What Level of Prep is Right For You?

by MsKYprepper


I don’t like bees or chickens.  I puke at the mere thought of learning to suture a bullet wound.  I don’t expect to ever become completely proficient with a firearm.  I don’t want my home looking like a security fortress.  I don’t have room to store 100’s of #10 food cans and I don’t have the time to accomplish half of the projects that other preppers appear to be excelling at when I read blogs such as this.  Those are the realities of my life. 


But neither am I clueless. I don’t have my head stuck in the sand; I will not pillage or plunder and I won’t sit passively, waiting for the government to rescue me. 


I was late in joining the preparedness movement, chiefly because of panic.  I felt overwhelmed.  I had too much to do and fretted about having to get it done… where, oh where, to begin.  


This begs the question, is there a middle ground?  Knowing that I can’t be prepared for everything, at what level do I want to be prepared?  Or, to think about it in a different way,  “How well do I want to live during and immediately following the event?”   Do I want to eat beans and rice everyday or do I want something more?  Do I need an AK-47 with night sights to feel secure or can I be comfortable with less? 


It was only when I finally realized that I didn’t have to keep up with the Prepared-Jones, that I could choose a level of self-reliance that was appropriate for me, I was able to get moving.  I’ve been using the tool below for a few years now.  It has helped me to define how well I want to live during an event.   It allows me to feel accomplished, not in just accumulating a quantity of stuff but in having a certain quality of life.   


1.       I desire to be prepared to live with no impact on my life, with no (or very little) outside support for more than 2 years
2.       I desire to be prepared to continue my life as normal with only minor inconvenience for at least 2 years.
3.       I desire to be prepared to live comfortably for more than 1 year.
4.       I desire to be prepared to live comfortably, (including chocolate chip cookies!) with some effort, for at least 1 year.
5.       I desire enough preparations to live safe while eliminating the need for outside support for more than 6 months.
6.       I desire enough preparations to live safe while reducing the need for outside support for at least 6 months.
7.       I desire enough preps to be in place to eliminate the need for outside support for more than 3 months. 
8.       I desire enough preparations to be in place to reduce the amount of outside support required for at least 3 months. 
9.        I desire a few basic preparations to meet life sustaining needs short-term. (3 days or less) Things always work out for me.  I trust in God.   And, FEMA will be here soon. 
10.    I am content with no preparation.  No food or water, fuel, medical supplies, or personal-security currently in stock.  I’ll wait to be rescued


As I meet other people who are just waking up to the importance of regaining self-reliance, I recognize that glaze over their eyes.  I sense their panic.   I usually share 2 thoughts: 


#1 – Be honest with yourself:  How prepared do you want to be?  On a scale from 1 to 10, how well do you want to live during and immediately following the event.  What is realistic for you, considering time, effort, resources and a comfortable level of self-reliance? 


#2 – This is not an all-or-nothing game.  There is no one at a finish line awarding a badge that says, “You are done!  You are now prepared!”  Accept that it will never be done.  Do a little at a time.    Do only what you are comfortable doing.  But do something.  Then do a little something more.   The goal is to keep moving forward.  Keep learning.  But also, to keep your perspective about what’s important.


Preparing should make you feel more comfortable and less panicked.  Preparing should assure a certain quality of life.  But never let preparing for tomorrow’s possible disaster over-shadow living in the moment today.  Only then will you be living as well as you want to live.


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10 thoughts on “What Level of Prep is Right For You?”

  1. Nice thinking. I feel an awful lot like you do! Especially when watching shows like Doomsday Preppers I feel like I’ll never get to where they are and honestly wouldn’t want to in most cases. I just do what I can do day in and day out. The problem is that the more you do, the more you read, and the more you learn… the more you’ll WANT to do and therefore the more “preapred like the Jones” you will become.

  2. MsKYprepper I had the same problem when I started out! Overwhelmed! And then I read some books and took some very bad advice! Finally started figuring it out.
    I LOVED the way you ended it! 🙂

  3. Great article, loved the chart. I guess I would score between 3 and 4 having said that would like to be a 1. Although many are much more prepared than I am I am not a newbie. I am seeing more sites that are beginning to back off the preparedness and moving more to homesteading, which is good but for me and my house we will keep prepping. No, I don’t really advertise what I am doing but if ask I will tell whomever. To many things can/do happen I just think its a good idea, look at the East coast right now for instance. If something does happen then I know my family and I will be ready, if nothing ever does happen then that’s good too. That is one reason we eat what we store and store what we eat and replace our stores as we use them. Plus I sleep a whole lot better at night.

  4. Thanks for a great article! I had my wife read it, too – I’m between 3-5, she’s either 5 or 6. This led to good discussion between us about how prepped we want to be/can afford to be at this point in our lives.

    I’m not sure how Rourke decides what articles win the contest, but I nominate this one as a contender for top spot because I found it very meaningful.

  5. Good article. I wanted to give beginner preppers hope to know there is a big gap between 8 and 9. I have very slowly started prepping over the last 9 months. My first goal was your #9, which I basically have except a few small items. My new goal is a one month supply. This was only reinforced by Sandy where some residences were out of power for 2 to 3 weeks. I wanted to not only be able to survive, but be able to thrive in that type of situation.


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