Peaceful Preparedness in Action

Today I posted a question for our Facebook readers. “What is one aspect of preparedness that you feel comfortable with right now?”  Unfortunately, for the most part the answers were riddled with regrets and superimposed labels of failure. I was a bit saddened to read some of the responses because the “cure” is so incredibly easy and yet there were many who were beating  themselves up for not having "arrived" at the perfect state of preparedness.

First of all, I suspect that for those people who have been focusing on various components of preparedness are much further along than they realize.  I think that for some, the missing bit of information is the lack of an accounting or an inventory.  Now I’ll be the first person to tell you that I don’t believe in spending arduous amounts of time keeping track of every single thing I bring into the home. But what I am good at is that periodically, I will take a rough tally of what I’ve got vs. what I need on a single, particular preparedness component, and then work from there.  So, if you feel that you’re simply not prepared in any particular area, do a simply inventory of the area in which you feel you are best prepared.  You’re likely to be surprised by how far along you’ve come or how little you have to go to be perfectly ready in that one area.

Second, focus your efforts on one small category within a category. For example, while someone may not have the year’s supply of water that they know they need, they may discover that they have a year’s supply of raspberry muffin mix, or canned chili, or dog food, etc. It’s important for your mental well-being that you take credit when credit is due.  I find that this approach is much easier on a person who may struggle with depression or anxiety.

So when I find a really good deal on something, I specifically try to leverage that special with what my needs for the item will be on a yearly basis. I asked my husband what he was comfortable with. Without blinking an eye he said “Jelly. Definitely jelly. We won't have to buy any of that for at least 2 years.”  Here’s another example: I did find a really good deal on raspberry muffin mix at Augason Farms for a steal. So I made a little calculation in my head that I could conceivably make raspberry muffins one dinner a week. So I purchased 36 of the bags. Knowing that you have the carbohydrate/grain serving of one meal a week for an entire year is worthy of feeling comfortable—at least in that regard.  Before you know it, you’ll find yourself with a year’s worth of muffins in a wide variety, or a year’s worth of canned green beans, or a year’s worth of a variety of sprouts.  All you need to do is focus your efforts on one “bite” at a time.  Focusing on the positive will give you more mental ammunition to move on and tackle other Principles of Preparedness.

Now, having said that, how about we graduate to another level of peaceful preparedness in action. Remember, there are 10 Principles of Preparedness, but within each of those principles there are all kinds of possibilities. For example, in the Principle of Clothing/Shelter you’ve got socks, nails, coats, shoes, plywood, tools, etc.  Why not focus on one of those sub-categories and get one of those accomplished.  For about $15 you can have a year’s supply of nails.  For nothing, combined with a sale and a coupon, you can have a year’s supply of kid’s underwear, socks, etc.  Do all that you can with the sub-categories with a focus on a year’s time frame.  You’ll be astounded at how quickly that kind of thinking will manifest itself in your preparedness success.

There are many things you can make or purchase in which one single item will provide you all that you need for a year, in a particular sub-category of preparedness. For example, one of the gals commented on Facebook that she felt comfortable with her ability to cook for a year. Why? Because she had invested in a sun oven and she lives in the desert.  That’s perfect. That’s one less thing she has to fret and worry about. Is there some aspect of preparedness you can accomplish simply by acquiring ONE item?  How about a hand-washer for your laundry (no more than $20), or even one of those old fashioned clothes washer remakes that you can get from Lehman’s? How about a clothesline and clothes pins? It won’t take you much to be able to relax knowing that you’ve got the alternative clothes washing and drying taken care of for less than $40. Sounds like an easy merit point to me.

If any of this “year’s supply” talk is causing you to suffer a panic attack then simply focus on shorter time frames. Even if you get prepared in one week increments, it will still be beneficial to you mentally and emotionally.  Push yourself to at least focus on the shorter time frames. And may I suggest that you pursue such efforts with as much FOCUS as you would if you were trying to get tickets for the newest Harry Potter or Twilight movies?  I have worked with hundreds of families over the years in their preparedness efforts and I can tell you that the number one obstacle for them is focus—not money, not time, not knowledge—it’s focus.

Lastly, if I had my dream world it would be that everyone who reads this simply looks at one principle of preparedness and focus on that particular principle until they fulfill those needs for their family at a minimal level. You can always build on the sophistication and the breadth of possibilities later. But if you get your “year’s supply” of just one Principle of Preparedness you’ll discover that such an accomplishment will lead you in confidence towards attacking other areas with purpose and success.  Water for example, it really doesn’t take that much effort, expense or mental exhaustion to get enough water for your family for one year. I can’t tell you how many of my friends and neighbors have EMPTY 55 gallon blue barrels in their backyard or in their garage.  Come on! Get the lead out. Get cracking on something and get it checked off your list!

This is just one of the many ways that I approach Preparedness from a panic-free state and instead get to experience comfort and peace.


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Kellene, thanks so much for this post, I have been really trying to focus on "smaller" pictures to not get overwhelmed with anxiety.

I recently took a rough inventory and discovered I do have a yrs supply of quite a few items and a nearly year supply of others.

It is the preparedness principles other than food that get me overwhelmed and anxious, so breaking them down as you have suggested makes so much sense to me. Thanks for the reminder that I don't have to do every principle all at once.

It can be paralyzing when you look at the BIG picture and all that is still left to do, but taking one small thing at a time makes it doable.

thanks for this timely article, it really made an impact on me.

Hi All,

I need help with organization and planning... Does anyone here use and recommend any particular inventory/planning tools? I saw the Food Storage Planner somewhere (, but I'm not eager to plunk down my $39.95 without knowing what's out there that people are already using.

How do YOU track your preps?

Thanks! :-)

Featherjack, I sat down at my computer and used Microsoft Publisher (or you could use Excel) and made a chart (a table) that listed what it was and boxes next to it for each number of an item. The name of the product went in the first column (top to bottom) with the boxes going across the page. I listed everything I had in my root cellar or stored elsewhere. Then I took the sheets and my son and I counted up every item in storage. We had to hand write things we forgot to put on the chart many times. We put a slash in the little box; later if we used that product, we completed an 'X' that showed it was used up. Later I went back and updated the charts. I also inventoried my freezer...and found some stew meat five years old that I tossed...
Eventually I inventoried all my paper products, cleaning supplies, and medical items. It took many sheets of paper to get everything listed. I keep the freezer list on one clipboard and everything else on another. I guess they will eventually end up in a big binder. Hope that helps.


Thank you! I need a starting place -- "rolling my own" like you did, is beyond me!

Featherjack, you've got to do what helps you, but frankly, some of these suggestions wear me out just reading them. Whatever you do, be sure that it doesn't add to feeling overwhelmed. I personally don't believe in on-going inventories. Once you've got what you need in a particular area you've got the inventory... then when you use something up, you replace it. Keep it simple at all costs.

"Keep it simple at all costs." Amen! LOL...

Yes, I HAVE to... I have CFS that limits my energy, but it REALLY limits my focus and concentration. That's why I asked... I need a system that pretty much takes me by the hand and says, "There, see how easy?" :-)

Thanks all. You're the best!

You might want to check out the "Food Storage Made Easy" website: They have lots of useful info and Excel spreadsheets that you can download and customize to suit your needs -- and it's free! And they do have an ebook you can buy, too.


Thank you! I certainly will check that out! :-)

We have a lot of food storage and garden and can a lot so that all gives us peaceful preparedness. I think my greatest thing for peace has been to be debt free, including our home. That is a huge blessing for us just entering our late 50s for the years ahead.

Great article! I have huge challenges in just about every which direction towards getting prepared- financial, time, energy, etc. It can easily get overwhelming and discouraging. I have found that the best approach for me is to "choose" preparedness everyday and try to do something daily, no matter how small. Those little things add up over time and help get me in the right mind set. I am amazed at what I have been able to accomplish with some enormous challenges. If I can do it, anyone can...just take it one day at a time, giving thanks for the extra day you had to prepare!
Kim :)

I am using this on my iphone. There are more features planned such as the ability to print and save on another computer etc but it has goal making as well as calculation software for your individual circumstances and is in metric as well as imperial. It shows how much of something I have weight as well as how long it would last for our family. This is the best one I have used so far. even has a bar code built in so you can scan your purchases if you want to. I have a much better idea where we are at, some areas better than I thought and some areas not so good.

sorry, I forgot to mention it is free from itunes.


Wo-oowww!That sounds WICKED cool... Now if I only had an iPhone... :-(

I am well stocked in my suburban house which is in a major metropolitan city. I have bug out bags for everyone. But, I don't know where I should bug out if I have to. I am not sure that I will even be able to bug out if I have to. This is an area of uncertainy that bothers me. What if I am forced out of my home. I have to leave all kinds of prepping stuff behind. I could only take my bug out bags with me, but to where?

John, I wrote an article specifically about this. I'll try to find the link for you. Sometimes I even have a hard time with this search feature on Wordpress...*sigh*

I too would like to be better prepared in this area. Please share more on this

Thank-you for breaking it down like that. Our food is taken care of, and I'm not worried about clothes, but I get worried about basic things, like cooking and heating and washing. Some of it I just need to get the lead out, and sometimes I don't want to spend the money. But if I already have a years worth of rice, then instead of buying more (I've been compulsively buying food as of late) I could use $40 and take care of my laundry, and buy myself some more peace of mind to boot.

I took a different approach....First freeze dried food for well over a I discovered that I needed more shopping trips to town are now only a few days a year...(and I take help)....but I start on my year stock up plan....I rotate my food stocks and can see when I need more or less of something.....I then start saving for my next major sun oven,my volcano stove,my Berky filter (HMMMM so good) then 5 gallon stackable water jugs I use these as being an old gal....I can handle them...I cannot put 55 gallon barrels outside because of where I live......way too cold......Any suggestions ????? As ammo went on sale...I bought what I could.....have your sprouts going constantly now......I got used to them......If All goes well in the friend and I are planning a trip to Sam Club. and if we have room Walmart......I have a full list of things that I need for storage....but my next big purchase will be some sort of either solor or propane I am on oxygen, this is a must for me.........Now if I could do all of this on Social Security (and not very much, as I did not get my late husband's SS....Oh yes and with a very badly broken leg.....YOU can too! I am putting down visqueen on the floor to a decent size living room.....buying some double large storage bins and starting some vegies.....I have a black thumb.....but I can learn......then on to pressure canning........No,Kellene I an not overwelmed. I am more comfortable....and actually sort of proud of myself....I have learned so much from you....As soon as I get your boot camp coupon course I will probable change my way of grocery shopping .... It could not hurt.....When I started I ask the 3 bar/restaurants to save my their 1/2 gal whisky bottles in the boxes......It cost me nothing.....anyone could do this.......JUST DO IT!........They are good for water tyo a point.....aND THEY ARE FREE. aNYONE CAN PROP!

After an earthquake rattled my town ever-so-slightly, like a very polite reminder to get ready, I decided I needed a year's supply of water. So, every single time I entered a grocery store, I would say to myself, "If I can afford food for today, then I can afford water for tomorrow" and I would buy a six pack of bottled water. After a little while, I had enough bottled water to completely fill the space under the bed in the guest bedroom, which I then hid with a frilly dust ruffle. I now have 636 bottles of water there. But when I talked to my neighbors about this simple method of preparing for "The Big One" - they all think I'm nuts, even though they all felt the same polite "warning" quake that I did! Why are people like this??

@razr, I have a small solar panel and storage battery from GoalZero, and so far, it is fantastic! They have many different sizes of panels and batteries, so you can get only what you need, and the big ones chain together to power a whole compound, if you need it, and they can easily be unmounted and packed up to carry away. It's really tough and well made equipment.

Just my two cents, I leave most of the "power and technical" stuff up to the hubby. He's a total solar snob and he won't have anything to do with the stuff that's out there now. For his birthday I gave him free reign to buy anything solar he wanted and he elected to order what he needed to make his own--giving us nearly 10 times the power that he would have if he had purchased GoalZero or any of the other commercial brands.

Does he consult? I'd love to pick his brain! :-)

Have Scott do a guest article on how to do that so that some of our hubbys could also bless the rest of us. Thanks

I think we'll have better luck getting him to write an article than taking time out to consult. At least he can write the article while other sane people are sleeping. :-)

I second the request for a diy solar panel article, and so will my husband I'm sure.

This is a great article on keeping things into perspective. I had bought everything I needed to "feel comfortable" with my food storage and preparedness needs. I based my food storage plan on several different methods including Wendy DeWitt's Plan since she had a plan that worked well in the climate we lived. I bought the last piece of equipment and then we moved to the other side of the country and will be dealing with a whole separate set of variables. I could not take most of my food storage with me since we were using a moving company (I had just taken the coupon boot camp:( ) so I was able to offer food to family and friends. Some of my family are still using the food six months later and really needed it to keep costs down, something they would have never taken money for but were glad to "help" me out. Food storage is not just for emergencies, it most definitely is a state of mind, a calm one if you can figure out what works for you.

Thanks, Kellene. This is EXACTLY how I HAVE to prep. In fact, I frequent a site that breaks food storage into baby steps, and in the last few months, I've been able to get more done with my food storage than I have in the last few YEARS, because of baby steps. I don't think I responded on Facebook, but the one thing of preparedness that I'm comfortable with: I've actually STARTED and DONE SOMETHING.

I'm in the same category as Jennifer W. and am actively working each day to be a little more prepared. My solar oven is on the way as well as the Big Berkey and Excalibur dehydrator and the supplies needed for processing food. Water is everywhere but more is needed. I just finished planting my freshly built 6X8 raised garden beds. One pressure and one waterbath canner and supplies for them. Over the counter meds and three months of Rx meds. My problem is having to store enough for members of my family that still have a sense of denial regarding what is going on in the world today. I can't afford to wait unti they get their heads out of the sand. I'm so thankful for the day I landed on Kellene's website when I typed "preparedness" into the web searchbar. Reading the various posts from others is icing on the cake. Thanks to ALL of you for helping me learn.

Yes, have Scott do a guest article or Wednesday night talk on his solar preps! I need to power up a 400 ft. hand pump will work on a well that deep..

Kellene, I didn't respond earlier today...

I feel basically very good about our one year supply of food. I also feel really good about our three-month supply of food. Our medical supplies are good (I have gowns, masks, gloves, footies, disinfectants, ointments). I have put away pain killers/fever reducers for both adults and children, stomach medicines, vitamin c - all vitamins for that matter). We have a four-season tent, a propane stove and a good amount of propane containers (I want a solar oven!), a dutch oven, first aid kits, tarps, rain ponchos, water-proof matches, fire starters, small hatchets, crank-flashlights, hard-core boots for all of us, blah, blah, blah - I even stored duct tape because that fixes everything! :)

But now I am having a panic attack! I DON'T have a year's supply of water! I have stored 100 gallons and thought I was doing well. I thought it was two week's worth we were supposed to store?! Oh, yikes! I have lots of water purification tablets stored, but OH NO!

I still have lots to work on as well. One thing I do feel good about now (after reading your article)...I DO keep an inventory! :)

Kellene, thank you for sharing so much with us for free. Every time I visit Preparedness Pro I learn something new. All the information has empowered me to take action now to prepare & care for myself and my family. Friends think I'm silly for making bread, canning and even stocking up on water. They say it takes too much time & space.I guess Katrina, Ike, and Gustav failed to make an impression when they passed though our neck of the woods. I appreciate your dedication to all of us who want to prepare and learn.

How do you prepare for warmth in an all electric house if the power goes out? Can't afford to build a fireplace and no place for a wood heater. Is there ANYTHING that could provide for this?

Little Buddy heater. It requires minimal amount of ventilation and operates on a small or a large propane tank.

If you have a 'year supply' of water stored, I'm impressed! Usually that is the one item that you hope to maybe have a few weeks or a months worth of, if you are lucky enough to have the space to store it all.

Assuming the '1 gallon per person, per day' rule of thumb, for drinking, cooking and maybe teeth brushing...and no bathing (ugh, better add in lots of air freshener)...

For example, for my family of 5 (two adults and three kids), plus my Dad, that is about 2190 gallons of water to have a year supply! That's alot of blue barrels and/or bottles!! That would work out to be about 40 (55 gallon) barrels of water! I don't know many families that would have that much room to store water. Even with the newer 'hot water heater sized' 250 gallon barrels I've seen, that's 8 or 9 'hot water heater' sized barrels to find space for....

Ok, now I'm thinking an outdoor cistern would be kinda nice! haha

Do what you can, get a good filter and try to locate the nearest stream, river or other water supply nearest to your home for future reference for any 'water trips' in case of an emergency.


Heather, you may want to take a look at the article I wrote a couple weeks ago about a case for having water INSIDE your home. Just FYI.

Thanks for the great reaffirming article. I think part of the stress of preparing for some people is that they feel they need to catch up, with whom (maybe you, Kellene) I'm not sure! We certainly can't catch up to anyone but can start from where we are. Baby steps is really the way to go and you've summed it up perfectly. Our family started by focusing on toilet paper. We have a VERY small budget but by watching the sales flyers we were able to do it in no time by - focusing. After that I canned 52 quarts of whatever I happened to be canning, one quart a week was a great starting point. Knowing that my hope and provisions are in the Lord is the greatest comfort of all. He provides when we walk with Him, and we aren't if we are stressing.

I look forward to your articles - thanks!

Something that has helped me feel less overwhelmed is this: I am using an Excel spreadsheet for a food storage planner. I first got enough food/water/supplies for two weeks. Then I added enough for another two weeks. I am now up to a three month supply of everything using the method

Something that has helped me feel less overwhelmed is this: I am using an Excel spreadsheet for a food storage planner. I first got enough food/water/supplies for two weeks. Then I added enough for another two weeks. I am now up to a three month supply of everything using the method of stocking up for two weeks at a time. There is also the reward of a feeling of accomplishment instead of panic as I complete preparation for two more weeks.

I agree on the Mr. Buddy heater. I got a used Mid size one, turned off the main electric furnace and tested it out. I used it about 4 hours that evening on low and it kept about 1200 sq. ft area around 65 degrees. Turned it off over night the house cooled down to 50 degrees it took about 2 hours on high to get it back to about 65 degrees that took 1 of the small tanks of propane. I would recommend getting a model with a fan or have a battery powered fan to push the heat out and circulate. It was about 15 degrees F. outside the night I tested it out.

I consider myself a panic prepper. I ran around, getting some of this and some of that. Completely haphazard and all the while fighting the panic I felt inside. Then my husband, the sole breadwinner in our family, was laid off for 5 1/2 months. Not only did it turn into an excellent test of my food storage but, to occupy his mind, hubby inventoried and organized everything. He took over purchasing food and supplies, and made my feeble attempts at couponing look like a joke! Each time he said "We've met our goal on X, Y or Z" a weight was lifted off my shoulders. He has gone back to work, but we still make our list and shop together. One area I found myself lacking in was hands on knowledge. I grew up on a farm and can, sew and garden. I cannot, however, bake a decent loaf of bread, sew well on a treadle machine, or start plants from seed. I have begun working on those areas I am lacking, so I will be ready when the need arises. Long way to go with the seeds (but find help & advice in surprising places) but have found a great bread recipe!

Cindi, I hope you'll try your hand at the bread recipe I post on here. So far it's not failed a single person. Let us know whatever else we can do to help you reach your goals! Sounds exciting how you're stretching your comfort zone and state of self-reliance one step at a time.

I feel like I have not prepped enough and we are always putting items in a food Pantry.. I am sure we have enough of some food for atleast a year so far and we are budgetting for even more. Well guns are not a problem cause he hunts and fish, so we can have meat. I am learning how to can and just got in my foodsaver jar sealers, and wil start using them also. We garden and have enjoyed it, can't wait for Feb. to start planeting again.
One of our biggest concerns is also getting our neighbors on board when you try talking to them they do like your have gone cockcoo and I realize most our very young and I asked them what would you do if you were in Hurrican Sandy. Most said don't know because I wasn't and Hirricanes are rare in Alabama.
I have lived n Flduring Hrricane Katrina and now that I live in Alabama, they have alot more Tornado's than Hurricanes and I want to be prepared and as I always tell Bill, it's better to be prepared and then got cought with your pants sown...
Kellene I am so glad I saw you on Doomsday Preppers and found your site you hve helpe me so very much and learning what companies to by supplies from. and your articles help me realize and the folks on here, that I am not alone.


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