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Old 02-03-2011, 07:31   #1
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Buy Small, Go Now ?

Like a lot of you, I joined CF while looking for my boat. While I was hoping to find a sweet 34 - 38 footer for next to nothing (it happens), I ran across a Catalina 27 for next to nothing. I figured I could do some sailing and coastal cruising while I was still land-based, and find my passage-maker later.

Funny how plans change.

I'm moving aboard. Unemployment has dictated my actions, and so I'll be saving my rent money while I work on the boat. Keep in mind that I have a Catalina 27, and my challenge is how to downsize a small apartment full of furniture and "stuff", and a 10' x 20' (3m x 6m) storage unit full of furniture and "stuff", so that a couple of friends are holding some heirlooms and a few personal items, while I pack everything I want to keep close into a space roughly the size of a minivan.

There is also the idea that I have to carry enough "stuff" to be comfortable and still have room to move around while not sinking the boat. My thumbnail bio is: 58, single, pretty healthy, reasonably fit, 5-9, 185, good at fixing/building things. Never lived aboard before.

And there's one other thing - after living a typical American middle class life, raising 3 kids, and being a good little consumer since I was 20, it's hard to just let go of the accumulation of a lifetime. Sure, most of it has no great emotional content, and most has been acquired since 2002, but there's a process to unwinding one life as you start another, and I'm having some trouble sorting between the "sell", "give away", "store", and "boat" categories. Any practical or procedural cues you people can give me would be appreciated.

Also, I'd like to hear about other sailors of pocket cruisers and what you think you did right or wrong as you prepared to cast off and while you were underway.

Thanks,

John
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:35   #2
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

E-bay.
Once you get started it's really easy... kind of addicting too!
...one man's junk is another man's treasure!
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Old 02-03-2011, 07:56   #3
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pirate Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

The only thing I can say is sell the lot then start afresh buying things for the 'New Life'...
one warning tho'... the minute you stop moving around... and by that I mean stop somewhere for 3mths and more.. the boat suddenly starts to get cramped again... at the moment I've 2 O/B's, a 2.70 dinghy, 4 big full toolbox's, 7 powertools, 2 100litre drybags full of gear, spare cooker and Barbie, two 25l fuel cans and assorted other stuff plus 6ft2" 160lbs of me to fit into a 20.9ft x 6.5ft sailboat with 4.5ft headroom... and thats not everything..
I'd like to sell the engines (boat moves easy with oars/scull) but the Portuguese won't touch 2x's with a barge pole..
The power tools I can sell ok...
What I'm saying is.. apart from your clothes and some small sentimental things its doubtful your old possessions are of any use in your 'new life'
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:30   #4
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pirate Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

5 years ago I moved from my then 25 ftr sloop into a 26' motorhome. Ah the space! The luxury! The AC, the friggin SHOWER! I can dance in here. Now, I'm going back the other way to the "new" 25er only now I have a MH full of books, guitars, weaponry, tools, etc., a pickup, a van, exercise machine, barbq, chaise, tools, table saw, a trailer full of yard tools plus a JD lawn tractor, a car trailer, and storage shed full of sails, anchors (6 and counting) cushions, dink, Merc 3.3, scuba gear, fishing gear, camping gear, tools, and stuf, stuff, stuff. None of it is worth much but I am not looking forward to a few of the hard decisions to come.

One modern thing I really like is I am accumulating books in digital format. I even have 2 on my phone to listen to! The computer has simplified life in some nice ways even for minimalist cruisers.
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:39   #5
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pirate Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

Very true Tgzzz... where space was needed for loadsa reading material and 'good ports' were ones where one could 'book swop' my laptop and 'keys' now carry my reading, CM93 charts and sounds... great space saving devices...
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:42   #6
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

After selling our "self built" house, to free ourselves from its location and maintenance, we were left with the same predicament. The house money would sustain us cruising for years, as it had been paid for, but the decade + of storage buildings ended up costing over $10,000 in rent and three location moves. We are happy with MOST of our decisions.

We got rid of ALL house furnishings of the appliance / vacuum cleaner type, and half of the commonly available furniture. The other half of the "stuff" that we stored, was furniture that I had built, or a few precious antiques that were left to me by a beloved grandmother. Also, my wife had the tools of her avocation... sewing machines, and quilts that represented thousands of her hours... (Rubbermaid bins w mothballs) There was also a lifetime collection of the tools of my trade... boatbuilding. This would make its way into a tool trailer, that followed us from home base to home base. (It was, however, eventually flooded and lost to hurricane Ivan, in '04) The rest of the stuff made it, but we lost the cottage we had rented and furnished, (while doing a 1.5 year refit to the boat), as well as a car.

We are too broke right now, but are getting old enough that we would like to own a house again someday. Building it from scratch again, is no longer an option.

I have no regrets about storing the personal treasures mentioned, plus photo albums, family heirlooms, hand crafted "personally" works of art, and spare "unique" boat gear, etc. I do regret having stored a large old TV, (obsolete), and rather huge stereo & CD collection, for the same reason, as well as magazine collections, VHF documentary collections, etc. "crap", You can always get more of that. We all define this differently.

These lesser valuable items were a waste of time and money to hang onto. We narrowed it down to what would fit in a 10 X 20' storage unit, lined with shelves and stacked to the ceiling.

It is a very personal choice, but I'd suggest that you hang onto the truly irreplaceable stuff as well as "tools" of your trade and the like. Whatever you would be hard placed to get over again. Then, for these treasures, get a storage unit of the appropriate size, store the stuff, put it out of your mind, and go see the world!

Best of luck, Mark
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Old 02-03-2011, 08:48   #7
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

You have to be ruthless to minimize, and it takes discipline and practice. But as I was selling off my stuff preparatory to cruising, and as I try to sell more now that I'm ashore for a brief visit, I found that after long failed attempts to sell something that was once dear, you begin to hate it for causing that much trouble, and when it finally goes for monumentally less than you know it's worth, it's still a relief, and I believe I have never regretted nor even given a second thought to something that finally sold or was found a home for--even if that home was the dump. Whatever stuff you get rid of, it seems you still have too much lying around anyway.
Be strong.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:08   #8
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

Here are some of our blog entries from when we moved onto the boat four years ago. We tried to take copious notes of our feelings and everything we were dealing with:

Rebel Heart - Sailing, cruising, liveaboard blog and website - Eric's Blog

I was reading Thoreau's Walden a while back and remember a line where he slammed the hoarding of "stuff" (even back in his time). It slows you down, your children end up lugging the same crap around, and to be honest it was never worth that much to begin with.

It's hard getting rid of things that cost a lot and served you well, and could probably continue to do so. The question isn't "can I use this" but rather "can I live without it?" The stores will still be there tomorrow morning. If you need to buy something all over, it won't be the end of the world.

In the blog entries posted above there were a pretty good stack of "storage" items that had things we just couldn't part with. My old military uniforms, old books, etc. Three years had gone by and we had never touched any of it, so I threw it all away / gave it to goodwill.

Not having all that crap around me is great.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:10   #9
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

I'm cleaning out my house.

You can not believe the amount of CRAP that one accumulates over 34 years of marriage, raising five kids (and some of the grand kids) and having kids move back in from time to time.

I'm opting to DONATE an awful lot of stuff. Selling expensive stuff and throwing out a hell of a lot of stuff that no one would want, need or ever use.

Yep... downsizing is the first major step in letting go the docking lines... lol

(And one of the most difficult!)
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:11   #10
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

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Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
and storage shed full of sails, anchors (6 and counting) cushions, dink, Merc 3.3, scuba gear, fishing gear.
I could use a couple of good anchors. You living on the OB? My boat's in Sneads Ferry.

John
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:27   #11
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

For the last 7 years, I have had to move a lot for family and work and each time, I was able to get rid of more than half my "stuff". I knew some day I would be living aboard a sailboat and always asked myself before buying something, would I need or want this on the boat. Most often, the answer was no and I would pass on the purchase.
Of course the unexpected happens and I wound up with someone that wasn't ready to move on a boat, so I was back to a house and more "stuff".
But all the new stuff is meaningless and could be sold, given away or dumped at the drop of a hat. The few "treasures" I have, pictures, my sons drawings when he was 2, special gifts and the like all fit in a plastic bin about 3'x2'. And this bin sits in the corner of my office waiting to go. When the time comes, it will fit perfectly in the "garage", my starboard quarter birth, and is everything I need for my new life on the water.
It's liberating to know everything you truly need to be happy fits in such a small box. Once you get started, you will be surprised how easy it is to get rid of most everything.
Good luck.
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Old 02-03-2011, 09:42   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Feral Cement View Post
I could use a couple of good anchors. You living on the OB? My boat's in Sneads Ferry.

John

Beaufort. The only anchor I'd get rid of is a new FX37 Fortress I got for tradebait. I'd rather have a 23 but would also trade for a smaller Rocna, Manson ... one of the modern jobs. Thanks, Tom

or even a furling genoa ... luff about 24'
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Old 02-03-2011, 10:07   #13
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

We allowed ourselves about three months to move aboard. From when we got the boat, we only slept, cooked and showered on it. I went to our house and got the things I needed as I realized I needed them (and ONLY what I really needed, not things I thought I might use someday). At the end of the three months, everything left in the house went to storage, under the assumption we would need it all again when we moved back to land.

When it was time to move back to land, we found our electronics were obsolete (including VHS tapes, DVD's and CD's) rats had gotten into the unit and made a home in our couch (obviously, the couch went to the dump as did many other things they destroyed), and most of our furniture was damaged from being moved and stored too roughly.

Back on land, we were so used to living without much stuff that we didn't even use the stuff we had unpacked from storage. After only a few months on land, we decided we were just as happy on the boat and moved back. When we packed the stuff back up, we agreed we'd get rid of everything that didn't have sentimental value. But when it came time to actually throw it away, we couldn't do it. We put it back in storage. Why? I do not know. We don't miss it and don't really want it anymore.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:26   #14
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

I have a difficult time getting rid of stuff, too. I am in the midst of downaizing from a 5 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom Condo. I have already gotten rid of tons of stuff, but now I'm dealing with what is left. I still need to get rid of more, but it is becoming much more difficult. I'm beginning to get rid of books and other historical artifacts and that is tough for me.
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Old 03-03-2011, 10:37   #15
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Re: Buy Small, Go Now?

Quote:
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Beaufort. I'd rather have a 23. Thanks, Tom
I have a Danforth 20-something, never used - wanna trade? What kind of shape is your F-37 in?

John
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