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-   -   How simply do you live? (https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=163801)

Smallwheels 07-12-15 02:16 PM

Saving Money And Creating Freedom
 

Originally Posted by Rsmith11 (Post 17965221)
That is really something SmallWheels, I couldn't do it.

Even living like that for a year would save you so much money compared to an average lifestyle.

For me that is the secondary reason for doing it. The primary reason is to always have a home where there is no landlord who can tell me what to do or perhaps even kick me out. Twice I've been kicked out of places because the landlords needed the space for relatives. At other times I've had bad neighbors and wanted to move but was locked into a lease and it would have been prohibitively expensive to move.

I'm not against having an apartment. If I were earning a ton of money and needed a fixed location I would go that route again. The difference being I wouldn't fill it with much more than is already in the van and I would keep this van or another so that in a pinch I could move into it if necessary.

A more attractive alternative for me would be to have a medium sized RV and find a campground near the city I needed to be in and work from that location. The thing is, doing that in any big city is more expensive than renting an apartment. RV park rent can be cheap in many small towns. In the Helena Montana area I was surprised at the high rates charged. One place wanted $370 per month with water and electricity and required proof that you were buying propane for heating your RV. Otherwise they would charge $5 per day on top of the $370 per month. This is because they think the residents would be using small electric heaters.

I can recommend this lifestyle for a single person. It is easy to remain hidden from the attention of others in just a small minivan. A couple doing this could succeed with a bigger van.

I've seen many people living in cars and SUVs since beginning my lifestyle. When I see many of them who don't look like they're on a road trip it is easy to see that they didn't plan their situation. They seem like they were forced into this situation because they are not in vans. They are doing a very bad job of staying out of sight because their windows are not blacked out. They have things piled up in the seats and it is all visible. They don't look like they are keeping themselves clean and presentable.

The problem with most of them is a problem I have to a degree. They are keeping too much stuff. If they intend to stay in any city they need to get a storage unit to hold their excess stuff. I emptied my storage unit last week. To the last day of having it I was still getting rid of things by donating, selling, and trashing items. I just decided that the trade-off of losing the money on some things was not as important as being free of the storage unit fee.

I have a plan to get rid of all of my photos and family photos by just photographing them and keeping digital copies. My personal yearbooks will be photographed and then trashed or sent to the original schools for them to keep. My cousin wants my family history photos.

I still have a few kitchen items that I probably won't use and could give away. I'm almost down to having only things I use daily with me. I allowed myself one box of mementos. I think I'll implement the six month method for keeping possessions. If any item hasn't been used in the last six months then it can be given away.

For those who say they couldn't do it I totally understand. Every day of letting go of some item for little to no money, that I felt was worth money, was difficult. My inner cheapskate and greed created strong feelings of loss. Those feelings do pass quickly. Items I use weren't let go.

Learn from my experience; almost everything you own and value will be valued much lower by others should you ever need to sell things. That is just the way it is. It makes me wonder why I spend so much money on new items when they are valued so low as used items, even though they might function perfectly and look brand new.

Since I've been working on letting go of things for a few years the process has been repeated again and again. I now know how it is to let something go. Starting with appliances and furniture was easier. I had family attachments to them because my parents bought those things. Since they weren't used by me it was easy to sell them. What wasn't easy at first was accepting the low prices I was getting, and I'm really good at marketing and writing sales copy. Over time it became easier to sell things and to give things away. There were always feelings of loss at first, but then with those things out of the way, and out of sight, the feelings subsided. From there it always seemed that every time I looked at my things laying around I always felt that more should go. That feeling persists still.

As far as sleeping in a van, get rid of the rear seats and just get a good mattress pad or cot or something comfortable and live in a temperate area that doesn't require air conditioning or too much heat. I just got a job in Montana and will stay until the end of fall. After that I'm headed south to a warmer more suitable climate. I can survive in the van in low temperatures around freezing. I've done it with a small heater. I just don't want to do it when the temperatures go even lower. The odor of burning propane is not that pleasant.

Since my main employable skill is driving, I can get a job doing that just about anywhere. That makes it easy for me to relocate. For those of you with corporate positions or other jobs that hold you in place the traveling part of living in a van is out of the question, but living in a van or RV would be doable. It would give the same sense of freedom. I just like having fewer attachments to things and fewer things to cause attachments. That is why simple living is so attractive to me.

MikeRides 07-12-15 05:47 PM

I could imagine living out of a small RV or even a full size van, but a mini-van wouldn't be too much different than a homeless person coasting from town to town and living out of the backseat of an early 90s beater. Its a image any one who has an ounce of pride wouldn't want.


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 17973391)
Since my main employable skill is driving, I can get a job doing that just about anywhere. That makes it easy for me to relocate. For those of you with corporate positions or other jobs that hold you in place the traveling part of living in a van is out of the question, but living in a van or RV would be doable. It would give the same sense of freedom. I just like having fewer attachments to things and fewer things to cause attachments. That is why simple living is so attractive to me.

As a professional driver I assume you have a CDL? Any thought to buying a truck with a sleeper and becoming a contract OTR driver? Or perhaps, to skip the cost of buying a truck, go full time with a company that has their own fleet? A guy I've known since middle school drives for Walmart, up and down the east coast, he's been driving the same truck for the last 3 years so they don't swap out often so long as it's running strong. As for possessions, he doesn't have much more than a oversize backpack full. His wife is a school teacher and from my understanding goes on the road with him every summer, but he's often back in town about one or two weeks a month so it works out for them I guess. Basically he gets paid to live simple, lol

Smallwheels 07-13-15 02:15 AM

I've got a Class A license with Passenger; Tanker, Air Brakes, and Motorcycle endorsements. I lived in a big rig for a few months. I didn't like the rules the company imposed on drivers regarding power converters. The recruiters lied and said I could have appliances with me. At the end of the company orientation we were told no power inverters were allowed because they are a fire hazard. Without the ability to maintain a good refrigerator and operate a stove and a blender, I was forced to eat only at restaurants. I didn't like that at all. So I quit. I don't want to be an owner operator.

I have learned that taxi drivers in major cities can earn as much or more than truck drivers. Taxi drivers have long hours too but they get to go home every night and eat the foods they want for less money. That might be my next job after I finish the one I was just hired to do in Montana.

striknein 07-13-15 10:40 PM

I've tried to tell the abridged version of my story to friends, but somehow it turns into a manifesto. Put simply; I managed to go from a 2200 sqft house to living nearly car-free in a 400sqft studio over the past 3 months, and I'm happier than I've been in years. It's an amazing thing to live a life of quality and simplicity in a culture where everything is instantly attainable and entirely disposable.

I haven't pared down enough that I could live out of a suitcase, but I'm pretty close to being able to fit all of my stuff in my car when I'm ready to move again.

Curious LeTour 07-13-15 11:24 PM

Mtb addict, I live in central TX and I've been running the A/C only at night, and only since the summer solstice. It can be done. I work outside, then I spend time in the barn doing horse chores till sunset. I'll eat something cold like yogurt while sitting on the porch right after getting home from work. Shade and a breeze work wonders. It usually feels cooler outside rather than in by 6:30.

Roody 07-14-15 07:24 AM


Originally Posted by mtb_addict (Post 17976285)
How did people in the good ol' days do it?

Not many people lived in coastal Texas or the rest of the south until after A/C was invented. Most of the population was up north.

For example, where I live (Michigan) we haven't even hit 90 this summer and a lot of high temps have been below 80F. I was going to buy a room air conditioner because my doctor said it was a good idea, but so far I've been able to put it off. This is our third cool summer in a row. I guess the extreme heat out west has changed the flow of the jet stream, blocking the hot air from coming into the upper Great Lakes region. The trade-off has been that the winters have been extra cold also.

Smallwheels 07-14-15 11:46 AM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 17977957)
Not many people lived in coastal Texas or the rest of the south until after A/C was invented.

I suppose that depends on the definition of many. New Orleans was settled in 1699 (Wikipedia is wrong saying 1718). It grew to be a thriving area with many cotton plantations around the state and in Mississippi.

To alleviate summer heat the buildings were made with twelve to fourteen foot ceilings. That way the heat from the sun would still radiate onto the slate roof but the wood was so high above the people that the rooms felt much cooler than the outside temperatures. I have experienced this in several very old homes in New Orleans. The design works really well.

Smallwheels 07-14-15 12:01 PM


Originally Posted by striknein (Post 17977419)
I've tried to tell the abridged version of my story to friends, but somehow it turns into a manifesto. Put simply; I managed to go from a 2200 sqft house to living nearly car-free in a 400sqft studio over the past 3 months, and I'm happier than I've been in years. It's an amazing thing to live a life of quality and simplicity in a culture where everything is instantly attainable and entirely disposable.

I haven't pared down enough that I could live out of a suitcase, but I'm pretty close to being able to fit all of my stuff in my car when I'm ready to move again.

Your story sounds similar to mine. Only a few times have I missed something. I gave away some kitchen thing that I could have used again. I accidentally gave away some books I hadn't finished reading, and I also needed a couple of tools that were in the tool box I gave away. Nothing so far has made me want to give up what I have now.

If I left out the sleeping platform and shelf of the van I do believe everything I have would fit into a midsize car. It would totally fill the trunk, back seat, and passenger seat but it all would fit.

Smallwheels 07-14-15 12:51 PM


Originally Posted by MikeRides (Post 17973808)
I could imagine living out of a small RV or even a full size van, but a mini-van wouldn't be too much different than a homeless person coasting from town to town and living out of the backseat of an early 90s beater. Its a image any one who has an ounce of pride wouldn't want.

Clearly your idea of a suitable home is different than mine. Apparently the size of the vehicle when small enough makes you cringe. I do feel quite proud of having my tiny home on wheels.

Coasting from town to town sounds really fun. Tens of thousands of people do that all of the time on vacation. It is something that is desired. Imagine their envy of people who can do it all of the time because they aren't tied to a physical location.

striknein 07-14-15 01:40 PM

Pride is a funny thing. When I owned my house, I used to be proud of being able to show it off to my friends and family. Living in the studio, I'm quite proud of myself for putting away those feelings, and proud of myself for breaking free of my desire to own a bunch of useless stuff. I imagine Smallwheels may be able to relate.

My career choice basically forces me to work in an office, but if I wasn't so restricted I could easily see myself building one of these: http://www.traipsingabout.com/2013/1...enture-mobile/

Roody 08-22-15 08:06 AM

Interesting article about Viktor Frankl and happiness:

There's More to Life Than Being Happy - The Atlantic

Artkansas 09-02-15 09:38 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 17977957)
Not many people lived in coastal Texas or the rest of the south until after A/C was invented.

Don't tell my ancestors that. We moved to coastal Texas from Illinois in the 1830's. Other branches of my family were living in Georgia close to the Alabama line.

A lot of people aren't too keen on snow either. 21 million people lived in the South at the time of the invention of AC. That's not insignificant, especially considering that there had been a huge dent made in the population 35 years before by folks from the north. ;) Even when I lived in Florida in the 1960s most schools were not air conditioned. It was just beginning to happen.

This summer I found that I did have to put on the AC when it got to 95. My computer started making noises, though I was comfortable. Up till then a ceiling fan was all that was needed. And I checked on the web, sure enough, the spec for the maximum operating temperature for my computer was 95 degrees.

Artkansas 09-02-15 10:08 PM


Originally Posted by Roody (Post 18099282)

In his book, "Man's Search For Meaning", this got my attention in his book.

"the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

Roody 09-02-15 10:27 PM


Originally Posted by Artkansas (Post 18133508)
In his book, "Man's Search For Meaning", this got my attention in his book.

"the last of the human freedoms -- to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way."

For me anyway, that is not an easy one to figure out. I have struggled over how to do that my entire life, with little success.

But other existentialists have said that the struggle to find meaning is the meaning. They don't say we will necessarily find the meaning itself, but we must continue to seek it. Also, the kind of freedom that Frankl talks about is kinda scary!

poormanbiking 09-04-15 01:08 PM

I was shocked that my local library system didn't have it the book in their database. A trip to one of the few remaining book stores is in my future.

Roody 09-04-15 01:29 PM


Originally Posted by poormanbiking (Post 18138414)
I was shocked that my local library system didn't have it the book in their database. A trip to one of the few remaining book stores is in my future.

You might have to get it online or have your bookstore order it for you. Or a college bookstore might have it since it's still used in psychology and philosophy classes.

TXSLEDS 09-06-15 10:14 AM

"Anyone else here who shares this philosophy and lives along these same lines? How much stuff do you own that you can't move on your bike? (And how do you justify it?)".

HAVE STUFF. Have truck to go pick up bicycles I find and purchase. Have wife
who has almost no stuff. Have wife who does not drive, or ride bicycles. Have wife who wants to have garage sale.
How much should I ask for wife?.

gerv 09-09-15 07:19 AM


Originally Posted by TXSLEDS (Post 18142359)
Have wife who has almost no stuff. Have wife who does not drive, or ride bicycles. Have wife who wants to have garage sale.
How much should I ask for wife?.

Ha ha... you should tell her about this forum. Seems like she belongs here. I often feel like a garage sale would solve a lot of my problems.

Artkansas 10-03-15 07:14 PM


Originally Posted by poormanbiking (Post 18138414)
I was shocked that my local library system didn't have it the book in their database. A trip to one of the few remaining book stores is in my future.

I think it's there. I did a quick search on the library catalog and found it.
Encore -- mans search for meaning

metro2005 10-26-15 02:03 AM

This is such an awesome thread!

I am slowly but surely getting rid of stuff and merging things to be multifunctional.

Last week i spent every evening copying my whole DVD collection onto a harddisk (and made a backup on a second harddisk off course) and will sell a great portion of it , my desktop has been replaced by a gaming laptop so i can still play my games, i have also digitized my audio cd collection and got rid of the physical discs. Photo's are stored digitally and i replaced a lot of books with an E-reader.

Got rid of my retro game collection which not only used up a lot of space, it also required a lot of converter boxes, cables, crt screens and things like that to keep everything working and hooked up. This saved two pieces of furniture.

I also went through my book collection and ditched about half of it and only kept what i really liked. Went down from 2 bookcases to 1 :)

Got down to 1 bike.
I got the smallest car in the world (Suzuki alto ) which looks horrible, is rusty but very economical and reliable and costs next to nothing to run
I do have a motorcycle for fun but dont ride it much.

For commuting i prefer my bicycle, work is 15 miles away so when the weather is really bad i take the car.

My mobile phone is also my navigation device and mp3 player which i listen to while biking to work. no landline.
Dont watch much television, only the news. The rest is watched on youtube either on my HTPC or on my laptop.

The clothes i have are 3 pare of pants, some tshirts , 3 sweaters and 1 suit. 2 pair of shoes , underwear and some motorcycle clothing.

I got rid of the enormous amount of phone chargers and leads and got it down to 2 (1 reserve) , i organised my administration (still have to digitize that) , replaced the television, dvd player and desk in the bedroom with a beamer (saves a lot of room!) and connect my laptop to it whenever i want to watch a movie.

And well overall there is just a vast amount of stuff i sold or threw away and im much happier now. No more stress and worries about where to put it all, cleaning and maintaining it and moving would me much easier now :D

I i where alone i would like to live in a van or at least a smaller place but my wife thinks differently so that wont happen any time soon. My goal now is to be able to move everything i own (excluding the furniture off course) in the back of my car.
The main advantage of getting rid of so much stuff is that you now think twice before buying anything. You also think : Do i need this, will i use it, wont it end up like the stuff i threw away?

Most of the time the answer is: I dont need it and end up not buying it which saves a lot of money.

Keep on posting :)

Ekdog 10-26-15 03:22 AM

Great to see more and more people decluttering their lives. I wish you the best of luck, Metro2005. As regards books, we're down to one medium-sized bookcase. When we lived in a bigger flat, we had thousands of volumes, but they simply would not fit into our current abode. Thank God for the Kindle!

Roody 11-23-15 03:00 PM

Plug for Freecycle
 
I've been using Freecycle (TM) lately. This is an international internet group whose "mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community."

From the website:
"The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 5,000+ groups with 7 million members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns and keeping good stuff out of landfills.

Membership is free, and everything posted must be free, legal and appropriate for all ages."
Recently I have gotten a whole pepperoni, back issues of the New Yorker magazine, and a glass top coffee table for free. At times I se bikes and bike related gear on the site. It's a great place to give away unwanted items if you're decluttering your home.

To find the Freecycle group in your community:

https://www.freecycle.org/browse/

Roody 11-23-15 03:08 PM


Originally Posted by Ekdog (Post 18270541)
Great to see more and more people decluttering their lives. I wish you the best of luck, Metro2005. As regards books, we're down to one medium-sized bookcase. When we lived in a bigger flat, we had thousands of volumes, but they simply would not fit into our current abode. Thank God for the Kindle!

I recently got some back issues of the New Yorker from Freecycle (see above). The guy gave me two cardboard boxes of eight years of this weekly magazine. I wasn't expecting so many and they are cluttering up the place a little. I realized after I got them that they would have all fit easily onto my iPad! (Not for free, however. I would have had to subscribe to get access to the New Yorker archives.)

jfowler85 11-23-15 03:15 PM


Originally Posted by Smallwheels (Post 17266780)
Air mattresses are great if you can keep them inflated. Even the expensive ones lose air and will eventually get a big hole in them. I have thought that the people who make inflatable rafts and boats should make mattresses. I'm talking about the white water rafting materials with Kevlar. Those materials are super tough and shouldn't ever get holes in them from just sleeping on them in a house.

Sounds like it would be just as expensive as a decent mattress.

Smallwheels 11-24-15 05:55 PM


Originally Posted by jfowler85 (Post 18340552)
Sounds like it would be just as expensive as a decent mattress.

You are right. Conventional mattresses would weigh a lot more and wouldn't be capable of getting really small for moving.

A super tough inflatable mattress could also be used as a raft. :)


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