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The New Year always brings a desire to begin anew or make a fresh start. For many of us, it’s also a time to create new habits or goals. But all too often, we’re already sidetracked three days later.
Research shows that repeating a task for 21 days creates a habit, but I know I’m prone to give it up after day 22 if I allow myself to get sidetracked!
These resolutions/habits aren’t meant to be something that you must do day by day to keep yourself prepared. They are meant to be ways to help you establish goals that you will work on all year long. Nor are they the only habits that you can work on. Come up with a list that works for your own family, as well!
Keep this in mind – none of this happens overnight unless you win the lottery. It is a slow and steady course of revamping the way you live, changing bad habits to good, slowly building up your supplies and skills. Don’t get discouraged if after the first month you feel you’ve gotten nothing done! You’re working towards big long-term important goals and it does take a little while!
10 New Habits for the Prepared Home
Make a Plan
Making a plan seems daunting, especially if you really don’t know where to start. So here are a few articles that I’ve written to help get you there.
- Create a Family Binder
- 150 Reasons to Prepare
- 10 Reasons to NOT Prepare
- Build Food Storage from Meal Plans
- Emergency Evacuation Plan
My first suggestion is to always think about what you need to prepare for – whether severe weather, joblessness, new babies, sickness, civil unrest, power outages, etc. Then begin tackling those specific areas as you build, and continue to spread as you go.
I see you rolling your eyes. But record keeping is really important! You need to know what you have, how much you have, where your important documents are, what’s in your bank account, etc. etc. etc.
You can create a Family Emergency Binder to keep your important documents and checklists in to keep you organized. I also love using the Preparedness Planner to keep track of my food storage and emergency stockpiles so that I know where I am in our plan at all times.
• Free Download: Start your own Family Emergency Binder
It is important that you keep your emergency stockpile, your food storage, and your mind free from clutter. It helped me to go through my home to find nooks and crannies that would be good for food storage, add a few bookshelves, add additional shelving to our pantry, and get in the Fly Lady habit of keeping my home more organized. I began clearing out clutter of things that just weren’t useful to us to make room for those things that were.
Your mind needs the space, too! Don’t clutter it up with uber-doomsday fear or planning. Begin your plan slowly, steadily, and leave the fear mongering to those who prey. What you are doing is preparing your family for everyday emergencies and potential larger emergencies. Being prepared there helps you be more prepared for anything else to come.
Practice, Practice Practice
Make sure that you practice using the new skills you’ll learn all year. Practice getting out of your home with your 72 hour kit and all necessary supplies as if you had an emergency you had to evacuate for. Practice a weekend of no power living to find your weaknesses. Practice different ways to get out of your city (or home from work). Do a fire drill or earthquake drill regularly. Practice self defense skills or take a class. If you shoot, keep practicing to have those skills fresh all the time. Pick a new skill to learn every month to help develop those skills necessarily for survival and self-reliance.
Get Your Kids Involved
Don’t forget to get your kids involved in preparedness skills, organization, etc. There may be days when your kids don’t have you near and they need to understand how to stay safe, take care of themselves and more! They can help plan, organize, practice and more! Not only does this help you now, but it helps develop those skills for when they start go off to begin their own lives as they get older.
• Learn more: Preparedness for Kids
Work on Personal / Family Health
The new year always makes people think of starting over with new health goals. I want to encourage you to look beyond simply trying to lose weight this year, but get your family on a health journey! Make sure you’re doing dental and eye checkups when you can, follow-up on health issues, get your blood pressure checked, work towards cleaning up your diet, create a regular exercise program for you and your family even if it is just getting out and walking 2-3 times per week.
I realize many of you may have some serious medical issues that prohibit full health, but work towards it as you can!
Make a Budget
Don’t groan. Financial health is as important as your physical health when it comes to preparedness. Not only do you need the means to build your food storage and emergency stockpile in a manner that doesn’t break the bank, you need to be prepared for financial emergencies, too! Losing a job can be devastating to so many families. Or simply wanting to move away from a dangerous position to a home that offers you more stability and safety – if you have bad credit, that can make things so much harder!
I loved using Dave Ramsey when our family began to work at repairing our bad financial habits and create better ones. There are plenty of other financial helpers out there, but I found him to be solid in theory. We don’t use cash envelopes the way he does because we find we don’t like walking around with that much cash on us, but we do use a system we’ve devised for us to help move that money where it needs to be when it needs to be that works the same. Quicken Books is also a good way to keep track of your finances. Earning passive revenue is also a great way to prepare for an emergency. Capitalize on other’s spending habits by having them sign up for the Vital Card. You can earn rewards for other people’s spending while building up credit.
Also important is creating a budget to help you purchase stockpile items for your home. I use a meal plan to help build my food storage, we have a budget for emergency items (like ammunition and new tools/supplies), and a plan on how we will purchase them over the long term.
• Additional Encouragement: Feeling Discouraged by Prepping on a Budget?
Build Your Stockpile Weekly
Whether you concentrate on keeping a year’s worth of food and supplies, or you’re shooting to just tackle a month’s worth, building your food storage and emergency stockpile can be daunting if you look at it in terms only of what you still have to buy…not in terms of what you’ve already built. Do it slowly, systematically, and based on your emergency needs. If you don’t need to prepare for hurricanes, don’t worry about buying sand bags and window coverings. If you don’t experience winter weather, you don’t need to buy extra coats, blankets and heating items. Stick to the 3 areas of emergency preparedness you looked at before, and budget/plan to add to it consistently.
Food storage can be expanded by buying multiples of what you already eat, investing in single items for a the time period you want to store for and getting them in one swoop (for example, buying enough pasta to last a year and then rotating through it, buying replacements as you use it), focusing on creating complete emergency meals, investing in freeze-dried foods, etc. You can also garden to help extend your food supply.
- How to build your food storage from what you eat daily.
- Food Storage Calculator – how much will you really need?
Rotate, Rotate, Rotate!
Don’t let all your hard work and money go to waste. Be sure to rotate your water supplies, your food storage, your emergency stockpile. If it doesn’t expire, check to make sure it hasn’t been damaged in storage, isn’t missing parts, is still working, rotating batteries in smoke alarms, checking fire extinguisher expirations, etc. Don’t let part of your storage go bad simply because you weren’t keeping an eye on it. Your record keeping will help you know what will expire soon if you are storing in bulk.
TIP! Get a thick black marker or two and make sure to write the suggested use by date or expiration date on the top of all of your food storage items. This way, as you glance across the rows of food and boxes, you’ll see what you need to use up first or what may need to be rotated back to make room for older product. You will LOVE it if you take a few moments to do it right before you put it on your shelf.
Prepare Your Car
We spend a huge amount of our life in our cars, and this is one area where we tend to just ignore. We drive with little gas, we have no extra water, we drive through snow with no extra warm clothes in case we get stuck in traffic, we have no spare tire or tools to replace them, we drive with bad tires, etc. Be in the habit of preparing your car in the same fashion you would prepare your home.
Store More Water than You Think You’ll Need
I haven’t talked about storing particular items in this article, but did want to do this. Load up on water. While the going suggestion is 1 gallon of water per person per day, this doesn’t take into account of hot weather, washing, bathing, fires, crop growing, etc. You should be stockpiling water. If you can create water storage outdoors in the form of water barrels or ponds, storing water in soda bottles, finding odd places to find water at home, using water to fill gaps in the freezer, stockpiling water bottles from the store, buying water storage containers and filling up old laundry detergent bottles with water for washing up. There are so many ways to store water. It’s the basic of what we can store to survive, and you’ll always need more than you think you will.
Summing it all up:
I want to encourage you to make preparedness a part of your everyday life, not just something you do occasionally. You can incorporate so much of it into what you’re already doing, that it doesn’t have to be some strange, awkward, weird thing you’re doing that you don’t want anyone to know about. Make it a daily habit to focus on those things that will bring you more peace about how your family can handle a crisis, even if only for 3 days to get yourself started.
What preparedness habits are you trying to incorporate into your life now?