Being a neatnik has its advantages. For example, you know where to find your things when you need them – no rummaging necessary. Plus, your stuff usually lasts longer and suffers less wear and tear as a result.
For me, the biggest bonus it provides is a subtle, quiet peace of mind that comes from knowing where my things are. I attribute much of that benefit to a need to soothe my anxiety demon and as a compensating mechanism for my forgetfulness – a cosmically cruel chicken and egg arrangement, as you can imagine.
Knowing where my stuff is sure takes a lot off my worry carousel (which is not a fun ride, by the way). Exerting control over one’s immediate physical space can be therapeutic in that way.
While much of the world is well beyond my influence, I can at least prescribe exactly how my clothes are folded, how my tools are organized, and enjoy that satisfying sense of order when I glance up and appreciate an alphabetized row of spices in our new tiny kitchen.
And Everything in Its Place
Minimalism is its own form of tidiness. Having fewer things is a severe and effective way of reducing the physical and psychic clutter of our stuff.
All our things come with a cost well beyond what dollars we may have paid for them. They exact a toll when we worry about taking care of them, when we spend time looking for them, and when we try to find space for them. Eventually, the sheer volume creates its own burden – we know we have all those things, so now what…?
George Carlin’s famous comedy routine on stuff comes to mind. In it, he pokes fun at the irrationality of consumerism, its costs, and the absurd lengths people go to manage their stuff as they amass more and more of it. *Sigh* I do miss that man’s irreverent wit.
One of Glenn’s and my objectives in this new adventure was to reduce the burden of all the things we had amassed over time – to free ourselves of the cascade of stipulations a giant pile of stuff forces into a conversation about what our next home will look like.
As we enjoy our journey across this continent and as we scout places for our Haven, we don’t want to have to eliminate a candidate dwelling because our oversized king-size bedroom suite wouldn’t quite work in the master bedroom, or because there’s no obvious space for that enormous TV. We also don’t want to pay to store those things we’ll likely decide we don’t need anyway.
Besides, all our stuff will just become a burden to the loved ones we leave behind when we eventually depart this earthly realm.
The Swedes have given the world a practice called dostadning or “death cleaning,” which is something we (more or less) just completed as we sold and donated a large proportion of our belongings and then disposed of the literal junk we found along the way.
I highly recommend it.
Why not lose all that dead weight before you’re dead?
Live simply, and keep only the things you truly enjoy. The lifting of the burden of all those things is its own reward.
A Place for Us
Now that our few remaining cherished things are in a tiny storage space, and a select list of utilitarian things are tidily stored inside Libbie, it’s time to find a place where we belong.
We have decided to “belong” on the road over the next few years – specifically choosing to embrace uncertainty.
That choice isn’t an easy one. In fact, I often catch myself feelingly distinctly uneasy as we prepare to officially disconnect from a non-mobile residence at the end of this week.
It’s the first time Glenn or I have ever endeavored to live like this. While we’ve planned, re-planned, and then over-planned everything, I confess to feeling a looming trepidation that I can only trust will fade with each consecutive mile we put behind us on this journey.
To quell my anxiety demon on this front, I have to rely on our (not insignificant) collective ingenuity and sense of order to discover the exact, perfect place and way of being for us – both on the road and at Haven.