Can You Live a Simplified life and Still Be a Prepper?

Simplified vs prepardness w logo

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.

canned goods with logo

Not “If”….”When.”

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?

~Victoria

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24 replies
  1. Ashley Negard
    Ashley Negard says:

    What a wonderful thought that fear keeps us in bondage while knowledge and wisdom offer freedom. I can definitely testify that the areas I need to simplify my things would not affect me in a natural disaster. And they might create some space for the things that I do need in case of disaster!

  2. Amy
    Amy says:

    I think that there is a big difference between being a good steward of what you’ve been given and taking measures to make sure your family would be taken care of, and holding onto everything. I probably don’t have enough emergency supplies around here, because I don’t usually think that far ahead. Our house has been in half darkness for the last month because I can’t seem to remember light bulbs, let alone remembering to get stuff ready for the “just in case” events.

    • Victoria Mininger
      Victoria Mininger says:

      I know what you mean Amy. Until we moved to this house I never thought about it much – because losing power was not a normal occurrence until we lived here. It only had to happen once for me to realize we needed to be better prepared.

  3. Jennifer A
    Jennifer A says:

    I hope one day to be as prepared as you are! It does sound so free to not be subject to uncontrollable events and to be ready for what happens. We’re working toward independence, part of that will include being ready for whatever comes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Jeannie Pallett
    Jeannie Pallett says:

    …visiting from Titus2Tuesdays…We need voices like yours to help and guide us in the walk of simplification and preparation. As a people we are so used to having everything we need that we have lost the joy of living simply. I applaud what you are doing . Learning to trust our Father in heaven goes a long way in letting go of our ‘stuff’ and trusting Him to meet our needs. I must make a correction-many of us have never even discovered the art of living simply! When we go ‘camping’ now, we do so in a fully equipped motor home – not quite how I did it 25 years ago!! Your photo of the cinnamon buns is inspiring all on its own! Thanks for sharing your words of wisdom.

    • Victoria Mininger
      Victoria Mininger says:

      You are so right Jeannie – we have become rather pampered, even in our camping. I remember the days of tent camping and over the fire cooking. Good memories. Together we can help bring back the art of simple living. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation.

  5. S.L. Payne
    S.L. Payne says:

    Love this! My husband and I were just talking about being more prepared; I think we are lulled into a false sense of security because things like this don’t happen often where we live… but everyone talks about an ice storm years and years ago where people lost power for weeks in the middle of freezing winter. With four kids, I know I need to do a better job so thanks so much for your encouragement!
    -Sara, uncommongrace.net

  6. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    Can I just say that you really put into words how I feel about this! It is about living simply but being prepared. Your list includes the exact things that we have worked on to be better prepared, and guess what?? Our power was out with the last winter storm a few weeks ago and we did alright. It was also a chance for us to figure out what we need to do better for next time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

  7. Emily
    Emily says:

    Interesting post! I think of this when I am stocking up on items I can at a large discount. The stockpile that I have at home…definitely not the simple life! But financially it helps us out. Just trying to balance that out. 🙂

    • Victoria Mininger
      Victoria Mininger says:

      It is a balance for sure Emily. We do bulk buying too simply because we have a large family and it is most cost effective – so I understand what you mean by that. For me simple living is more about a mindset of learning to live with only what we really need. That looks different for every family but something we can all work at – sounds like your doing just that for your family. Way to go. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. Julia
    Julia says:

    Mmmmhhhh, just this morning I told my husband that I really need to learn how to make a fire. In theory I know, but never do so as the “men” seem to do it, not sure why. However, we share such a difference in life attitude. I never have any fear of emergencies. That might be because you seem to live in a rather remote area. I live in the greater Boston area. Even if something happens, so far it never really has, I think of possibilities to help us out.
    Anyway I like your post as it reminds me to be a little bit more thoughtful of potential eventuallities.

    • Victoria Mininger
      Victoria Mininger says:

      I think it’s always wise, no matter where you live, to have a plan of how to care for yourself and family. Sometimes it learning old skills (like fire starting) and knowing your area and where to find the resources you need. Sounds like you are doing just that. That’s great – keep it up. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. The Wellness Wife
    The Wellness Wife says:

    On the contrary, I think it’s hard to be a prepper without being a minimalist. Materialists worry too much about stuff, conveniences, and appearances. They don’t even want to think about living a week without their cell phones, let alone having to cook over a campfire.

  10. Liz @ I Heart Vegetables
    Liz @ I Heart Vegetables says:

    I never really thought about preparing for power outages and things like that. We’ve lost power once in our house since we moved in (and we’ve only lived here for a few months) so I think it would be good to have a plan like this!

  11. JES
    JES says:

    Great post! We also have kept in mind the weaknesses in our area and have slowly worked towards a back up in all aspects of cooking, water and other needs. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the Art of Home-Making Mondays.

    • Victoria Mininger
      Victoria Mininger says:

      You are right Jes. I am always thinking of those areas I could use more skill in, plus I love passing those skills onto my children as well. Thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation.

  12. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    I believe being prepared and living simply are almost one and the same! In striving for one, the hubby and I are gaining the other. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

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