“Enjoy your favorite things every day by only owning your favorite things.” – Unknown
A fear years ago while watching the movie “Leap Year,” there was a specific lesson that grabbed my heart. The lesson was, if you could grab anything in 60 seconds in the case of a fire, what would it be? Would you grab material possessions such as laptops, car keys, money? Or would you grab the person you love, pets, photos, etc.? What would you grab? Well, this lesson still has stuck with me until this very day. It got me pondering what the more important things in life are.
In society, there is always this pressure to have the latest and greatest thing. As soon as the newest phone comes out, someone has to have it. As soon as the newest car comes out, someone has to have it. We have this pressure to own a home, drive a nice car, have a great paying job, and have money in an account for retirement. Now, while having these things are important to some people, I realized that is not the case for me. I will admit that while growing up, I valued material possessions and envied those who had things better than what I had. That peer pressure came from those who had those things and flaunted them effortlessly. If you did not have those things, you weren’t considered “cool.”
There was a short period in my adult life that I had still strived for those material possessions. I thought that living this way would make it seem like I was doing good for myself on the outside looking in. The problem was, I was still looking for the approval of others. I was not looking out for MY happiness. As time began to pass, I started to exam my life for what it was and realized that I needed to make a change. This change was to live more simply, and tiny.
I had been fascinated with tiny living for quite some time, and the idea of it never left my head. Once something enters my head, and I want it, I will do anything I can to pursue it and make it happen. I quit my terrible job and started to use my free time to sell all of my things. Two months later, I had sold all of the items I had been collecting throughout my years of life. I also had sold my partners things as well. Eventually, we found Bertha, and moved into the van and travelled in our little 60 sq. foot home.
How has minimalism changed my life and my perspective?
When it comes to the time I sold all my stuff, I realized how freeing it was. I came to understand that all those things I had been holding onto were not needed. In a regular house, there is so much crap that piles into cabinets and collects dust. As I was going through this process or letting stuff go, I realized that a house full of stuff meant nothing. Furniture, electronics, and other material things were used as a filler to satisfy me somehow? I don’t think so. Minimalism is freeing. At the end of a lifetime, it’s not about the things that you collected in your house. It’s about the experiences that you got out of the life.
If you think about it, some people have nothing materially and whom are the most content people you will ever meet. Those people do not let material things define their happiness. This was the mindset I strived to have, even if it was a challenge to get there. As soon as I adopted this mindset, my perspective on life changed. I didn’t want to have anything hold me back. I wanted to be purely happy.
The only valuable material things that I decided to keep were my laptop (of course) and a box of treasures that sits in a garage at my grandmother’s house. In regards to the rest of the stuff, about 85% of the items were donated and sold. Getting rid of all of the things and going through everything was very stressful. However, when it was all finished it was a great relief.
Although not everyone can be a minimalist in a van like I am, adopting some minimalist habits can benefit anyone.
How Can It Change Yours?
-Less Clutter: Do you have a garage that has boxes and boxes of things that you never use? Or maybe a closet with too many clothes? Perhaps consider doing some decluttering. It can make a difference after you get rid of some things.
-Save Money: If you only buy things that you need, this alone will save money.
-More Time: With fewer items owned, you spend less time repairing and cleaning. You have more time to do things that you truly enjoy.
When it comes to minimalism, I wish I had started this lifestyle sooner. It really would have saved me the stress of trying to fit in the rat race and make others around me happy. This is a lifestyle that I would recommend to anyone. If you are looking to be a minimalist on the road like me, start prioritizing what would make you happy while keeping it down to the only the items that you genuinely need. As humans, we just need a few things to survive and a few extras to be happy.
What would I grab if my van was on fire? My partner, my cat, and a fresh pair of undies.
What would you grab? Tell me below in the comments! I would love to know!
Until next time,
Have you checked out my van conversion? Read here: Van Conversion