All Posts /

Ready for Anything: How to Prep for Anything Without Getting Overwhelmed

Ready for Anything: How to Prep for Anything Without Getting Overwhelmed

If you are anything like me, when you first heard about the concept of prepping, you became overwhelmed just thinking about it.

You’ve seen the commercials, looked at the pamphlets, and maybe even attended a meeting where they talked about being prepared for a fire/flood/earthquake/tornado (fill in the blank, depending on where you live and your most likely emergency).

For years we were told to prepare for an earthquake, but we never really did because of one, simple fact: I was entirely overwhelmed. Gathering all that food and water? Strapping our furniture to the walls? It was just so much easier to hope that it wouldn’t be that bad.

Sadly, hope is not a great emergency plan.

I completely get that this is a huge undertaking. It’s not something most people even attempt. But it is something that could change (or save) your life.

One of the main reasons people resist being prepared is because they feel there are so many things to do, they don’t even know where to start. Just the thought of having to make lists and plan out what is needed seems like a monumental task. And then when I say, “Have three months’ worth of expenses saved up,” you want to fall into a crumpled pile of preparedness pamphlets and say, “I can’t. I just can’t.”

I know it’s a lot. I know it seems like an impossible feat. But, truly, there is only one thing you need to do: be more prepared today than you were yesterday.

That’s it. Truly.

Will any of us be 100 percent prepared for any disaster that comes our way? No. That is impossible. But we can all be a little more prepared today than we were yesterday.

You can practice making a meal from shelf-stable goods for dinner tonight. Not only will you have dinner (score!) but you will have a new recipe in your arsenal and maybe learn that you don’t have a manual can opener (which you can get the next time you’re at the store so you will be ready if the power goes out).

And even though you may not have three months’ worth of expenses saved up, you will have gained some knowledge and saved some money from eating from your stockpile.

By doing one simple act every day, you can refuse to be overwhelmed by the process and make huge strides toward being prepared for when an emergency hits.

Here are a few day-to-day ways to keep from being overwhelmed.


In my book Overwhelmed, with coauthor Cheri Gregory, I talk about having a prep and plan day each week. This is where I take a couple of hours and put into motion everything I want to get accomplished over the next week, month, and year.

Here are some examples of what tasks to complete on a prep and plan day:

  • Make a dentist appointment for next month on your day off so the dentist can work with your schedule. (Taking great care of your teeth helps you be ready for anything so that you are not sidelined by pricey dental work or awful pain.)
  • Create a shopping list for a big-box store. Add one shelf-stable item for your emergency pantry. (Adding an eight-pack of corn one week and a twelve-pack of pinto beans the next will quickly help you build up your pantry.)
  • Schedule a first aid class for you and your family for the summer when you have more free time.
  • Schedule one night this week to create a meal entirely from your pantry.
  • Schedule a morning with your family to create a defensible space around your home by removing dead trees and bushes in case of fire.
  • Schedule an emergency preparedness drill for your family.
  • Check out your first aid kit and see what supplies you need to restock.
  • Fill up your gas tank for the week.
  • Keep an online wish list of emergency supplies, and order them on your prep and plan day as your budget allows.
  • Create a binder to save your favorite recipes that you can use with only your pantry items.
  • Spend fifteen minutes going through your pantry and getting rid of anything that has expired. (Or put a sticker on anything that should be used up quickly.)

Many of these things take just a few minutes to set into motion, but each of them will get you closer to being prepared than you were yesterday. You can absolutely do this.


Another reason you may feel overwhelmed by prepping is that it can be a downer of a topic. Who shows up at a party wanting to talk through the finer points of creating an emergency kit and a two-week stockpile of food? (Okay, I do. But that may mean that I’m not invited to your next party.)

But you see, I do not look at the process of being prepared as a doom-and-gloom proposition.

I want to be prepared because I want to expand my capacity for joy and peace in my life.

Stay with me here.

I have come to understand that my soul craves simplicity. I look forward to preparing a home-cooked meal, playing a game of cards with my husband and some friends, sitting out on our porch with my dog and looking at the stars, and learning how to repair the dishwasher on my own. Some people might argue that if I really craved simplicity, I would love washing dishes by hand.

Let’s not go crazy here, people.

The closer I get to a simple life, the closer I get to a prepared life. The more I learn to cook from scratch, the better prepared I am to cook when the power goes out for an extended time. The more water I have stored up, the less I have to panic when a pipe bursts and can’t be fixed until next week. The more money I save by not buying things that only clutter up my life, the more money I will have when a disaster hits our family or someone we love.

Knowing I can care for myself and my neighbor in case of emergency means I can approach that relationship with peace and joy. I don’t have to be consumed with “what ifs.” I know that if a fire or earthquake hits, I have done what I can to take care of our family and our neighbors.

Being ready for anything ultimately helps us to avoid being overwhelmed and to enjoy peace of mind. We only have to move forward one step at a time.

Excerpted with permission from Ready for Anything by Kathi Lipp, copyright Kathi Lipp.

* * *

Your Turn

Are you ready for anything? We never want to be ruled by fear, friends, and one of the ways to not do that is to be prepared. My family just began putting together emergency supplies. What small step can you make today? ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full