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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!