Since I posted that site with all the survivalism / sustainable living stuff, I thought I'd explain where my own family is on this.
One change is that, as it turns out, I am very bad at rotating food. You're supposed to store what you eat and eat what you store. Well, we weren't doing that. So, some food has been donated to the food gatherers, some has been eaten, some is still okay, and some I'll have to throw out. (I'm not counting the buckets of wheat, salt, sugar, etc which keep practically forever and which constitute most of our food; it's the canned food I'm talking about.) I'm now leaning toward keeping cash and a list of items to purchase rather than the actual items themselves. Some preppers would say this is a terrible idea because a currency collapse / bank holiday can happen overnight, "like lightning," without warning, etc. Maybe it's hubris on my part but I sort of think that by reading about economics every single day, including at sites specifically anticipating a dollar collapse, I will probably have some kind of a heads up. The moment I get a possible indication of a crisis, I'll be spending my time ferrying goods back to the house and visiting Costco. Until then, I am focusing on non-food preparations.
People talk about building in redundancies, of finding multiple sources of necessary things like water, food, heat, and light. So, for water you might get a rain barrel and a water filter, and look at obtaining water from your hot water heater. (The faucet on our heater was like an inch off the floor, so we needed a short piece of hose to get the water into any reasonable receptacle.) You might get one of these indicators to tell you when the water is safe (i.e. when you've had it at a given temperature for so many minutes), and shove a small bottle of bleach into a closet somewhere. That way you have more options if a water main breaks. We're on a well, so we're looking to buy a hand pump for power failures.
For light, I am very fond of oil lamps -- provided you also own a fire extinguisher. We had 2 days without power recently and we all sat around the dining room table with my grandmother's oil lamp in the evenings. You can also buy a small generator or an inverter. Today I bought an inverter which is 1500W and can handle surges to 3000W (because things use roughly twice as much electricity when turning on). This is enough for the chest freezer, coffee grinder, lights, a fan, etc. (During the recent black-out I ground our coffee by hand, which was fun but time-consuming. I did it while sitting in the back of the minivan with my husband's iPhone plugged in to the
cigarette lighter power outlet, listening to YouTube interviews.) You hook an inverter to the car battery, and your car has to be running on idle, but judging by the noise and smell of our neighbor's little generator I am not sure this is all that much less fuel efficient. I have seen 5000W generators on Craigslist for a few hundred dollars, which is more wattage per dollar than an inverter (which was $200 for 1500W). The inverter can also be taken on camping trips, though, and requires a LOT less space.
We don't yet have any firewood stored. Our neighbor has a ton of wood and I suppose if it came to that, we'd go buy some from them. But I do want to get some pallets or something and find a place to keep at least a little wood.
The food growing isn't going so well (as in other years... sigh). Things I learned this year: 1) the basement is too cold to grow seedlings, even with warming mats underneath. 2) Yes, you need seed starter. 3) Rain = weeds, therefore rain requires prompt weeding. 4) Don't plant anything without first finding out if it's invasive, and just because it isn't invasive in the shade doesn't mean it won't be invasive in the sun.
I don't think of this as preparing for "The Collapse," like it's a discrete event. I try to imagine that maybe my family are "early adapters" who are trying to shift our lifestyle and expectations to match a declining standard of living which I imagine will continue for some time. I used to think we'd have 3 bad years or maybe 5. Now I'm thinking more along James Howard Kunstler or Michael Ruppert lines, the "long emergency," the gradual collapse, taking perhaps 20 years. It's not all bad, but it will be different.