Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Downsizing Survivalist

We have been doing some major downsizing in preparation for selling our house over the past couple of weeks. On the one hand, I want to be prepared for anything as evidenced by my massive set of tools/handguns/yard implements/etc. On the other hand, I don't want to schlep all of this stuff to our next place or end up putting it in storage for months on end if we decide to travel for six months to a year prior to finding a new home base in the states. So the idea is to reduce the amount of stuff we have to a manageable level yet still have enough stuff to cover all of our bases should TSHTF. Here's what I have done to date:
  • We now have one car to share between the spouse and I. Depending on our schedule, we either drive together if we will both be in the same general vicinity or one of us will take public transportation. I also enjoy walking or riding my bike to my destination if possible.
  • My home workshop has been completely revamped. I now have a basic set of tools that will allow me to do the jobs that I am lost likely to need done. I am selling/giving away a huge surplus of duplicate tools and specialized tools that I don't plan on ever using again. These days, if I need work done around the house I am much more likely to hire someone to do it. While I can snake out the mainline if needed, I simply don't want to which means I will happily hire someone to do this (and they can bring their own tools).
  • We now have a reasonable amount of emergency stored food (two to three months as opposed to the massive amount we had when all of the kids lived at home and I thought we needed enough food for the whole gang for a year). Needless to say, the local food bank and another non-profit were more than please to take all of the food we no longer needed. The rest of the canned/dried/packaged goods were rotated into our regular food supply and new food was stored in a (much smaller than before) area in the garage.
  • All of our backpacking gear is staying put. Two backpacks full of gear that can reasonably keep us sheltered/clothed/entertained/hydrated/etc. don't take up that much room (the other crates of old gear and various gadgets I picked up along the way were garage saled recently).
  • We are using down some of our supplies until they reach a more reasonable storage size. For quite a while, I wanted to keep enough stuff (paper towels, toilet paper, bleach, soap, etc) on hand to cover a year's worth of use. Now I will be pleased with only having enough to cover a two or three month supply.
  • I am getting rid of clutter and duplicate stuff. Over the years you tend to collect stuff--a half dozen suitcases, more linens that even a small hotel could use, a bunch of shovels and rakes...you get the idea. More stuff for our next garage sale...

Eventually I hope to find a happy medium between having enough gear/supplies/food/etc to see us through whatever disaster may happen and having SO MUCH STUFF that we are practically paralyzed by it. I have been on a minimalist kick lately and it is kind of nice. Not spending money on duplicates, triplicates, and quadruplicates of stuff that I may never use is a good thing. Being able to be more portable instead of worrying about my stuff /cleaning my stuff/insuring my stuff/storing my stuff is also a good thing. Knowing that I can use my creativity and ingenuity to make up for anything we don't have is...priceless.

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