Almost everyone who is interested in life hacks has come across the concept of minimalism at some point. Living with less means you have less clutter in your life, which always helps with productivity. One subset of the minimalist movement is 100-item Minimalism, where people make a commitment to live with 100 items or less in their homes.
But a lot of detractors of the 100-item minimalist lifestyle say that living this way is really impractical, even if it has productivity benefits. For example, if you subscribe to 100-item minimalism, then how do you adequately prepare for an emergency scenario? How do you make room in your life for the items that could save you in the event of a hurricane, natural disaster, or terrorist attack?
For apartment dwellers, this need to minimize possessions is especially key. If you have a studio, you probably barely have enough storage space as it is…but making room for emergency supplies is tough!
Emergency Preparedness and Minimalism Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
At least, according to the woman who runs ApartmentPrepper.com, a wife and mother who became interested in blogging about emergency preparedness after Hurricane Ike hit her home city of Houston. She argues:
“If you think about it, preparedness and minimalism can actually go hand in hand…Cutting down on so much material possessions and focusing on the minimum items that are truly necessary to live is the first step to being a minimalist. Emergency items, to a prepper, falls under the “needs” category…With preparedness items, you can be selective with what kinds of gadgets do you really need. The rewarding part will come, as we find newly freed space for the stored food and water, which we do need.”
The team at SurvivalBackpacker.com agrees.
“Survivalism and minimalism share common roots insofar as they’re both conducive to flexibility and adaptation. In an emergency situation, you need to be able to adapt quickly. And having less “stuff” to deal with (in your home as well as in your head) helps,” one post explains. “But so much of preparedness is often about stockpiling goods and food – in addition to the extra equipment and gear so often needed for being able to live outdoors. How do we reconcile being prepared with living minimally?”
“Authentic survival is already minimalist in its own way. If it’s just you and your backpack, you will want to keep your items as lightweight and as few as possible…In sum, at first it seems as though preparedness is at odds with living sustainably and minimally, until you look at the common needs and assumptions of each lifestyle. Stockpiling foods is a symptom of the consumerist lifestyle of excess most of us are used to living. Authentic survival skills allow you to live closer to the land – it’s really not a cliche – and in so doing, you’ll be more green and minimalist than you probably expected.”
Small Scale Preparedness
If you want to be prepared for a disaster, but still use a minimal amount of space, you might want to consider having a small kit you can store in your car or even in your purse. For example, Think Geek sells an emergency first aid kit that fits inside a sardine can.
It’s waterproof, compact (4.25″ x 3″ x .9″), impact resistant, and even floats in water.
The Home Depot also offers some basic emergency preparedness supplies that are compact and well-suited to any minimalist’s home.
The Ready America Grab ‘n Go Kit 2-Person Backpack contains food and water that will sustain two people for about three days. The seven pound backpack is only about 13 inches tall, and also contains a 33-piece first aid kit, ponchos, gloves, and face masks.
For under $50, you can be prepared for most minor disasters, without having to sacrifice too much room in your home or apartment. If you are only going to live with 100 items, it makes sense that at least one of those items would be a disaster readiness kit.
The more prepared you are now, the less time and energy you will waste later if you have to run around and purchase disaster supplies at the last minute. From either a productivity, minimalist, or emergency preparedness standpoint, it makes sense to be ready to face any curve balls that life may throw at you.