There are two central tenets of prepping that go hand in hand with the 5 Principals of Preparedness:
- Live on only what you actually need and nothing more.
- Be prepared for anything.
Heck, even if you aren’t a prepper, these are good ideas—they can help reduce waste, preserve the environment and prevent you from being caught unaware. However, these are also ideas over which most of the rest of us struggle. We’ve been taught that excess and luxury are necessary for a comfortable life.
If you’re interested in streamlining your needs and lifestyle, don’t worry: it doesn’t have to be difficult. There’s no need to throw out everything you own and live in a house of straw. You can, however, help yourself and your family by taking the following tips into consideration, and always remember that there are countless other ways in which you can get down to the bare essentials in life.
Food and Water
A good rule of thumb is to make sure you have enough food and water on hand to feed your family for a year. If that seems excessive, aim for a three month supply and then build it up from there. Of course, having a year’s worth of even the most basic sustenance supplies (beans, yeast, and bottled water) can take up a tremendous amount of room, so you’re going to have to be pretty strict as you evaluate what you truly need as opposed to what you just want because you’re used to it.
A common misconception is that you are going to have to get used to canned foods and while it’s good to have some on hand, there are things you can do to have fresh foods (even meat if you’re an omnivore) in the event that the worst happens. We’ve put together a bunch of great articles about what to store and how.
You don’t have to be ashamed of the fact that you want to stock pile liquor as well as rice. The simple fact is that you might feel the need for a drink every now and then if the worst does happen. Some alcohol can be used for practical purposes as well. For example,vodka can keep razors from rusting and act as an insect repellent.
Smoking is another matter. Now, we’re not going to judge you (much) if you still smoke but the fact of the matter is that you aren’t going to have a lot of space to store the vast quantities of cigarettes. Why not work on cutting back on this habit now? There are all sorts of tools out there to help you with this. Even if you have no intention of giving up your nicotine habit, you can switch to an electronic cigarette. The e-cigarettes allow you to partake without taking up a massive amount of space. What’s more, they don’t require an open flame to light and they don’t smell, so you don’t have to worry about attracting attention when you start jonesing for a smoke.
It is easy to assume that if the worst does happen all of your attention is going to be focused on simple survival and you won’t have any need for entertainment. It’s also important to note that if the electrical grid fails all of our handy gadgets won’t be good for much besides keeping lighter objects from flying away. Luckily, you can buy a solar charger to help you keep a few devices charged. It’s also a good idea to have some books on hand, a deck of cards, something with which to make music—these things are important. Remember: you have to preserve your sanity as well as your body.
Limiting your needs is all about paying attention to how you live now and considering ways in which you might be able to change your habits. If you take the time, you’ll be a far better prepper for it.