Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Game I Surely Will Not Win

It's a game every person that moves from being a dirt dweller to a first-time cruiser plays.  And based on the blogs I read, it is a game that no one who plays ever really wins.  That game?  It's called "Will I need this?" and it is played as you try to downsize your life from your relatively large stationary home to your new and much smaller floating one.

To win this game you need to figure out what you should sell/give away/throw away, what needs to be stored with family (hopefully very little), and what will be needed and can fit on the boat.  It is a game we have actually been playing for a while.  It started when I first drove from Colorado to Florida to move onto the boat.  It continued as we planned and held our estate sale.  And it continues today as we try to empty the house of the last of our stuff and prepare for the final move onto the boat.

To make the game a bit more challenging, I added an additional rule to our version of the game.  Everything we plan to take to the boat needs to fit in the Prius that we intend to take on the drive back to to the boat.  That includes the two human and two canine passengers.  I figure this way we definitely won't arrive at the boat with more stuff than will fit on her.  After all, I've been living on it for the better part of a year so it already has many of the necessities for day-to-day life.

Image result for red 2005 prius picture

This is a challenging game.  You know there are some things you will need, there are other things you think you would like to have, some you can do without, and there are others that fall under the "what was I thinking when I bought that" category (anyone that ever owned a bread maker want to chime in here?).  These needs and wants are stacked against the very limited space available to store things on a boat.  Because, lets admit it, if you are storing your canned goods underneath your sofa, you just don't have an excess of storage space.

Some things are easy...while that clothes dryer might be nice, it definitely won't fit and I can't power it from the inverter (so, it left to a new owner just a few hours ago).  The ski rack, while it might fit somewhere on the boat, isn't exactly useful on a sailboat. But what about our bicycles?  They are hybrid bikes (part road and part mountain bike) and have quick release hubs so they can partially collapse for storage...but not as much as a folding bike would.  They are likely more comfortable to ride than the folding bikes...but would definitely be more difficult to dinghy to shore.

Some clothes we definitely want to take. Swimsuits, wet-suits, t-shirts, and shorts generally make the least a few good ones.  But do I need a dress suit?  How about a nice sports coat...and where will I store it on the boat if I take it.  I've never been much of a dress up kinda guy and Colorado is pretty casual, so I've only needed these things on maybe a dozen occasions my entire lifetime.

There have been a few things I've already lost this game on.  When we had the estate sale, I sold a heat gun and had to buy one for the boat.  Same with a car buffer and a few other tools.  And with the colder temperatures that I wasn't expecting to be around in, some sweatshirts needed to be acquired in Virginia and Georgia as well.  And there are other items that I already carted across the country that I have yet to use on the boat.  Don't know if I will...but haven't thrown many of them away just yet.

In any case, we keep on playing the game. Pairing down the things we need in hopes that our choices keep us from getting rid of too many items that we will later have to reacquire. And just as bad, carrying stuff half way across the U.S. just to toss it in a few months on the East coast.


  1. Hi Mike,
    Living overseas while at the same time planning to go cruising now, I have intentionally kept my possessions to a minimum. Even to the extent that if I buy a new item of clothing like a pair of shoes, then another pair must go. I have also been getting rid of items which I had in storage back home. While I have disposed of items which may be needed in the future, there is a sense of freedom created by not having those possessions, and it is really satisfying.
    Be aggressive, "throw out" or "give away", it feels better in the end.

    1. Hey Alan. In general I think that is good advice. There are only a few things that I think are worth keeping and having to reacquire them in Florida would be more expensive than taking them along. That is part of the reason for the "Prius restriction". ;-)

  2. We kept our down jackets and stored then in Space Bags in the settee locker. Used them all the way to Florida on the ICW in 2013. THAT one surprised me...

    SV Kintala

    1. I originally took 2 long sleeve shirts and a thicker jacket. I just wasn't anticipating getting caught where it would get desired wardrobe is T-shirts, swim trunks, and sandals. Definitely want to stash a few more colder weather things...but not many. Better option is to just be where it isn't cold. :)

      My biggest decisions right now are about tools and those bikes. Guess it depends on what we can get for the current bikes. Do you guys have bikes on board...or feel you would like to have them?

  3. I thought these looked pretty handy being under 10kg.
    Parts may be an issue although most items like this you can order parts online and have them sent anywhere over the world.

    1. Oh my. I wonder how something like that would ride with 10 inch tires. Of course...then I'll need to add another solar panel to that design so I can keep them charged.

      I looked for a video of that bike, but the closest I saw was this:

      Just not sure how that would work on the less-improved roads of the Caribbean islands.

  4. We sold the condo and almost everything, then went sailing... so far so good. A year and a bit later, we found ourselves planning our return to life on land (sailing still, but for week- and month-long trips). Oops, we sold too much (well, gave away, as the only thing we "sold" was our condo).

    Turned out not too bad, as new (to us) condo in new place was sold nicely furnished (including kitchen cutlery etc, linens), and ha ing nothing to move was actually very "freeing".

    Still, something to keep in mind....


    1. Hi David,

      Yeah, we thought of the "what if" cases. From what I've been told, you need to give the lifestyle a couple of years before really reevaluating. We don't have a ton of treasures, and paying for storage for two years I think would be more of a loss than what we will take by selling and re-buying in a couple years if need be. Things of a more sentimental nature are going into storage with family, but that is limited.

      This is something people have to think about when planning to become cruisers.

  5. PS Definitely keep the down jackets and boots. Need them at least for visits north....

    1. Yep, those...and more long-sleeve shirts and similar are staying with the relatives in those parts. :)