Step 1: deviding man from stuff

The first thing I have to do is downgrade. The stuff I own is either coming into the van with me, being given away, trashed, or sold, or going into a 10 by 10 storage unit I just rented for $60 a month. Ideally, I will not stuff it.

Last Sunday (a week ago, not yesterday), I took almost every piece of clothing I owned and put them into three piles. One to keep, one to donate, and one to throw away. When I was done, I went to a laundromat to do a mass-washing (most of my clothes were also dirty). At the end, I had little more than a single laundry basket to keep. I had about two more laundry baskets to donate. I also had a small collection of t-shirts that I don’t wear anymore, but that I’d like to pay someone to stitch together into a blanket or rug-like-thing, because they have significance to me, representing my high school, tennis team, the Church I grew up going to, my college newspaper at which I worked for a while, and the shirt I wore on the second date with my first love. You know. Sentimental shit.

Furniture is easier. I don’t have much attachment to it. The lovely sea-green wooden queen bed and accompanying mattress, which my parents lent me when I moved into my current apartment, are going back to their house. So is the dresser. I have a nice glass-top desk I got from a guy off craigslist, which I like significantly more than I usually bother to like furniture- I’m on the fence as to whether to sell it or store it. My piano is going into storage, without question. I hope to continue to play it in the unit. Why not?

I have a desktop computer that I’ll put in storage. I have a bike and surfboard that I will put in storage unless I can find an exceptionally efficient way to keep them aboard the van – I plan to retrieve them often. I have a small filing cabinet of important-ish papers that I’m thinking I’ll put in storage, but am a bit worried about.

Anything else I either haven’t encountered yet, or isn’t significant enough to mention- I’m just getting rid of it as economically as possible. Ideally, when this process is over, I will own very little outside of what I can fit in the van.

Now then, I’ll also need a few things.

I’ve purchased a mattress. A $200, memory-foam twin mattress. It is the most I beleive I’ve ever spent on furniture. And it’s for a van. But it’s gonna be niiice. I’m excited. I plan to construct a small raised platform for it with my Dad in Raleigh. Underneath, I’ll store stuff- clothes, probably.

I also plan to buy

  • a car-cigarette-lighter-to-electrical-outlet converter (That’s what they’re officially called, right?)
  • a small stove of some kind – either gas or electrically powered by the above device
  • a solar-powered charger
  • a small water tank
  • a bucket (if you’ve guessed what this is for, don’t worry, it’ll only be used as an absolute last-resort)
  • a cooler
  • storage bins that will fit under my bed platform
  • A small folding table
  • Pepper spray, a tazer, or a gun- I haven’t decided yet (if you have advice on this front, please explain in the comments)

Besides physical belongings, I’ve also, as I mentioned, rented a storage unit, and I’ve gotten a gym membership. Not because I want to get swole, though getting sexy would be a nice side effect, but so that I can use the showers- which, by the way, are nicer than my apartment’s, have free body wash and shampoo in little dispensers, and are accessible 24 hours a day Monday through Thursday, and 12 hours a day the rest of the week. Not bad.

Lastly, I’ll need to get a Post Office box, so that I can have some sort of an address.

The countdown’s begun, and I’m excited.

As fireworks pop outside of this Starbucks, it’s not lost on me that I’m lucky to live in America, which, I feel, is unique in it’s ability to facilitate this experiment so smoothly. Happy Fourth, mates.

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