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It’s Not About Where to Start Prepping, It’s About When to Stop!

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Now, this post may turn a few people off but that’s ok. It needs to be said. Before delving into the subject, let me point out that I feel it’s good more and more people are asking questions like “how do I start prepping,” where do I start,” “what are some good resources for prepping” and so on. Such questions indicate people are waking up. And, while there are many posts, pages, and blogs dedicated to starting prepping, I’ve got a few kit lists here, there’s the flip side of the coin that needs to be talked about.

As the title states, I want to discuss when to stop prepping.”STOP Prepping! Are YOU Crazy!?” Yup, I can literally hear you and everyone else screaming at me right now. And, no, I’m not crazy… at least, not clinically speaking. ;) For starters, I should clarify what I mean. I’m not talking about quitting cold turkey, giving up and reverting to being a sheeple, or moving to the city. Not at all. I firmly believe that prepping should be a lifestyle choice and is obviously superior to the Standard American Lifestyle.

Specifically, I’m talking about the inability of many folks in the prepping community to STOP accumulating needless extra supplies. For example, I know people, see them on television, in forums, and other blogs that literally have dozens upon dozens upon dozens of firearms. It’s like they own a small gun shop but aren’t selling. Let me emphatically state that I am not against firearms whatsoever, it’s just the easiest and most prevalent prepping item to point out. I understand why people do it, I just don’t understand why people take it so far. After all, you only have two hands!

Let me elaborate a bit more. I understand the need to have different types of firearms (rifles, shotguns, handguns) and I also realize it’s useful to have more than one (two is one, one is none). These reasons alone could easily result in a dozen or more firearms for a family. That’s understandable. It’s when the firearms collection becomes a mini arsenal that I tend to worry and think “it’s time to stop.” So what if I have enough weapons to arm half of the state militia, if I don’t have food to eat, what was the point? To defend… what, exactly? Or is it to take from others? I hope not.

Instead, refocus that money on other areas of your preps, such as food and water, communications, other security measures, medical supplies, other power equipment. After all, you can only eat a bullet once. Who knows, perhaps you’re well off enough (or disciplined enough) to be able to do all of the above, but I’m willing to bet that most people who take any single aspect of their preparedness to a seemingly extreme level is seriously neglecting another aspect of their overall preparedness strategy.

I shouldn’t pick on firearms alone. I remember an episode on Doomday Preppers that featured a couple that had (so they say) twenty years or more of food stockpiled. No doubt, I’m jealous. But from what I recall they didn’t have the rest of their preps in order to anywhere near their level of food preparations. The same can be said for your reaction plans as well. For example, is your first reaction to most any scenario to bug out and most of your plans and preps are geared toward doing so? What if you HAD to shelter in place? The same question can be asked in reverse too.

To put what I’m saying in a single sentence: your preparations should be stockpiled so that no single area is dominant and, similarly, no single area is deficient. It’s a simple “weakest link in the chain” analogy.  Obviously, this is easier said that done. I know I have areas that are deficient and others that are a bit more dominant. The thing is that I work toward fixing my deficiencies and keep my “obsessions” in check. How?

With lists, budgets, and plans… all of which are critical to your success. Do you have a master list of preps you need, not only categorized, but sorted by order of importance as well as the expected cost to acquire? Do you have a preps budget in place? Exactly how much can you spend this month, this week? And, how does your overall plan work? Do you focus on small bits and pieces each month or do you tackle large portions of a category? It’s ok to focus on a single category or piece of equipment if need be; it’s just not ok to let any single area dwarf everything else a majority of the time.

If you don’t have your lists and budgets in place, work on them now. Actually, the first thing you should do is to inventory your equipment and supplies. Understanding where you are on paper (and not in your head) will help shed new light on areas that you thought were taken care of but were not.

One last note to all the firearm-loving readers that are fuming right now: perhaps your collection of firearms is really a hobby accumulated under the guise of being prepared? It’s ok to have a hobby and to spend a lot of time, effort, and money on it. Just acknowledge what it is. If it’s not a hobby and truly for preparedness, then I urge you to take stock of the rest of your supplies to ensure they match with the expectations your firearms collection has set. And, if they do, I have a family of four that is ready to move in!

27 comments to It’s Not About Where to Start Prepping, It’s About When to Stop!

  • Well, not sure you can have too much in a given area unless other needed preps are neglected. After all, post SHTF, you now have barter items.

    • Bartering is definitely a good use for “extra” supplies but I would think that most people who purchase excessively (such as with firearms) aren’t doing so with barter in mind.

  • Proper preparation for your families essentials is an absolute necessity. One must avoid the four P,s. Because poor preparation leads to poor performance!

  • TW

    Reminds me of the joke that anyone driving slower than you on the expressway is an idiot, and anyone driving faster is a lunatic. The survival analogy might be: those less prepared are foolish sheeple, while those more (or differently) prepared are paranoid doomers. How much is too much is relative, in any category of preparedness.

    Specific to firearms, no doubt many would see my collection (both in type and number) as inadequate given the depths of our preps in other areas. In some of those other areas, I would likely fall into the paranoid doomer category. Each person is going to (or should) focus their efforts on where they see the greatest threat. But like you mentioned, I too wonder about preppers that overly focus on the ‘bullets’ category, with few beans or bandaids of their own to protect.

    • Firearms was just the easiest category to pick on. IMO, at least they’re doing something productive and not believing that life tomorrow will be as it was today, in most cases… some of them might actually be a bit crazy!

  • Nathan

    Sometimes, a simple self check keeps things in perspective. What I do is what James Burke’s Connections Ep 1 “The Trigger Effect”. Though some would not say relevant, but I think it puts into perspective our modern world. You’re post says much that people need to do as well. Kudos

  • T.R.

    Very good article , I think it describes most of us in one way or another .

  • AniOre

    Good reminder about not keeping everything in one place ~ Im in the process of moving to a rental house, from a property that I thought I was going to be at for awhile, but things didnt work out, so Ive actually been catagorizing my preps as I pack them up ~ the rental house is short term til Im able to qualify to buy a property at the beginning of the year ~ which Ill be looking for enough property for a greenhouse and garden, hopefully just out of town, but if in town, zoned for chickens and small livestock (or pet goats) At the property Im at currently the preps were spread out, some inside, some stored away in a hidden root cellar; some ready to go if I had to leave in a hurry. Now everything is all together til I can spread out again. But categorizing has opened my eyes to whats still needed and once settled for now in the rental, Ill be filling in those gaps. Food, Water, Other sources of power, heat, cooking and add’l weapons for defense or hunting. I try to look at ‘in days’ – if power out for a day, Im prepared, for a week, Im prepared …longer than that I fall short at the moment so still lots to work on ….so I can’t stop now. :) AniOre

  • Great comment. There are so many variables-which disaster may occur-when-for how long-so preparing needs to be flexible. I review in cataegories-
    food, defense,medical,etc. When is how much enough ? This is a joyful dilemma instead of being under prepared. Underlying is the question-when may one take a break from prepping? read other types of materials once in awhile-take some recreation- its tough to stop focuing on prepping because its so important but balance in all things is wise.
    Taking time to pray and teach others (if they will listen) is another mode of prepping. God bless you all- you are a great group of people. Arlene
    Can someone answer a question for me please. I believe its important to be debt free if possible. However , why is everyone that worried-if the grid goes down wont all debts cease for as long as its down???

    • As to your question, if you’re assuming the grid returns then won’t the bills and debt as well? I’m fairly certainly the bankers will be on top of that! As much as we would like to believe that things will “reset” in a collapse the powers that be will ensure they get what is due from you… always. ;)

  • Ron

    A very good post. Something else to point out would be to look for those items needed once in a blue moon, but nothing else will replace them. For instance, do you have a tube and tubeless tire repair kit (and know how to use it) for your BOV kit? How about an old fashioned tire pump? Watch the things you do in everyday life and take note of what it would take to do the same thing if you only had you to rely on. An extra jug of oil for your car? Oil filter? Jug of antifreeze? All this kind of stuff could be worth their weight in gold one day.

  • Mike

    I know what your talking about. I have spent a lot of money on prepping. At one point I had to stop, before spending all my lifes savings. Once your hooked it can go on forever. At some point you most slow it down or just be thankful for the preps you have. I don’t think I will be able to afford a bug out location.

    • Don’t fret too much. IMO, you can’t really go wrong with more preps than not… at least with the way we’re heading. Anyway, it would be an interesting discussion to decide how much better off someone may be with a life savings of preps than a life savings in a 401K or something similar. While I recognize the need for both it would be interesting to try a pro/con comparison of the two options someday.

  • Bev

    Let me qualify my comment with… I’m not a big gun person, but…

    Guns are one of the few items you can purchase that will essentially hold their value in any economy. They hold a steady value better than the volitile gold or silver market. If you come on tough times, you can always sell or barter a gun. If stolen, if you have their numbers, you are more likely to get them back than gold or silver. They are an affordable “investment”.

    However, a balanced approach to prepping is always preferred.

    When is it time to stop prepping? When you are living where you want to live (for me it is on my own homestead), have a year’s worth of “ordinary” food stockpiled, another year of long term storage foods, water filtration in place, first aid supplies, a few firearms for use and defense, a working garden, and essentially everything you need on the homestead. STOP! Get debt free and pay off the homestead.

    ENJOY LIFE! CELEBRATE THE DAY! We only have one day at a time :)

    • I liken this decision to knowing when to get of of a stock trade. They say the easier decision by far is to know when to buy, but it’s knowing when to sell where the average investor gets it wrong! The same can be said here: know where your end-point is, where you’ll feel happy, content, from the start. Glad to hear you seem to be be there, Bev.

  • comingstorm

    I too recently had the same epiphany.

    Mussttt staay aaaway from gun show thisss weekend.

  • VanMom

    Well said!

  • Ed

    This is a nice observation. And understand from experience that it is quite easy to not “see the forest for the trees” if you will. I can easily get obsessed with one aspect of my preps and totally forget about everything else!

  • SillyD

    Sounds like you’re takling about my hubby!

  • RGR

    Great observation, maybe what I referred to in a prior comment “Poser Prepping”. God Bless, Keep your Powder Dry.