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Old 06-04-2015, 06:41   #1
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Question What to take, toss, sell or store

My partner and I are within two month of saying goodbye to jobs, and three months of being land-homeless. The reality of dealing with all our stuff is now very real, and rather urgent.

Since we won't have a land home, we are shedding most things. We have a storage trailer that we'll park on a friend's rural lot, so we're trying to keep some minimal basics in case we come back with our tails between our legs. We're also keeping some sentimental items that can't be parted with (paintings, some family furniture), plus some camping gear for our winter travels.

I'm curious to hear, especially from those who have cut all land-lines; what did you keep? Why? And what did you regret keeping/not-keeping later on?
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:56   #2
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Stock your boat with all the tools you know how to use. Store all items you have family or emotional attachment to. Sell or trade EVERYTHING else. Someone will be selling the very same "stuff" when and if you decide to come back.
I went through the very same process 2 1/2 years ago. My garage sale netted over $4000.00, lots of junk. I have adopted the strategy of buying used stuff and re-selling after use so I don't end up with a boat loaded with extra baggage. The price of storage will soon equal or surpass the price of replacing the contents.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:09   #3
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We got rid of EVERYTHING.

I have two boxes of old photos. Thats all.

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.

Storage = waste of money.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:18   #4
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

I kept a storage shed of camping, fishing, catering supplies and some other misc stuff. It became a major burden and very expensive. Unless your storage is climate controlled it also gets wet, moldy, buggy, and rat infested.

I was a happy man when I finally got rid I of it. Now everything we own is on the boat except a few boxes of keepsakes we store at a family members in climate control.

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Old 06-04-2015, 07:21   #5
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Same here, we got rid of nearly everything! Scanned pictures I didn't have negatives for and sent negatives in to a scanning service. Ripped my DVDs and moved Blu-rays that couldn't be ripped to an album and tossed the cases.

CDs/DVDs/books went to friends and most everything else went to Goodwill.

Getting rid of my books was the toughest part. If it weren't for Kindle, I would have had to get some kind of storage for them.

Our plan is to move to an RV when we're no longer having fun on the boat. So the car is going to be sold as well.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:40   #6
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We bought a 40' shipping container but only put things that can take heat and cold and humidity. We stored pictures at a friends house. Put furniture into a non climate controlled garage - lots of mildew and mouse visits. Better to part with it, non-climate controlled storage takes its toll on everything.
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:42   #7
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

I went through this process, got a 10x15 storage locker and stored nearly everything I owned. Which was a good thing, because after living aboard for 1 year, Mrs Familyvan moved aboard and I found I needed a bigger boat, less than a year later we had a baby, then after making it work for another 3 months with a newborn on board, we said to heck with this, and now have a 3 bedroom house, and use the boat recreationally.

My advice would be to take as little as possible on the boat with you. Too much clothing can get totally out of hand.

When I lived aboard on my own I had one small box of stuff on my Grampian 30 plus a couple of suits in my hanging locker. The boat was always tidy and ready to sail. When we moved onto my 35 with all the women's clothing, flight attendant paraphernalia, memorabilia etc, it just got impossible to keep things tidy. Less is more.

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Old 06-04-2015, 07:53   #8
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We too are from Canada, Brockville Ont area, but have lived on the boat for the last 6 years in Florida as I am working here on a visa. Have applied for a green card and approved but haven't got in our hands as yet so as a result we have junk stored in Canada in our house there, in a 40' shipping container, at my parents house and in Florida in a few places.
My advice would be get rid of everything and keep the memories those of which will disappear after a few years as well! Live as cheaply as you can, you don't need as much as you think you do. If you get scared, tail between the legs, then I have a house that floats on the St Lawrence with it's own lot I'll sell you. (All the junk has to go with it.)
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Old 06-04-2015, 07:55   #9
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Mike, we took the chicken way out of this dilemma. Not sure if this was to be a life long cruise or a one year adventure we rented our house, furnished. We have a small guest house on site which we kept for storage of our personal things.

We've been out for a year and a half so far and just committed to extend the lease from June for another year because we are still having fun. Can't imagine going back to land life.

So, we haven't touched all that "stuff" we have stored. Haven't missed it. Except for the books and a few family keepsakes it is all just "stuff." Winter clothes? Are you kidding? The good China and crystal? Not ever. The good furniture? After the renters it'll be just more "stuff."

If you are selling the house get rid of everything. Digitize your family photos and sell or donate everything. You'll have enough on your minds while cruising not to need "stuff" back home to worry about.

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Old 06-04-2015, 08:03   #10
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We have a few years before we leave but we've started the process. We won't keep anything but what's on the boat. Our sons (20/24) have tagged what they want- the rest will be sold or trashed. I'll scan photos then trash them. I gift family heirlooms (such as they are) for birthdays and holidays. I threw all old memorabilia already and every time a visitor or guest says they like something...they leave with it.

We too may well come back with our tails between our legs but I have no problem starting over and have no attachment to our material belongings. Heartless- I know. Part of why we are leaving is to live a simpler life and those material goods are an unnecessary anchor!

Best of luck! We'll be right behind you.
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:22   #11
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

I have DVDs that I backed up photos and documents 15 or 20 years ago. I have found a number of these to now be unreadable.

You may want to look at storing the scanned family pictures on a several types of media just to make sure you don't suffer permanent losses down the road.

Looking into this problem in more depth is on my to do list.
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:34   #12
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

I have the best of both worlds. The only stuff I really had any attachment to was my tools and mechanical junk. so when I sold my house I sold it with everything in it, to my son and his wife. We had a legal agreement drawn up by my lawyer, that I could live on an acre of the land until I died if I came back from sailing. so after ten years I sold the boat and came home and built myself a 12 12 ft cabin and am very happy living here. Plus I get to use all my old tools for free. Mac
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:58   #13
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Suggestion, any truly valued or sentimental items consider "loaning" to friends, relatives, associates that you feel would truly enjoy them. Condition with the caveat that you may want to reclaim the item at some time. Same with large tools - IE Lathe, shop equipment, ect - "Yours to keep but I might need to "use" it sometime." The misc "stuff" as George Carlin describe the detritus of life we seem to accumulate without knowing when or where it came into our possession can be donated to the local good will, salvation army, abused women shelter or other good cause. Many organizations will actually come to your residence and pick up the "stuff". This gives you a tax write off for charitable contributions and peace of mind that your "stuff" is getting a new lease on life. If you really do have an umbilical attaching you to some "stuff" that you feel must be stored, get a storage unit but plan on reviewing that cache in 6 months or a year and making final arrangements for those pieces that time tarnishes your fond memory and connections to. Before too many months or years you will discover that most of the emotional ties have dissolved while your life adventure has continued. By then you will most likely have accumulated more "stuff" equally emotionally connected to your new life style. Hopefully compact enough to merit a place on you boat. Best wishes for a pleasant sail and Bon Voyage. :-)
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Old 06-04-2015, 08:59   #14
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

We left last June. I was tossing everything while my partner was secretly removing a lot of it from the dumpster every night and hiding it. Too much emotion tied up in "things" can cause problems. (Was really surprised when I found a Deere lawn tractor in the garage I had never seen before ). Lots on arguments which does not a happy beginning make. Now we know exactly what we need and what's fluff. What can you have too much of? Clothes. I packed for Alaska and Tahiti which is fine but in reality I wear the same clothes again and again whether warm or cold, just piling on more layers. Forget "nice" clothes. A good pair of khakis, a nice skirt (for her of course)- you're good to go anywhere. I brought way too many books but can't regret that. Bring every tool you own, bring a vise - you'll use it for EVERYTHING!

We weren't sure how long we would like this, so we rented our house out for a year and stored everything in a small garage on the property. Now the tenant has taken a leaf out of our book and wants to buy an RV and go traveling! We've been working on the boat since we took possession, so the fun part hasn't started yet. We sail in late May for Desolation Sound (maybe Alaska). And we'll continue to rent as long as there's a question in our minds. I hope you have as much fun as we are!
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Old 06-04-2015, 09:03   #15
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Re: What to take, toss, sell or store

Good timing, I have just started the process and bought ten 18 gallon tub that I will leave with one of my sons. My thought is not to take everything to the boat and try to sort it out there but to leave it at the house and if there is a demand for it to add it to the boats collection of stuff.
I have bicycle toured all over the world and you pack all the gear you want to take with you, then try to pick up the bike. It is amazing how quickly you start to shed stuff when you are faced with what ever you take will have to be peddled up those steep mountain roads. I don't want drawers and lockers stuffed with items that in reality I can do without.

Looking forward to a nice garage sale for the other stuff that will not ever be needed onboard.
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