Have you been thinking lately that maybe, just maybe, you aren't as prepared for disaster as you'd like to be? From earthquakes, to pandemics, to Nor'easters, if the potential threat of these disasters has been lingering in your mind lately: You Aren't Alone.
From well before the start of the COIVD-19 pandemic, society has had a growing interest in being prepared. From as far back as the Cold War, to today's disaster movies, to the (somewhat extreme) TV show Doomsday Preppers, there has always been a subset of society that understands the value of being prepared for the worst.
Since the onslaught of COVID-19 began in March 2020, there has been a drastic increase in those interested in living a more self-sufficient or prepared lifestyle. It's easy to see why: not everyone has forgotten those few weeks where toilet paper was a commodity nearly on the level of gold bars.
Did you feel panic during those days? When you perhaps realized that it wasn't just the toilet paper, it was half the food on the selves, and the water too. Chances are you did, or you wouldn't be here reading this article.
Regardless of where you stand on the subject, society seems to have developed a very all-or-nothing approach to self-sufficient living, or 'prepping'. You either hoard cans of soup in your basement and hand-crank your electricity, or you're three days of no groceries away from starvation and looting. While neither of these scenarios is true for many people, that doesn't mean that there isn't a serious problem with this view.
Imagine a version of March 2020 where the average person ALREADY had a few weeks worth of food and necessities stored. Nothing crazy, no basement packed with pickled eggs, more like a hall closet with a few bins of supplies. A world where the average person did not feel the need to immediately run to the store, where those who are most vulnerable in society now had access to what they needed, because the rest of us hadn't stripped the shelves at the first inkling of danger. THAT is the world preparedness can create.
Now, imagine the March 2020 that we DID have- the fear, the hoarding- and pair it with a disaster even worse than COVID. A disaster where the shelves don't fill back up after a few uncomfortable weeks. Scary, right?
The good news is that you have already considered these scenarios, and that you are likely planning for whatever lies down the road. Here are some of our favorite tips on how you can grow your ability to provide for yourself, and face whatever disaster lies next head on:
A Little Bit at a Time
This is a method that works incredibly well not only for those who wish to dip a toe into the world of prepping, but also for those who may be operating on a tighter budget.
The plan is simple, every time you go to the grocery store, buy ONE thing to store. Start there, and start small, and before you know it you will have amassed a healthy savings of supplies for yourself and your family. On days you feel up to it, or have a bit more cash lying around, buy two, three, four items, or expand your search from the grocery store to the camping section of Walmart. The important part is to start somewhere, and with every trip you'll be a bit better off than you were before.
Rotate Your Preps!
This is an extremely easy part of prepping that is often overlooked. Rotate! Your! Preps! That means that when you come home with your new stash of supplies (especially food) simply jot down the dates they expire, and when that time eventually comes around, move them to your normal pantry. Now that leads us to...
Buy Food That You Actually Like
You're going to be facing an unnecessarily uncomfortable situation when disaster strikes, and you open your cupboard to be faced with forty cans of pinto beans. And you HATE pinto beans. Now, that doesn't mean you shouldn't scoop up a few cans of pinto beans if you find them on sale, but you should always remember to be stocking up on things that you actually like to eat.
Don't Forget Your Pets!
For so many of us, our pets are our family, but in a disaster situation you don't want to find yourself sharing your last can of beans with Mr. Whiskers. So make sure you add extra pet food and supplies to your list. Budget Tip: Check the clearance section in the pet food isle! The food is typically perfectly fine (since it's canned), and your pet is unlikely to care much about eating off-brand food for a few weeks.
Maybe a backyard garden is still on your to-do list, maybe it's currently the dead of winter. Either way, you should consider adding seeds to your plan. Make sure you get the right kind, as not all seeds will produce food capable of reproducing. (See: heirloom seeds)
In conclusion, you don't need to be all or nothing when it comes to being more prepared, and there are plenty of resources that can help you get where you need to be. For example, Wildline Solutions can help you with whatever level of preparedness you'd like to achieve, can create a detailed plan catered to your family and budget, and can even go to the store for you and deliver supplies to your doorstep.
Keep reading our blog for more self-sufficient resources and posts coming soon, and happy National Preparedness Month!