In Walden, Henry David Thoreau mentions that a lady once offered him a mat to put on the floor of his little house. Hyperbolically, he says that he refused this offer, because he had nowhere to put the mat, and no time to shake it out. He preferred to wipe his shoes on the turf outside his door. He adds, with puritanical fervor, that it is "best to avoid the beginnings of evil."
This is an extreme example of Thoreau's devotion to simplicity, which is the central theme of Walden. He continually points out that most people devote their lives to acquiring possessions which they do not enjoy and which do them no good. His own view is that possessions and the obligations that go with them are a burden. Even owning such a humble, utilitarian object as a doormat makes life slightly more complicated and, therefore, slightly worse.
The story of Walden is that of one man's quest to simplify his life as much as possible, and therefore to find out the essential nature of life and whether it is worth living. Many people might think that "experiencing life" means traveling the world, seeing sights, meeting people, trying new cuisines and experiencing new cultures. For Thoreau, these are all distractions from life. His idea of experiencing life intensely is to divest himself of everything but the bare essentials, so that he is free to contemplate the world around him, and the thoughts it inspires.