02/02/20188 min read
Ok, so you probably know what minimalism is. Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. To many, minimalism is about cutting out what doesn’t matter so you can spend my time/energy/money on what does. That has implications for a lot of people on both physical and non-physical levels. But for me, minimalism is a fancy way of saying that since I live on the road, I don’t want to carry a bunch of stuff. And that’s the gist of it. Not collecting and keeping a bunch of stuff that you don’t use.
Which means not buying stuff, and not saving anything that I don’t have to. Space is limited, and each extra pound ads weight which adds gas money.
So while I appreciate many of the philosophical and psychological benefits of minimalism, for me, and maybe you, it’s a practical tool above all else.
My first video was about embracing minimalism and getting rid of all my stuff. And that’s actually the exact title of the video. I had been living in one bed room apartments for a while up to this point. All throughout college and work life up until then. You would think it would be difficult to collect a lot of junk like that, and well you’d be wrong. I had tons of random garbage that I never used and just collected.
There are many videos on YouTube about people feeling hesitant to get rid of their stuff. I luckily, didn’t have that problem. My collection of stuff won’t fit in a camper van. So no option there. And I wasn’t going to sped more on a storage facility than what the stuff is actually even worth. You also can make some money selling old stuff. I only sold the higher value items because I didn’t have time to sell everything, but if you want to make a hobby of selling things on ebay you can make some serious money just selling your old garbage. You know what they say, “One man’s trash…”
Travel on your terms, finding the freedom to enjoy your trips without carrying a huge burden on your back. Or without carrying a huge burden of stuff in your van. With vandwelling, I think the common theme you will see people talk about is minimalism of cost. Living in a van is a good way to minimize how much it costs to live in an area. Like if you want to live in a big city. While it is true that it would cost a little more in gas than it would if you drove a regular car, not having a car payment or paying rent helps cut back on the cost.
One awesome tip for seeing how much stuff you have that you actually need is traveling. Travel always renews my sense of minimalism. The next time you take a trip, pack for 1/2 the time. If you are traveling for 4 days, pack for 2. You can wash and hang clothes if you need to or wear the same things twice. See how it feels to carry less baggage. I got rid of 20 or 30 outfits of all levels of formality when I first get rid of all my stuff. I only kept my favorite suits and outfits. Also what would be most versatile.
This is a quick tip, not so much minimalism but it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done with my life and I’m only half joking. Throw out all your socks. Go to wallmart or where ever sells bulk socks. Buy two packs of the exact same. I save a significant portion of time not trying to match my socks and find missing ones. All my socks are now the same. Serious life hack there haha.
Back to the packing tip, I packed what I thought would be 2weeks of clean clothes in the van. And some alternate weather outfits. Like bathing suit for the summer and scarfs for the winter. I can go two weeks without doing laundry, but there are some clothes that I just never end up wearing. Yet I carry them around, I think those are some prime examples of things that I don’t need to carry with me. I’m going to have to do another purge of my stuff.
I’ve even seen some minimalist van dwellers, who are just about a mat to sleep on and some storage in their van. My camper is certainly not to that extent. I mean I’ve got mood lights and wifi in mine. And that’s the key point here. There are no strict rules for minimalism. It is what you want it to be. Not everything has to be pure utility though, you can keep things that you like. There is no “true minimalism code” or minimalism police force controlling what you do. You decide the rules of what stuff you want. Good example, I haven’t played guitar in 2 years. But I feel happy looking at it and feel good knowing that ti’s right there when I get a spark of inspiration. Zebra operates my camera. He’s a stuffed animal I carried around as a kid. I liked zebras because their name started with a Z. And so did mine. It goes about that deep, yeah. He’s not much utility other than a video prop now and then, but I like to keep him around.
Less stuff makes it easier to clean up as well. Your environment is a direct reflection of the mental state you’re in while you’re there. When you’re in a new environment you can feel the difference. When I go into a library, I’m fascinated by books and studying. Yes, that’s party because that’s whats there, but it’s the energy there. It’s where my mental state goes. Organize your local landscape. Schedule your time. Start taking control of yourself. If you want to change the world, you start from yourself and move outwards. That’s how you build your competence. I don’t know how you can go out and march in the streets or attempt to build a multinational business if you can’t keep your room organized. Too many people want to control the outside world when their own inside world is a mess. “Do as I say, not as I do” sort of stuff.
Minimalism can be one of the easiest ways to back control of your life in a simple and practical way. Minimalism is a philosophy akin to Zen in my mind. The less things you have around you, the less space they take up in your mind and the more flexible you can be in new situations.
Everything you see in your immediate dwelling will take up space in your mind, albeit just for an instance. However, having many things around begins to add up. At least, I feel annoyed when things pile up on my desk because when I look at them, a flash of things I have to do, errands I have to run, etc. rushes through my mind when I might be thinking about something else. It’s like an interruption to me. Not that we don’t naturally experience such interruptions, but they can add up and can typically be avoided altogether by cleaning up ones living space.
I think the psychological effects of materialism are understated in this way. Obviously hoarding is a prime example of emotional attachment gone haywire through material objects.
Never has their been a time in the history of the United States that people have been so unhappy. At least in my estimation, when I observe myself and those around me it seems like people are at their happiest when they are with family, friends, in nature, or doing something they really love, that serves to lock them as fully into the moment as possible. I think consumerism is used to distract people from realizing how unhappy they really are much of the time. (Don’t confuse this as me saying I’m anti-capitalist though.) Families and friends are often spread around the country. People are busier than ever, with mostly unfulfilling pursuits like working at a desk job for some company doing auto insurance. There are a proud few people who do make that their life’s work, but I am not one of them.
It goes much deeper than just being told to buy lots of stuff. There is a lot to be said on this topic that I don’t know how to articulate. For me minimalism is about boiling things down to what is really important and getting rid of as much “noise” as possible in your life.
What’s next? Well even now after a year I still have stuck in the camper van that I don’t really use a lot, or that I’ve never used. It’s time to sort through and clean out some stuff. This is one of my worst cabinets. Full of stuff all loose and jangly.
Thanks for hanging out with me today, if there’s any more interest in this topic I’ve got a lot I could cover. Both practical advice and philosophical.