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Emergency Preparedness, Minimalist Style

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Emergency Preparedness, Minimalist Style

    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?

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    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.”

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    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.”

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    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.

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    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.

    Conclusion

    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.

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    More by this author

    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on November 22, 2021

    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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    Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

    Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

    During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

    But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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    Simplify

    I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

    Absolutely.

    And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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    If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

    • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
    • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
    • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

    Be Mindful

    You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

    Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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    Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

    Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

    Reflect

    As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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    Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

    But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

    So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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    Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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