Minimalism and Downscaling

25-years ago we coined the term “UrbanSurvival” on the leading edge of what became the prepping movement.  Today, there is what we think will be another long-term trend change in play. Young people are warming to minimalism and downscaling.

We’re no strangers to the downscaling concept.  Having made the decision to downscale in 2002-2003.  But doing both downscaling and minimalism has turned out to be harder than we would have expected.

A few notes on this, the world situation and the ChartPack as America gears up for the first holiday of summer with Monday off for many.

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author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/George-Ure/e/B0098M3VY8%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share UrbanSurvival Bio: https://urbansurvival.com/about-george-ure/

49 thoughts on “Minimalism and Downscaling”

  1. “Egyptian Foreign Minister Due In Tehran Wednesday” So let’s see! If this guy gets whacked, does Stu’s Nostradamus puzzle piece of the Egyptians deploying the mushroom come to pass? Isn’t this fun!

    • Iran has officially declared Raisi was MARTRED. This means he was asassinated- Killed, NOT accident. Like Senator Wellstones plane went down in bad weather…beahahahah. israhell will be destroyed .

      Now bout that write when You get rich..,Buy phyz Silver frm CME @ $32 a Once. And Sell that oz of Silver in Shanghai- hitting the $36 bid. Arb that up all day everyday…

      Dollar in Ure pocket,smile on my face!

      • “Iran has officially declared Raisi was MARTRED. This means he was asassinated- Killed, NOT accident.”

        No, it means that like all other Leftists, the Ayatollahs recognize a good PR opportunity and wish not to waste it. They broke their 60yo Bell which probably hasn’t seen a new part since 1979, and killed the Butcher before he could become prominent and drive Iranian politics — boo hoo…

        • i’ve seen it all now, characterizing the mullahs as “leftist”. do you even know what “leftist” means? iran’s religious leaders are pretty far right on the political spectrum. this really isn’t hard stuff.

        • “i’ve seen it all now, characterizing the mullahs as “leftist”.”

          I don’t generally waste my time with trolls, but I will make an exception this time, because there might be a few here who will benefit from the 30 second civics lesson which follows:

          You obviously haven’t “seen it all.” I suggest you examine political philosophies in places other than the Bay area — and maybe read a civics book.

          As one moves “Left,” they approach a totalitarianist, oppressive centralized authority;

          as one moves “Right,” they approach freedom, or a lack of central authority.

          Which of these sounds more like the politics of Iran, under the rule of the Ayatollahs?

  2. Happy Anniversary George and Elaine. Wishing you many more years of happiness together.

    Stay safe, 73

  3. “optional pickup truck ”

    I rent vehicles now. Big Orange as example rents pick-ups/vans w/no questions asked – $19.99 for the first 75 minutes.

    Minimum car insurance on a personal vehicle is around $2.50 a day. I’m paying over $4.00 per day for full coverage auto insurance on one vehicle.

    Same with road trips. Sometimes renting a full-size vehicle/convertible/SUV for the week is cheaper than 6 months auto insurance on owning the same vehicle. Then add-on the hassles of ownership repairs and maintenance, let National deal with it.

    Not to forget freaking out because a guest dumped a drink in an expensive vehicle or door dings/scratches in parking lots or the lawn cutting neighbor shoots a rock or pool toy into the vehicle. The other people are animals.

    • ( this is a bit pertinent )

      We rented pick-up trucks on a monthly basis for years. 100% write off. No maintenance to pay for. Drop em off , get a new one.

      Between our personal insurance and the automatic insurance you received as a perk on your credit card , it worked out great.

      Then…

      Got an email from my attorney telling me to immediately stop and to return the truck right now.

      It appears that the insurance industry caught wind of people doing this and rapidly changed the rules.

      I was told that the CC companies would not cover vehicles like pick up trucks and that there was a hard limit of $75,000.00 in coverage. Basically the same thing from my insurance.

      Bottom line is if you want to rent a vehicle with a value of $75K or more , or you want something like a pick up truck , the only insurance you could get was from the rental agency , Cha-CHING !!!

      This was something like 8 years ago so who knows if those policies are still in effect , or have become even more restrictive.

      Anyone operating in this area would be very wise to check with their CC company and their personal insurance company.

      • Another Insurance Warning when renting vehicles … which is a BIG issue if going to be driving in a big city or will be renting some Kia’s or Hyundai’s:

        IF your rental vehicle gets stolen while you are renting it, and then it is crashed YOUR insurance WILL NOT PAY OFF!! (you weren’t using it when it crashed and it was NOT your vehicle – ie: you are NOT covered on your personal insurance policy) but by the Rental Agreement YOU still have to cover the damages to the vehicle until it returns to the the rental car lot even though it was stolen!

        Last time I rented a vehicle (Hertz or Avis, but was told the same thing when I asked at Alamo) the renter counter people when asked started giving me some sorry tales about how customers from their location were being dinged and sued for $30,000 and even $40,000 because of totaled cars that had been stolen while the people were renting them (people who were using their own insurance policies to cover them and had declined the rental car company’s insurance).

        It appears the ONLY safe way insure yourself against that crap is to buy the way over priced insurance from the Rental Car Company for the duration of your rental.

        If you rent a Kia or Hyundai I would do that for sure (personally I have declined cars from those brands) AND /OR if I was going to be driving in a major city I would do that too. A real PITA anymore when renting a car with so many being stolen in some cities (my city for example – local teenagers have decided stealing cars it the best thing for fun next to going to big amusement park)

        Just a “Heads Up” if renting a vehicle.

        • wow..I wonder how that is going to affect everything ..every company I know does this..fleet car rentals

      • Dave,

        These exchanges seem familiar as if we’ve posted similar posts in the past. Like the columns are rerunning or perhaps CERN is jumping timelines.

        Good points.

  4. (“No surprise to read how Joe Biden Faces Another Headache Over ICC’s Netanyahu Move (newsweek.com).If a warrant can be issued for Netanyahu, who will be next? ‘If they do this to Israel, we’re next’: US Senator raises concern over ICC arrest warrant request (aa.com.tr)”)

    Trumps a first.. the first president to be put in trials of every kind with made up charges and targeted.. they changed the rules of the system.. how far can it go.. a long way.. in past history everytime they changed the rules it comes back to bite them..
    Right now.. they have control over the agencies.. but seriously that pendulums will swing back .. its like them selling out to other countries.. the politicians that are all about selling our countries political leadership for a few coins and drugs sex and vacations or a NEW CAR..LOL no this isn’t the price is right.. but be careful what you wish for.. you might get it.. what happens when Joe passes on to the kid and his brother.. right now he has the political clout to stop them from trying them for crimes.. but that won’t always be the case.. what happens if he did let in an enemy army.. we have history books filled with examples.. which laws do we follow.. a whole new set of laws hit the books.. politicians usually are the major targets.. since they believe in our laws..
    I would be quite concerned if I was a member of an agency and congress.. about what they are pushing.. destroying a country is not a good thing.. and that is what I see happening.. the USA is definitely a different country than it was four years ago.. and at that point in time it was definitely a different country than it was thirty years before that.. I don’t see any good coming from what they are doing..

    • “warrant can be issued for Netanyahu”

      As part of the justification into Iraq was it Little Bush who said, “the babies need milk”. Pallie babies are different.

    • Neither the U.S. nor Israel recognizes the ICC, nor does it have any authority over Americans or Israelis. The ICC is principally an attempt at feudalism in the 21st Century, by a bunch of Euroweenies who’ve faced their own irrelevance and can’t handle the truth…

  5. (“But what’s interesting is that Spain, Norway and Ireland say they will recognize a Palestinian state | New England Public Media (nepm.org). We would have thought NATO members Spain and Norway would have supported the US position more.”)

    I actually thought they would have backed away a lot quicker..
    we are wll known for having other countries take the brunt of the destruction for something we want to accomplish or take from another country.. below is an article on how our energy policy that we got other countries to go with put them in jeopardy.

    https://www.pagecoalition.com/irrational-energy-policy-puts-u-s-national-security-in-jeopardy/

    they are on the front lines.. the ones to take the brunt of what we are doing.. I believe that is why they have been so giving to get the compliance of our leaders.. so that they could position the USA to make us vulnerable.. ( the poison pawn trap)

    https://english.news.cn/20220811/316b626cc54f43aebb934c7863acb5c5/c.html

    https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/wjbxw/202404/t20240420_11285450.html
    https://www.dni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/ATA-2024-Unclassified-Report.pdf

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/12/23/the-cia-says-russia-hacked-the-u-s-election-here-are-6-things-to-learn-from-cold-war-attempts-to-change-regimes/

    We have shown over and over and over.. that we don’t care about the citizens of our country.. we only care about obtaining at any cost what someone else wants so that they can have control..
    that is why our infrastructure is falling apart.. our health system is one of the poorest in the nation and our industries have been outsourced to other countries.. world health organizations do more work in the usa than in third world countries.. we don’t care about another countries cultures or laws.. we only want..and why negotiate for what we want so we take it.. instead we should be open minded and accept their rich heritage and histories.. we cannot change who they are.. and why would we want them to be just like us.. if we cannot manage ourselves what gives us the right to try and manage their lives and beliefs.. I have enough worries over my own life than to want to control anothers..

  6. NVDA earnings after the close will call the market for the rest of this week…………..

    • I did….. one of the summer projects for the grand kids and neighbor kids.. we are going to make DAT solar cooker and refrigeration units.. using lithium bromide salts..
      https://youtu.be/YVGUexfEPFs?si=xVV6Kwiiunf7I337
      http://solarcooking.org/plans/dats.htm
      a few years ago I made a huge mistake and by showing the smaller grand kids how to melt stone with the sun.. bad mistake do not ever show children that.. I was afraid they were going to burn the house down.. vaporizing ants and melting aluminum cans.. Not good what so ever.. so to still show them how solar worked we made a solar beer chiller.. using the ole crosley icey ball method of absorbtion chilling..
      the crosley icey ball in this video….

      https://youtu.be/V3abp-Tw6sI?si=TVxwXBSCVudGts1l

      was the one I had once upon a time I gave it to dan.. the reason it didn’t get so cold was in shipping I emptied the unit .. and put water in it.. so it is still getting down to fifty degrees that is pretty dam good with nothing inside it but traces of the original coolent… LOL..
      the big thing with the solar beer chiller was I made it like an old pop machine or chest freezer.. it would freeze the beer.. and pop.. you had to put ice in it.. the one I will have the kids make this summer.. we are just going to use two cardboard boxes.. as the fridge.. and I will make the cooling unit so that I can lift it out for drain back.. I had thought about putting the return line for the liquid so that the heat of the sun will work similar to a solar pump so that the sun will pump the liquid around.. then no drain back instead there would be a solar pumping action to keep the coolent floating around..
      the coolent evaporator coil we will use an old coffee can.. I think that will work quite nice then the DAT can be used for dual purposes.. on the top we will cut a half moon so the kids don’t take the chance of getting burned..
      Some day I want to make a solar grill.. I put the idea out to some engineering students.. I think they were either from virginia tech or MIT.. they had sent me a photo of one they were working on using old fifty five gallon barrels.. I want to put a trapazoid on top.. going down to a fresnel lens.. then onto the grill surface.. now you don’t need five thousand degree heat.. so it should work good to get five hundred degrees easy.. I will have to talk to my professor friend to see how those grills turned out…. If it turns out as good as the wood gassifier we built using plumbing parts.. that sucker was a gem.. we built it at a friends place I didn’t have the money to do it myself.. when he died.. they offered it to me.. but it was on a cart with a generator.. nice.. looked great.. I think I sent a photo of it to G.. I should have taken them up on it and got it.. we made a few of them.. easy stuff ancient technology.. great fun and it worked great.. the kids are making bright betties right now.. I need fifty of them for xmas cards this year.. and they are making lamps.. the wicktorian lamp.. my mini me gets scared of the dark.. if this goes ballistic and our president gets the war he seems to be pushing for.. and EMP’s happen.. I want him to be able to have a lamp.. for light.. everyone should have a few bright betties sitting around.. easy to make work great..

    • another one to contemplate is I think it’s called zelight..it’s a clay facial mask available at Walmart or any drug store that sells makeup..Walgreens etc. it’s a clay face mask.. pour water in it and it brings the temp of the water to boiling. put direct sunlight on it and it goes to freezing….
      I played around with that a lot.. thinking here we can heat our water or cook a meal and refrigerate our food..
      I had thought about a zeer pot..as an oven .. but way to many moves.. you would have to babysit it.. I had that issue when I made a freeze dryer.. it was way easier to just buy a freeze dryer..

  7. Hi, George,

    First, I wish Elaine and you a very happy anniversary! Congratulations to you both.

    Then, there is the issue of how to downsize, the decisions of what to keep, what to toss or give away, and what to change in your life. Do you sell your larger house and purchase a condo or senior living space to downsize? Do you convert your house into a b&b and move elsewhere? Are there heirs who want the furnishings and such, or do you have an estate sale? How do you make the decisions of what items are relevant and necessary versus what things that have sentimental value just to you? Do you have items to give away that would be welcome at a school, library, or a charity? Are there tools you will no longer need that should be sold? Are you a widow or a widower, is your health good, or do you need assistance? There can be so many contingencies in play here for those folks who need to make these decisions, either now or in the near future.

    You and yours have decided to establish a living compound that self sustains in many aspects. However, some of those jobs require maintenance that will be more challenging to execute the older you become. I realize that your plans include making a spot for your heirs to live, which you have mentioned. So, you continue to improve your home while you can and enjoy your own spot of paradise.

    I know of one person a few years younger than me who lost her father last year and lost her mother last week, both who died from multiple debilitating health issues. She will probably live in her father’s house and plans to liquidate her mother’s house and furnishings. She is offering first dibs to her cousins and their children before having a sale for the things that might remain. She will be making the decisions of what she wants and what others might want. And, she will update her will.

    Five years ago, I had a lawyer draw up papers for a trust and will for my home property and other particular items. Those of us on this forum might consider to have a will established if you do not have one already.

    • Me to.. Happy Anniversary young man.. give lady elaine a great big hug from the moron in the wastelands and his wife..

    • Most people.. won’t need it.. in the end everyone leaves with nothing.. if your going to give it away.. then do it before you are gone.. I have seen millionaires leave penniless.. my mother was frugal.. after she was gone.. my sister called and asked.. what happened to all of moms money.. sis she was in a nursing facility for several years.. the VA .. once you pass on the costs for your end of life cares is pushed aside.. see your no longer a vet.. your dead..
      I think you can give like ten thousand a year as gifts.. I plan to give my home to one of the grandkids.. If something happened to the wife first.. and it is me.. one of the grand kids will get the house.. I stay in my bedroom and save a quarter million a year in nursing facilty costs..

    • “There can be so many contingencies in play here for those folks who need to make these decisions, either now or in the near future.”

      You seem to have your affairs well in hand Nancy and you ask some excellent questions. There are obviously a lot of seniors on this site and I expect there are as many different circumstances as there are seniors. At the top of the list, I would place health as a concern. When one or the other of senior partners starts to have failing health, it can change the dynamic very dramatically for both partners. When a single senior begins to fail, they may or may not get help from others depending on circumstances.

      I think it is best to plan ahead. There are people that run their lives in a planned and prepared mode or live from crisis to crisis. The state of the world today certainly makes planning more difficult.

      “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Robert Burns

      We plan, hope and pray for a good ending to our earthly journey. I have known people that came to a good end and some that did not. My hope is that on the other side of the curtain is another exciting adventure like the many I had on this side.

      • (“starts to have failing health, it can change the dynamic very dramatically for both partners.”)

        amen.. when your health takes a nose dive your perspective changes instantly..
        everything you think is important has no importance at all..

      • Thank you very much, BIC. Indeed, health can be a primary concern and can bear greatly on the choices to be made for any downsizing. Also, there are folks here who lost a spouse from a long illness, and those who lost a spouse catastrophically, so plans they both had for a life together changes. Downsizing is so dependent upon many different circumstances and concerns. And, it can certainly be an eye-opening experience. Thanks.

  8. New Harris Poll is out: [ For what it is worth..,]
    Close to 60% believe we are already in a recession.
    Half of those surveyed think the unemployment rate is at a 50-year high.
    49%, believe the S&P 500 stock market index is down overall for 2024.
    72% of respondents reported that they believe inflation is rising.
    58% of Americans attribute the apparent declining conditions of the U.S. economy to President Biden..
    – Goes to show that public opinion is very, very strong. What the numbers actually say and what the population believes can be two very different things. [ S&P is up nearly 12% for the year.] Once a “belief” spreads throughout the country – it remains a near permanent “truth” – whether it is , or not. For the Good., or the Bad.
    .
    In a number-cruncher report yesterday an analysis of individual states – as though each state were a separate country – 12 States are in a recession, with 6 other States on the cusp. 14 States have a weakening economy and with one more bad quarterly decline they will be sitting on the verge of a recession. 18 States are doing pretty good.
    18 States = Negative
    14 States = Neutral/Declining
    18 States = Positive

    • they obviously haven’t heard what biden is saying and they need to straighten out that negative thinking right away.. we are at a fifty year low and people are swimming in money they are doing so well..

    • OUCH!! Hope your insurance company doesn’t give you a run around.

      While growing up my Dad made a point to take be to see several bad floods … made a HUGE impression upon me so in my adult years I have been super conscious about “elevations” when it comes to places I have lived (as a result I also do NOT trust the government Flood Maps, I want to be a LOT higher than they indicate you need to be) .

      Hope you can get everything back on even keel quickly

      • Incompetence, not impotence.

        The insurance company runaround has begun!

        My month old car sat in 3 feet of muddy water for 24 hours, then it was towed to the dealership. The insurance guy went to make an inspection and he says he doesn’t “understand” why it can’t be repaired.

        He asked for a repair estimate.
        Parts and labor: €34,000
        Price of new car: €14,000

        Waiting for his decision.

        • It is hard to watch videos of what you have gone through in the floods or others in the devastating Midwest USA tornados or the destructive Canadian forest fires and then complain about hot and humid weather.

          Prayers are with you JC. Life hands out some hard shit.

  9. I favor the Cash-Normie lifestyle. It borrows from all other lifestyle variants, as long as all actions (and inactions), are on a cash basis.

    Water consumed is a very small portion of total water usage in most households. A minimalist would use a two gallon pump-up ag sprayer to shower behind the 20-year-old van. A down scaler would use the wet shower in the used stealth RV. Neither would use an automatic dishwasher.
    Both would reject alcohol and sodas, and drink their fill of tap water.
    I like showers, and hate doing dishes. What I save on alcohol and sodas pays the water bill and then some. I have a two gallon back-up ag sprayer in the garage for water system meltdowns. Rinse and repeat for remaining lifestyle categories.
    I will study Ure essay further.
    The Kia Soul with a trailer hitch sounds inspired.
    Driving an EV is a Normie Debt-Slave lifestyle. Yuk.
    Bikes. Yes.
    Long live MagicJack (and Tello).

    Small is more, more or less.
    Sh!t runs down hill in a properly installed septic system.

    Do what you do best, and pay for the rest (on a cash basis, after preemptively saving up).

    • When we were MUCH younger, our camper was an Apache tent trailer. We used a 5 gallon clear collapsible water jug as water heater and shower source. Set it in the sun to heat the water, then put it on an elevated surface with a rubber hose and plastic shower fitting attached to the spigot. We used a hula hoop suspended from the tent ridge tube with a shower curtain clipped to the hoop and stood in a plastic bucket with the bottom of the curtain. in the bucket. One of us would squeeze the water container to provide pressure while the other showered. So I guess we were sorta downscaled minimalists.

  10. “The Minimalist would have decided on one line…Though a lowest-cost Android for emergencies might also be present.”

    Something to know and remember:

    ANY cellphone, even one that hasn’t been active in 20 years, can be used to call 911 to summon emergency assistance.

    • The old 900 Mhz frequency ONLY ones don’t work in many parts of the country anymore. The cell companies have pulled the equipment for those off their towers in many of the more urban places. (often still active in rural areas because of the longer range of 900 Mhz than the higher freq now used by LTE and G3), but spotty enough that you can’t be 100% sure of that anywhere anymore).

      • In this part of the Texas outback, they’re using 700 mHz to get more mileage out of a tower site.

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