You aren’t going to be a diligent prepper 100% of the time. Perseverance ebbs and flows, and even if you don’t ever stop prepping completely, chances are there will be moments in your life where you dwindle down the attention you give to prepping so that you can pay more attention to other areas of your life.
And this is a-okay. Actually, it’s better than okay – it can be downright good for you and your prepping. So long as you always eventually find the motivation to start back up again.
There’s a way to turn your downtime from preps into a huge advantage to your long-term preparedness. How?
Use Your Time Spent Slacking to Critically Assess Your Preps
I’m going to be completely honest with you – the reason I’m writing this article is because I’m in one of those “slumps” where I’m slacking on my prepping. I haven’t stockpiled a thing in months, my pantry needs complete re-organization, I don’t even know how low my household supplies are; basically everything is in utter disarray and all I’ve been doing over the past few months is using up what I’ve stockpiled.
But I’m fine with that.
I haven’t completely stopped prepping (been working on teaching myself specific self-sufficiency skills for instance), just haven’t been working on my stockpile as much, and I feel like this is perfectly okay to do. My stockpile is here for me to use, after all, and even though I’m not constantly replenishing, I feel like my “time out” or downtime from prepping so to speak has given me certain advantages in being able to assess and reassess my stockpiling system; especially what preps have been most important, and which others have been hardly touched or used.
People change, tastes change, behaviours change – your preps should evolve and change with you. But if you’re constantly maintaining your old system, you don’t get a good chance to re-assess it and either confirm it’s still working perfectly well for you and your family, or affirm that it’s time for a change, or at least a little tweaking here or there.
How You Can Use a Time Out from Prepping to Assess & Evaluate Your Preps
Now, I haven’t been in the mindset that this downtime from prepping could be really useful to me until recent months, but in that time I’ve had a few ideas for how I could critically think about the advantages and disadvantages of my system. Here are a few that I’ve come up with, but if you can think of more, please leave them in the comments down below.
1. Assess how fast your stockpile is being depleted.
Chances are, if you’ve taken time out from prepping, you’ve also been using up your stockpile. If you rotate through your food stockpile, for instance, and you’ve taken a break from stockpiling or prepping in general for 2-3 months, a quick peek into the pantry to see what you have left will give you a good indication of how much time it’s taken for you and your family to eat through what you had. Chances are you have a good idea of what you had, and so you’ll have a much better idea of whether or not your stockpile will last you as long as you thought it would. This is really valuable intel, because let’s be honest, every person and every family has different eating habits, and just because a specific amount is supposed to last you a year, doesn’t mean that’s going to be true of your family or of your personal stash.
2. Assess what you are and are not using up.
Running low on tissue paper, but are still up to your eyeballs in dish soap? Didn’t eat much of the canned tuna, but had to restock on peanuts around 3 times since your last stockpile buff up? This is valuable information.
3. Assess what’s expiring before you get a chance to use it.
Again, this is mostly for those who rotate through their stockpiles, though I do believe a lot of us do at least some rotation, even if we don’t rotate through our entire stockpile.
I had major issues when I first started prepping because I stockpiled way too many jarred and canned sauces. Was I upset when they expired? No, I still ate them, and I gave a number of cans away to family who helped eat them as well. But did I want to repeat this incident by stockpiling even more jarred pasta sauce? No. That money could be used on things I would eat, or things that would last me even longer, and not expire for ages. Things like these extremely long-lasting non-perishable foods.
4. Assess what you should be getting more of, what you should be getting less of, and what you’ve stockpiled just right.
Use that information about what you are and are not using up to fuel change. Did you not eat as much pasta as you thought you would? Yes, it would be helpful for you to have tonnes of pasta when the SHTF – but if your family has devoured all the rice you had on hand, it’s time for a re-balance; get more rice, less pasta?
The only time you should feel that everything is being stockpiled in the right portions is if everything you have is being depleted at the same rate. And let’s be honest, we’re not that good at predicting our future behaviour and tastes. Tweak your to-buy list and you’ll be better off for it.
5. Re-write prepper to-buy lists based on what you’ve discovered.
You’re not likely to remember exactly what you’ve discovered when you do your shopping unless you write it down, so write it down. Keep a list of what to buy more of, what to buy less of, and what you got good portions of if you have to do that to remember. Do what you need to do to make sure the information you discover doesn’t go to waste.
More Low-Energy Prepping for When You’re Busy
There are always going to be times in our lives where it’s just too exhausting to think about prepping on top of everything else going on. There are also always going to be times in our lives where we’re just too lazy to deal with prepping momentarily. You can get down on yourself about it, but in my opinion, if you’ve already begun prepping (i.e. aren’t just making excuses for starting to prep) and have seen a linear progression in your preparedness over time, these dips are perfectly natural and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself about having them.
Here’s a few articles you might be interested in looking at when you’re in one of these states:
- Couch Potato Prepping: Prep Without Leaving Your Sofa
- Lists, Lists, Lists: What Kinds Should Preppers Be Writing?
- 6 Steps to Re-Organizing Your Unruly Prepper To-Do List
- When Prepping Isn’t Easy: Dealing With Prepper Burnout
- Why Prepping is Hard (and How to Make it Easier)
Any More Ways to Use Prepper Downtimes to Your Advantage?
Are you currently in one of these downtime slumps? Ever been in one? How did you get out of it?
Did you use it to your advantage? Can you think of ways besides what I’ve listed that can spin your downtime stockpiling and prepping to your advantage?
Let me know what you think in the comments!
isn’t organizing and evaluating all these things a form of prepping also? if I am using my food preps and watching what is used up and how fast that IS a prep. if I go through my storage and organize so I know what I have and what holes there are that is a prep. just because you aren’t buying stuff doesn’t mean you have stopped prepping.
Elise Xavier says
Yes, it is. I’m talking about people who, like me, REALLY stopped doing anything/everything for a while. It is a prep to watch what you’ve used up and how fast it’s going, but if you’re a slacker like me, you weren’t even doing that for a while, haha.
I don’t think we are slacking or burn out..I think last 8 years were extra tense..just letting guard down a bit to relax now that we can..#at ease for a minute #Trump
Elise Xavier says
Good on you for staying solid ;).
Libs R Loons says
If you weed out your food stock, please remember that there may be a women’s shelter or homeless shelter in your area who will appreciate anything you send their way.
Elise Xavier says
Definitely – or some churches have collections, etc. Good point!
Fancy seeing pei pa koa on a prepper list. Lol
Elise Xavier says
Haha yeah. Thomas’ favourite medicine – he loves the taste of it :).
Usually, the slacking/ignorance/confusion arises in the area of food preps.
The following worked for me. 1. bought industrial grade shelving on wheels whereupon the shelving heights could be varied. 2. I purchased a number of different sizes of snapware clear plastic containers that are designed for storing larger quantities than the small kitchen containers and which are specifically designed for stacking. The different foods were stored by type – like canned tuna, canned sardines, flour. 3. if it was necessary to put a use by date, it would be written on a package.
Two grocery chains went out of business in my area last year. This last week, the company that is named Progresso (and owned by some conglomerate) was remaindering out it standard soup line at over $2 off per can because it is now marketing “light” soups at the old price. These events happen all the time.
So, you buy in advance and monitor your usage.
Essentially, I have a reality that I am not going to “rotate” canned goods by erecting special cabinets on an angle, inspecting each can. I am perfectly capable of buying in quantity. When the amount of an item gets lower, I just shift the remaining cans or items to a smaller snapware container.
Example. It may be that your significant other likes to eat a can of sardines for lunch, a few days a week. I have no problem waiting for a sale, buying out Von’s on the shelf and hitting a couple of other locations until I have a lot packed into snapware. Then, I just monitor.
You really should figure out when sales occur on hard liquor (around Thanksgiving and through the end of the year), canned fruits, canned vegetables. You also should know prices well enough.
Elise Xavier says
Your set up sounds like an organizational dream. <3
Seriously want to copy you. If only I had the space! Once we're in a house for sure will try to set something like that up.
Issue with us stockpiling liquor - never lasts in this household, so we have to stockpile other things to trade with, and always have rubbing alcohol for first aid purposes.
Lately we've been stocking up on jarred veggies a lot. They're really reasonable pricing-wise here and we've been eating them regularly. If you make an effort, there's plenty you can find to stockpile that you'll actually enjoy eating. Definitely jarred/canned fruits & veggies are some of the biggest I've overlooked in the past, but not anymore!
Great advice about watching out for grocery store closures. I know my mom has gotten a lot of crazy good deals that way - and she's gotten excellent deals from pharmacy closures before too (which seemed to happen more frequently back when I was in Toronto). A good way to get amazing bargains.