this has been in the planning stages for awhile. what really set me off was reading one of jack's posts (of Adventures in Voluntary Simplicity) with a photo of all he had left in the world. i wanted something like that, or at least close. as a vandweller, you strive for it by virtue of the limited space you have to live in. but after 2 cross country trips in the last year, i was woefuly shy of reaching my goal....at the farm, or in the van. (if you click on the title above, it will take you to jack's blog, and you can see for yourself what he was left with when his process was done).
on saturday, the sale was completed. i sold alot at the sale, gave a ton of stuff to goodwill, and helped fill a giant dumpster my brothers had rented..... yet i am still nowhere near where i want to be. because i look at the van, and it seems overwhelmingly full of stuff. i can't stand it one more minute, because the van is my real home, and i have not been feeling very peaceful in it lately.....just crowded and out of sorts. i need to pull my shelf/ bunk unit out to shorten the legs of the bed, and decide at 5 o'clock on saturday, sunburnt and exhausted, to do just that. and broke it.
now, it can be fixed, but not by me, and not by nightfall. mamma ain't happy if the van ain't right. so i think back to vandweller Vickie's serene and simple modular set-up in her van. then i go back to vandwellers and look at Pan's recent pics of a modular set-up in an astro using crates and air mattresses.
i got a decent redo of the interior in a couple of hours at the cost of less than $20. i spent $11 on a sheet of 1/4 inch hardboard at lowe's (thank-you david hair for the on-site coaching...it was perfect!) i also spent about $8 for 2 more sterilite white crates at the dollar store. it turns out that the sterilite storage drawers i had in the van, the crates, and my 3 gallon porta-potty are all exactly the same height, making the perfect platform for the bed.
this is a photo of the saw that michael gave me in california. we were gonna use it to lower the bed in the van, but we were too busy kayaking and eating hoagies at Johnny D's that we never got it done. so after much trial and error, i figured out how to (very carefully!) run it, and was able to cut the hardboard to size all by myself :-) i love tools!
at left you see the initial arrangement of crates and drawers ready for the hardwood platform.
and this is the platform in place.
the platform is very light, so i can raise it easily to access the crates in the back.
here is the twin mattress that sweet mike's mom bought me in brawley earlier this year when sweet mike was in the hospital, and we had an encampment in the hospital parking lot, right by the helicopter landing pad. i had been pretty much sleeping on plywood. his dad bought me a 12V inflator, too :-) thanks, both of you!!
here it is after some rearranging. i am lost without the shelving unit that Bob Wells built me at the slabs, though. when they are repaired they will go right where the canoe chair is now.
but after 2 nights sleeping in a twin bed and having enough room for mutt and i both to move around with out killing each other, i think i will replace the shelving unit , but keep the bed the way it is. it is absolutely luxurious after sleeping on a bunk 26" wide. and i still have plenty of room to move around.
another advantage is that i will buy another sheet of hardboard and cut it to the same size as the first. my yoga mat will layer between them to keep them from sliding. when i need to, i can rearrange the drawers/ bedside table to one level, slide the second piece of hardboard over them, and inflate my full size mattress to fit there. all this versatility and comfort just blows my mind!
but back to simplicity and downsizing and meeting my goals, which, i should add, are rather vague still. when i had every single thing out of the van, i started putting back things with a newly critical eye.....what could i do without? what hadn't i used on the last 2 cross-country trips? what was merely for "just in case"? a great deal of stuff is in the corner of the kitchen now. some really critical things are not yet returned to the van....like my cooler, my water jug, and my guitar. over the next couple days, weather permitting, i'm going to pull all the gear out, photograph it, and prioritize it. see if i can get it all in without compromising the uncluttered serenity. and maybe you all will have suggestions or ideas for me.....