Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Top 10 Tuesdays: Top 10 Items We Got Rid Of During the Mass Clean of 2012

Sometimes it gets messy before it gets better.
Today is the day that our Rasmus is being hauled out.  In fact, she's probably already out of the water and sitting pretty on her jack-stands as you read this.  It's been a busy week around here preparing for this day.  Hauling a boat for storage is no small feat.  I'll get into specifics in a later post, but suffice it to say - it's been full steam ahead these past few days.

One very important part of this process is removing unnecessary "stuff" from the boat.  We have been in major cleaning/de-cluttering/organizing and REMOVING mode.  Scott and I went through each and every locker, cabinet and compartment and cleaned it out.  We took stock of what was in there, kept what we used and got rid of what we didn't.  We have lightened our load considerably and man-oh-man does it feel good.

So, for your future (or current) cruisers out there who might be able to learn from this, here are the

Top 10 Items We Got Rid of During the Mass Clean of 2012
  1. Heavy duty foul weather gear - granted, we did wear our "proper" foul weather gear during the first couple of months of this trip because we were sailing in November, but ever since we crossed to the Bahamas - it's just been taking up space.  I know I wrote about this once before, but for all you cruisers who plan on island hopping in the Caribbean, save the $500 on fancy foul weather gear and just get a light rain coat and waterproof pants and pocket the savings.
  2. Books - Scott and I gave away about forty books that were taking up a LOT of space on our boat.  I know I've sang e-readers praise before, but honestly, these things are fantastic for cruisers.  Of course we still have a pretty impressive collection of sailing related how-to and reference books, but just about anything that was "pleasure" reading has been digitized.  POOF!
  3. Shoes - We packed a LOT of shoes.  Deck shoes, dinghy boots, sailing shoes, dressy sandals...etc.  We wore flip flops.  Almost exclusively.  Sure, there was the rare occasion I wore my fancy sandals and Scott did sport his Sperry's on a few occasions, but we'll return with less shoes for sure.
  4. Cleaning supplies - I know, I know...I told you I love the cleaning product aisle.  Well, apparently I didn't realize how much I love it.  We had a LOT of cleaning supplies and got rid of about half of them.  Do yourself a favor and limit yourself to just a few.  I wrote about our top 10 cleaning supplies here.  Try to keep your cleaning products under 20.  We had about 35 on board.  This is too many, even for this neat-freak.
  5. Extra bathing towels - we had a lot of big, bulky, beach towels on board.  We got rid of them.  Not only do they take up a ton of space, but they are a HUGE pain in the butt to wash by hand and take forever to dry on a line.  Not to mention they seem to absorb sand.  We have streamlined our towel inventory to four Tektowels which pack small and dry fast.  In addition, when we hit the beach we do not use "towels" but sarongs to lie on and dry off with.  The sand falls right off them, they dry in an instant and you can hand wash them in a jiffy.
  6. Blankets/Bedding - I bought a lot of sleeping-bag style "boat bedding" before we left.  This was unnecessary.  Not only is it really bulky (are you seeing a pattern here?  Bulk is bad) but it's HOT.  Down here in the Caribbean we just have a blanket on the bottom of our bed and if we cover ourselves (which we usually don't) I use a sarong blanket my good friend Sharon made for me. 
  7. Boat Gimmicks - what I am talking about here is the equivalent of "As Seen on TV" junk.  If it seems gimmicky, it probably is.  Self-tailing winch add-on thingys, "miracle cloths" and that bulk order of Sham Wows I got suckered into while watching late-night T.V. before we left were all in the pile of things to say "buh-bye" to.
  8. Clothes - It's hot down here.  Most of the time, we're wearing as little as possible and it's only in the past month or two that I have busted out my long-sleeve shirts in the evenings.  We have given away so many clothes and still it seems we have too many.  I did write a post about what to pack way back when, and I think it's pretty spot-on.  
  9. TONS of food - seriously, it's become something of a joke how much food we have uncovered in the bowels of our boat.  I cannot even begin to tell you and, actually, it's pretty embarrassing.  Scott looked up at me as we uncovered yet another stash and said, "Well, we could cross the Pacific, like, three times and still have food left over".  He was right.  I don't know who got it in my head that we needed to hoard food like we had been doing, but it was excessive to say the least (Note to self:  No more freeze-dried meals).  Luckily, we got on the cruiser's net* here in Trinidad yesterday morning and found a lovely man in need who came and took all of it.  It made my week to know that a) all this food wouldn't go to waste and b) it went to a fellow boater who truly needed it and was so grateful for it.  Warmed my heart!
  10. General accumulated crap - everyone can relate to this one, boater or not.  You know what I am talking about: it's the stuff in that dreaded "junk drawer" that everyone hates cleaning out, it's the collection of empty sunglasses cases, random key chains and mis-matched earrings in that box at the bottom of your closet, it's those items that, for some reason or another, we don't want to throw away so we tuck away somewhere and we feel better knowing that we didn't "waste" it.  Well, I have some advice for you: THROW IT OUT.  These things have a tendency to multiply!  We got rid of at least one large garbage bag full of this type of stuff; random pieces of wood, half-shackles, fiberglass drill-outs of our hull, old bits of frayed line and random wire to name a few things.  Seriously, if it's questionable - you probably don't need it.  
Sigh.  I feel better already!  Knowing that we made so much space in our boat and got rid of so much unnecessary clutter feels really good.  The bottom line is this my friends:  Boats can swallow an ungodly amount of crap if you let them!  Get it under control and you (and your boat) will feel a lot lighter.

Brittany & Scott

*A "Cruiser's Net" is an organized group of cruisers in a specific place who commune daily or weekly at a scheduled time on the radio (can be either VHF, SSB, or HAM).  These "nets" can either be very small and casual and last only a few minutes, or very large and organized and last longer than an hour depending on how large the anchorage/harbor and how many announcements are made.  It's a place where cruisers can communicate and get advice, trade goods, get local information, find someone to help fix something, tell a story, lend a hand...or announce that they have tons of food to get rid of that is free for the taking!


DeeDee said...

Wonderful advise!! From a fellow boater!! Cheers! DeeDee

Lisa Hanneman said...

I have three drawers and a closet in need of a good clean out -- You've inspired me to get on it...

Also, yay for your good deed. As you know, I'm super excited for them in 2012!

Kyra and Rick said...

As a fellow cruiser I can very much relate - we're about to go through another de-cluttering ourselves (we're not hauling out) but we have so little stowage that it's imperative to keep it simple... you've inspired me!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your awesome blog. Such useful information! We are shopping for a cruising catamaran and hope to begin our cruising life this summer. Your blog helps us prepare for that.

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

As a "future cruiser", I can definitely learn from this post! I wondered what type of towels to use, and never understood why people here in the South said we'd need foul weather gear .. thanks again for your great tips! Love the one about using sarongs on the beach.

Dani said...

Great post. That is excellent advice. Tate and I have yet to move on aboard yet, but I'm always thinking of what we will and won't bring with us.

Thanks for a peak into the real life of cruising.

Dominick said...

I'm following your blog for a long time and every single blog I read perfectly. Also, I get your this blog and I came to know that your ship needs some cleaning services and other domestic type works for your ship. Well, you don't need to take any tension because if you are now in Singapore from there you can go for hiring a maid in singapore and they are mostly known as a universal maid agency. And from there you can hire any of your belike maids very easily.

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