Episode-754- Self Sufficiency, Self Reliance & Lifestyle Design — 15 Comments

  1. Totally agree that self-reliance and self-sufficiency are completely different. You really laid it out in an easy way to now go and explain it to others. Hah.

    Anyway, more and more these days, we’ve been looking at every single item and asking ourselves, “Do we NEED this or WANT this?” This is especially said as we continue to build up our ‘bug out bags’ and survival kits.

    We went back packing a few months back and it was just the two of us; my boyfriend and myself. We each had a pack on our back and had to only hike 3/4 of a mile out to the camp site. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but after a while, we quickly realized that our packs were WAY too heavy and we took WAY too much.

    We examined our packs when we got home and realized that we could have survived just as well with HALF of what we were carrying.

    It’s just interesting to examine what we actually need VS what we want.

    • You make a very good point, Morgan.

      In the Adventure Racing community, there is a saying that “You pack for your fears”. If you are afraid of being cold, you take too many clothes. If you are afraid of being hungry or thirsty, you pack too much food and water.

      It was tough to dump that extra stuff that eased your mind.

  2. Jack,
    I’ve been thinking getting rid of stuff too. At the very least putting some it in storage. My wife and I live in a very small house (700 square feet). And at times, the clutter really gets to me.
    I’ve not been shooting that much, so I could store most of my reloading equipment in the garage.
    How many of those DVDs do we routinely watch? Could I sell or donate some of them? The answer is probably yes.
    I think a lot of people could live without a lot of their “stuff.”

  3. As always you are right on target or you have cameras in my house. I have spent the last week & weekend sorting my house money garden. Well I call it shoveling shit. I had a whole wall of bookcases full of books movies nic nacks and other crap.
    See I would look at everything time and time again because I was using it? nope to dust it. All my dusting rags were in the wash and as I was franticly digging for one clean enough to use to clean this stuff once again. It just hit me( and so did the lid on the washing machine) what the heck am I doing? I spend $$ on cleaners spend time and energy cleaning this stuff and was trying to figure out the best way to spend more $$ to earthquake proof it. Enough is enough I started boxing stuff up and just chucking it out the door. When the Mr. came home and saw the pile on the back porch he really wasn’t sure about that. I said well if you really want it you can bring it back in the house then YOU can dust it and clean it and figure out how to earthquake proof it. Then you can watch all those old movies (VHS), and read all those old books. Me I am going to go wood stove shopping . Spent much of Sunday researching wood stoves WITH the Mr. Now I don’t know for sure if we will get a wood stove but I do know I won’t waste one more minute dusting all that crap on those bookcases. As for the bookcases they are being put into the pantry. Just think I almost bought more because I needed more shelving.

    I am going through every drawer closet inside and outside and in the barn too. Have sketches for next years garden improvements that will minimize steps. Built a rain catch auto water system for my animals that is close to the downspout and close to the faucet and as close as possible to the back door.

    Have sold some things made $2900. so far still have more to sell. I can tell you purging is good for the soul. I have been so excited I can only sleep about 4 hours and then I want to get at it again. Thanks for the show Jack you are right on target.!!

  4. Thanks for bringing together two very important concepts … most-excellent job. Keep on keeping on with what you are doing – there are many that have failed to listen in the past – but, you are making it all come together and make sense so now even the most ardent skeptics are sitting up and taking notice and actually doing something about their own particular situations.

  5. Energy is NOT free–good thing to consider once in a while. How many calories do you need to swing an axe, buck the logs, split and stack the wood that you burn to cook the food that keeps you going? And then let’s talk about the energy that you expend to grow and process the food you eat to fuel your wood-gathering activity! Interesting chicken-and-egg cycle at its root.

  6. Jack, thank you for hitting the nail right on the head for me… with a sledgehammer! I’ve been wrestling with going through of an accumulation of stuff & clutter and this podcast brought relief from some of the tension I was feeling about it and put it into better perspective. On another hand it slapped me around a little bit as the podcast went on, and my frustration grew as I realized how much into that slumber I had been for far too long. This podcast strikes home on perfect timing. Thank you for the motivation, the clarity and the assistance with direction that I so dearly needed. It also points out to me that my knowledge base and skill sets need to be broadened and worked diligently upon. I’m still real new to all of this and feel like I don’t know which direction to go in first… I’ll start with cleaning out the things that no longer serve me and go from there. God bless you sir.

  7. Jack,
    Here is my busted iPhone story. My sister in law busted her Front panel and was going to toss it out after she order a new one. I told her no way and I would take it. I used it like that for about 2 months before I bought a new front panel online. Then I went to my favorite fix it site: 20 or so mins later I had a fixed screen. I had the phone for about a year until the head phone jack went out, not a big deal but I used it a lot to listen to music and podcast. Then the power button stopped working. By then I was “eligible” to get an upgrade and went in to my local Radio Shack. They were having a iPhone trade in program that week. They gave me a $97 store credit for my broken iPhone and the HTC i wanted was on sale for $49! Below are some links to the site showing you every step to fix your phone.

  8. Jack, this is one of your best shows. Your top five shows for beginners should maybe be the “top six,” — with this one added. It could save someone at the crossroads from some wrong turns.

    To some degree, however, I can help but feel that your thinking on self-reliance and individual self-sufficiency is still “in the box” thinking on how ultimately to be free and secure in a fragile world. I thought it was still kind of playing within the rules of the game–rather than inventing an entirely new game with new rules. While I do think that self-relience is good and individual self-sufficiency is even better, a yet third way may be the best. What if you could design your own (community) “system of support,” — one that is not so fragile? A “community building” model of prepping. Think about the power of that.

    While this model would maybe not be as “efficient” in providing goods and services as the systems existing today, it certainly will beat what will be there if the existing systems come crashing down. It might also be less costly to build and to get into than individual self sufficiency. I may be wrong on that. To my thinking, however, communities exist for a reason, –because diverse groups can accomplish so much more than individuals every could. No man is an island. There is no “i” in team. No man has the skill or knowledge to do everything, and probably would not want to even if they could. Is this not true?

    If you can design your own home and lifestyle and increasingly self-sufficient systems, what is to stop you from designing your own community and entirely new “system of support,” — one that works within the existing system, but is also independent of it and far more durable. Wouldn’t that be prepping in a whole new way? As you know–this is what I have been dreaming of and thinking about for the last two months.

    Andrew W.

  9. Jack you ever heard of Acxiom? Right in your own backyard. lol

    bluprint <- software developer helping sell xxx to stupid people.

    Does it help I know what I'm doing? Truthfully, there are a LOT of people who really don't know what they are doing.

    I make a good living…if I know anything its that what I do is not sustainable forever. It looks like I could be outta debt in ~5 years. That's with a decent house, 3 acres, decent vehicles, tractor…so not having to live like a monk. Knowing that what I do probably doesn't really contribute to society in a very meaningful way can bring me down sometimes, but it helps making 2x what I would make most any other place, which contributes to getting outta the rat race earlier.

    And the truth is its not a bad job. Smallish town, every is close. I rode my bike to work this morning. Flexible schedule, I leave early every Mon to watch my daughter do gymnastics, etc. It's good enough for now.

  10. Wow; talk about being in sync with your audience.
    I’ve been coming to the same conclusions about most of the stuff I own. I used to have 42″ HDTV/home theater, literally 10 years of home theater, video, sci-fi, Star Trek magazines stored; 4 long boxes of comic books, tons of action figures; 300 DVDs; hundreds of movie posters; bookcases of nice books…
    After my mom died almost three years ago, I moved apartments a few months after and didn’t even hook up the home theater speakers. Soon after, the TV died and I didn’t bother replacing it. Thing I previously enjoyed so much just didn’t seem that important anymore.
    Then the loss of my job with its income at the beginning of this year really made me realize how much money I have pissed away over the last 20 years.
    I started selling my collection of stuff at shows and on craigslist. I didn’t renew the lease on my apartment. I just moved out and have my remaining clothes and stuff I wanted to keep in a 5×10 storage and am in the process of moving into a van with the goal of paying off all my remaining credit card debt within a year.
    I still am selling/giving stuff away; I still look at things and think ‘do I need this? will I use it within the next couple years?’ How many pairs of jeans, jackets, shirts, etc, do I really need? Will these excess clothes help another person?
    I also can now take advantage of sales and stock food/necessary items in my storage.

  11. Oh. My. Gosh. Jack, you said at the outset that you just didn’t ‘feel’ like doing a feedback episode, and you definitely made the right call. Like, you got a grand-slam homer instead of a single with that decision.
    I sent the URL and episode number to our 21yo son, because I really felt that some of the thoughts in this episode were life-changing.
    I love the listner call episodes, and usually get a lot out of those too, but this one…wow.
    Thanks Jack,

  12. “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful”
    — William Morris

  13. I’ve thought about the difference between Self-Reliance and Self-Sufficiency a lot over the last few weeks. Yesterday I wrote my blog about it, passing on the ideas and wisdom I got from this episode.

    “Self-Reliant vs Self-Sufficient

    “We tend to use these phrases interchangeably, assuming they mean basically the same thing.

    Recently on TSP (episode 754) Jack clearly defined and delineated them. I did a quick Google search and–even though these words previously existed–I believe Jack has created a new prepper definition of these words; Jack Spirko originals, if you will.”

    (If you’d like you can read the rest at:

    I concluded with, “I was using these words interchangeably myself when I initially started my blog. My subtitle under the name ‘Trace My Preps’ said ‘A Prepper / Self-Reliant Blog’. I have now changed it to: ‘My Journey through Self-Reliance into Self-Sufficiency’.”