Our story of stuff

We’re off. Suddenly our life has changed from living in a three bedroom house to sharing one tiny space to eat, sleep, relax and drive. Everything we own is right here with us, in our van. Living like true minimalists. Sounds simple and so far I haven’t missed one single thing. But to get to this point and eliminate all the stuff out of our lives that we don’t need on this trip – or not even at all – has been quite an adventure in itself.

“The things you own, end up owning you.”

Fight Club, 1999

You should know, this was not the first time I went through all my stuff. And by going through my stuff, I don’t mean: reorganizing. I mean, properly sorting everything out, one item after another. Completely according to the KonMari method: the Japanese art of decluttering. Marie Kondo tells you to take every item in your hand and ask yourself: ‘Does it spark joy?’ If not, throw it away.

It works. Well for me anyway. Does it make it fun? Or easy? No. Decluttering is hard work and after a while there is not a single spark of joy left in my body. No matter what I pick up. It’s a dirty job – to find out what on earth I have collected in all these years – but it has to be done. It had to be done in order to break free and take this next step.

We quit our jobs and gave up our house. Ironically, to get to this point of ultimate freedom, it’s essential to make a plan and stick with it. Our plan was to leave on the 1st of July and that was indeed the day we moved out of our house and into our van. It took some hardcore planning and perseverance to make that work. Both of each categories – what do we take with us and what needs to be stored? – had to be reduced to a bare minimum.

We sold our car, some furniture, our beloved espresso machine and many other things I already forgot about. At some point no one would leave our house empty handed. Friends and family adopted some of our plants and books. We donated clothes and burned our old paperwork. Only the most necessary items we took with us on our trip. What was left and too good to throw out, went to a storage place. All packed into 6 square meters. And I cannot deny, once the job is done, it feels pretty good.