12 Months of Prepping: January

Welcome to my twelve months of prepping! The goal here is to break down how to get started prepping over the course of one year, and get you going on the right foot. Prepping is not only an individualized process specific to you and your situation (home, space, family, age, and more). It can also be very overwhelming because there is so much information out there. 

My goal is to give you a great starting place, and the tools to decide what works best for you and your family. You’re welcome to leave me comments and ask questions as well. I’m happy to help! 

This process will be broken down over 12 posts, one for each month. In them, I’ll be talking about things to do each week. My advice is to pick a specific day each week to work on your prepping. That way you are committed to staying consistent and making this a habit. 

Week One

The first week in January is when I focus on fire safety in my house. This means checking the smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors if you have them, and fire extinguishers. Making sure everything is in working order, easily accessible, and not damaged in any way. 

If anything is damaged, replace it immediately. If the batteries aren’t working, replace them as well. I keep my fire extinguisher in a closet, so I’m checking if Nathan piled up anything around it that can make it difficult to access. Or, things in the closet may have fallen and I didn’t notice. 

The dryer is another potential problem. Lint builds up and can cause fires. I pull the lint trap out of my dryer and vacuum any excess lint out from inside. After I run a load of towels, I always do this, but I do it again the first week in January. 

Nathan checks the dryer hose going from the machine to the floor to make sure it is still secure. Once that is done, he goes under the house and makes sure the duct is still attached all the way to the vent. If it isn’t, we have heat proof tape and metal rings with clamps to address this issue. 

Then it is time to check the vent! Just like anything else, it can get clogged up. I like to take a shop vacuum outside and use it on the vent to make sure nothing is trapped inside that I can’t see. This is also the perfect time to see if the vent is cracked, has come unsecured from the house, or is damaged in any way. 

Those plastic vents sit in the sun day in and day out. They get old and damaged from the sun, and will need to be replaced every few years, so keep an eye on that. 

With the new year, I look at it as a fresh start in making sure everything works properly. I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I take safety precautions. 

Week Two

Week two is where I go through my preps and organize. I like doing it for the house overall, because that means I can potentially rearrange to fit more preps in to my allotted space and get rid of junk I no longer need. 

During the fall and winter, Nathan and I donate a lot of canned food to food banks and drives to help feed others during the holidays. Rarely do I have time to restock during that time. Holidays are busy for all of us. That means that January is the perfect time to go through the cabinets and make a restocking list. 

Money is always tight in January, it seems. Therefore it may not be in the budget to restock the pantry shelves this week. But what is key is having that list of what you need. As well as knowing how much space you have available for those items. 

Once you have the list made and you’re at the grocery store, you can pick 1-2 things per visit. Adding them in to what you are normally buying. The first visit, buy the canned broth on your list, and bottled water. Next trip, pick up that extra bag of flour and boxed pasta. Keep going on down the line until the pantry is restocked. 

If you do that during each visit to the grocery store, your cabinets will be restocked before you know it! The best part is that you didn’t empty your bank account to do it all at once. 

Click here to read about my pantry organization tips. There is also my food storage tips that will be very helpful to read during this time. 

One of the biggest things I talk about in prepping is to know your space. How much can you fit in a cabinet, on a shelf, or in a closet before it is spilling out? Organization is key. Without it, my house becomes chaos. Think about that and decide if it is time to rearrange your available storage space. 

Week Three

By the time that week three rolls around in January, I’m exhausted. The holidays are over, and I am never quite sure where to go from there. Having a plan for my prepping makes a big difference because I have a purpose. 

This is the week where I go through all of my non-food supplies. Batteries, candles, light bulbs, things like that. I check to make sure that nothing has been damaged or needs replacing and/or restocking. I feel like I am constantly replacing the tiny lightbulbs in my hallway. How is the stock of them? Are any batteries corroding? Is everything in the correct place? 

That is a big one in my household. Things move at times when we are working on a home improvement project, and they don’t always make it back to the exact same place. Nathan is notorious for this, and so I double check. In a moment of panic, I’ll never find something if it is in the wrong place. 

The great thing about this week is that it is not a physically demanding task to go through non-food items to check for any damages and replace as needed. Being exhausted is no excuse, and I can still get it done. 

Week Four

Since the holidays are over, it’s safe to say we all have some shiny new toys or gadgets in the house. This is an excellent time to inventory all the fun new stuff and take pictures of these items for insurance purposes. If you haven’t done this for everything else in the house, it is time to start. 

Having an inventory list, serial numbers, and pictures of these items is vital. In the event of a break-in, you’ll need to know what is missing and have serial numbers handy. In the event of a fire, you’ll need an inventory list and proof through pictures that you owned the items you are claiming to your insurance company. 

This is a very tedious project. But it is one that doesn’t cost any money and saves you a very big potential headache down the road. You can read more about this in my prepping without spending money post, and why these things are so important for all of us. 

The great thing is once it is completed, it is much easier and faster to add and subtract items from the list as needed. It only takes a good chunk of time during the initial process. Updating it is easy. 


January always feels like it is a rebuilding month because we have all spent money during the holidays. Maybe a bit more than we should have. I love all of the prepping things that I talked about for this month are either low-cost, or free to do. They mostly cost me my time, and that I can work with! 

I hope you have enjoyed the first in my 12 part series of prepping for a year. The goal is to help you develop a system and get going with the basics. That is why I have links to other posts in here, and I strongly encourage you to click the links and visit my related articles to learn even more as you go! 

What are you doing to get going on your preps, or improving on this month? Tell me about it in the comments! 


  • Alexandra

    This was another great article! It’s amazing how organized you are. I know there is something that you are supposed to do to the dryer and I have yet to do it because it involves taking the back off and cleaning all the lint that has accumulated. It’s not that it’s super hard but it would just take up too much time for me to watch a video and then learn how to do it and literally do it. I am pretty much on overload. And yet, it’s important!

    There was another thing that I thought was so good but my teen just interrupted before we go to school and I’ve forgotten. Oh yeah! The pictures and seriel numbers! I completely forgot about that and though I’m not thinking about someone breaking in and stealing our stuff, we have yearly hurricanes and that is something you are supposed to do for insurance purposes. So thanks for the reminder!

    • The Prepping Wife

      That’s right, you were directly in the path of Dorian this year. I remember you telling me about that and I was thinking about you as you were gathering supplies. In your case, you definitely want to have serial numbers and pictures for insurance purposes! That would be very high on the priority list for anyone who lives in dangerous weather zones.

      With the dryer, another thing that can be done is to blow out the duct from the inside out. I did this with a shop vac right before our brand new dryer was delivered. Just put it over the hole inside and blew it all out. I walked outside and it seriously looked like it snowed! It was a little scary how much lint had accumulated over the years in there. That is what started our dryer safety inspection every year.

  • Luna S

    This sounds like a great plan for being prepared, I like how detailed the post is! I know I need to check all of my alarms too.

  • Nicole Anderson | Camping for Women

    When you think about all the things we need to do to stay on top of things, having an annual calendar with checklists for items just makes so much sense. I love your thinking here as this tyoe of approach would certainly just make the tasks so easy and take the worry out of wondering what you might have forgotten. Such a great idea to ensure January has no/low cost items given the festive season just past. Things such as property identification schedules/photos, fire protection, organising your storage and planning/spacing out your purchasing and restocking over a period is just a great way to begin the year.

    • The Prepping Wife

      The hardest part of prepping is hands down getting started. Where to begin, because there are so many aspects that are important. Which is why I created this series to give people the tools to get going. I love sharing the little details that are so often overlooked. I’ll be the first to admit that I overlooked them for years before I started my prepping journey. That is why it is so important to share them with my readers. I am so glad you’re enjoying this series, Nicole!

  • Ellie

    This is so top notch – I know it goes without saying but such great preparation here, you are thinking about things so many of us completely forget! January for me is so long because I am always waiting for my birthday month to tick around. To make January less bleak, I try to have a trip planned of some sort too – which I will need to book soon! x

  • Lindsay Brown

    January is always the month I feel like I am at my least organized! It is also my birthday month so I make everyone wait on me hand and foot (Haha just kidding) I will have to take your awesome tips and tricks and put them into play for the month of January and then maybe I will be able to finally get my poop in a group to start the year off right!

    • The Prepping Wife

      Well hello my fellow January baby! No wonder we get along so well! I knew you were awesome for a reason, Lindsay! I couldn’t make anyone wait on me hand and foot (although the thought sounds fantastic) simply because I’m a control freak and I’d just want to do it myself. Lol.

  • Subhashish Roy

    Your post reminded me of strategic planning that we studied in management and practiced all our life during working days. Prepping is all about looking to the future and addressing the issues now.

    • The Prepping Wife

      “Prepping is all about looking to the future and addressing the issues now.” That is the best definition of why I prep, Subhashish! I’ve noticed that since I started prepping, it is honestly a huge stress relief because I am so much better able to handle things when they come up, because I’ve thought about the future and am more ready. I can’t predict everything, but I can certainly make the unknown a lot easier most of the time!

  • Claire

    This is such a great idea for a series. I am terrible at being prepared and keeping track of things round the home.

    I look forward to reading more x

  • sharon wu

    I wish I was as organized as you! haha I need to really step up my prepping game. I feel like it would save me so much time and hassle.

  • Sushmita

    I absolutely love how you break down your posts in such a simple way – it’s not just easy to read but also so easy to remember and recall! These are precisely the things to actually work on during the first month of the year! Wonderful! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • The Prepping Wife

      Thank you so much, Sushmita! I have people always asking me how to get started with prepping, and I really wanted to create a step by step guide that was easy to follow, and even easier to implement as well. This series is an absolute labor of love for me to create and share with my readers.

  • Melanie williams

    Wow sounds like you have been a super busy bee for sure. You are even more organised than me – that is impressive xx

  • aisasami

    January for me is the time to renew and make new. Maybe new goals or new lifestyle choices. I also clean beforehand as I get a break during New Years. It is a tradition here in Japan to clean your house from top to bottom for a clean and new house for New Years.

  • Cassie

    LOVE this! Such great information here! My sister had a house fire and had to go through the insurance process. A list is SO helpful! You forget about so many little things that you end up having to replace if you don’t have one! Also, one of my neighbors had a dryer fire from buildup in their outside vent. Even though no one was hurt and the fire was contained to their laundry room they were out of their house for over 6 mos and had to replace a lot of their belongings due to smoke and water damage! Thanks for the week by week tips!

    • The Prepping Wife

      Prepping is absolutely a commitment, but one I have found to be completely worthwhile. The biggest issue I’ve found is there is a ton of information, but no real instructions to get started without becoming overwhelmed with information and still have no idea where to start. That is why I wanted to create this series to give that place to start and really get going. This series is a total labor of love for me because it can help so many people.

  • Sarah

    This is such a helpful post and I feel like I’d never have thought to have any of the things you mentioned each week (mainly as I don’t have a house, haha). You deffo have your shit together and when the time comes that I move out, I think I’ll be coming to you for some tips on how to boss the whole adulting thing haha. Thanks so much for sharing, I’ve learned a lot!x

  • Lyosha

    I love the idea of donating canned food, I switch to all the canned food I can eat when it comes to expiration date (it happens when you stop consuming as much product as you did before, somehow metally overeating it). I need to look for the options. Your prepping months seams so packed up! I’d be tired all the time!

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