These days a lot of folks live paycheck to paycheck, some by choice, some not... but many live day to day if they were ever faced with their food, water, or shelter supply stopping. While I'm not sure you can plan and prepare for every possible circumstance without it consuming your life, I think most folks can plan and prepare for some. Like anything, to do it right you need to educate yourself, make a plan, and follow through... at a steady pace, not a crazy-mad rush that causes you to burn out and drop the whole matter.
For more immediate needs, the gals and I have Bug Out Bags (BOBs) ready to go and we've added Get Home Bags (GHBs) to our preps. What's the difference, well the BOBs are set up for "buggin' out" and have supplies for at least three days and possibly up to two weeks of survivin', while the GHBs have what we anticipate needing for one day, maybe overnight... to get home from work, a friends, shopping, etc.
We're currently on Christmas break and my daughter and I went through our BOBs to check and update our preps and I changed out some clothing as I've lost some weight. My daughter said she would like a list of everything that's in the bags and where 'cause she can't always remember... which I thought was a profound idea since I can't remember every little thing, let alone the expiration date or age of some supplies AND I have lists of just about everything else in our lives... lists for planning, lists for to-do, lists for the budget, lists for reloading, lists for groceries... boy have I got lists.
So we made a list of what was in each of our BOBs and GHBs, put them in zip-lock bags and put the bags right inside the top compartment. I also made a list of future items and upgrades. For example, we have to live within our budget and we have to do almost all our preps in triplicate as there are three of us. I like the L.A. Police Gear backpacks we have, but they are not the best and while we chose Coyote brown/tan to look less tactical and conspicuous, we'd like to eventually get better quality bags that have a frame and look even less tactical... although the Molle strips are very handy.
The GHBs are $29.99 gear bags from Cabela's that we picked up on sale for $9.99 each. They probably won't make it to the summit of Mt. Everest and back, but they should make it home with us. The GHBs were also packed with consideration for the vehicles they sit in during the summer months so 120 to 130-degree heat won't ruin anything inside.
If you're interested in putting your own BOBs together or updating what you have, there are plenty of lists already out there on the internet. Greg Ellifritz has a recent list in his post over at Active Response Training for the BOB and the GHB. Greg has his BOB weighing in at 55 pounds, but realizing his physical condition in comparison to knowing what our physical condition actually is... we've tried to keep our BOB's under thirty pounds before we add the fire-power and requisite hardware. James Wesley, Rawles' Survival Blog has plenty of information and lists for planning or checking your preps when it comes to BOBs and GHBs. Survival Cache also has a list to consider for a BOB.
So we hope you folks don't have to use your BOBs or GHBs anytime soon, although we've tried using and replenishing ours on occasion to test our preps, but you might want to make a list... and the gals and I do hope you have a very Merry Christmas... and be good... because we're not the only ones... Makin' a list, checkin' it twice...