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  • Writer's pictureLee Eel Eisler

Getting Rid of All Your Stuff - Van Life

Updated: Aug 8, 2018

So you want to live in a van but how will you fit your stuff into your van??? Chances are you'll have to get rid of some stuff. If you don't then I would say you are pretty ready for van life. For the other 99% of you you're going to have to get rid of some things. For some this might be easier then for others. Good news though you're not going to have to get rid of everything!

You will get creative with space because you gotta get your surfboard, mountain bike, kayak, rock climbing gear, snowboard, skis any other adventure gear. You know, the important stuff. Time to get creative packing the inside and outside of your van. There are tons of ways to store this kind of stuff.

To a certain extent this has to end though! Deciding what to pack the van with is a big decision and letting go of things you have valued for many years is tough. More good news. It feels good and you don't end up missing it when you're getting week after week of powder days up in the mountains or getting barreled at the beach every day.

Its still easier said then done but you don't have to get rid of everything and make a leap of faith into van life.

I mean, what if you don't like living in a van and end up wanting your stuff back? The way I started van life was as an experiment. I had made a pros and a cons list. Decided I could get a van and put all my belongings into storage and test out the van life. If I didn't like it I would just find another place to rent and go back to what I was doing before. Well, I ended up loving living in a van which really helped me get rid of a lot of my belongings. It got to the point where my belongings being in storage were holding me back from being able to travel more so I really had to decide quick what I wanted and what I didn't.

Once I was able to get rid of that storage locker I was free. I was donating things, selling things and giving away my belongings for free to friends through Facebook. It felt good and the best part is I don't miss anything.

I always tell people now that my possessions are not things. My possessions are my memories.

That reminds me of the saying I always see, "The best things in life are not things."

At this point I have lived in a van for 3 years now and the way I look at and value things is completely different now. Function ability and use of items is most important. I don't own things or get things I am not going to be using anymore and if I haven't used it and it isn't an emergency item I get rid of it. The cool part is things are replaceable! If I end up actually needing said item I can re acquire the item in the future. That is one of the reasons that I usually buy things second hand. Like I said everything I own is to be used and also function ability over looks so who needs anything brand new. Within some exceptions of course. Buy it used for cheaper and use it more and get rid of it when you don't use it anymore. No worries.

One of the perks to not owning a lot is even if you lose everything you own you can reacquire items as you need them!

Overall things are just things. We use them, we lose them. We value, cherish and save them. Things are not whats important in life. Time is whats important. In the end of the day people sometimes lose all their belongings in one day completely unexpected due to natural disaster. Imagine spending your whole life collecting these things, guarding them, moving them from place to place and then in one day they are gone. All that time spent to make the money to get them, to guard them, to move them just to lose them in a day. It devastates people but in reality it is not the end of the world. In reality this is a problem the person caused for themselves.

I have actually been there. After moving into my first van and starting my adventure I was in Lake Tahoe, California area and my van got hit by a snowplow. It was an el nino season and it just kept snowing and snowing after that. I was low on money, found myself without a home ending up couch surfing with some coworkers for a few weeks. I ended up selling the van and I was only able to bring with me what I could fit in my friends car who took me from Lake Tahoe to Southern California. Kinda similar to someone fleeing due to a hurricane warning or something to those means.

I began working for Greenpeace and saved up for another home (van). The point is I lost many of the few possessions I owned and I lost my home on wheels!!! It wasn't that big of a deal. I got a new van and I have everything I need now.

Losing everything you own or getting rid of all your stuff is not the end of the world but rather a refreshing chance to cleanse your life and start over! Remember people were meant to be loved, things were meant to be used and time is the most important thing that you own!

I took the time to write another post on "The 10 Life Lessons Learned From 3 Years of Living In A Van". Check it out (link shared below):


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