The more you research prepping, the more you begin to see that even though the basics of preparedness are fairly simple, there are literally thousands of things you can buy. The dilemma comes in when we are deciding what to prep, and what not to prep.
This can be especially difficult when you first get interested in preparedness. The more you read, the bigger your “must haves” list gets. Pretty soon, the essentials like food and water are on the bottom of that list.
We all fall for the “shiny object” now and then (I certainly do), and we can always rationalize needing one thing or another. The truth is, if we purchased everything we thought we needed, or everything we wanted, we would need to rent out a warehouse.
Since most of us don’t have the money to rent a warehouse, our home would start to look like something from the “Hoarders” TV show. Eventually we would have so much stuff that we wouldn’t be able to find something we needed when we needed it.
The same holds true for some of the prepping supplies that might be useful. Yes, having a year’s supply of toilet paper would be great to have, but could the room you use to store it, and the money you spend on it be used for more important supplies?
SPP190 To Prep or Not to Prep: Do You Really Need That?
This week Lisa and I talked about some of these prepping supplies that we hear about all the time, and how to decide if they fit into your preparedness plan.
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We found this article about prepping mistakes I wrote a while back (American Prepper Network) that was written by Stephanie Doyle. She also has her blog “The Home Front” where she writes quite a bit about homesteading. In this article Stephanie goes over some of the supplies she does not stockpile, and explains why.
Her list includes items like storing a years worth of toilet paper, owning dogs for home security and storing paper plates. A couple of the other ones stood out to me because they are somewhat controversial in the prepper community.
Gold and Silver: This is a hot topic in the prepper community, with some good points on both sides of the argument. Stephanie made some good points about how investing in gold and silver is just that, an investment. If you need to get to your bug out location, what is going to be more valuable, an ounce of gold? Or a gallon of gas?
Barter Supplies: Another big topic in the preparedness community is bartering supplies. I can actually see how both sides of this argument are right. If you are preparing, you shouldn’t need to barter anything. On the other side of the coin, having supplies to barter with might get you out of some though situations.
Take Care of the Basics First
I am in the process of writing a beginners prepping checklist, and in that I talk about filtering out the noise and taking care of the basics before you tackle any of the bigger projects. While having all these other supplies, and the survival skills are important, they mean nothing if we don’t have food and water.
Sometimes we overthink prepping a little bit, and sometimes we just want to do the fun stuff and not the important stuff. I am guilty of this myself. Sometimes I have to remind myself that food is more important than a new fixed blade knife.
Storing bulk foods fits into this category as well. Yes, having buckets of grain, rice and beans is a great way to build your food storage, but if you don’t know how to use it you might as well wait until you do. For now, work on getting your food storage supply up to 6 months with pantry foods, or even long term dehydrated meals.
Don’t Store it Until you Learn it
When we think about some of the disaster scenarios that are possible, and how we would handle them, we can stat traveling down a rabbit hole and forget about the important stuff. I love learning about bushcraft and how solar power works, but sometimes I need to reset my priorities.
A large scale solar setup can get pretty expensive. If I purchased everything I needed right now, it would probably sit in my garage until I figured out how to put everything together. I plan on doing some pressure canning this summer, but I need to do my homework first, before I go out and spend money on stuff I “think” I need.
When it comes to prepping there are literally hundreds of things we need, might need or we justify needing. Sometimes these supplies come with the caveat of learning the skill before we need the supplies.
Pick Your Poison
When it comes to prepping there are literally hundreds of things we need, might need or we justify needing. There’s only so much time in the day, and if we put too much on our plate we are bound to burn out. I think of this like spinning plates, the more plates we have in the air, the more likely everything will come crashing down.
When I am learning something new about preparedness I TRY to stay focused on that project, I call this “Just In Time Learning”. This summer I plan on learning about pressure canning, so I need to TRY and not get distracted by something else I HAVE to learn, or something I just HAVE to try.
Do I need it? Or just really want it?
To be honest, I fall for this on a daily basis, and I bet most of you do as well. Everywhere we look there is someone trying to sell something that we really don’t need…but we REALLY want it.
What I try to do is make myself wait. Usually if you give yourself time to think about something, rather than impulsively hitting the buy it now button, you think more rationally about it. This is the same principal grocery stores use at the checkout line, you really didn’t need that bag of beef jerky, but it just looks so good!
Jan Motier says
I’ve been a prepper now for 13 months and feel I have a good handle on possibilities. I grow some, buy from Farmer’s Markets. My best ‘gadget’ investment was a new, larger dehydrator. In it I dry, then, “next gadget: vac and seal” foods in bags and glass jars. After stocking up on canned veggs, fruits, meat products, I worked on condiments. Now using dehydrating, I’m storing food additives, ie celery, mushrooms, onions, cabbage,; the extra foods that make a big difference in a dish. My water is ok as are a number of filtering devices. I live near a large creek which runs into the Mississippi about 2 miles away so fishing is planned, if only to help feed my 7 cats. Self defense is a first issue and plans are in place for that contingency. I have enough property to grow quite a bit of food so that area is somewhat covered. I try to learn something new when an issue arises. Always play the :what if” game.
Not to cause trouble Jan but I see you saying you are dehydrating food but don’t see you talking about cooking with it. I see you talked about fishing but no mention of doing it. You talk about land for a garden but not about growing one. there is going to be a learning curve on all of these things so if you want to bet your survival on them you need to start doing them sooner than later. maybe you are doing all these thing and didn’t mention that but this is just my thoughts.