October 6, 2017
A Practical Guide to Minimalism on the Road
When we hit the road, we were very intentional about not getting a storage unit. The only things we own that are not in the van are our winter camping items (snow boots, cold weather sleeping bags, and coats), which thankfully stay in a couple of bins with family. Everything else we sold, donated, or put in our van. While we designed the van to be our home, space is also extremely limited so we have to be cognizant of keeping things as minimalist as possible. Keeping up with these practices allows us to stay focused on what we want to do, not what we have.
5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR VAN TRAVEL MINIMALIST:
GO THROUGH EVERYTHING YOU OWN ON A REGULAR BASIS AND DECIDE WHAT YOU TRULY NEED.
We empty out every bin in our van once monthly and sell or donate most things we haven’t used in the past month. It’s a good way to make some extra cash if you have something to sell, or at the very least make some extra space (which carries its own value)!
IF YOU NEED TO BUY SOMETHING, MAKE SURE YOU LOVE IT.
If you only have a handful of things, make sure you love them and they’re going to last a long time. This is one of the things I’ve enjoyed the most about being minimalist with my things because I find myself feeling gratitude for every item I own, instead of wanting something more or better.
IF YOU NEED TO BUY SOMETHING, CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO GET RID OF SOMETHING ELSE.
It’s an easy rule to remember, but sometimes a hard one to execute on because we are conditioned to keep extra things around as “backup” items. Need new running shoes? Great– but that means the other ones go. They’re not your backup shoes “just in case” you need them later for day hikes. They’ve served their purpose.
DIGITIZE ANY PAPERS YOU NEED TO KEEP WHILE TRAVELING, INCLUDING ONES YOU COLLECT ON THE ROAD.
We all try to get rid of the inevitable papers we collect when we have a permanent address, but you’d be surprised at the amount of papers you still might get when you’re on the road. Receipts, invoices from a trip to the doctor, maps, notes from strangers giving you tips on where you have to go next– it all adds up! For the things you can digitize, keep a folder in cloud storage and send phone images of your papers to it. That’s one less thing to hold onto!
CREATE ORGANIZED SPACES THAT ARE TRANSPARENT SO YOU CAN SEE WHAT’S INSIDE.
One of the best decisions we made to keep things minimal in the van was to create storage systems that are open or transparent. Our pantry and kitchen area were designed to be able to see what food and kitchen items we have available at all times (we like to know when we’re running low on snacks, it’s crucial to be stocked up!). Although there are a lot of gorgeous closing kitchen cabinets, we truly benefit from this open solution so we can keep things clean and use the food we have.
ONLY CREATE EXTRA STORAGE IF YOU TRULY NEED IT.
It’s easy to assume you’ll need a rooftop box or a trailer for your travels, but unless you have a specific purpose for all that space and you are certain you’ll need it, consider waiting. You will fill that space if you create it for yourself.