A few months ago, we launched our 30-weeks to minimalism initiative. This helped tremendously to sort through what we needed to take with us aboard RJ Slocum.
I turned to the experts (the Women Who Sail facebook group that I am part of) and searched for ideas in the past on what we do once we figure out what stays and what goes. Local auction for furniture, estate sale broker (e.g., Grasons ), consignment shops, Free Cycle and simply giving stuff away to friends and family.
Unfortunately, we were in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, so the usual outlets of selling items or donating to charity were not available to us. What to do?
I took the ideas that worked in the past and weighed them against our goals. In order of priority, here is what we want to maximize first:
- Matching gifts – finding the best homes for each item
- Speed – showing progress while not living in disarray
- Value – adding more funds to our cruising kitty
1 – Matching gifts
Given the fact that we have the summer months to do this, we already started to think about which of our friends could most appreciate or use some of these items. We are happy to give these things away and seek no quid pro quo.
This of course is a slow-going process, in particular because it is being handled solo while Andrew works full time.
2 – Speed
I was stewing over the lack of progress. The fact was we rearranged items (much like deck chairs on the Titanic), but nothing was moving out of our house. I was still staring at closets full of clothes… and everywhere I looked, we still had a house full of stuff.
My frustration came out one weekend in early June. Andrew was blindsided by this one Saturday morning during his first cup of coffee.
He asked, “What can I do to help you?”
Over the next hour, we had a discussion about what we want out of this process, and it boiled down to the priorities we set above. My frustration however came from feeling as though I was handling this all by myself when we agreed months ago that this would be a team effort. I was also annoyed over the delays caused by coronavirus, and he assured me that, in time, charities will open up again, and those avenues will be available to us once again.
It was then that I realized that my impatience was my undoing.
The other factor we need to weigh is the unknown stowage space aboard RJ Slocum. Other than the few measurements taken for lockers and drawers for clothes, we don’t know how much space remains. This is a variable that we won’t know until we head back to Ft Lauderdale at the end of summer.
So inevitably, we are resigned to shipping to Florida more than what we can fit on the boat. As a result, we’ll have to do another round of purging once we get there, which is another lesson in learning to go with the flow.
3 – Value
When we can’t find a friend who wants an item and we think we can fetch some doubloons to top up our cruising kitty, we will look to sell the items. This could be once-worn couture wedding dress, Japanese sword, bespoke dresses (sari and qipao) made in Mumbai and Hong Kong, designer clothes, shoes and jewelry, etc. I’ve started a spreadsheet detailing where these items would go to keep everything organized.
Some of the organizations include:
- Designer clothes – Poshmark, thredUP, Wore It Once
- Jewelry – Worthy, Things We Buy, TheRealReal
- Wedding dress – Stillwhite
- CDs, DVDs, electronics – Decluttr
If you want a copy of the detailed spreadsheet, send us an email and we’re happy to share it with you.
In September after we have a chance to evaluate the stowage situation on RJ Slocum, we’ll re-evaluate what we have and then there will be a flurry of activity before we ship anything to Florida.
Just as we discovered when we decided to pack light, we came across Going Zero Waste provides some ideas for organizations that will take donations of unusual items such as bras, eyeglasses, cosmetics and shoes. Before tossing anything, we will also be taking advantage of TerraCycle to determine what to do with other waste streams.
It’s not easy being green.