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Preparation and minimalism It may seem like a conflicting lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be! We discovered this when we added a third child to our two-bedroom, 800-square-foot home. As she started moving, it felt like our space had shrunk dramatically.
Around the same time, my parents also humbled themselves. As a result, I have inherited several family heirlooms. I am minimalist at heart, and between these elements my minimalist side rebelled.
I wanted to get rid of everything we owned!
Have you ever felt that way?
The spirit of minimalism vs. Prepper Mind
Among other minimalist advice, I became familiar with Marie Kondo’s book. Life-changing magic of tidying up. She primarily promotes organizing or categorizing rather than traditional advice on creating a room or wardrobe.
For example, write all the books at once. I know it’s easy to get distracted while working, so focusing on one thing at a time seems like a good way to keep things going.
She’s also famous for having people ask if a given item “brings joy” or makes you happy, or if it interferes with your life because you keep tripping over it (in my words, paraphrase).
note: Get Survival Mom’s free ebook “Declutter & Organize Your Living Space”.
This can all be very good advice, but I’m a minimalist and ready at the same time. I am determined to prepare for everyday emergencies and worst-case scenarios, Use this handbook as a guide.
With the addition of children and furniture to our home, my reserve was thinking about the future of the bigger political and economic picture and the financial stability of our family. There were a lot of “stuff” that we thought we should keep in order to prepare for various crises.
But how can you prepare and continue your commitment to minimalism?
Can preparation and minimalism coexist?
There are lots of articles about organizing in general, and lots of articles about finding creative storage places for your supplies. Survival Mom has some here, here and here.
But when preparation and minimalism go hand in hand, what do you decide to keep and store first?
In fact, that is a question we all have to grapple with whether we pursue minimalism or not. But for those who want to mix staging and minimalism, the question is much more difficult to answer.
To aid in the decision-making process, we have established several criteria for evaluating what should be on hand.
How to Use Minimalist Principles to Evaluate Prep Materials
This benchmark allows me to make a choice that satisfies both my preliminary desire to protect my family in the worst case scenario and the minimalist desire for a harmonious, cluttered space that supports and enhances their well-being. existence.
This isn’t really a minimalist principle, but it’s hard to prepare if you don’t know what you’re preparing for. If you have never completed a threat assessment, do so first. This article describes the process.
Identify large categories
Once the high-priority threats have been identified, it’s time to identify the big picture readiness categories. From previous conversations I’ve noticed that our main categories as families are generally:
- food and water
- Health (including mental/spiritual)
What I decide to keep should generally belong to one of these groups.
Supplies must be conspicuous and accessible.
When one of your children is injured and you can’t find anything to help them, you learn it very quickly Items should be easy to find.
For example, the incident occurred halfway between an infant being explored and an inherited household. One of the children was injured while I was away and her husband couldn’t find a proper first aid kit.
We had absolutely everything we needed for the situation, but he didn’t know where I kept it. He had to take all the children (including the one who was injured) to the pharmacy to buy them all back.
This was an important learning moment for me. Because if you can’t find it or get it when you need it, it doesn’t matter at all to be prepared and have all the right “stuff”!
So one of my goals was to make everything as visible and accessible as possible.
Items should be multipurpose
as many as possible, Select items that can serve one or more purposes. One way to do this is to incorporate as much of it as possible into your daily life.
The most striking example is cast iron cookware. Cast iron pans can now be used on stoves, but can also be used over wood stoves or campfires, even when there is a power outage or no power grid. Of course you want to familiarize yourself with all the tools and equipment before that, but aren’t you?
And with regular use, you can free up more kitchen space by separating it from other cookware.
So, evaluate everything to see if it’s single-use or multi-use. It doesn’t automatically mean chuck if you’ve only used it once, but you’ll have to work harder to prove its worth.
All items should be maintained to free up space in the house.
During this process, I always asked the following questions: Does the value of this item justify the space it needs? Otherwise the item went into a gift box.
One of the tactics I used was to incorporate practical items into the decor. For example, I mixed the precious antique books and lanterns on the shelves. They match perfectly!
Prioritize supply based on need rather than need
When evaluating my space, I Couldn’t keep everything I wanted. But once you accept it, it becomes easier to make decisions based on other criteria.
For example, keeping reference materials or educational books is important, and keeping modern novels is less important. Of course, I also kept a lot of fiction because entertainment and distractions are important when I’m stressed. But I rated it in terms of quality and the interests of my family.
So while I was evaluating each reference book (and got rid of a few!), I gave them priority over novels with limited space.
Cost of each item weighted against value
Items are more expensive but may have a greater value. For example, a high-quality water filtration and purification system can give you quite a bit of money back. However, if you have a reminder about boiling water, consider its value. Or in a disaster of lack of clean water. Each one of those pretty coins is worth it.
Conversely, think of WaPI, whose low cost and simple shape make it worthless.
Think quality over quantity
Sure, you can buy a dozen cheap flashlights, but if they don’t work when you need them, see the previous section. therefore, think quality over quantity. Better to spend more money on one or two high quality flashlights. It is one of the most perfect examples of a good mix of preparation and minimalism.
Prioritize skills and knowledge over equipment
Don’t buy a lot of stuff and practice with it. At a minimum, practice the following basic survival skills:
Preparation and minimalism are not a one-time task. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Re-evaluate your supplies from time to time.
What works for you today may not be the best choice for next year. Circumstances change and we need to be flexible with them. Make a plan to reevaluate. This might be something you mention annually when completing Survival Mom’s prepper assessment.
Avoid inconspicuous and unwanted storage
Your storage is hidden and it’s useless if you forget it!
For me, keeping a list on my current schedule was too cumbersome, so I made this. Invisible storage space limit my priority. Now I know exactly what’s stored in the far corner of my basement today and I can count on one hand!
But we keep a few tins of sentimental items and photo albums. We have:
- Although it cannot be safely displayed in the current space, the grandmother’s collector’s glass set, which I definitely want to own,
- File boxes labeled by year ready for sorting/shredding when the “retain by” date;
- Five pieces of furniture that cannot be integrated into your current space, but are worth keeping with the hope that one day you will have a bigger home;
- Our Christmas decorations (definitely minimalist!).
my results so far
Here are a few observations I made while living in a newly organized but still prepared home.
- It is easier to identify needs and priorities. We all have limited resources and sometimes it’s hard to know what to get next. Once you know what you have, you can easily see what you don’t have and prioritize those needs. One item that popped up for me, not on any wishlist, was a small household tool kit.
- My choice is now clearer. Even after you identify a need, you must make choices about how to fill it. For example, a wheat grinder was on my list. Just type “wheat grinder” into Amazon and you’ll get almost 500 results! But now that the kitchen is tidy and the Kitchen-Aid mixer is in storage, the choice for our space and needs seems clear. Kitchen Aid Attachments or that Vittorio Deluxe Manual Grinder. Then it was a matter of evaluating and deciding on only two choices.
- There is room for new items. Since I got my Ham wireless license earlier this year, my wireless gear has been cluttering up my desk, looking messy and probably not the safest for a walkie-talkie. But as I was organizing, I suddenly noticed that the entire drawer had room for only ham radio gear.
- I have more time and less stress. As someone who reads between the lines of the evening news, I already have enough to worry about. Reducing clothing and kitchenware has made dramatic improvements in maintaining a home. Significantly less laundry and washing dishes! And now I spend my newfound spare time developing my skills and relationships.
With hard work and will, preparation and minimalism can work together. My world is now a little more peaceful and a little quieter.
How about you? What’s your strategy for doing minimal prep work?
This article was originally published on October 22, 2016 and has been updated.
Anita Morrill lives in Central Iowa with her husband and three homeschooled children. She considers herself an “urban farmer” with chickens and a garden in the village.