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So you have this prepping thing down, right? You have plenty of supplies to weather any contingency and there isn’t much left that you haven’t purchased or thought of. You and your family have every base covered, every T crossed and your stuff doesn’t stink. Congratulations! Now, you have joined an elite group of people who have stuff. Now what?

Prepping is unique from the perspective that some people get all caught up in the initial rush of the act of prepping. They devour news and information. They study the issues and scenarios, make plans, lists and begin the path to being a more prepared person. At some point though the newness wears off. Either that or the sense of urgency doesn’t seem as strong as it once did.

When Preppers believe that they can finally sit back and relax that is when we can become complacent. If we let this go on long enough we aren’t going to be too much better than someone who hasn’t prepped at all. If you let your guard down or think you are “finished” you can make mistakes that could affect your family or your group adversely and we never want that to happen. Above most other things, we don’t want to waste the time and energy and focus you placed into prepping in the first place.

Forgetting to Rotate your supplies

Most of us acquire our food from several different routes. It is wise to have a good mix of long-term storable foods like dehydrated or freeze dried food that can last years. Then we have food that has a few years shelf life like grains or canned vegetables (just speaking in generalities here) and perhaps MRE’s and Mainstay bars to add into the mix. Lastly we have our store bought foods that you can purchase at the local grocery store and then the freezer and fridge. It is easy to see a stocked pantry and sit back with contentment about how you are preparing to feed your family. I know because I have fallen into this trap also. The food you have stored is great, but you have to rotate all of it to truly have the longest shelf-life and highest capacity for nutrition.

Foods from the grocery store are the easiest to apply this principle to, but the mechanics aren’t always the best. Any foods you purchase should be used and resupplied with the FIFO process. FIFO simply stands for First In First Out. Pretty simple and every realizes this, right?

I have found that this isn’t as simple as it sounds without either a great system or a lot of discipline. When you go to the grocery store to purchase more groceries, what do you do with your newest cans? Do you have a system to put the newest in the back and move the oldest to the front? If you are storing canned food, there are simple solutions that can be purchased or built using plans online called a rotator. The process is brilliantly simple and removes almost any thought and effort from the whole FIFO equation. You simply add your new cans to the rotator and they force the old cans out to the front. These are great if you have them, but if you don’t. you need to have a system for rotating your cans or else you might have a pantry full of bad fruit and veggies that nobody will eat or worse. A drawback is that these systems are fairly expensive.

What if you don’t have a fancy can rotating system? There are relatively inexpensive cardboard options from Can Organizer that I am going to purchase and I will write up a review on those later. Optionally, you could just have the discipline to add your cans and reshuffle the stock after every grocery trip. This takes more time, but it is free and doesn’t take up any space.

Along with this is regularly checking for stores that are expiring. I know that a lot of dates are more like guidelines, but you still don’t want to have a lot of medicine that is out of date by two years if the SHTF. Ideally, everything would be fresh so those big mega packs of vitamins and aspirin you purchased need to be rotated out with fresh supplies.

Forgetting to resupply

How many of you have taken your First Aid kit along with you on a camping trip and had to use it? This has happened to me and I was thankful I had the supplies I needed to treat minor injuries. I think the people who I treated appreciated it also, but what happens when you use supplies? They need to be resupplied.

If you are using your preps, that is great for a lot of reasons. You are prepared for contingencies first of all and gaining practice and familiarity with your provisions. Don’t make the mistake of using all of your rice and not buying anymore though. If a storm comes along and you have to use your spare propane tank, make sure you get a replacement as soon as it is feasible. If you have used your spare gas to fuel the lawnmower, go get that back up tank filled the next time you are out.

Not knowing how to use your preps

This is probably the biggest mistake we can make because it can cause us to act recklessly in the future. Let’s say you purchased a big new yacht and you took it out for its maiden voyage, would you want to know how to work the lifeboats or would you just be content that they were sitting right there on the deck? Sure having life boats is great, but if your new toy hits an iceberg in the middle of the night and you are up there trying to read the user manual when you are tired, scared, maybe its raining too, will you regret anything?

Tools are necessary I believe and they have a place in everyone’s preps. Would it be ideal if you were Bear Grylls and could just use your survival mirror to catch some twigs on fire to survive? Yes, but knowing how to use your striker or even a lighter to build a fire in the first place is important too.

A lot of us have purchased a grain mill and hundreds of pounds of hard red winter wheat, but have you ever ground that wheat into flour and cooked with it? I have and for starters I was surprised at just how long it takes and I have a pretty decent mill. Maybe I was doing this wrong, but I had to run everything though the mill a couple of times and keep adjusting the grinding stones so that the consistency of the flour was right. This may not be a life or death lesson, but I did learn more about grinding than I thought I knew going into it. The same could be said for canning. If you buy a dozen cases of Ball canning jars and lids and a big old pot, but you have never canned, you may be in for a rude awakening. We have had a couple  canning mishaps that caused us to eat more veggies than we were planning on, but it taught us invaluable lessons. Like, don’t start canning red beets in a pressure cooker at 10 at night if you plan on sleeping anytime soon.

If you have firearms but haven’t ever been to the range to become proficient with them, they may end up being worthless to you when you need them. When you really need a firearm, you want to know how it works instinctively. Can you feel if the safety is on even in pitch black darkness? Do you know how to reload or clear a jam without looking at your firearm?

I and others have called Prepping a lifestyle and I believe that if you live life by using your preps instead of just buying them and throwing them in a plastic bin under the stairs you will be better prepared for whatever comes your way.

If you have any other ideas, please let me know in the comments below.

So you have this prepping thing down, right? You have plenty of supplies to weather any contingency and there isn’t much left that you haven’t purchased or thought of. You

The big and bad books of prepping say that every mistake, no matter how small it is, can cost you your life. Well, even though I’m going into my five years of prepping, I’ve discovered that even in our cozy corner of the Internet there’s room for exaggeration.

Sure, getting snowbound with no food, water, or communication device can kill you, but, c’mon, who’s stupid enough to brave the elements without even taking the smallest safety measures? As my grandma used to say, nobody’s born knowing, and, like it or not, at some point you’re going to make some mistakes. No, it’s not the end of the line, but you should give it your best to learn from them before venturing out into the world again.

Anyway, for today’s article, I was thinking about making a small list of big and small prepping mistakes. Most of them are, of course, the fruits of my own experiences and misadventures, while others are stuff I’ve heard throughout the years from friends, family members, and prepping forums. So, without further ado, here are some of the most common prepping slipups and how to fix them in a jiffy.

Playing the Lone Wolf part

Over the past couple of years, I’ve noticed that most preppers tend to use the first-person singular when they talk about their prepping habits: “I went to the military surplus store and bought X item.”, “I create a B.O.B for each family member.” This shows that a good deal of preppers is way too comfortable playing the Lone Wolf part, making no efforts to involve their family members. I can understand that to some degree – some of them may be too busy or simply don’t care.

Others are far too young to partake in the discussion that revolves around disasters, death, disease, and whatnots. However hard this might be for you, stop what you’re doing. It’s in everyone’s benefit to know what to do in case of an emergency.

You should also stress out the idea that prepping’s is never about digging fallout bunkers or arming yourself to the teeth whenever the East passes a fart. It’s about using your noggins to deal with everyday issues like changing a light bulb, replacing some electrical wires, reaching your workplace in time if you miss the bus or making a light source when you’ve run out of candles, matches, lighters, and batteries for your tac flashlight.

Being too comfortable around one water source

Tap and bottled water are great. Still, you shouldn’t take either one for granted. If you have an electrical pump in the basement, one chink in the power grid and its buh-bye water. Of course, you can always run out of bottled water, and it happens a lot faster than you think.

You really don’t need to be facing a life-threatening situation to realize just how quickly those bottles disappear from your household emergency kit – baby formula, for instance, has to be prepared by bottled or otherwise sterilized water. Wound cleaning requires the same kind of water.

And when the shit really hits the fan, it will be hard to replenish your stock considering that others will do the same; or you may be stuck in the wilderness with no access to a store or supermarket. That’s why it’s important to learn how to conserve and, if necessary, stockpile water from other sources.

Common household items like the toilet tank, pipes, and water heater can be great water sources during an emergency. Collecting rainwater or siphoning the clear liquid from tree holes are valuable skills.

Apart from finding water, you should also learn how to make it safe to it – boiling, adding water purification tablets, distillation.

Being too cocky or overly-cautious

In my opinion, life’s more about finding the middle ground, rather than being bias. Dunno if it’s healthy or right or wrong or moral, but it did offer me some measure of accomplishment.

You really don’t need to be standing in front of a tornado to realize that there’s a time for caution and a time to take charge. In our humble abode, being too cocky or overly-confident about your survival skills is stupid. Why? Because you’ll end up making mistakes that even a newbie avoids.

I believe the same thing can be said about being way too cautious in a situation, always overanalyzing things when you’re supposed to do it. There’s a surefire remedy for this – assessment. Yes, I know it’s one of the most boring things you learn as a prepper, but it’s one of the building bricks of survival. Assessing a situation allows you to understand it and to find suitable solutions.

Long-term vs. short-term prepping

Let me put it this way – what’s the use of preparing for a snowstorm when you don’t even have a complete first-aid around the house? Or, better yet, why bother building a safe room in the house when you don’t even an emergency supplies stockpile? Of course, long-term prepping is very important, but we shouldn’t lose track of the things we must do right and now. Once you’ve checked everything off the short-term prepping list, you can move out to other stuff. Remember your priorities!

Home cooking

For someone who usually ends up ordering things online just because he’s not in the mood to cook, I have to say that homemade meals are the best. And yes, from-scratch cooking is a very valuable skill, especially if you’re stuck somewhere where there’s no access to the Internet or phone signals (or don’t have anyone around to cook your meals).

For some, cooking’s right there next to rocket science. Believe me; it’s not that hard. If you follow the recipe to the letter, nothing can go wrong. More than that, if you have someone around the house who really knows how to cook, you should do well and stick around. You might learn a thing or two. Always start small and work your way towards more refined dishes.

That’s about it for my list of common prepping mistakes. What do you think? Hit the comments section and let me know.

The big and bad books of prepping says that every mistake, no matter how small it is, can cost you your life.