Things or experiences?
Please take a moment to think about the 3 most beautiful memories from your life...
What happened? Where were you? With whom? When was it? What did it bring you? What else?
Let these memories come back to you, feel them again and relive the happy state you were in back then...
Now come back to the moment, and let's analyse these fulfilling moments;
What brought them to you? Was it because you bought something in a shop or online? Was it because you possessed someTHING?
Or were they the result of your deep connection at that moment with other people who are dear to you? Or perhaps with animals or nature? Or did you achieve a personal goal that called upon your talents as a human being? Or maybe you had an experience that you might call 'miraculous'?
I think that you'd have to admit that happiness rarely ever comes from 'things'. And almost ever from 'experiences'.
Of course, I will not say that you need no things. You need certain things to be able to feel happyness: A safe and warm place to stay, healthy food and drinks, and of course the basics for some comfort.
Personally I think it's also a basic need to being healthy (or receiving good healthcare), feeling loved and respected, being safe and at ease, being relaxed and therefor creative and playful, having the freedom to design your own life and strive for your deepest fulfillment.
With this comes also the personal responsibility of taking my own life into my hands, organising what I need for myself, while at the same time I respect and care for all other life on earth, hold myself accountable for all my actions and taking full responsibility for all I did or do. My life and desires are of no more value than those of all others, so there are the limitations I have.
the best things in life are free.
We all buy dreams
Deciding to live in a van is a very big decision; giving up on your traditional lifestyle is not something you do overnight (mostly).
We live in a house or flat or share rooms, we go out for our jobs, our hobby's and our social activities.
Did you realise that (besides housing and food) we spend most of our money on dream-images? We are tyred, we buy 'make things easy'-stuff. We feel unhappy, we shop 'feel-good-luxury' to make us feel loved. We find our daily life boring so we buy the latest technological gadgets. We struggle through stress and buy things that make us feel successful - like 'the big ones'...
Have a look around you, how many things you bought out of these or similar emotions?
I have done this, too. For many many years... But one day I realized it and also that it did not really make me feel any better...
It helped for a short while, and for the rest it became something I had to keep clean, take care of, maintain and even pay for.
In the end it took up a lot of my energy and freedom, it gave me stress and a feeling of being caged.
I remembered my happiest moments, and they have got nothing to do with this. I tried to figure out why I want to travel, why I feel so happy feeling the warm sun in my face, wandering around new places, meeting nice people... Why then were my clothes or how my hair was done so totally unimportant? Why do I not care if my plate then is white or gold? And why would I need the most expensive hiking shoes when locals walk up that mountain with nothing but flipflops?
Realizing this and having to move out of the house we lived in for 17 years, and I can tell you, there were very many things I could get rid of! I kept some of my books, only the decoration things I really love and the personal things I really use on a regular basis. The rest I sold, gave or threw away. Wow, what a sense of freedom that gave me!
I made it a habit to really tripplecheck myself if I want to buy something: "do I REALLY need this?" and mostly the answer is NO.
Being on the road with my van, I almost need nothing. Life comes back to the essentials for me. I enjoy very much the experiences, and that helped me declutter. So if you really want to go for it - your indoor-space wíll be very limited for things, your outdoor-space however will be infinite...
Well, how do I declutter?
First of all, make a list of what you value most in life - now. Not 15 years ago. Just to make sure that you know where you stand. Are your old school-books still important? Or your dvd collection? Or the shoes you bought for that purpose but you never use them? Or that chair you never sit on? Walk through your place and look at everything you have...
Then secondly you make a wish: if you would have no restrictions whatsoever, what would you want to DO most?
This is important! Write it down where you can see it multiple times every day!
Then you go to step 3: From áll that you have, you make 2 piles. One that you réally need and love (like a bed, plates, laptop, phone, clothes etc but also your dearest memories in that box, the pencils you love to draw with, that most precious ring, your favourite book, etc.. In this pile you check again and keep the things that are mulipurpose, and let go of the rest. (e.g.: a blanket is a blanket. You can use it on your bed, but also for picnics, or to keep you warm in fresh evenings).
And you make one pile for all those other things. The things you got, bought or collected but do not really serve an important purpose for you anymore... .
This last pile, with thing you do not love or need; sell as much of it as you can. The money you collect with it is to be used to get that experience, that wish, you wrote down here before at step two! Be creative if you do not have a lot of money, a weekend away is also a holiday!
And to all the rest of that pile; give it away and make others happy with it.
Collect experiences - not stuff...