.D. it could be “the question of the week” or something along that line.

  39. We have enough newbies or cubs to be able to post a “Question of the Day”. How about it, M.D.? As part of your “miscellany” info when you post them (even if it is not everyday…) ?

    • Love this idea! Would also love to see a permanent post where people could ask for information on stuff they’re interested in – that way, regular contributors would have a good idea what kind of articles to write!

    • Encourager – great idea – please MD-also how about a question part for exp preppers who still have questions -myself we need advice on securing our property .Thanks. Arlene

  40. Hey, very new to all this but realized I’ve started stocking up on extra food and trying to learn more of the homesteading things over the past few months and when I saw this site I figured I’d look into it more…
    Any advice for someone trying to prep but is stuck in the middle of the city?I want to get some land and move but it would be a while before that could happen 🙁

    • Cat,

      Welcome to the Wolf Pack. I would recommend that you read these two posts. These are the two posts that helped me the most when I first started prepping. If you have questions, ask on the What Did You Do This Week to Post segment that is posted on Sundays. That’s when everyone checks in.

    • Cat, whatever state you are in check with your local cooperative extension service (every county has one) and put up an ad there seeking a home in the country or on a farm in exchange for $ or
      work.Check the magazines such as Mother Earth News, Ciuntryside, Backwoods Home etc. and web sites. Maybe you could team up with other rural preppers. I wish you the best. Arlene

    • Encourager says:

      Welcome, Cat, to the Wolf Pack. I know how scary it is to start prepping, but you came to the right site. The people on this site are so knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful that it will bless your socks off! Go to the archives on this site and look for 10 things to do and then the sequel More 10 things to do. That is a great start! Again, welcome, and start NOW!

      • Sorry to leave a message out of order BUT we are in the throes of Hurricane Sandy here in upstate NY and it is wild. Welcome to the new preppers. Belated Birthday to MD-I didnt know it was your birthday !! God bless you all. Arlene

  41. I haven’t read all the comments yet, but… I AM LOVING WHAT I SEE.

    My wife and I are… VERY new to prepping. I find it very refreshing to know that other people are out there, interested in having a backup plan.

    Does this site have a forum associated with it, or is there a way to post questions, comments, concerns, etc. that I am not seeing?

    Or, is there a survival, prepping, planning, etc. forum site that this blog works with?

    Any tips would be great!

    To good prepping,


    • Kris,

      Welcome aboard…

      You can post questions in the comments section of each blog post- the comments serve the purpose of a forum.

      • Okay great!

        That works for me. The more I look through this site I feel more and more that I’ve stumbled upon an INCREDIBLE resource. Thank you for you efforts in establishing this site and awesome network of individuals.

        Looking forward to learning more everyday!

        • Encourager says:

          Welcome to the Wolf Pack, Kris! There is a great archive with this site. I suggest you look up “10 Things to do Now” and “10 More Things to do Now” to get yourselves started. There are so many great articles it is hard to recommend just one.

          Just don’t become overwhelmed. Every single thing you do to prepare is going in the right direction! I would encourage you to create some type of inventory sheet(s) to keep track of what you have. Then you know what is on hand, what you need to get, and can start rotating through your supplies. Date every can you buy with the expiration date in big numbers (we use a Sharpie marker). Put the longest expiration in the back, with the earliest in the front so nothing goes bad.

          M.D. wrote a great little book called “31 Days to Survival” which is a great help. Now, I have read it and I still don’t have all he said to do in 31 days done! (Sorry M.D.!!!)

  42. im looking for info on bug out bags in an complete colapse of sociaty

  43. MD and everyone Hoping you all had a very special Thanksgiving !!!! Arlene

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