One of the most common questions that experienced preppers ask is:
“How do I know when I’ve done enough?”
Although it would be easy to just to respond “NEVER!”, but today we’d like to explore this question in a little more detail and determine if there really is a time to be “finished” prepping.
There is no right answer
First and foremost, I think it’s important to understand that there’s no right answer to this question. Everyone’s preparedness journey is different. Some of us just want to be prepared in case of natural or man-made local disasters, some of us want to be completely self-reliant (regardless of disasters) and some of us are trying to be prepared for an all-out SHTF scenario where life as we know it truly does end indefinitely. Whatever your idea of prepping is, only you can decide if you’ve done enough.
There are some common things that will relate to all preppers, regardless how you define it. Food, Shelter, Security, Energy, Sanitation… these are the basic tenants of preparedness. If you’re to the point of questioning whether you’ve done enough there are some basic questions you can ask yourself, regardless of what you are preparing for, that will help you answer this question for yourself.
- How many days/weeks/months/years of supplies do you need stored to make you and your family feel comfortable? – Stockpiles are finite. You can only prep so much depending on your space limitations, but more importantly, since stockpiles are finite, you will, at some point, have to determine a stopping point for your stockpiles. This means you will need to determine a time frame of how long your supplies can last. Whether this is 30 days, 6 months or 10 years, only you can determine how long you need to be stocked to feel comfortable to weather a temporary disaster.
- Have you tested and become proficient with all your preps? – Far too many preppers make the mistake of buying tools, equipment and even food and yet never actually do anything with them. They shove them into a closet or basement like a trophy and never touch them except in a serious disaster; which more often than not, never actually comes. This is foolish. Stockpiling is only one small aspect of prepping. Having the knowledge to use those stockpiles and your equipment is just as important as how much you have.
Take a few of those Wise or Mountain House meals out of your stockpile and make them for dinner… without using running water or electricity. Make it a habit to use that ammo you’ve been hoarding by training and becoming a master of all your weapon systems. Take out those bugout bags and hike 20 miles with them to see if you really can carry everything you’ve put in there. Heck, take a weekend and shut off your electricity breaker, experience what living a few days in a grid down scenario is really like. You may find several holes in your preps that you need to patch up. Whatever you can do to test your preps will make you a better prepper and will make you more prepared if disaster does strike.
- What are you going to do if and when your supplies run out? – Although I personally feel that the likelihood of an all-out SHTF, TEOTWAWKI event that throws us all back into the dark ages is extremely low, it would be “un-prepper” (yes I just coined that term!) of us to not consider that possibility and do something to prepare for it as long as those preparations can help us in our daily lives.
This is where skill building comes in. A lot of preppers think that they can just stockpile a bunch of food, band aids, and guns and call it a day when it comes to prepping, and I think this is why a lot of them eventually start asking questions about when they’ve done enough. If you’re asking if you’ve done enough then most likely you’ve reached the point where the stockpiling aspect of your preparedness journey is done. At this point you need to make a decision, are you comfortable just having a stockpile of supplies or do you want to learn how to live without being reliant on your stockpile?
My definition of “prepping” is being prepared or transitioning to living without being reliant on systems of support outside of my control. This means producing most, if not all of my own food by gardening, raising animals and hunting and fishing productively. It means moving away from grid power and becoming more self-reliant for my energy needs. This definition of prepping means that my preparedness journey will NEVER be finished.
Our society has become so attached to these unstable systems of support that it literally can take a lifetime to fully realize true self-sustainability. To me, prepping isn’t a hobby or something you just “do”, it’s a never-ending lifestyle choice that can help you realize true liberty; something that can be passed down to future generations so that they can understand the fragility of life and what it takes to be truly independent and free.
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