Friday, May 2, 2014


St. Helena, CA

How do you get rid of a house full of stuff? When we started back in 2008, we seriously had no idea. Our 5-year plan to sell everything and go sailing was 2 years from fruition, and 1400-square-feet of stuff stood between us and the water. My problem was that I didn't know anyone who had gone sailing or who planned to go sailing. Back then, there were very few blogs, and the few sailing blogs that were out there started with "we threw the lines and sailed away."

So, as I faced the gargantuan task, I had two goals:
  1. To mindfully dispose of a 4-bedroom house full of belongings, a thriving business, a too-small sailboat and two cars.
  2. To log the process for those who came after me.
Thus began my old blog,

Since that blog has 394 posts and was not exclusively about downsizing, I've compiled the downsizing posts here in chronological order to make it easier for those coming after. 

PHASE ONE: Getting the house ready to sell.

Going Off the Grid -- The first post from a wide-eyed, hopeful me, who had no idea how much work lay ahead.
Two Steps Back -- A cringe-worthy TO DO list -- even now that it's done.
Do You Need a Stapler on a Boat? -- Puzzling over what to keep for a life I knew nothing about.
Some Days -- The stress of downsizing and other first world problems.
Blame It On August -- My kingdom for a cardboard box. @#!#@
Wind In Our Sails -- Making real progress.
A Long Trip -- The emotional toll of going through all my stuff.
Lonely at the Edge -- When nobody shares your vision.
Taking Measure -- Marking progress.
Step 842 -- Reality and other epiphanies.
Salon Refusé -- When downsizing hurts.
Running Toward Empty -- A banjo and a pasta maker, the bizarre dregs of a life.
Who's Watching My TV Tonight? -- The first garage sale.
The Sad, Sad Measuring Cup -- Blindsided by emotion, the happy/sad realization that life is a one-way trip.
The Incredibleness of Being Light -- The beauty of being clutter free.
Junking the Junk -- The last $#&*# garage sale and a mammoth trip to Goodwill.
The Last Can in the Pantry -- Saving the hardest for last.
A Time in September -- The gut-wrenching stress of dissolving a life.
Stir It Up -- Bad economic news but progress on the downsizing.
Messy Curtains & Missing Flyers -- How do you measure waiting?
Random Objects -- The things I chose to keep.

PHASE TWO: Final downsizing after house sold.

Getting Things in Line -- Organizing the move.
Tammy's Shopping Channel -- The great Facebook giveaway, my stuff goes nationwide.
Clearing House -- Selling furniture on Craigslist.
Shrink, Shrink Not -- Big progress in getting small

PHASE THREE: Transition from land to boat

Training Ground -- Camping in a small apartment.
You've Got Mail -- Figuring out how to handle mail.
Finding Focus -- More paring down: Books
Between a Rock and the Water -- Ill-equipped for land and sea.
On the Move -- The short list of belongings and a final move on land.
Let It Go, Girl -- A sad, sad requiem for a tiny spoon.

PHASE FOUR: Moving onboard

Just Enough -- Moving onboard -- a real boat is smaller than a fictional boat!
The Price of Playing -- Emotional freefall.
Galley Ho! -- Downsizing from a full kitchen to a wee galley.
The Last Load -- Hallelujah, the last stuff goes onboard!
Car-Pay Diem -- SOLD! Car number one.

On October 22, 2010, we handed over the keys to our last land possession: a car. Two days later, we sailed away on our 38' boat with everything we owned in the world onboard, yet again wide-eyed and hopeful with no idea what lay ahead.

MORE ABOUT: downsizing | living small

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