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I kid you not, one of the to do items on my list was to “get rid of stuff”. This was an ongoing project, started over a year before we moved aboard our boat.
I never felt that we were packrats; our residences have been on the small side, with about 1,300 square feet. We had no garage, no storage unit, no children. However small our houses were, they were not the 550-600 square feet we were moving onto with our boat, Starry Horizons.
Have a Backup Plan
We were fortunate that we had several backup plans; we lived on site of my company, so I could borrow from my business as needed.
Also, my parents lived a few minutes away, so worse case scenerio, we could stay with them towards the end, which we did.
We started over a year before we moved. The sooner you start, the more likely you are to be able to get money for the items you are looking to get rid of. If you wind up crunched for time at the end, you are likely to comprimise on price more often.
Sort Your Stuff
The first step I took was to clear out one of our guest bedrooms of everything. Then, I filled that room up with stuff we needed to sell, give away, or donate. A great start for sorting your stuff is to read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.
Stuff we needed to keep for now were moved into permanent fixtures. Our closet had a build-in shelf system, so all the clothes were moved our of our dresser so we could sell the dresser.
I listed all the big stuff on Craigslist and posted pictures on Facebook. I sold most of the furniture through FB.
Sell the Small Things
We started inviting our friends to come over and look through our stuff. If they found anything they wanted, we’d offer a good price for it.
We did hold a garage sale for the rest small stuff. Frankly, I was disappoinet by the turnout as not many people came to browse. It was tough, because we didn’t exactly live in a neigborhood.
Give Things Away
Then, with what was left, we offered again to our friends: “come take anything you want”.
What was left was a fairly small pile of stuff. We gave the rest of it to Salvation Army!
Pack the Stuff You Want to Keep
As we were sorting through our things, anything we wanted to keep during the move, but didn’t need for the forseeable future, went into boxes or luggage.
We did know that we needed to have a storage unit – years of paperwork from my business needed to be stored somewhere – so we also boxed things up that we want to keep long term. We are not keeping things in the storage unit that are merely “useful”. Instead, the storage unit will hold things that are sentimental – stuff that is reiplacable.
Be Amazed at Your Downsizing Skills!
I’m amazed and saddened by the thought of how much stuff that we got rid of that had barely been used. I had such lofty goals sometimes – “oh, I’d love to make my own pasta!” – that were never realized. But, you have to keep in mind that the fault is not in selling the things you never use, but having bought them in the first place.
Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson and will continue to live a more minimal lifestyle, even after we move back onto land!