Months of Prepping – The First Year


The overwhelming popularity of the 12 Months of Prepping series took me by surprise.  I was astounded.   What started as a basic roadmap for a modest number of readers, expanded and grew to where in each month, I was receiving hundreds of emails asking me questions, offering tips and lending support for my monthly prepping articles.

Thrilling?  Yes.  Humbling?  You bet.  Challenging?  You have no idea.

Now, as we approach the end of the calendar year, I am updating the original article and posting it again with a few more tips plus links to the individual monthly posts.  For those of you getting started, I hope you will find this useful as begin your journey toward self-reliance.

And for the experienced prepper?  Please take this time to review your supplies, gear and skills and fill in any blanks just as I have done.  We have twelve new months of prepping starting soon and for sure, you will want to be ready.

12 Months of Prepping – Year 1

The roadblocks to getting started are many.  Time, money and moral support from reluctant family members all play a role in putting off or procrastinating when it comes to your prepping efforts.  And then there is fear: not only the fear that something may happen and you will not be ready but also the fear of the something itself.

Let us put those fears and concerns aside for now and instead, focus on setting those roadblocks aside and moving forward.  Let me help you  break down the overwhelming task of emergency and disaster preparation by providing you with a month by month calendar of things to do, tasks to complete and items to purchase.  You will have a manageable number of things to do in a short period of time with a limited amount of time or cash outlay.  And instead of looking at a task list 10 pages long, you will have a short list that is eminently doable in 30 days or less.

Does this sound like a plan?  And are you ready to start?


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 1: Supplies, Gear and Tasks to Get You Started


  • Water-3 gallons per person and per pet
  • Hand-operated can opener and bottle opener
  • Canned meat, stew, or pasta meals – 5 per person
  • 2 flashlights with batteries


  • Inventory the disaster supplies you already have on hand, including your camping gear
  • If you fill your own water containers, mark them with the date they were filled
  • Date cans of food and food containers if you have not already done so


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 2: First Aid, Personal Hygiene and Home Safety


  • Canned vegetables – 4 per person
  • Toilet paper – 3 rolls per person
  • Sanitary napkins – 2 months’ supply
  • Instant drinks (coffee, tea, powdered soft drinks)
  • Family sized first aid kit


  • Change the batteries and test your smoke detectors. Purchase and install smoke detectors if you don’t have them
  • Make an inventory of home contents for insurance purposes. Take photographs (digital are easiest) of your house and contents. Store a copy away from your home.


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 3: Special Foods, Fire Drills and Home Safety


  • Canned fruits – 3 cans per person
  • Any foods for special dietary needs (enough for 3 days)
  • A large plastic tub or bin for storage of food and other emergency supplies.


  • Conduct a home fire drill
  • Locate the gas meter and water shutoff points and attach/store a wrench or shutoff tool near them. Also store special shutoff instruction, if any.
  • Establish and out-of-state contact to call in case of an emergency
  • Identify a location for your storage of plastic bin or tub.


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 4: Prescription Medicine, Cash, and Things to Keep Us Warm


  • A Minimum of a 7 day Supply of Critical Prescription Medicines
  • $100 (or more) in Small Bills
  • Pet Supplies
  • Infant Supplies
  • Extra Storage Containers


  • Package your prescription medications in a storage container and date for annual rotation purposes
  • Pack up warm blankets, sleeping bags, socks and other cold weather items
  • Review your storage area and put stray items in containers that are well marked


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 5: Sanitation Supplies and Establishing a Community of Like Minded Folks


  • Liquid dish soap
  • Plain liquid bleach
  • White vinegar
  • Empty spray bottle
  • Liquid hand soap and hand sanitizer
  • Bar of soap
  • Disposable hand wipes
  • Disposable latex or nutile gloves
  • Canned, ready-to-eat soup – 4 per person
  • Portable am/FM radio with batteries


  • Make two photocopies of important papers and put one in the storage container, and one away from your home.
  • File an electronic copy of your important papers on a flash drive
  • Talk with neighbors about organizing a neighborhood preparedness group.


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 6: Fitness, Energy Bars and Face Masks


  • Box of granola or power bars – 1 per person
  • 6 rolls of paper towels
  • Box of N-95 or N-100 face masks – 1 per person.


  • Check to see if stored water has expired and needs to be replaced
  • Put an extra pair of eyeglasses in the supply container
  • Find out about your workplace disaster plans and the disaster plans at your children’s schools


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 7: Gear, Tools and Skills to Save Lives


  • NOAA Alert Weather Radio
  • ABC fire extinguisher
  • Jug of juice – 1 per person
  • Adult and children’s vitamins
  • A pair of pliers and/or vise grip
  • 100 feet of rope or paracord


  • Take a first aid/CPR class
  • Show family members where and how to shut off utilities


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 8: Adding Supplies, Tasks, and an Emergency Preparedness Kit for Your Vehicle


  • Box of crackers or graham crackers – 1 per person
  • Dry cereal or instant oatmeal – 1 weeks’ worth per person
  • 1 box of large, heavy-duty garbage bags


  • Make a small preparedness kit for your car. Include food, water, blanket, small first aid kit, a list of important phone numbers
  • Secure water heaters to wall studs (if not already done)


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 9: Duct Tape and Drills


  • Extra batteries for flashlights, radio and hearing aids (if needed)
  • Duct tape
  • Add an additional 3 days of water to your supply per person and per pet


  • Follow up on efforts to organize your family and your neighborhood
  • Conduct an earthquake drill at home: stop, drop and hold, then go outside. (Remember, and earthquake can happen anywhere as recent events have demonstrated.)
  • Swap out stored medications with fresh versions. Review your prescription medicines and add those that are missing from your kit.


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 10: Practice Going Off Grid


  • Take the month off from purchases. Yay!
  • Or, for extra credit, add:
    • Axe
    • Hatchet
    • Pocket Knife
    • Portable (Folding) Shovel12 Months of Prepping   The First Year   Backdoor Survival


  • Become earthquake ready by taking steps to secure appliances, shelves, cabinets and drawers to prevent them from falling and/or opening during a tremor.
  • Imagine your house with no electricity. Better yet, shut off the power for 4 to 24 hours and try to live off-grid.


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 11: Stock Up on Disposables & Build a Neighborhood Contact List


  • Package of paper plates
  • Package of napkins
  • Package of eating utensils
  • Package of paper cups


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


Link:  Getting Prepared Month 12: Food, Water and the Motivation to Keep Going


  • Expand your food supply
  • Purchase some comfort food or condiments
  • Heavy work gloves


  • Check your water supply and rotate if necessary
  • Check over your stored food and rotate if necessary


Congratulations. You have completed your year of preparations. Now is a good time to go back to month 1 and review, replenish, rotate and drill. Good job!

Moving Forward to 12 Months of Prepping – Year 2

Now that you have been bit by the prepping bug, your life has undoubtedly changed.  Trips to the grocery store now include searching out bargains on dry goods and canned goods so that you can purchase one for now and one for later.  Family outings now focus not only on having a good time, but on learning how to cope in the outdoors and making do without all of the creature comforts that come with a roof over your head.

12 Months of Prepping   The First Year   Backdoor SurvivalAs we move forward to year two, you will find a greater focus on singular skills such as building a shelter, learning how to start and maintain a campfire and cooking with the merest of basics.  These things and more will be covered in year two.  In addition, I will share some insight into food preservation, gardening and the gear you will need if you are required to bug out.

In each month there will be suggested activities, recommended purchases, viable alternatives, budget saving strategies and references to more reading material.  I hope you will  join me.

The Final Word

Perhaps not readily evident is that as I write and as I research, I am standing side by side with you during this prepping journey.  Like you, I continually strive to expand my knowledge and increase my survival skills.  For us, our common goal is to learn to depend on ourselves not others for our basic well-being – no matter what.

I consider myself to be an ordinary citizen, who again like you, is just trying to get by in these uncertain and chaotic times.  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 for today is this:

Emergency preparation is your journey and should be unique to your circumstances, your family, your geographical location and your financial resources. Yes, it can be a chore. But as I have said before, it should be a chore with a happy ending.



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