In 2009 I had recently retired, got rid of a lot of stuff, sold
the house, and moved on board to be a full time live aboard cruiser. We had a wonderful time and terrific experiences, and not too much bad stuff happened. This post is not about our cruise
. I retired from full time cruising after 8 years and then traveled by land for a few years. I have now bought a house and dropped anchor
. I recently retrieved my stuff from storage
and unpacked much of it. I was thinking that those of you about to go cruising might be interested in my stuff/storage experiences.
In the years before I went cruising I owned a big house and a lot of stuff. Somehow family
artifacts all came my way, I had collectibles, furniture, etc. I had planned my whole life to someday live on a boat
, so in the years before cruising I spent time down sizing. I sold
a lot on Craigslist, eBay, gave stuff away and threw stuff away, donated, etc. It took about a full time year. I came down to a group of stuff that I thought I wanted to keep in storage
while cruising. If we were going to pay to store this stuff I though that we ought to pack well. I bought plastic totes and wrapped things well and used rust and moisture control. I also made a detailed inventory of everything. Labeled totes thoroughly. We had both climate controlled and non climate controlled lockers. The lockers were near my sister so that she could help out if there was an issue, but there was little need.
In retrospect there area few things I’m sorry not to have now that I got rid of back then, but not too many such items. There were hundreds of judgment calls about this, most were right.
I kept a lot of books
, but we switched to Kindals while sailing. Still puzzling what to do.
Got rid of 99% of furniture and glad of it, but consequently a big purchase
I made some sound decisions at the time. I downsized collectibles. I had tools like band saw and table saw that I know I wanted after sailing, but reasoned they were inefficient to store and might degrade. I sold them. I think that was right and I just bought a table saw way better than the old one.
We spent time in the last year moving totes from our storage locker to the new house. When we opened the first tote, we said “What did we keep this junk for!” Right off the top, 5 to 10% of the stuff we had payed to store for ten years we got rid of. There may still be more to go. There were several problem categories:
Old technology, (VHS player)
Values changed in ten years and the value of items to me changed.
Kept too many of certain things
Some lack of coordination of what I packed and my wife packed.
Seemed like a good idea back at the time.
The detailed inventory proved to be incredibly valuable. My wife needed a document for an important reason. Amazingly, it was on the inventory and we were able to retrieve it from storage in about 20 minutes. Without the inventory we would have looked for days or weeks and maybe not found it.
The inventory allowed us to find a host of more mundane items over the year. It was worth it to us, but it was a lot of work
both initially and ongoing. Storage proved to be more dynamic over the years than I expected. Visit the family
and bring a load home from the boat
and into storage. Update the inventory. Get stuff from storage to go back to the boat. Rinse repeat.
The extra step of buying
and using plastic totes and the careful packing payed off. We had very little damage after 10 years. I handful of totes broke from too much weight stacked on top. We had no water
or insect intrusion and little rust.
Your mileage may vary