Can minimalism make you safer?

I was recently reading about Fumio Sasaki, author of Goodbye Things. He describes one of the benefits of minimalism as being safer, to which one commenter wondered…how?

The answer lies in where Fumio lives – Japan – which experiences earthquakes quite frequently. I imagine despite all the advanced building technology, simply owning less that can fall during an earthquake can surely make you safer.

This got me thinking how else a simpler, more minimal and clutter-free life can make for a safer life.

It’s not common to get pests at home but by reducing clutter you can more easily see behind, under, around things to both visually check and physically clean them.

From a fire perspective you have less that can ignite, especially if you try and go fully paperless.

You are much less likely to be the target of burglary or mugging if you own less and your insurance payments are likely to be smaller also. The way I live, someone would probably already think I’d been burgled! (The caveat is that you are likely to own fewer, but more highly priced items).

Peter Lawrence, The Happy Minimalist, values internal skills, talents and trades over material stuff because these things can’t be taken from him. He quotes the Latin phrase “omnia mea mecum porto”, all that is mine I carry with me. The most worthy possessions that we have are within us. This is why nobody talks about your possessions in a eulogy and why I value my health very highly.

It might seem trite to say that a benefit of minimalism is safety but I hope I have highlighted some tangible, concrete examples. I do also understand this is a very privileged viewpoint probably only available to those living in relatively secure, stable and developed countries.


Katrina Weston says:

My most treasured possessions if I am to talk about material things and not family health, memories or friends are family photographs, dvds videos etc. If my memory lets me down in later years I will have these to bring them back to me if only for a moment.

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