Sometimes the whole idea of preparedness gets overwhelming, particularly to someone who is just getting started. Often times, it is so overwhelming that they give up before they get started. But this shouldn't be the case. In fact, there will never be a time when you are fully prepared. It is much more than just collecting a few things like food storage, camping and survival equipment and other resources. It is a lifestyle... a lifetime of learning skills, gaining knowledge, becoming a better stewart of resources, becoming a problem solver, utilizing resources and understanding your environment. And it's fun!
But it is impossible to just decide to be prepared and then accomplish this overnight. It takes many, many steps. Sometimes big steps, sometimes very tiny steps. But they are steps and this should be the first realization.
Many people, particularly these days do not have a lot of resources to go out and start buying truckloads of food, tents, survival supplies, camping equipment, water purification systems, solar panels, etc. These things are end goals, not today's goals. Start simple. Start with what you can afford, a little at a time.
Food storage is one of the most important (in my opinion) goals a person should have on their preparedness checklist. And this should be accomplished with wisdom. Start simple. Begin with a goal of getting 90 days supply of food you eat stocked in your cupboards and pantry. How do you do this? Whenever you go shopping at the grocery store, buy an extra can or more (if you're able to) of what you are already buying. This may only be $1 extra, or it could be more. NEVER go into debt to do this. But if you do this every time you go grocery shopping, you'll notice that you will very quickly have your 90 day supply. And the best part is that you will never even notice it in your bank account.
Next would be your longer term food storage. This is very similar to the 90-day supply. When you make trips to stores like Costco, Sam's Club or other warehouse stores, buy a bag of staple foods such as flour, sugar, rice, beans or other similar items. These come in 5 lb, 10 lb, 25 lb and 50 lb bags. Find a local store (often bread supply stores or provident living stores) and get a 5 or 6.5 gallon bucket. These stores often sell oxygen absorber packets as well (or you can get them online). Then just poor the items in the bucket, putting oxygen absorbers throughout the bucket (1 absorber per gallon) and seal the bucket. Write the contents on the side as well as the date. It's as simple as that! There are plenty of sites that discuss the details of the process. But it's something that can be done a little at a time. And now you can even buy buckets already prepared for you at Costco and Sam's Club with wheat, oats and other items which will last for 30+ years. Pick one up every once in a while when you have money. As you start to accumulate these things, you'll need to take inventory and fill in the gaps of what items you need more of and what you have a sufficient amount of. It's a step-by-step process and it's extremely simple. Just do a little at a time, when you can afford it. Baby steps will result in accomplishing this goal.
Knowledge is one of those things that can cost the least but is hardest to accomplish. It is true that there is training that is critical to have and costs money but a lot of knowledge can be obtained for free. The library has a lot of books about edible plants, first aid, survival, canning and bottling items, gardening, raising animals, primitive tool making, fire making methods, etc. You could spend years reading about these things for free. The Internet also has a lot of great information (although there is just as much bologna out there as well... beware). Once you have gained some knowledge, go out and try it out yourself. Learn what works and doesn't work. Try one thing at a time a month. For instance, decide you're going to try to bottle something this month. Learn about how to do it. Ask people who have done it. Get what you need and bottle something... whether it be jam, chicken or some peaches. Just do something. Once you've done it, you know how to do it. Funny how that works. Then try something else, while continuing to do what you just learned. For instance, decide you're going to bottle something new every month this year. If you did this every month, adding another skill each month as well, you'd have a great foundation. And before you know it, you'll be teaching others and they'll be looking at you as the expert.
Another great way to accomplish goals in preparedness is to set some goals with others. If you'd like to learn how to do something or would like to accomplish a goal, set that goal with a friend or family member. Then together you can accomplish it. This not only helps both you and your loved ones get prepared together, it's fun and rewarding. And if you've already learned how to do something, offer to teach others what you've learned. You don't have to be an expert, just willing to share what you already know and get people moving in the right direction.
Soon you'll start to find other items and/or skills that you need which are specific to you and your area. These things could be hunting and trapping equipment and skills, camping equipment, raising animals, gardening, living off the grid, being able to live in the wilderness with limited tools, or simply getting in shape and being able to backpack and hike. But the funny thing is that although these things may be preparedness focused, they are great fun, healthy, rewarding and can be a family bonding experience if properly accomplished.
Getting healthy and getting in shape should be a goal for everyone whether they be preparedness minded or not. Even this starts with one step at a time. The first step may be to get off your couch and walk to your mailbox and back. Then to the end of your street. Next around the block. Maybe then run to your mailbox and back. One step at a time and you'll find yourself getting healthier and healthier. And make choices one at a time. Choose not to have that desert, just this once. Then make a good choice the next day. Then another and another. Little by little you'll find that these simple steps have amounted to great accomplishments. It is true in all areas of our lives, whether it be preparedness, health, relationships or even our own spirituality. A little at a time...
So sit down, write down what you'd really like to learn that could be associated with preparedness and get started. A little at a time over a long period of time can amount to a mountain. And while you're doing it, get others excited as well. Have fun together and good luck!
Enjoy the journey!