Before you ever buy your first bag of rice or your first bag of beans, you need to decide what you are preparing for... And you may have more than one reason. Personally, I am preparing for Zombies. Not really - I stole that answer from TOR.... Its one of the best answers I have ever heard and the looks - if they were on the fence of whether or not they thought you were nuts, this answer kicks them right over....
I will give you my list in pretty much order of importance:
1 - Flu Self-Quarantine
2 - Winter Storm
3 - Tornado/Spring Storm
4 - Civil Unrest
5 - EMP
Granted, the last 2 may be long shots - but they are on my list anyway. #2 and #3 may switch places depending on if its October or April. Realize this list is fluid and may change depending on seasons, circumstances or personal situations. If all of a sudden you find yourself without a job, sick, injured, divorce, unforseen bill - you can rest in some comfort knowing that you have purchased food, its paid for, and you can eat and feed your kids. Its not all about some "out there" crisis - its for stuff that happens to everyone sometime or another.
Another great thing is that ALOT of the preps will work for all the above scenarios. There is not one thing up there that you will not have to eat during..... You will still need a way to cook - a way of light - drinking water.
Some of the clothing for the above differ as does if you need a way to keep warm or stay cool. Thats why depending on the time of year you pick wisely. I will not give time and resources to figuring out a way to stay cool when we are heading into fall just as I wouldnt stock up on gas, firewood and winter coats in April. Its common sense, but sometimes in a panic, these things just escape us, so I said it to get us on the same page.
Also - my #1 and #2 can be combined for this Winter although the #1 will also add some medical supplies.
So, lets start with my first one. I believe this is the most pressing. I may have to stay home before any ice hits our area......
Brainstorm with a sheet of paper - If you are to stay home for an extended period of time what will you need?
* Paper products
* Cleaning products
* Fun items
* Winter clothes
* Medical / Flu supplies
The nice thing about this "crisis" is that power, utilities, conveniences will just about certainly not be disrupted. You will not have to figure out how to cook over a camp fire or keep your family warm. Your water will be clean and you will be able to flush and shower.
So - make your list - what would you like to be prepared for? Broadly list the categories you would like taken care of under your #1..... Or you can copy me - I am not one of those women who gets all in a snit if you happen to show up in the same dress.... I get in a snit if you look better in it than I do ;)
Pray - Praise - Prepare