September is National Preparedness Month!

Daily Mini Preps every day of National Preparedness Month

In honor of September being National Preparedness Month, we’re bringing you our list of top mini-preps and activities that you can tackle in a short period of time. Take a few minutes each day and tackle the mini preparedness task du jour. Bookmark this page and check back daily for new tips during the entire month of September.

National Preparedness Month Week 1:


Practice locating your flashlights before the power goes out


Keep a sillcock key in your bug out bag for accessing outdoor water sources


At under $10, you can’t go wrong by adding a sillcock key to your kit. Many office buildings, hotels, restaurants, and municipal buildings have water access points on the outside of their buildings, but you need the handle or a sillcock key to turn the water on. (Think hotels watering their landscaping) Sillcock keys are designed with the four most common valve sizes and can get you water in many situations where others can not. Not sure where to find them? You can get one here!

Bonus mini tip: Turn counterclockwise to turn valves on!


Set your prescription meds to auto-refill

Swap them around and be sure to use up the oldest pills first every few months!


The last thing you need is to lose the ability to travel due to supply chain shortages. Depending on your location, you may depend upon your vehicle for access to income, supplies, and/or medical care. Tire shortages are beginning to pop up all across the country, with many people waiting weeks or months for them to be in stock. If you know your car, truck, or trailer will need tires soon... Buy. Them. Now. You will be very glad you did!


The last thing you need is to lose the ability to travel due to supply chain shortages. Depending on your location, you may depend upon your vehicle for access to income, supplies, and/or medical care. Tire shortages are beginning to pop up all across the country, with many people waiting weeks or months for them to be in stock. If you know your car, truck, or trailer will need tires soon… Buy. Them. Now.   You will be very glad you did!


Keep a lighter under every oil lamp.

Also, remember that your lamp oil will evaporate over time. Set a yearly reminder on your calendar to refill all of your lamps and check the lighters. I recommend doing it in the fall so that you know they are full during the part of the year with the most darkness.


Keep a paper list of phone numbers and addresses

If you lose your phone, would you know anyone’s number if you had the chance to use someone else’s? Create a paper list of important phone numbers. Think family members, doctors, pharmacies, supervisors, etc.

Keep a copy in your car, on your fridge, and in your emergency binder.

Use stones under windows to deter burglars


Put bright dots on used canning lidsDid you ever end up with a jar full of lids and no way to tell if they have been used for canning before? Canning guidelines caution against reusing lids, so it’s important to know if they’re new or not. After you have used a lid to can with, take a red Sharpie and make a small but visible dot on the lid. Spotting used lids will be a breeze!


Don't advertise personal details with a stick figure family on your vehicleStick figure families give out a ridiculous amount of details about your daily life to potential criminals. The more you customize them, the worse it gets.

Single mom? Don’t tell the creep in the car behind you.

Newborn at home? That’s what your stroller sticker says!

Teenage boy football player on the window? No one is home on Friday nights.

Are you all wearing Disney ears? Bad guys should use the princess angle with your small daughter.

Is this sticker visible from your driveway? Now they have all of the above details as well as your address.

Think about it. The list goes on and on…..


Keep a paper map of your area handy

Don’t rely on your internet service for an alternate evacuation route. When the SHTF, you’ll want a paper map available to help you navigate dangerous situations. Use it to find local resources like streams, parks, and farms as well as for off-the-beaten-path routes out of town. If you see something noteworthy while you’re out, jot it down on your map as soon as you can.

Keep your map handy, preferably in your Bug Out Bag or Bug Out Vehicle.

Bonus Tip: If you are a AAA member, request a TripTik for any location and they’ll give you free, turn-by-turn, spiral-bound, paper directions with lots of zoomed-in feature pages great for finding alternate routes.


If you have vision insurance, grab the free glasses

A LOT of people skip their yearly eye appointments if they aren’t having any vision problems. But, in doing so, you may be overlooking an important prep. SPARE GLASSES!

Most vision insurance programs will give you a free pair of prescription eyeglasses every year. I know, I know, the frames aren’t always the best…. but these are FREE spare glasses. What are you going to do when SHTF and you run out of contact lenses or worse yet, break your glasses? You can never have too many spares. After all, you never know how long they are going to have to last.Bonus tip: Already have a few pairs? Consider grabbing a pair of prescription sunglasses next time!


Keep Chimfex to put out a chimney fire
Chimney fires are a nightmare because they are so difficult to extinguish. If the fire department takes more than a minute or two to arrive, it may already be too late. When professional chimney cleanings get hard to come by, don’t forget to maintain your fireplace! Burn creosote logs to help keep build-up at bay, especially when you may be burning less than ideal materials. Keep Chimfex on hand to put a chimney fire out in seconds… because seconds matter, especially when the fire department might not be coming as quickly as we are used to.
Keep a mobile first aid bag ready for outdoor injuries
Unfortunately, accidents rarely happen in front of our medical supplies. What happens though if something major happens outside, whether it be down the block or in the backyard? How long will it take to find and gather all of the supplies you may need? For many injuries or wounds, seconds matter. Have a ‘jump bag’ prepared ahead of time with some of your medical preps geared towards major accidents. While you should always call 911 first, responding quickly can help the injured stay alive until professional help arrives or you can move the person inside where they can be thoroughly assessed.
Store kitty litter for use in makeshift toilets

You definitely need to spend a bit of time thinking about emergency sanitation. Whether you’re in a city high-rise or a country acreage, you could find yourself faced with bathroom facilities that no longer operate. Sure, you need a seat, a frame or bucket, and a few bags…. but are you forgetting something? Keep some kitty litter around and throw a scoopful in after each use to get the most bag for your buck.



Keep spare parts on hand for household items

Don’t put all of your eggs in the off-grid basket. What if utilities still work, but replacement parts continue to get harder to find? Take a look-see around the house and make a note of items that need replacing occasionally. One is none, and two is one!



Have your septic tank emptied.

Don’t start the apocalypse with a full septic tank! Keep in mind, chances are that your household spent A LOT more time at home last year than usual. That translates into a lot more in your septic system.

Also, keep one step ahead with your septic enzyme supply before inventory issues begin to spread!


Check your flashlights for corroded batteries

Take a quick peek inside anything that already has batteries in it. Make sure everything is still looking good in there. Replace any corroded batteries unless permanent damage has been done to the item.

While you’re at it, take a quick minute to double-check that everything still turns on. Set a reminder on your phone to check everything again in a few months.

You’ll be glad you did!


Save individually wrapped items for use in your emergency kitsWhenever I can get my hands on anything travel sized for free (think hotel or warehouse club), or I can request a complimentary sample item (the sky is the limit online!) I grab it and add it to my preps.

I especially love individually wrapped items for emergency kits that I hand out as gifts. They’re great for bug out bags and car kits, too!


Store canned beans as well as dry in case water is limited

Dried beans are a great SHTF food. Stored properly, they’ll last for years, and they don’t take up a ton of room.

But if times get really tough, you may not have the money, the time, or the patience to soak and cook your beans.

Keep lots of canned beans on hand, too. They’re ready to eat and won’t blow through tons of your valuable water resources.



Never take the elevator until you have spotted the stairs

Preparedness isn’t all freeze-dried meals and improvised weapons. Situational awareness is absolutely vital to survival.

Whether it’s a city high-rise apartment building, a multi-story doctor’s office, or a luxury hotel, if you are headed up on the elevator, take moment to look around and find the fire stairs. There are hundreds of scenarios where this could mean the difference between life and death.


Pack moleskin to soothe blisters

Moleskin takes up virtually no weight or space, so it’s pretty much worth its weight in gold.


Keep an instruction manual for household machinery

In a lot of households, certain people always handle certain tasks.
What happens though if they become unavailable?
Does anyone else know how to handle the equipment?

Have written instructions in a designated notebook so no one is left unprepared.

Give yourself bonus points if you include diagrams for visual aids!


Write expiration dates on canned goods with a SharpieMaybe it’s just me, but I spend a lot of time squinting and trying to line the can up with the overhead light juuuuuust so, in a desperate attempt to see the expiration date. While I don’t have a problem using most expired cans, I still try to abide by the ‘first in – first out’ rule.

Once you have squinted the first time, write the date on the can with a Sharpie, and you’ll save your eyes the next time you check for the date.


Don't barter with your gold and silver

Think about it. If you have gold and silver as coins, bars, or jewelry, you will never get full value during a SHTF trade situation. You also run the risk of making people wonder if there is more where that came from.
However, if you can spot the difference between the real-deal and the fakes, accepting precious metals may be a smart idea. Hold onto it until the situation begins to resolve itself and sell it for closer to its actual worth after things have settled down.


Save disposable paper party supplies to use during SHTF

3 birthday cake plates and a bunch of red forks leftover from Bobby’s socially distant outdoor birthday party?


When there is a short or long-term SHTF event, washing dishes could easily require or use up water you can’t afford to lose. Use disposables as much as possible, and burn them when they are past their prime.

Bonus: During a SHTF long-term situation, things can get stressful and/or boring depending on the situation. Some surprise birthday napkins or plates can really make a difference when things are rough. We all need reminders of things to celebrate, especially during tough times.


Empty prescription bottles are waterproof and they float!

Empty prescription bottles have a million uses for preppers. There are a ton of items you can keep in these waterproof, childproof containers including money, pills and vitamins, matches, and mini first-aid kits.

Be sure to remove or cover the original sticker and label the new contents if necessary.


Don't overlook long-term medical suppliesRegardless of any opinion we may have about the reasons for it… one thing is becoming clearer by the day. The healthcare system is ‘having some issues’.

Many people can expect to be sent home to recover from accidents and illnesses that would have required hospital stays back in the olden days of 2019.

Be prepared to care for recovering group members. Along with healthcare, focus on mobility issues, especially if someone is bedridden.

Store some reading glasses in the next strength upYour sight is pretty important, especially during SHTF.

Don’t get a few months into a supply chain or grid down situation and realize that you can’t see the fine print as well as you could before.

Time will continue to march on. Be prepared by having reading glasses in the next strength up (or two…or three).

Dollar Tree is a fantastic place to stock up without breaking the bank.



Keep a Post-It note in each room of the 5 most important things inside.There are plenty of reasons you could be forced to evacuate your home, either temporarily or permanently. Sometimes you are lucky enough to get some notice.

Many people in this situation scramble and tend to grab the first items they see. The problem is, many times, the most important things aren’t in plain sight.

Take a few minutes in each room and think about what is in there. Jot down your 5 top priority items on a Post-It note and stick it just inside a cabinet or drawer.

If you have to leave in a hurry, you will know which items to grab first.


It's time to cash in your penny jarThe penny’s days are numbered.

I know it hurts to hear.

You’ve had that 5 gallon penny jar for over a decade and took a solemn oath to yourself to never cash it in ’til it was full.

I’m so sorry to have to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s time to cash it in! The US dollar is losing value at an alarming rate due to inflation, and those pennies are losing at the same rate. Cash them in while they are still worth a cent!

The government also seems to be focusing on moving towards a cashless society. Their first victim will undoubtedly be the penny.

Don’t get caught with a 5-gallon doorstop!

Don’t forget to check back tomorrow for the newest
National Preparedness Month Mini-Prep!


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  1. JoEllen on September 7, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    #3 is a great tip for those who wonder what to do to get their meds in an emergency situation. One thing I’d add is don’t store the extras away. Keep using those and the next rx will put you farther ahead. Some meds last well beyond their expiration and some don’t. Rotate just like you do your food storage.

    • Deb on September 8, 2021 at 2:03 pm

      That was my thought too!

    • Brian Duff on September 14, 2021 at 8:03 pm

      JoEllen, that is a great suggestion! Thanks for helping others be better prepared! ~Brian

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