It’s a question I hear more and more these days. Can you live a Simplified Life and still be a Prepper?
My simple answer: Yes.
By definition, according to Wikipedia: “Simple living encompasses a number of different voluntary practices to simplify one’s lifestyle. These may include reducing one’s possessions, generally referred to as Minimalism, or increasing self-sufficiency, for example.”
By definition, according to Wikipedia:“Preparedness refers to a very concrete research based set of actions that are taken as precautionary measures in the face of potential disasters. These actions can include both physical preparations (such as emergency supplies depots, adapting buildings to survive earthquakes and so on) and trainings for emergency action.”
For our family, living a simplified life and being prepared for emergencies and possible disasters ( weather related or not) is not mutually exclusive but rather a lifestyle that can go hand in hand, if you choose too.
See, it’s always about a choice. Our family is choosing to simplify our lives in order to focus on the things that really matter to us. We choose to live with less stuff, so that we can be free to go and live life more.
However, that doesn’t mean we simplify at the cost of keeping our family prepared in case of emergency. It’s not about being paranoid or afraid. It about applying wisdom in knowing that it’s not about “If” something will happen, it’s only “when.”
Case in point – In July 2012 the Derechio swept down on our farm like an angry bull on a rampage. By the time it was done our lawn furniture was half way across the yard, the garden destroyed and the wood pergola was twisted and pulled askew, remaining upright only because of the tie cables fastened to the house. The biggest issue? We lost power for 5 days in the middle of summer.
Thankfully, we were prepared. When we first moved to this mountainous community our neighbors warned us that it was not unusual to loose power, sometimes even on a sunny day. They advised us to store water, food and make plans for the power outages in advance. Our preparation plan didn’t happen all at once, but we began to put a plan in place to be prepared for the “when.” And I am so glad we did because it was that preparation that allowed us to weather the storm and the resulting after effects.
- Water: We have learned to store water. It is recommended to store at least two weeks worth, 1 gallon a day per person. That makes 14 gallons per person. We choose to take empty milk and juice jugs and fill them with water – saving us the cost of bottled water.
- Food: We stock canned and dry goods that can be made with little to no effort. If we need too, we can build a campfire and cook our dinner.
- Oil Lamps: Oil lamps and the oil are inexpensive and easy to maintain. We have at least three that we keep on the shelf where we can grab them quickly in case of a power outage.
- Generator: We had to save up, but we eventually bought a generator that would allow us to have a power source for when we lost power for a longer amount of time. It is important to keep refrigerators and freezers cold as long as possible to preserve the food needed to feed your family.
- Battery Back up: My husband installed a battery back up system that runs off of two car batteries into an converter box. Fully charged we can run a heavy extension cord off the inverter for additional power as needed during a power outage.
- Heat Source: During the winter, we have a propane fireplace. Ideally, we would like to install a wood stove sometime, but for now the propane fireplace will still run even without power. This provides needed heat during the winter in case of a power outage.
- Gas Cans: We work to keep a few gas cans full so that we can refill the generator or add gas to the truck if the need arises. Often during a wide spread power outage it can be difficult to obtain gas. Planning ahead is key.
- Medical Supplies: I go through my medicine box often to make sure we have the basic supplies for bandaging and treating a wound. I also keep in mind medicines for my family based on age and any special needs.
Many people hold onto their stuff with the excuse that they “might need it later.” The truth is that much of the stuff in our homes will not be needed later or be helpful in an emergency situation. Fear keeps us in bondage to our stuff, while wisdom helps us to know what to get rid of and what is truly helpful.
Remember, living a simplified life is simply a conscious choice to live with less so you can live with more. A simple but prepared life accomplishes the same thing. It’s all a matter of figuring out what to prepare for and then choosing to put your plan into action. Your plan will look different than our plan, based on where we live, normal weather conditions, size of your town, the neighbors around you and the size of your family.
No matter where you live, a simple life can be a prepared life.
What do you think? Can we simplify life and be prepared? How do you accomplish this for your family?