Investing in quality items for vanlife? It is totally worth it.
Wish, Aliexpress, Primark, Lidl, private labels, knock-offs, dirt cheap offers, free items – pay only shipping costs. Each and every one of them are companies, offers or promotions that we participated in or where we bought something for a bargain price. Many, many times.
I will not say that these purchases did not bring happiness, because they did. Only the happiness was generally short-lived, as cheap items generally don’t last that long, in comparison to quality items. Not that a television of € 5,000 cannot be crap, that is possible very well. But usually it’s the €100,- one that is crap.
Don’t get me wrong, the cheaper items certainly can be of good, durable quality. But in our experience the Dutch phrase ‘Goedkoop is duurkoop’ (cheap items eventually cost more) had been true for so many time when we bought cheap items which seem to be a good offer, but in the long run it didn’t always (often) work out.
In recent years we have found out that we have saved an incredible amount of crappy items that we have purchased, for god knows what reason. Some of the things we bought were still in plastic a year later, unused and stored somewhere in the back of a closet. Throw away? No, because maybe we need it some time and then it would be a shame to buy it again.
But that era is behind us. It’s time for Marie Kondo. It’s time for “trash out, quality shit in”. Investing in quality stuff, it’s so incredibly worth it! And maybe the best part: reducing our ecological footprint by buying items that are eco-friendly, made out of zero-waste or are biological feel like a better fit for where we are today.
By now we actually are used to living in a small living space. We once moved from a too large home in the more crowded part of The Netherlands, to a mobile home surrounded by nature without thinking twice. From 140m² to 20m² living space overnight. And we’ve never been happier than when we decided to leave our own home behind and pursue our dream.
It is unbelievable how much junk a person (and certainly a woman, *grin*) can collect, if you live on 140 square meters. When all that has to be moved to 20m², you understand that a lot of stuff is left behind and must be given away or sold. And that has also happened.
But even on 20 square meters you can have an unbelievable amount of stuff that you actually don’t use at all and that are just collecting dust. Because in a small house (for example a camper, but also a small mobile home) the walls can quickly come at you when there is all kinds of loose items in your house. It was again time to say goodbye to a lot of stuff. Enter: Marie Kondo.
Enter: Marie Kondo
For those of you who do not know the Marie Kondo method, it is definitely worth taking a look at it. For our Dutch followers, read the article I wrote about Marie Kondo in Dutch on our other website. Just type it into Google and you will know soon enough. Marie Kondo is a clean-up guru. Yes, I know, nowadays they really come up with terms for everything. Anyways…
Marie Kondo’s motto is simple: Does it spark you joy ?! If so: keep it. If not: #trashcan. It was then that I was shocked at how incredibly much stuff we actually had collected in our 20m² house. And much more shocked at how much of that stuff we actually hardly ever used.
In the first cleanup rage, no fewer than fifteen trash bags were filled with items that we could give away or throw away. Our house cleaned up enormously. And Mariska became more and more relaxed, because less stimuli remained into the house.
In case you are interested in minimalism (and Dutch), you can always check out this book on minimalism.
Quality items in!
Too often we have bought something for like 20 euros in the past, because we were too foolish to spend 70 euros for the actual original product itself. After we bought the same item of 20 euros for the third time and still ran into the same problems, we threw everything away and still bought the item of 70 euros. Does that sound familiar?
When we went looking for Wickie, one thing was important to us. We wanted durability. We wanted our camper to have been well cared for in the past and that we in can take good care of it ourselves in the future.
We have agreed that everything we buy for the camper must meet two conditions. They may speak for themselves, but we haven’t been sticking to them until we got Wickie.
1. What we buy must spark joy (Marie Kondo!)
2. What we buy must be of good quality, practical and durable.
These are two very simple rules, but it ensures that we did not go for a kettle set of 20 euros that will probably work fine, but that we found horrendous to look at. No, instead we went for a kettle of 60 euros that looks pretty, lasts a lifetime and Mariska is over the moon with.
Sure, maybe a shitty example, but it works that way. At least for us. We do not buy stuff to use it on a crappy campsite in Italy for two weeks a year. And quite honestly, if we were only going to stay on a crappy campsite for two weeks a year, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to invest that much in stuff either. But now it is totally worth it.
To us this makes so much sense. It won’t be long and we will actually live in Wickie for a longer time. And when we do, I want to sit in a chair like a boss. I want to be able to to cut a grand steak with a razor-sharp knife, not with a blunt cut. I want to drink the most delicious coffee from a fantastic butchy perculator, instead of gross Senseo. When you live in a camper, you want all the quality of life you can find. And that you can create for yourself.
From simple rules to a simple life. Yes, it’s that simple. Because besides our focus on quality and durable items, we focus on living a simplified life. No expensive espresso machine, but a kettle and a perculator to enjoy our tea and coffee. No expensive heating system, but a place to create a small bonfire and a high quality blanket to keep us warm. No € 5,000 television, but rather € 5,000 worth on books. Digitally ofcourse, we don’t live in a library & safe the trees! The point is, we want to commit to less stress, less rushing life, less worrying and more back to nature while still enjoying durable items that give us so much satisfaction.
Quality items in, cash out
Yes, it is considerably more expensive to buy something at € 70 than if you buy something at € 20. € 50, to be precise. And if you do that 10 times? Exactly, then it drains your savings account for 500 more euros. And yes, that is quite a lot of money. But we want BEAUTIFUL items. We want GOOD items. And we want DURABLE items. When we’re in the middle of fucking nowhere, I want everything we bought to actually work. And to work properly. And to be honest, if you buy 3x the 20 euro’s item you are exceeding the 50 euro you thought you saved upfront.
Just the thought of Mariska under her Pendleton blanket, while enjoying fantastic coffee from my beautiful perculator while enjoying an even more breathtaking view, makes waiting for the lockdown to be over durable to me. Quality of life doesn’t just start with what you buy. Quality of life starts with yourself. Stop dreaming and make it your reality! You will also get over a possible bankruptcy if you buy too many items!