I have been doing a lot of purging again. Some of the purgings I have been doing have been digital and some of it has been physical. Most of it has been helping my sanity in some way, shape, or form.
I have a tendency to keep a lot of emails and then never really go back to them to do, make, or practice what that email was preaching on that given day. At one point, after cleaning up all my unread emails, I had 1300 read emails in my Yahoo email inbox. Nevermind what is in the 26 folders that I have to "organize" those emails into subjects. I have over 500 unread and read emails in my Gmail account that I use for business.
To say that was insane is an understatement. I have been going through those emails a little bit every day, organizing the kept emails, and writing down/printing the information I want to save for the future. I am down over 300 emails in my Yahoo email. My Gmail still needs work.
(If you have emailed in the past four months, I am not ignoring you. I simply read it and forgot to respond. I'm working on that too!)
Some of the same things have been going on with my physical items too. Mainly, I have been cleaning out my prepping cabinets in order to reorganize, condense, and relocate most of the items. My daughter needs space for her family's things while they are living with us. Most of these things are in the cabinets in her rooms. Beyond that, it was high time to start working on this.
I have things in my prepping cabinets that I have simply forgotten about. I have been an active prepper for over 13 years. I have accumulated a lot of ish. There is more and more stuff going to the donation boxes than I could have imagined. Other stuff is thrown in there that was not clearly related to prepping. I have a lot of stuff, period.
In my defense, I am a single mom to four kids. I didn't throw much out for a long time because I was afraid I was going to need it again. I couldn't always afford to replace items if the need arose for them again. So I held onto a lot of things.
While prepping does involve the accumulation of things related to what we need for preparedness, we seriously need to think about what we keep and why we keep those things.
The first question I have been asking myself is "Why did I keep this or why did I buy this?"
You may have had a need for it at the time. There is nothing wrong with that. You may have kept it because you were at a stage of life that the item would have proved useful and necessary. Your kids or your family may have been in a stage of life where that item would have been badly missed if you didn't have it. That is perfectly okay.
However, think about what you are preparing for in the future. Do those items serve that purpose? Are you holding on to it, just in case? Do you still see a need for that item?
I have read stories where preppers kept everything. I mean everything. Their kids' outgrown clothes, toys, and more were kept just in case. They might need it for their grandkids one day. I can see keeping a few things, but not everything. Unless you have a big house with awesome storage, you would have a tough time storing all those things. Eventually and unintentionally, your house would look like you were hoarding which is already confused with prepping by those on the outside.
I have thought long and hard about a few things. I will probably stop buying some things for a while because I lost track of how much of an item I have on hand now. I have some things I am donating because I thought I would need them for my kids, but I don't see them being used for my grandkids. I also realized I have a lot of items that need to be in different places or organized differently so I can see what I have quickly.
The second question I have been asking myself is "Why am I holding onto this?"
That seems like a simple question with a simple answer, however, it's not a simple answer. We keep a lot of crap just in case or for the memories. However, just in case may be a cover-up for "I don't want to get rid of it" or "So and so may need it in the future". Still, not bad excuses, but those things you don't use and don't need (even if the world collapses) are taking up valuable room on your shelves. If you think someone else will need it, you need to offer and give it to them. If you don't see yourself using that item, you need to donate it so someone else can use it.
You need the room on those shelves for things you need to survive and thrive. Holding on to things just in case can take away room for supplies and food which may be necessary. You have to flip your thinking sometimes and think practically.
The third thing I need to do is make a physical inventory of what I have and where I have those things.
We often have more than we realize, but we keep buying that item because we don't truly know what we have at the time. Conducting an inventory of what you have on hand can be an eye-opening experience. You might realize you have more than you thought. You might (probably will) discover the holes in your preps. Doing an inventory and making a subsequent accurate list of what you need to purchase or make will help you to be better prepared while not continuing to overbuy in other areas.
The fourth thing I need to think about and every prepper needs to think about too: What happens if you have to leave it all behind?
Truly, I am like a majority of the preppers I know in that I don't plan to bug out unless it's absolutely necessary. I don't want to leave the place I have spent 20 plus years building up. I have added fruit trees and bushes. I have added chickens to the place. I have been working at prepping this place for years. I have also had a lot of help in that endeavor. I don't want to waste the effort.
However, I am not daft or delusional. I understand there may be a time where I have to leave with only what I can fit into my vehicle and make a run for it. I may only be able to leave with my bugout bag and 72-hour kit. I may only be able to leave with the clothes on my back. I may have to move and move quickly. That is life sometimes. Being overly attached to the things in your home is only asking for more heartache if your home is destroyed or you are simply not able to take it all with you.
The fifth thing that occurred to me is that my unused things may be a danger to myself and my family.
Having a house/garage/shop stuffed full of things is also a safety concern. The more stuff you have, the more chance you have of a fire or feeding a fire because you have so much stuff. Emergency personnel may have a tougher time finding you or getting you out of your home if it is stuffed to the gills with a lot of things.
Can you get around your house in the dark with no lights? Are your walkways clear? Could you find your emergency supplies in the dark? This would be a lot easier if you organized your things and purged what you don't need or would not need in an SHTF. Then you can easily find what you needed and take care of the problem right away. Simple, right?
Look, I am not judging. Like I said before, I still have a lot of work to do too. I seem to have a talent for squirreling away things in cabinets and closets to only forget about them. However, being intentional with purging and keeping an inventory of what you have will help you stay current with your prepping needs. It will also help you to be more organized and better prepared to respond to situations.
Thanks for reading,
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