“Where’s all your stuff?”

Inevitably, when people learn that we’ll be living in a space smaller than most dorm rooms, or hell, even bathrooms, there are questions. Amongst many, “So, where’s all your stuff? Is it in storage?”.

With few exceptions, everything we own will fit in the van. We want to embrace minimalism and the life that it brings. We will not have a storage unit. What you see is what you get. The few exceptions being a few boxes of childhood items I have in my sister’s crawlspace in Illinois and a few suitcases packed with “work clothes” that we don’t foresee needing but aren’t ready to part with.

Was it hard dwindling down to so few possessions? Depends on who you ask.

For me, it was easy. Before I moved to Seattle in January 2014, I was quite intrigued by minimalism and started getting rid of a lot of superfluous junk. My goal was to fit everything into my Mazda3 for the drive cross-country. If it didn’t fit in my car, it wasn’t coming. My dad joined me on this fantastic road trip so that left me with only my backseat and trunk. I also had a case of homemade beer and a few six packs of Bell’s Two Hearted, because priorities. The rest of the space was for clothes and decorations. And I did it!

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This is the “I’m freezing” look, easily confused with the “I have to pee” look.

In my 3.5 years in Seattle, I moved six times. Every time I moved, I got rid of more things. The last move was to a cute little microstudio in West Seattle – that will force anybody into minimalism real quick. The pamphlet said it was 235 sq feet but that’s including the lofted bed so it’s probably more like 180 sq feet, tops.

minimalism living
The before shot. Look how “big” it looks empty!
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The after shot. Yes, our bathroom is directly below our bed – solid prepping for vanlife.

Colin’s story is slightly different. When he moved from Denver to Seattle, his company paid for his move. When that happens, you bring all the things! Outdoor adventure gear, two bikes (that were both stolen a year later, RIP), mountaineering books, and about 483 t-shirts. The man loves t-shirts but, like many of us, only wore his favorites. After coming to that realization, he acknowledged that maybe he could part with a few. That’s the day we took a big step closer to vanlife. Ever since then, it’s been a mix of big and small donation days.

*Colin taking over as post closer*: Things, things, things. We pick them up, dust them off, put them away, lose them, find them, replace their batteries and get pissed when the dog chews them up. Whether we are conscious of it or not, these things are on our minds…..and OUT of our minds when they are gone. As Brennan and Dale say:

*LISA, INSERT MEME HERE*

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Lisa: “Check.”

This is important both in your living space AND the space between your ears. It’s freeing! How else could we focus on blog writing, boats, hoes and trip planning?!?!

Author: Lisa

Over one year in van life and loving it. Hiker, rock climber, novice mountain biker, and professional napper. Official “documenter” of our time with Vaniel. Favorite podcast: Stuff You Should Know.

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