(The "boat" closet)
We are moving from a 1500 sqft house to a 36 ft sailboat. I'm not sure of the exact square footage of the boat, but I'm guessing it's about a third of that! What to do with all of our stuff? Before you think this doesn't apply to you, I have several friends who have lost family members lately, and they are left to dispose of a lifetime of a possessions. If you've never done this, you may not be familiar with the problem. Much of what you own means NOTHING to anyone else. Our dirty little secret? Even though I considered our decorating style "minimalist", I'm a good organizer. Therefore, we had a LOT of junk stashed in our house. Husband has been known to drag things to the basement that were supposed to go to the curb (ie. the flat screen tv that had to be disassembled to get it back up the stairs to the dumpster. "It went down no problem. Gravity.")
We've been planning this move for awhile. For at least 3 years, we've made an attempt to quit bringing things into the house that wouldn't go the boat (no new clothes, no new paperbacks, no new furniture!) Then, I've attempted to get rid of the books that two fanatical readers accumulated over almost 20 years together. (When Husband finally agreed to part with his portion, he "couldn't watch.") We sold some. We gave some to friends. We donated A LOT (many were worth less than $1/each, according to Amazon). We've also tried to cut down on the clothes. We consider ourselves "jeans-and-t-shirt people", but we had at least 4 times as much as we needed. Husband has pilot clothes, mechanic clothes, golf clothes and bicycle clothes (oh, the bicycle clothes!). I had an obscene amount of charcoal grey turtle necks (a few will go into STORAGE. I won't need them where we're going!) I made monthly passes through the house. Each time, parting with more books and clothing and bric-a-brac. I even returned all the antiques that I had "borrowed" from my sister's house. (A former antique dealer, she was surprised at how much I had "accumulated" over the years!)
As we started prepping the house for sale, we sold some bigger items to friends and family. We sold a few things on ebay. We had a moderately successful garage sale (as garage sale virgins, it's interesting what people will and won't buy. Used guest bedroom set--SOLD. I wish we had three sets! Loveseat SOLD! Tools and kitchen appliances--meh). After the garage sale, the donating started in earnest. One truck-load was picked up at the house. Then at least 10 more car loads to various charities. And finally, trash. I could fill a trash can with just one hall closet. At least 5 small dumpsters were filled with things we couldn't GIVE away. It was difficult to part with some possessions, but the most depressing part was the amount of money we threw in a dumpster. Our current stage is: one closet is full of the plastic tubs that go to the boat. The other closet is full of the tubs that will go to storage. When they get full, we'll unpack and throw more stuff away! (And yes, the cat has her own bin!) The end result will be is a FULL minivan and few pieces of furniture in storage.
The moral of the story is, clean out your house! A majority of what you own is worth nothing to your friends, neighbors or family--and you aren't using it either. Yes, there is the occasional thing I might want later, but the house is infinitely easier to keep clean. It's also very liberating to not be the caretaker of SO MUCH STUFF! We've vowed that, even if we move back to a house, we will never own that much
stuff JUNK again. (Do you have company in those guest bedrooms more than twice a year? Or just use them to store stuff? Do you use that office? Or sit in the living room with your laptop? How often do you sit at the dining room table? A couple times a year?) If you can't get started, consider moving. We've been in this house for 14 years, which allowed things to be stuffed in the back of cabinets and forgotten. And honestly, we found multiples of things we knew we had, but couldn't find. When you look at something and think, "is it worth packing and driving it across the country?", suddenly things aren't as important as you thought they were. Now go throw some stuff away!
(More "boat" stuff)
(More "boat" stuff)