Why is it that humans, especially American humans, collect so much stuff? It is not that we need all this stuff and it is not that we necessarily want it. It just is.
Perhaps we should blame the Madison avenue types so aptly portrayed in the now defunct TV series Mad Men. These days, it seems we are bombarded by ads for every conceivable item, from toothpaste, to fashion, to pharmaceuticals we never knew we needed. Then there is the seduction of shopping! Sometimes it is simply too much, and at least for me, it often takes more than a modicum of will power to simply say no.
This applies to prepping gizmos as well. Thankfully, for the past five or six years I have done most of my shopping on Amazon.com where items sit in my shopping cart or wish list for eons as I ponder the wisdom of a purchase.
It is not just consumables that get collected and stashed away in the various nooks and crannies of our lives. The paper also overfloweth. And so do the obligations or perceived responsibilities that fill our lives with an endless to do list. The mental clutter of bill payments, household chores, and lunch with a long lost, but boring friend can be just as bad and perhaps worse than the physical stuff.
I don’t know about you, but I hate it. I hate the excess stuff, the excess paper, and most of all, the excess list of obligations, chores, and must-dos. It makes me want to run away, and indeed, I believe I just did!
Seriously, what does a frazzled prepper do to simplify a life that is chock full of stuff burning up space and burning up brain cells. Here are some practical tips for both getting rid of the clutter, and for adding simplicity to your daily routine. I call this “living a strategic life”.
Seven Ways to Simplify and Get on a Road to Living a Strategic Life
1. My number one tip, and one that I embraced in 2003, is to downsize your living quarters. Everyone told me this was going to be difficult and it was. At the time, I had no preps (who knew?) and although I missed having a separate room for each segment of my life, I somehow made it work. Living in smaller quarters means less furniture, fewer clothes, and less room for clutter period. The bonus is fewer housekeeping chores.
2. Go paperless. You can purchase a decent multi-function scanner for as little as $125. Make it a point to scan every new piece of paper that would normally get filed. This includes receipts for purchases as well as copies of invoices, bank statements, tax returns and other documents.
In addition, did you know that you can download copies of most product manuals online? Do a Google search or check the manufacturer’s website. You just might be surprised at the robust library of product manuals you can build, even for decades old appliances.
3. Put your financial house in order. Live within your means. Come up with a simple budget. And I mean simple. If you try to create an elaborate schema of money in and money out, you will become overwhelmed, adding to the mental clutter. Stop it. Keep it simple – think grade school level simple.
Getting rid of money woes is one of the best ways to remove stress and to de-clutter those brain cells for more important and interesting matters. For some tips, read my Top 10 Tips for Debt-Free Living.
4. Get rid of at least five items a week, every week. Get out a trash bag and fill it up with junk. Look around and surely you can find five things you do not need anymore. Stow those items in the bag and get rid of them. But please, junk is junk. Only give usable items to charity. No one, not even the homeless, deserves your stinky old sneakers.
5. Just say no to social commitments that do not interest you. This is a very difficult thing to do. How do you say “no, not interested” to folks that invite you to share some time with them? What if you no longer have anything in common, find them boring, or simply don’t feel like it? My recommendation is to be kind, but firm, and simply decline the invitation with grace. There is no big kahuna giving you ten lashes for saying no to a social invitation. Just be nice, tell a little white lie if necessary, and stay home to watch a movie or take a nice long bath instead.
6. Clean up your email. Get rid of old newsletters and advertisements you no longer need or care about. Find the unsubscribe button, and unsubscribe. As a blogger, I ask you refrain from marking something spam unless it truly is an advertisement for cheap Viagra. Instead, simply say you are no longer interested. Spam is spam; a newsletter you signed up for and no longer enjoy is not.
7. Recognize that good enough is just that: good enough! This applies to house cleaning, cooking, laundry (forget the ironing) or any other aspect of life that is overwhelming in its exacting standards. Learn to live with a lesser standard in those areas of life where it simply does not matter.
I have mentioned this before but some of the better books on de-cluttering your life are by Peter Walsh. I especially like his book It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff. Pick up a copy at your local library or online. You life will be better for it.
The Free Mother Earth News Summit
No one says it better than Marjory herself. Register now and enjoy this free online event from the comfort of your home. Did I mention I love Mother Earth News?
As a thank you gift, when you register you will receive these three eBooks as gifts:
The Complete Guide to Growing Tomatoes
Simple & Effective Watering Systems For Small Livestock
How To Keep Backyard Chickens
Current Backdoor Survival Giveaways
I have a huge backlog of reviews and giveaways so don’t be surprised if you begin to get giveaway fatigue. I am joking of course since I vet everything and if something is not worth my time or simply a lousy product, I will not mention it. That said, look at this stack of stuff. It is all coming soon along with other products I have purchased for testing.
In the meantime, here are this weeks open giveaways. Remember, winners are always randomly selected so anyone can win.
Note: There will be three winners of The Survival Medicine Handbook
With all giveaways, winners are notified by email and have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate will be selected. Once selected, the names of winners are also displayed in the Rafflecopter on the original giveaway article. This usually happens on the Friday following the end of the giveaway.
Coming Soon to Backdoor Survival
Sometime within the next couple of weeks, you may see this message when you visit the site. Since June, I have been working with a project manager and web developer to bring to you an updated user experience. Nothing fancy, no fancy flashing videos or anything like that, but large print, more white space, and faster loading times.
I am told the site may be dark for up to a day, so please do check back!
The Final Word
This is a wrap for me this week. I do want to encourage you to look for ways you can simplify your life. It may be as easy as learning to say no, or as difficult as restructuring your life completely. I am not advocating that you run away from home like Shelly and I just did, but rather that you think through what will make you happy and do just that.
I want you to live a joyful and strategic life!
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!
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Bargain Bin: We have not heard much about Ebola or other pandemics lately but you can bet that the risk is still out there. Here are some sick room supplies to have on hand as a preventative measure in the event things get serious. Note that I am including a couple of amusements as well. See the article: Seven Facts You Should Know About Ebola (or any other pandemic).
3M N95 Particulate & Respirator Mask: This is an inexpensive mask that can be used in a variety of emergency situations. They come in a box of 20 and are NIOSH-certified. The molded cone design is fluid and splash resistant and will greatly reduces your exposure to airborne particles.
Moldex 2730 N100 Respirator Mask: Do not confuse P100 masks with the N100s. N100 is what you want since the P100’s are used to filter particulate only and not gasses and vapors. Note that if you are on the small side, you will need to order the smaller version which is the Moldex 2731.
Disposable Protective Coveralls: There are plenty to choose from. I purchased these DuPont White Tyvek Disposable Coveralls With Hood in a medium and it fit me okay with a bit of excess room left over. Shelly needs a large, definitely.
3M TEKK Protection Chemical Splash/Impact Goggle: I read a ton of reviews before settling on these. I was so impressed with both the fit and comfort that I ordered another pair to use as a spare. These are great and the price is right.
Spark Naturals Essential Oils: It is no secret that I prefer essential oils from Spark Naturals. They are well priced and of the highest therapeutic quality. You enjoy an additional 10% off all items, including sale items, when using code BACKDOORSURVIVAL at checkout.
Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards: This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out. Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.
Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bar none. Family friendly, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people. This is worth the splurge.
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