Minimalist vs Survivalist


I have never considered either minimalist or survivalist as terms I would use to describe myself but I have read a couple of things recently including this post from Kim at Extra Organized which have made me stop and think.

Over a period of months, even years I have been slowly but surely divesting myself of ‘stuff’ that does not add value to our lives.  I have made considerable progress but there is always more to be done.

However, at the same time I have created and maintained a well-stocked pantry.  I also keep back-up supplies of toiletries and general household needs such as batteries and light bulbs.  This may seem to be the complete antithesis of minimalism but I do not believe that is necessarily the case.  There is one basic principle which must be adhered to in order for a stockpile to work:

“Eat what you store and store what you eat”.

This is my stock cupboard in the kitchen.  On the other side of the refrigerator is my pantry (shown below).

The wire baskets under the shelves on the left-hand side hold spices and other small jars.

My pantry is where I keep the items for day-to-day use and I replenish as needed from the stock cupboard and also from the buckets of bulk dry goods (flour, cereals, dried fruit etc).  These are stored in a cupboard downstairs.

I do not hoard massive quantities of food but I work with a level of supply which I believe would easily feed us for 3 months and could probably be stretched to 6 months with some creative meals.  It means that I can shop when it is convenient for me and not have to shop every week or even every fortnight.  I am not dependent on the ‘just in time’ supply lines that supermarkets use nor will I be in the panic-buying queues in times of impending natural disaster such as flood or cyclone.

By having a relatively uncluttered house I have plenty of room to store extra food.  I also minimise the trips to the shops which in turn minimises petrol use and wear and tear on my vehicle.  Less time at the shops offers less temptation to spend on unnecessary items.

We usually but enough meat at once to last about 2 – 3 months.  This tends to be used up before we buy more, so in theory, depending on the timing of a disaster I could be caught with next to no meat but I do not see this as a major problem because we eat plenty of vegetarian meals now and that would just become the ‘norm’.

I also ‘shop’ from my garden and we always have eggs from the chickens.  Our menus are based on seasonal produce, either from our own garden or what we buy from the local markets.

I am not what anyone would truly describe as a minimalist, although I do have a lot less ‘stuff’ than many of my friends and colleagues.  On the other hand, I know I would not survive long-term if left to my own devices as I simply do not have the skills and knowledge to fend for myself completely without outside help and support.

I do know that I am happy and contented with my life as it is, my demands on the planet are relatively light and I have taken reasonable steps to be as self-reliant as possible.