If there’s one thing I’ve learnt since we moved to our homestead, is the importance of staying one step ahead. We’ve quickly become pretty self-reliant, but it’s been a steep learning curve and I definitely made my fair share of mistakes as we learnt the ropes.
But staying a step ahead is more than having thousands of gallons of water stored, or stockpiling 12 months’ worth of rice and beans in your cupboards. Of course, these two would be quite handing in a crisis, but putting yourself in a position of always thinking ahead gives you a number of advantages, both today and after the SHTF.
Saves you a second trip
Now I didn’t realize it until I started checking this with my fitness band, but I was spending a huge part of my day making trips to and from my home, my work shed, and our paddocks, which is about a mile and a half round trip between them. Getting a lot of steps in (and burning fuel in the truck), but wasting one to two hours a day because I wasn’t planning ahead.
This last winter I decided to change that, decking my work truck out with all of the common bits of gear I was using to fix fences, bring down felled branches and every other task along the way. So, when I noticed something wrong, I had the equipment with me to fix it then and there, without needing to make a second trip. I actually feel like I’m on top of things now as we start heading into summer.
Saves you money
When you’ve got a good idea of the things you need to buy in the coming months, planning ahead helps you keep an eye out for the best deals that may crop up. We’ve listed out all the jobs that need doing around our house, from retiling the bathroom to fitting walls and furnishing our new guest house.
My wife actually enjoys scouring craigslist for the best deals, and we’ve picked up everything from a barely used sofa to a cheap-as-chips washing machine that was a definite upgrade to the one we had prior. Even Black Friday deals offer some amazing discounts if you know exactly what you’re looking for. I’m surprised at just how many deals we’ve found, and there’s been plenty more we’ve said “no” too because we simply don’t have the space. It’s amazing what people are almost giving away for free.
Saves you doing without
I’ve got this rule when it comes to my gear, and it’s that two is one, and one is none. It’s a motto from the military but on the homestead, it definitely applies. Things break, things go wrong, and often (like this past winter when we were completely snowed in), you’re on your own. If you’ve not got a backup plan, a contingency or whatever you want to call it, you’re going to have to make do without unless you were smart enough to plan ahead.
We lost power for almost a week, but were completely content as our solar system picked up the slack, and we had portable options, which was a welcome relief to sitting in the dark the entire time. That’s a definite improvement over the winter before, where we were cooking outside during snowstorms as our gas went out and there was no other option. Plan for things to go wrong, and when they do, it won’t be an inconvenience at all.
Saves you screwing up
This is a lesson my dad taught me, and while he’s never been the fastest handyman around, the level of care he puts into his work is impressive. If you’re doing a job, always try to think two steps ahead. It’s more than just having the right tools and equipment on hand, my dad taught me that anything worth doing is worth doing right, and I still follow that rule to this day. Do your jobs well, so you’re not ever going to have to re-do it.
If I’m building something, it’s tough enough to survive a SHTF event. In fact, I think the chicken coop I built is tougher than the shed, but that’s neither here nor there. Building things to last is like giving your future self a break, as it takes a little longer yes, but you won’t have to circle back and fix it. Thinking ahead means doing it right the first time.
Saves risking your neck
Finally, and this is important too. Being a step ahead with your survival planning means you don’t need to risk your neck when things go wrong. Because you’ve planned for the possible outcomes, you’ve already stockpiled the gear, equipment and food supplies you need. Because you’ve built your home to last, augmenting all of your preparations with systems that enable you to be entirely self-sufficient.
We’ve gone months at a time without seeing a single soul. It’s surreal at times, but I see it as a definite advantage should there ever be a crisis in my local area. Because I know, we’ve got everything we need to survive, already in our home. We’ll never have to go out and risk our necks for a plate of food, or a key piece of equipment that’s broken and needs fixing. We’ve got our bases covered, and to me, that’s vital.
I like to think of my whole survival mindset as being a step ahead. But more than just surviving, when you develop this kind of attitude in your life, it’ll save you time, money, and give you a distinct advantage should you ever need it in a SHTF event.