Have you recently looked around at everything happening in the world and wondered if maybe it was time to start prepping? You know, just in case

If you are anything like me you the actual size of the project scared you. I was petrified at the thought of trying to store everything we may need as a family to survive for at least three months not to mention a year which is my ultimate prepping goal. 

Between the worry and overwhelming magnitude of prepping, an age-old question came to mind. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, obviously. 

So that’s what I did. The very next payday I took the first bite of my proverbial elephant. I bought a few cans of corned meat and lentils for protein, soap and toothpaste because we still need to clean ourselves, rice and pasta for starches to bulk up our meals, canned veggies for extra vitamins, salt, and my allergy meds. It didn’t cost a lot and it was a start. I decided to make a list of all the things that we may need to not only survive but thrive if we were to land in a situation where we couldn’t find these things. 

Food storage supplies

Needless to say, I was extremely proud of the extras I managed to get in month one and continued to get bits and pieces here and there. Over the months my prepping stash grew much faster than I could ever have anticipated. While determining what should go into my prepping stash I reviewed these important categories. 

Sustenance

I knew we would need to have foods that could last quite some time so I didn’t have to rotate our stocks too often. I added to my list cans of tuna in brine, bicarbonate of soda and many other items I knew would come in handy. Veggies take some time to grow and are essential if you want to keep a family healthy. I do not like processed foods but I figured that canned veggies are better than none at all so I kept adding those just like the starches and proteins I bought initially. I also stocked up on some Chakalaka, a traditional spicy fried and cooked vegetable gravy thingy. Absolutely yummy and loaded with calories and veggie vitamins for the days when the food is lacking. 

Sugar, tea and coffee are not negotiable in our house but I’m sure other families can do without it. Water is life and for this reason you need to store some away but take note that it cannot be stored for too long. We can still drink water from our taps so I simply started filling waterproof containers with water and stashing it. It doesn’t cost me much because I use clean cold drink bottles for this. Having a way of purifying dirty water is always a great idea too. I got a water filter and some gas so I can boil it to kill micro creepies that could cause illnesses. Our end plan is to have a borehole drilled but for the interim this will have to do.

Sanitation

Next was hygiene. Soap, toothpaste, toilet paper and bicarbonate of soda will go a long way and a few dish-washing liquid refill packs are sure to come in handy too. Water in this category is a must because if you have no way of cleaning yourself and your surroundings illnesses can be your downfall. Keep in mind that all water you use to clean with can be used to flush toilets or water your garden with after use. Although water contaminated with soap is not the best idea for your plants, it’s still better than no water at all. 

Bleach should also make up part of your stash because of the fact that it can be used to purify water and sterilize just about anything. Now, for releasing your body of waste you are basically set if you have toilet paper and a shovel. You can simply bury your #2 and used toilet paper and use the urine as liquid fertilizer. It can be used as is without dilution and your plants are equipped to use the minerals that your body doesn’t need. 

Clothing

Think about your shoes and clothing too. Ensure that you have enough clean clothing and that they are all in good condition. In a crisis situation there will not be a chance to get new clothes and you will especially need them if you are forced to leave your home and flee into the outdoors. A good pair of boots and jeans can protect you against ticks and snakes while a proper jacket can keep out damp and keep your body temperature up.

Pets

You need to remember your pets during this arduous journey, too. Keep in mind that they will still need you to look after them. Their foods come in pellet and canned form which last very long as it is. All you have to do is ensure that they have enough to carry them through. Rice is also a great way to fill them up and add some calories to a canned meal. Peanut butter is good for them too and once again adds much needed calories. Many preppers will tell you to eat your pets rather than having to prep for them too but I am not that prepper. You took on that responsibility so it should remain that way no matter what happens. They may turn out to be a great early warning system that could save your life. 

Once again, there is no need to go big immediately. Save a few cups of food a month or even a few tins of food. Just keep taking a bite of that elephant every time you can.

Medication

In this part you will need to think about your daily routine. What medicine does your family need daily? What about sickness stock? Flu medication and pain tablets is a must. Be sure to rotate it out, though. You also want to be covered for emergency situations. Make sure that you have suture sets in case of deep wounds and any other pieces of equipment you may need if an emergency should occur. Start with something small like a packet of band-aids and a roll of bandage or the like. You can start as small as you can afford and build on that. 

A good multi vitamin can also help where nourishment fails. Vitamins C and D will go a long way in keeping your family healthy. Activated charcoal is another great item because it can help with the purification of water and it can also help to get rid of diarrhea or certain types of poison in your system. 

My prepping experience

As the months went by I started thinking about other items that will be needed and I added them in too. These included candles, matches, torches, batteries, needles and thread, and even a small luxury here and there (‘cause momma needs her sugar fix, you know). The point is, the earlier you start prepping, the more time you will think about it. The more time you have, the better you can plan and research.

When prepping it’s a good idea to take into account that you may run into a shortage of space. For this reason it will be best to look for things that are high in calories, lightweight and small, particularly if it’s going into your BOB (bug out bag). Simple things like peanut butter or other nut butters are good choices because it is ready to eat, can last for a while, and is quite high in calories and nutrients. There are many similar items you can stock up on so there should be an option to suit all preferences. If, however, you do end up with too little space, remember your vertical space. Shelves higher up on your walls can be exactly what you need to increase your storage space without impacting your floor space.

Four things you’ll want to remember are:
  1. Rotate your stock.
  2. Keep track of the expiration dates.
  3. Buy stuff that you enjoy eating and use regularly.
  4. Get something to spoil the family with every once in a while, even if it is just a toffee or two. In situations where we don’t know what the next day brings, a pick-me-up may be the only thing to keep us sane. 

Building your stock bit by bit gets you to your goal while not breaking the bank. This was my journey and how I got started prepping even though hubby thought I had finally lost the plot. I am just very grateful that he supported me in this regardless of his thoughts. I’ve eaten my elephant bite by bite and I may never be done. But in a way that’s a good thing. It means that no emergencies have happened for me. Yet… 

If you’d like to read more about food storage, check out our article Why You Should Do Food Storage.

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