One of the minimalist pleasures of travelling is that every possession that comes with us has a place. Over the last few years, we have used a vehicle and campervan (above) for holidays. To move a campervan anywhere, the canvas ends (which contain the beds) need to be tucked in, and the roof wound down until it is flat against the body. This means everything must have a precise home. If it doesn’t, it could be lost, damaged, or the roof simply won’t shut!
Space is also limited so only the essential is brought along. Each person has one bag for their clothes (here is how I pack mine), one bag for toiletries, and one backpack for books and toys (which can be transferred between the vehicle and camper).
Every last item—even the miscellaneous ones—has a place to live. Sleeping bags go on the beds; clothes bags into a wardrobe; shoes in a drawer; food in slide-out drawers under the lounge; plates, cutlery and cooking appliances under the sink; dirty washing into a mesh laundry bag; and keys, a first aid kit, stationery, matches, and so on, sit in an accessible drawer near the doorway.
A simple routine keeps the van in order. After breakfast, I organise meals and snacks for the day, do the washing up, straighten beds, wipe benches, sweep the floor, and return items to their bag or drawer. It only takes about thirty minutes. Late afternoon is a good time to clear away the day’s activities and lay out clothing for the next day. Then before bed is a repeat of washing dishes, wiping benches, and returning everything to its place.
There are three keys to this streamlined system:
- Minimal stuff.
- A defined place to put it.
- Returning it every day.
To apply this system to our homes, we need to pare back our possessions, and then find every last one of them a home. It doesn’t have to be pretty, but it does need to be definite.
Even undecided items can be contained until we give them more permanent lodgings.
How does having a place for things make your life easier?