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Well over the past few months I have been slowly reducing the amount of things I just had to have. As I categorize my possessions, I ask "do I need this?, will it serve a purpose that something else doesn't? What is the frequency of use? Does it hold any sentimental value? Then it is off to ebay or craigslist, should help fund the ambo. Despite this system I still think I am holding on to too much, what is the secret?
I'm a minimalist in life, but I'm not on the road yet, but I have a few things that have helped me. If its sentimental and doesn't fit in a designated box, it goes away. Getting rid of stuff is all about the sacrifice. If you can't sacrifice that stack of records or record player because it belonged to such and such and holds great sentimental value, yet you know consumes vast amounts of usable space in a van, then you may need to go into an RV or not at all, since that won't do you any good on the road.

I imagine being on the road is all about function, or at least 90% of it. For the remaining 10%, you HAVE to make a list of what you can bring. This includes a second laptop, or gaming system, toys, whatever it is that keeps you sane. Other than that, you have got to get rid of sentimental items; that's the biggest and hardest thing to drop when going minimal.

Lastly, when you're looking at function vs frequency, next round is to look at "during the times that i DO use it, does it really help?" Well, if it's not a tool box or emergency supplies, then get rid of it. For example, if it's that one credit card that you only use when you buy food from restaurants, get rid of it (I know credit cards aren't going to stifle space in a van, but it does in a wallet, and a fat wallet can use downsizing too!)

Good luck!
Baloo, when I started living in my van I kept too much (by my standards now). Don't worry about perfecting what you have today. Enjoy the ride while you learn what works for you and what does not. It will come as long as you stay diligent on reducing your load.

After 3 years, I can fit everything I own (except my 2nd car) into my van with tons of space left over. My belongs have DEvolved over that time and honestly, I have enjoyed the challenge.

I am also a big believer of not buying things new. In many cases, the very things I have wanted end up popping up in front of my face in a thrift store, in a trash heap behind a super market, or from my family's or friend's garages when they get rid of stuff. Craig's List and patience are great tools to have.
The secret is realizing you were coerced into purchasing most of it. Material possessions do not equal happiness. Stop watching tv.
HA! I kept some of my sentimental possessions. They survived one of our houses burning down. And we laid out the 40 ft bus interior around them. I kept the round topped cedar chest David built me for my wedding present 34 years ago. I kept the cannonball 4 poster waterbed frame we bought to replace the one that burned up in the fire. We did have to cut the frame down from a king to a full. I kept my 30" LP range (bakes better than any other I've had), kept my Aladdin mantle lamp, kept a tiny glass topped rock maple end table bought from a thrift store (age unknown), kept a Schwartz key wind anniversary clock my Dad (RIP) gave me that he brought back from when he was stationed in Germany, my "collection" of three ceramic beer steins, the two crystal wine glasses we toasted with at our wedding, an oil painting and a lithograph (low numbers and the artist signed it right in front of me at a state park) and a 1926 Craftsman mantle (shortened and narrowed to fit in the bus) to remind us to never trust outsiders again. NO ONE has any business telling you that you should get rid of any thing with sentimental value. NO ONE has any business telling you what to get rid of. Only you can make those decisions. You may want to put some of your stuff into a small storage unit (you can get some pretty small ones), until you either feel you can let it go or you can find a place for it or you decide you can't live without it and you need a bigger place to live.

Clothing can be replaced seasonally at thrift stores. That said, I have a nice convertable coat from LL Bean that I keep. David has a heavy winter coat that we store in the cedar chest that I wore several times during the winter. Who here wants to explain to my kids that we got rid of the coat they bought him with the money they earned as teens working construction? Any fool who wants that job had better be able to duck fast and run faster! I currently have 3 rather large quilts (and we use them all) stored for the summer in my cedar chest. One is still on the bed. Putting stuff in storage will cost you. But it will help you weed out what you REALLY want to keep. I kept a lot of stuff that has been used to stock the bus with. Some of the stuff simply can't be replaced. My old Griswold cast iron skillet was bought at a flea market 35 years ago, beautifully seasoned and priceless to me. It's also heavy and many have said I need to get rid of it (nope, we use it, used it tent camping, in homes, in the popup and use it now).

Use what others say as a guideline but don't just toss everything. You may decide that living in a van is not for you. That could happen in a month or a year. Yes, I know that statement is heresy on this forum but it is something to consider. Living in a tiny van is not for everyone. It certainly isn't for us. Find a centrally located storage unit to where you will be traveling and put your stuff there. I once met some folks who would stop and change out their stuff seasonally. They worked and traveled (NOT work kamping either, you can work at anyplace for more money). We have had to maintain storage units for up to two years at times (we moved a lot and tended to buy or rent houses until we got smart and went with an RV). No my stuff couldn't just be "replaced" as I had a lot of "neartiques".

BTW, I go to pick up my late 1800's rocking chair this coming weekend. It will be re-glued, reupholstered and be put in the bus. I now only have the three "neartiques" (mantle, table and rocking chair). I love these things, they are beautiful and while I wouldn't risk my life for them, I did plan carefully to put them in the bus. As to anyone who thinks I should get rid of them or anything else I have kept, I say that's is their opinion and their opinion does not count. One thing to remember is that while material possessions should not own you, nor should you be too concerned over others opinions. The people who are so fast to tell you to junk it all did not get to that point overnight. Plus I'm sure they have stuff that you would think they should toss, yet they think they need to keep their "necessary" stuff. You will change your outlook on some of your stuff, others you won't. After many years, I have given up almost all of my books (not my leather bound ones) and I now have a used $35 kindle ereader (I can read it out in the sun) and get freebie books off of amazon daily. I have bought a few as well. I still love reading a well printed book on good paper. I have my leather bound books for that. You learn that you can change what stuff you think you can't part with.
Thanks for all the great input! I find television painful watch unless it is a nature special or "how it is made". I went from a new car to a 1990 Bronco II as my daily driver last year. I seldom ever buy new unless it is not available used for the ambulance build. It is tough, but I am still working at it. I keep trying to make sure I have enough storage for food. How often do you go food shopping? How many days worth of food do you travel with?
(05-26-2014, 08:19 AM)Baloo Wrote: [ -> ]Thanks for all the great input! I find television painful watch unless it is a nature special or "how it is made". I went from a new car to a 1990 Bronco II as my daily driver last year. I seldom ever buy new unless it is not available used for the ambulance build. It is tough, but I am still working at it. I keep trying to make sure I have enough storage for food. How often do you go food shopping? How many days worth of food do you travel with?

Sounds like you're doing just fine, mate. I went the "give everything to people who need it" route and made wise choices in re purchasing essential items in order of necessity but saying goodbye to useful things was very hard. It was easier knowing it went to hardworking people down on their luck.

We've been nomadic for a while and while we have yet to incorporate a vehicle as a home we maintain keepsakes and some handmade items in storage. The storage unit enjoys them immensely and frequently sends postcards of himself with our vintage memories on vacation.

How can you look at a hammer, know you'll need it, and give it away? For me....The world always leaves a hammer around at the right time.
There are things I won't give up. When I moved from home to rv, I got rid of all my furniture. I stored a few much loved paintings in a friends attic. My Poodle statue collection came with me, it took me many years to find those and I refuse to part with them. Some are on display, a few are in a small box. It's like Christmas every time I open the box and put one on a shelf. I went through photos and chose what would fit in a shoebox to keep. My sewing machine travels with me, I use it and can't afford to buy a new one every time I need it. I can't count how many people have told me I should give away a dog or two. Are you kidding me? Would you give up your children? My dogs get much more attention than the dog who sits home all day alone waiting for his family to get off work. They don't need space, they need attention and exercise and this life lets me give them that. You know what's important to you, don't regret giving it away
Well said! There are a few things I have worked to hard for to get rid of that serve no purpose. But, they remind me of times in my life, and really don't take up too much space...
For me there was no switch to flip. I just have to keep working at it and forcing myself to carefully consider each acquisition. Being in a minivan helps a lot - I simply don't have enough space for what I already have! I can't get more and have to keep trying to find new things to get rid of.

Also keep an eye out for ongoing costs and time sinks. That shiny new thing might be cheap to buy but it requires a subscription, more shiny things to support it, or continuing work to keep it clean and running. Or it could be a gateway gadget! When I had a house I bought a small air compressor to blow out my sprinklers for the winter. That led to buying air tools and hoses and if I just had a bigger compressor I could get better use out of these tools and buy more tools and on it goes. You need to stop those chains before they get out of hand!
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