Whether you’ve fallen in love with minimalism or van life first, you’re drawn to an alternative lifestyle that trades unnecessary belongings and time pressures for peace of mind and memorable experiences. Both philosophies appeal to people who value freedom and happiness. But the similarities don’t end there.
In this post, we’re diving into all of the reasons that van life and minimalism go hand in hand. Moving into a van can spur you to become a minimalist out of necessity–hello, 200 square foot living space! On the other hand, if you’ve been a minimalist for a while, you might feel ready to take it to the next level by downsizing your abode. Or maybe you’re just curious about making a change in the direction of simplicity. Whatever background you’re coming from, read on for six reasons minimalism and van life are a perfect match.
Lifestyle, Identity, and Community
Minimalism and van life are often associated with specific aesthetics and social media trends, but they are about so much more than that. Both concepts are entire lifestyles with deep ideological roots. You can be a minimalist without an all-white, modern space. You can be a van dweller without boho-chic interiors or products from expensive outdoors brands. It is up to each person to figure out what a simple or nomadic way of living looks like for them. When you decide to take on one–or both–of these lifestyles, you are automatically admitted to the club. You become a minimalist or a van lifer. Finding community with like-minded people is just one of the perks.
Removing Physical Clutter
One of the most well-known aspects of minimalism is getting rid of everything you don’t need. Having too much stuff drains your energy and contributes to mental clutter. Limiting your possessions to only things you need or love, on the other hand, can feel like a huge weight off your shoulders. Van life takes this to the next level because you physically don’t have room for extra clothes, kitchen wares, or tchotchkes. When you begin selling, donating, or throwing away unnecessary items, you might be surprised by the momentum you gain. It feels freeing to let go of things, so you are encouraged to continue downsizing. The spotlight starts to shine on the beautiful and useful goods you choose to keep in your life.
Limiting Time Clutter
The same minimalist approach can be applied to how we choose to spend our time. After all, time is the most precious resource we have. If you find yourself spending too much time on work or activities you don’t enjoy, it could be a sign you need to reprioritize. Van life has helped countless people escape the 9-to-5 world and achieve more work-life balance by lowering their cost of living. Minimalism also advocates getting good at saying no to activities that suck up your energy and time, whether that’s socializing with people you don’t get along with or excessive screen time. What you choose to do with all the extra hours is up to you.
Focusing on Experiences
Van adventurers know how to make good use of their time. Exploring exciting new destinations, practicing outdoor sports, working on creative projects, and slowing down in nature are a few of the most popular pastimes made possible by van life. Minimalists would approve; focusing on experiences rather than material possessions is a hallmark of the lifestyle. Research also backs this philosophy up, finding that people are happier when spending their money on experiences than on physical things. Having fewer living costs, as we mentioned above, also frees up more of your income for enjoying novel experiences and making memories.
Everything You Own Serves a Purpose
Removing physical clutter is often viewed as the first step to becoming a minimalist, but the journey doesn’t end there. Living minimally is a constant practice, not an end goal that can be reached. Besides downsizing what you already own, you’ll need to consume mindfully. Ask yourself if that new gadget, redundant article of clothing, or trendy home decor is something that will truly enrich your life. If the answer is “no” or “maybe,” skip the purchase. Of course, even minimalists can own a few less-practical items that, in the words of organizing consultant Marie Kondo, “spark joy.” The answer lies in shifting from a consumerist mindset to feeling satisfied with what you already have. Van life can be helpful here as you physically don’t have room to store things you might buy on a whim if you were living in an apartment or house.
Minimalism and vanning both lend themselves to a slower, simpler way of life that is gentler on the planet. Two of the greenest decisions an individual can make are consuming mindfully and living in a smaller space. These efforts can drastically reduce your environmental footprint by producing less waste and eating up fewer resources. Minimalists mostly accomplish this by limiting new purchases. They also sometimes choose to downsize to smaller apartments, tiny homes, or even vans. Van lifers usually don’t buy as much due to the size limitations of their living spaces. Vans also take less energy to light, heat, and cool than other types of dwellings. Carrying around a limited amount of water is a great incentive for van dwellers to be mindful of water usage. Regardless of whether eco-friendly practices are your motivation to become a minimalist or van lifer or simply a happy by-product, both lifestyles certainly have sustainability in common.
Thinking about challenging yourself to downsize your physical possessions while upgrading your quality of life? Visit Rec Van to browse our wide selection of new and used adventure vans.