Finances,  Frugality,  Minimalism,  Simplicity,  Wardrobe

The Art of Recovering from Disaster

A friend’s house caught fire over this past summer. He was at work. By the time the firemen departed, the house and its contents were destroyed. My friend was gutted. He’d not only lost everything he owned, he’d lost his trusted companion, a pet he’d had for almost a decade.

He took some time to grieve and then started the process of recovery. He rented a new place and began anew.

We can all learn from my friend. While disasters take different shapes and forms, the sense of pain from the loss is the same. With the right mindset, we can turn that loss into an opportunity to recreate ourselves from the ashes.

I started that process yesterday. By releasing the burden I’ve hidden for almost a year, I wiped the slate clean.

I had a good cry and then asked myself “what do I do now?” I found the answer in my friend.

It’s time to pick my butt off the floor and start over.

I knew that this was coming. I fought against it. I tried every trick I knew to how to try in an attempt to avoid my reality. I didn’t want to sacrifice the beliefs I’d held for a lifetime. I didn’t want to surrender to the madness. But ultimately I am a survivor, so I refuse to let what I learned defeat me.

I have no power to change the world. I have no power, no authority to do any damn thing but eat and shit and die.

I can work with that.

You see, I may not be able to change this world but I can change myself. I may not be able to change this world but I can control the choices I make and the things I do. I may not be able to change the world but I can go into the long night content with the knowledge that I did what I could.

“If you find yourself confronting an unjust and corrupt system, it is much more effective to learn its codes from the inside and discover its vulnerabilities. Knowing how it works, you can take it apart – for good.”

– Robert Greene, The 50th Law

I have fifty years of experience in how this world works. Corporations convince us we are lacking to persuade us to give them our money. They use the money we give them to further their own purposes; their purpose is to make the rich richer by draining the rest of us dry.

To stop that scenario is simple. To stop the corporations from draining us dry we have to remove the source of their power.

The only way to remove their power is to stop giving them money.

The milennial generation stumbled upon this truth some time ago. They stopped giving their money to support certain industries. When those industries felt the blow to their pocketbooks, they began to scream with pain. Do a search for “industries milennials have killed” if you want to read the details.

I may be old and uneducated but I’m smart enough to see from the evidence that the process works. I’m humble enough to learn from their experience so I have chosen to follow their example. I may not be able to execute it perfectly but if I can arrange to give the monsters less, I can help starve them out in some small way.

I’ve already began that process. Instead of following their instructions to buy new clothing, I have chosen to use what I already own until it falls apart. Instead of following their instructions to discard the excess clothing I have thanks to the little washer I own, I placed the items in a box for future use.

The longer I can go without buying clothing, the less I will feed the monsters. Even better, there will be less clothing entering our landfills. That is a wonderful bonus.

For far too long I’ve fallen for the lie that I needed to look and dress a certain way. The only reason they want us to look and dress in a certain way is because it makes them richer. In the end, as long as we’re clean and our bits are covered, the details only matter to them.

We have a surplus of clothing in our thrift shops. We have tons of clothes rotting in landfills because of their programming. I may not be able to change that reality but I can refuse to participate in it.

Is there a way you can stop feeding the monsters? Please share your stories in the comments below.


It is hypocritical to run a website about buying and living on less while begging your readers to buy your crap so I refuse to do it. That said, I live on the money I receive from book sales, so if you can find it in your heart to pitch in I would be immensely grateful.

I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

4 Comments

  • Essie

    Good for you, Annie, picking yourself up off the floor, shaking off the dust of the collapsed world around you and walking out of the rubble into the sunshine of the life ahead! Take the power you do have and control the things you can control. Live a life of conviction.

    You mention the millenials. I thank God for the millenials as the decisions they make, the life they choose to live wreaks havoc on the corporatism that is overtaking our country and destroying our democracy. The millenials aren’t buying stuff, they are investing in experiences, claiming freedom from the traditions of their parents and grandparents. I think it’s great.

    Like you, I am sick of feeding the monsters. I drive a small economy car that I purchased used from a private party. I don’t want to give any more money than absolutely necessary to the oil companies. I get my car serviced a locally owned garages. I hope to have a future without a car.

    I currently work in a small clinic that, is unfortunately owned by a national LLC but I have the goal to get out of that and work either for myself or a locally owned business.

    I choose to rent vs own so I have the freedom to leave if I want. I don’t want to be tied to a house I own. I chose a cheaper place to rent but gave up some luxuries such as a washer and dryer. I do my laundry at home by hand.

    I buy my most of my food from a local farmer and I grocery shop at a store that is regional vs a national chain. But I try to get most of my food from local suppliers. I refuse to eat a fast food restaurants and, if I do go out, I eat at locally own restaurants- not chains.

    I seldom shop for anything else because, really, what more do I need? But if I do shop, I go to the thrift stores.

    Things I struggle with- investing my money in and IRA and 401K knowing darn well that my money is being used by corporations to further their agendas, making them even richer and more powerful. I need to look into socially responsible investing. It is a work in progress.

    If I could, I would strive to live a live without money but, sadly, I live within society and ours is a money society.

    • Annie

      You are exactly right, Essie. We are the only species that requires money to live. I find that tragic.

      I believe that if enough of us stop feeding the monsters, we may be able to make a dent. I would love to see an article appear that screamed about even more corporations failing. If enough of them fail, others will realize that things cannot continue the way that they are.

      And maybe, just maybe we can leave a better place behind for the next generation. It’s worth a shot, at any rate.

  • Carla

    I am a bit confused by your recent posts Annie….How can such a smart and ambitious gal as yourself somehow surrender to the temptation to hate the rich and any mechanism the “rich” utilize to get and maintain their wealth? You know darn well that you can be rich if you choose to be. You know you are that clever and have that unique discipline that it takes to get somewhere good.

    If you want to change your blog from one that empowers people to get creative, self publish, manage their incomes well and invest…….. and mutate it into something that is reeking of conspiracy theories and self pity….it’s your party honey and you can do as you please.

    But I must say….I am disappointed. Please don’t destroy this beautiful foundation that you have built over so many years. You have inspired so many fans all over the world. They listen to you. But with that number of fans comes a responsibility. We will wait until you figure out what that is.

    Peace,
    Carla