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Old 06-04-2015, 10:13   #16
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Funny story...

We sold nearly everything, took off sailing for "as long as it's fun", and a little over a year later a medical issue forced us to be back in America for a year.

And so we felt a little stupid when we bought a house over a weekend, drove out to the desert to fetch our trailer, backed it into the driveway, and opened the door to see what we'd actually kept....

Mostly crap.

And now, six months later, about three quarters of that stuff is still in boxes, cluttering up the basement or left in the trailer.

The only things we are glad we kept:
- Kitchen stuff
- Plates and cups
- Linens and towels
- Art we made
- A few small pieces of furniture (a small kitchen table, a few chairs, just enough to almost 'setup' the house like college kids)
- Tools (should have kept them all-- where's my multimeter?)
- My wife's 'gitchies' -- she didn't feel like our new house was home until the little procelain dog was on a shelf. And it wasn't Christmas until nostalgic ornaments were on the tree.

That's it, about ten boxes of stuff out of about thirty or forty that were in the trailer. I wish we'd kept less, because it will feel silly to pack boxes we didn't open back into the trailer when we go sailing again this fall. We opened so many boxes and immediately shoved them into a big charity pile.

By the way, we also sent old photos off to be scanned before throwing them away. I look at them more often now that they are online than when they were in a shoebox.

One thing I've learned is that it's hard to dump 95% of your possessions in one pass. It took us multiple rounds to whittle down all the stuff. We went through our possessions probably four or five times when we were packing up the house, each time getting rid of about half of it. It got way fun towards the end, even though we now feel we still kept too much.

Anyways, have fun! I'm happy for you to be at this stage.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:26   #17
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We got rid of a lot by a couple yard sales. Gave a bunch more away. Then we rented a 10 x 10 heated storage unit. When we came back we were glad we did.
Be very careful storing your stuff in a trailer (Ontario? or florida) it will likely be junk when you come back if you don't have some sort of minimal heat in it.
Keep your family stuff and make sure it's safe.
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:33   #18
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Yup, agreed. The fisrt time we went sailing, close on 30 years ago, we stored just about everything. It was a mistake......all our electrical goods either did not work or were so oudated on our return as to be valueless. The only worthwhile 'keeps' were our vacuum cleaner, fridge/freezer. Even the wash machine bearings had jambed. However, we could have easily replaced these with used goods. We dont regret keeping some 'special' rugs and particulur solid timber furniture tho'. Our stored car had also gently rusted beyond economical repair. Unless its particularly sentimental or vaulable sell it off. The second time we went we cut right down dramatically and it was the right decision for us. We bought up a lock up storage unit and keep our land stuff, including (as you say) our winter camp gear in it. If it does not fit then we do not keep it. We also moderate what we buy on this basis.
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:51   #19
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Quote:
Originally Posted by msponer View Post
Funny story...

We sold nearly everything, took off sailing for "as long as it's fun", and a little over a year later a medical issue forced us to be back in America for a year.

And so we felt a little stupid when we bought a house over a weekend, drove out to the desert to fetch our trailer, backed it into the driveway, and opened the door to see what we'd actually kept....

Mostly crap.

And now, six months later, about three quarters of that stuff is still in boxes, cluttering up the basement or left in the trailer.

The only things we are glad we kept:
- Kitchen stuff
- Plates and cups
- Linens and towels
- Art we made
- A few small pieces of furniture (a small kitchen table, a few chairs, just enough to almost 'setup' the house like college kids)
- Tools (should have kept them all-- where's my multimeter?)
- My wife's 'gitchies' -- she didn't feel like our new house was home until the little procelain dog was on a shelf. And it wasn't Christmas until nostalgic ornaments were on the tree.

That's it, about ten boxes of stuff out of about thirty or forty that were in the trailer. I wish we'd kept less, because it will feel silly to pack boxes we didn't open back into the trailer when we go sailing again this fall. We opened so many boxes and immediately shoved them into a big charity pile.

By the way, we also sent old photos off to be scanned before throwing them away. I look at them more often now that they are online than when they were in a shoebox.

One thing I've learned is that it's hard to dump 95% of your possessions in one pass. It took us multiple rounds to whittle down all the stuff. We went through our possessions probably four or five times when we were packing up the house, each time getting rid of about half of it. It got way fun towards the end, even though we now feel we still kept too much.

Anyways, have fun! I'm happy for you to be at this stage.
Scanned photo's - we bought a large digital picture frame with a seprate memory card and now we see our photo's from the 'old days' more frequently than we did before. We also backed up all our photo's onto two duplicate memory cards and stored them with other senistive sentimental stuff in a water proof box left in storage. One thing we found worthwhile was to catalogue everything we stored and numbers the boxes to enable us to quickly locate it. We also photographed everything in case of an imsurance claim; not that it is worth that much.
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:57   #20
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Thanks folks, I'm appreciating all the collective wisdom. I'm heartened by your experience msponer (although sorry you were forced back due to health issues ... hope it's all on the mend). Your list of what you found useful is where we're headed with our keepers. The idea is to keep just enough kitchen and bedroom stuff so that if we come back, we can at least cook dinner and go to sleep.

To be honest, if it were just up to me I'd likely get rid of everything. I no longer get sentimental about anything really. My spouse on the other hand is still attached to some things, so the storage trailer will hold all the things she finds impossible to part with. The list is quite low. We bought a 14' trailer, and I'm now thinking it might be too big.

Good advice about the impact of weather. Our storage unit will not be heated, although it is well sealed (so far...). It will suffer through northern Ontario winters. We're only storing things there that won't be affected by heat/cold and moisture. Hopefully it will be OK.
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Old 06-04-2015, 13:03   #21
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We're also downsizing to complete our transition to liveaboard, and it has been easier to do it in stages. After spending some months on the boat, you get a better feel for what you really want and need. The things I left back on land don't seem as important anymore, though I am keeping the crystal, china and artwork, these are my sentimental items. We are still on the decision fence about rent/sell the house. Both have pros/cons, and I am leaning towards sell, so that cutting the ties to "too much stuff", will be simpler.
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Old 06-04-2015, 15:17   #22
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Mike,

We kept some keepsakes. ...and have maintained a minimum size storage locker for all these years. I think that was stupid. I think we should have bit the bullet and distributed all of it after the first 5 years, when we knew what we wanted to do.

However, one of the times we went back, I harvested my favorite recipes to bring back to the boat. Even though Jim cooks most of our dinners, I still have some things I like to cook. Another time, I brought my favorite rolling pin back from the States to Oz. Yes, you can use a dowel, or a wine bottle (BTDT), but I like my ball bearing one. I am the baker aboard.

Jim did not bring his Snap-On tools, and has for a long time wished he had. We were afraid of rust, but there are ways to keep the tools dry.

We keep both cold weather and hot weather clothes on board, because we need both for where we go.

Trust that your choices will work out for you one way and another, and if you need to, you can get "it" along the way.

Ann
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Old 06-04-2015, 16:43   #23
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
...
To be honest, if it were just up to me I'd likely get rid of everything. I no longer get sentimental about anything really. My spouse on the other hand is still attached to some things, so the storage trailer will hold all the things she finds impossible to part with. The list is quite low. We bought a 14' trailer, and I'm now thinking it might be too big.
...
I'm so happy my spouse wants to sail at all. So if she wants to keep boxes of glass fish and fancy plates in a trailer in the desert, if that's how she wants to move onto our weird floating RV, then that's completely fine with me.

We also have a 14' trailer. It seemed too big for a long time, and then on the very last day we filled it to the ceiling. With random junk that our house kept dry heaving up. We kept thinking the house was empty and then it would barf up another 20 cubic feet of .... whatever. Tarps. Garden tools. Cleaning stuff under the kitchen sink. And as the day wore on we just Wanted To Go and didn't care what was in the trailer or not, we just stuffed it all in, even if it didn't make sense to keep, because we just wanted to be done and get on the road.

And it felt so, so good to unhitch the trailer from our car and drive away from it. It was weeks, months, of work to get to the point that we just had our suitcases left and were ready to hop on the plane.

Take lots of pictures! I wish we did. It was such a fun and memorable time for us. And a bit stressful. And so much work.
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Old 06-04-2015, 16:47   #24
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

You will bring so much stuff on board you will need an inventory and map system to find anything. Same for stored items. If they are important enough to keep then you need a system to find them when you want them.


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Old 06-04-2015, 18:44   #25
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We kept: tools, some books/music, a guitar and a drum, two bikes, all camping equipment and most trekking gear (parkas, boots, shades, etc.), some SS pans, some cutlery, some plates.

We also kept all what you called sentimental items. My fave mug, her fave silk scarf, my woolies, her crystal wine glass. Etc.

The only item we got rid of that I think we should have kept was ... our apartment. It was a small studio and central to the town. Would be nice to have it now that we sometimes want to fly back and spend some time in the old country.

I think if you like your place and if it can be rented out, then it is better to rent it out and use the profits towards your new journey.

Have fun making space for the new!

b.
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Old 06-04-2015, 19:22   #26
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

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And dont think you can sell your household treasures. To others they are junk. So dump the lot, hire a trash skip and load it up and piss it all off to the dump.

Not only will you not notice it ever again you will realise what a waste of money most of that junk was.

I have to disagree with this part, Mark. I have made $500 in the past couple of weeks on eBay selling just a few things that had been collecting dust in my basement for years, and I am just getting started.

I have signed up with a consignment shop where I am selling all my good designer work and dress clothes that no longer fit, eventually I will be taking in everything that I won't need on the boat. Other clothes (not designer or high end, which incidentally I also bought at the consignment shop in the first place) will go to the Goodwill or Salvation Army.

We have a lot of antique furniture, stained glass lamps, and such. It's not family heirlooms. We bought it either at auction or estate sales. We have sold these types of things through an antique auction house in the past and have done very well. Even though they keep 40% they attract a large crowd of bidders that drive the prices up beyond what we could probably get on our own. I have thrown away a trailer load of junk already and still have a lot more to go, but I can't bring myself to toss something if I think someone might be able to use it. I'd rather give it one shot at a yard sale. This is yard sale country. People will buy most anything. Whatever doesn't sell the first time around will go either to the Goodwill or to the dump, but we'll at least give everything one shot. It's not that I even care if I make money on it, but I'd rather see someone using it if it still has usefulness than to just throw it in the landfill.

Mike, we plan to keep one truck, our teardrop camper and camping gear, most of our power tools, and a few boxes of personal things that would be considered "irreplaceable," our road bikes and all our touring gear (panniers and bike camp gear).

The irreplaceable's are pretty obvious (photos, family Bibles, heirlooms (not furniture), and our collection of U.S. Navy wardroom china. All of this will probably only occupy a dozen boxes.

We built our teardrop camper. It was a labor of love that took us almost 2 years and we have become a part of an amazing camping group that we hope to continue meeting up with from time to time, plus we will use it for trips to visit friends and family in various places around the U.S., especially during the holidays. The truck is necessary to pull the teardrop so that's a no brainer.

We both love to bike tour and we're hoping that we continue with that so we will hold onto the bikes and touring gear. Even though we have folding bikes for the camper and boat, when we're in our home port we will probably opt to ride our full size road bikes if they are available.

The tools we will keep because any major projects on the boat (not emergency in nature) will be done when we are in our home port and we will want to have our tools. We figure if we are using them more or less every year they are worth hanging onto.

We plan to have a home base in Sarasota, Florida and so will leave everything stashed there. We have friends and relatives there to look after things. We will re-evaluate from year to year and if at any time we find that we are not using any of what we kept as much as we thought then I would have no problem parting with any of it. We do not have any deep sentimental attachments to anything. Even though we built our camper, if we found we weren't using it regularly it would not break my heart to let it go, and the truck could go with it. We're really just keeping the things that we think will add to our life and experience, or that we think we will have frequent use for. Unlike a lot of you who apparently have no real home port we plan to spend a portion of each year in the same place so keeping these things seems to make sense to us for the time being.

But we reserve the right to change our minds without notice.
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Old 06-04-2015, 19:38   #27
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Once again, thanks for all the thoughtful comments.

Good to hear our 14' trailer isn't too big. It was pricey, but will cost us nothing to park on a friend's lot. The trailer will contain a set of house essentials (kitchen stuff, bedroom, minimal furniture, some clothes, camping gear), plus all the priceless items that can't be parted with, which really aren't that many.

We've always lived a rather frugal life (OK, we're kinda poor ), so we don't have as much stuff as most people. And most of it isn't worth a lot. That said, I've already made over $500 selling things locally (Kijiji), and our neighbours have committed to buying nearly $1K worth of things like canoe, wood stove, beds, etc. It all helps with the kitty. We're planning a yard sale in June, just before we have to vacate the place. But I'm going to continue to list more valuable items online. Actually, I have some sailing stuff... watch for my ads to start popping up .

We've already been seasonal cruising for up to 6 months at a time, so we're well equipped on the boat. In fact, I have more and better tools on the boat than at home, so most of the home tools are being sold or given away.
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Old 06-04-2015, 19:40   #28
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We're nearly in the same place. In process of moving onto boat now, expecting to be fully moved in a month or two. House going on the market. Still have car, other boats to sell etc. But we'll be living on the boat.

The comments on tools interest me. I cannot possibly take all my tools. Not the table saw, chop saw, drill press, welder, compressor...but Where do you draw the line? Do you take ac powered tools like drills and circular saws? hand powered stuff? Battery powered? How many sets of sockets? backups for the one's you'll lose? I'm having a hard time deciding what's important for tools. I could outfit three boats.
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Old 06-04-2015, 20:48   #29
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Just be very careful to store paintings in a storage trailer
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Old 06-04-2015, 21:26   #30
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

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The comments on tools interest me. I cannot possibly take all my tools. Not the table saw, chop saw, drill press, welder, compressor...but Where do you draw the line? Do you take ac powered tools like drills and circular saws? hand powered stuff? Battery powered? How many sets of sockets? backups for the one's you'll lose? I'm having a hard time deciding what's important for tools. I could outfit three boats.
Well, being back to landlubbery, even temporarily, my wife and I miss the nice tools we sold and gave away. I got rid of nearly everything except the welding stuff. It's a little sad to picture a specific tool in mind, that's perfect for what we need at the moment, then realize it's gone.

We flew to our boat and could not fit many tools in the luggage. They are heavy. I brought only the unique and rare things that I know I want on a boat and are hard to find in a sparse island hardware store. Things for repairing electronics, rebuilding pumps, unsticking stuck bolts and screws, jerry rigging, and generally working in confined spaces. A wire wrap tool for jerry rigs. Calipers for measuring parts (to order replacements). Tiny screwdrivers for taking apart electronics. Tools for confined spaces: thumb ratchets, flexible snake drill attachment, very short screw drivers, a few tiny pry bars, and etc. A tap and die set. Circlip pliers. Impact driver for stuck screws and bolts. A hammer with plastic and rubber heads, for banging something apart, gently. The super long socket you need for an outboard sparkplug or to remove a diesel injector. And etc.

I prefer drills that plug in. It seems we are most often drilling one or two big holes (say, 2" diameter through 1/2" ply or 1/8" aluminum) to run a cable or mount something.

I've lost very few tools while sailing, so we don't have backups. It seems like for stuck screws you want a screw driver that fits the head exactly. So we have a huge collection of screw drivers with slightly different heads. That's the closest we are to redundant for any tool.

I'm not super handy. I've never rebuilt an engine. I don't know carpentry (and happily pay other people to do that for me). But I do try to fix whatever is broken, if I can figure it out. Someone with more knowledge (and self reliance) could no doubt use more tools.

Hope that helps.
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