Moving onto a sailboat is probably not nearly as difficult for someone who lives in a small apartment, but for someone who has lived in a house for the last four years and shared a house with other people for most of my life, getting rid of everything is no easy task. At least, getting rid of everything responsibly. If I didn’t care about any of it I would just load up a moving truck and send it all to landfill. Eventually it will all go there anyway so I would simply be delaying the inevitable but I do like to think that I am somewhat environmentally responsible. Most of it has been dropped off at the local Value Village and there are more trips to come. I’m also able to sell some of the high ticket items and give other stuff to friends but that is a very time consuming endeavor. For each item I would average thirty minutes to an hour of time spent selling or giving it to people I know. Value Village is one stop delivery so I can drop the number to five to ten minutes. A dump run is the fastest but the least satisfying.
The most valuable give-away so far I think is the topsoil along the fence. You’d think it was just dirt and would just get covered up with beauty bark again but it was my first experiment growing my own food. The first year I started with four 4’x4′ raised beds but the following year I doubled the amount of growing space. The next year I built a chicken coop and raised a flock of egg laying hens. They were very productive at keeping the greens thinned down and pooped wherever they roamed. I kept them in a pen for a while and they ate the grass bare and fertilized the soil. This allowed me to reseed the grass in the yard and in the off season they roamed in the garden area and picked the place clean of anything that once lived.
Around March I would relocate them back to another part of the yard and then rest the beds and grow beans and other green things that didn’t mind the heavy nitrogen. Inside I would start the growing season early under compact florescent lights and eventually move everything outside when they could handle the weather. Every inch of the garden had something growing in it and was flourishing enough to keep a grown man and his friends pretty well fed. I supplemented with food from the store and a local CSA organic vegetable delivery. The left overs would go back into the beds so the chickens could finish it all off. I also kept a pretty nice compost bin which decomposed any remaining bedding from the coop and yard waste or vegetable remnants that the chickens wouldn’t eat. Eventually it all went into or under the soil and that was a base of peat moss, vermiculite and organic compost. Each bed had about seventy-five dollars worth of base soil in the first six inches and underneath that is where the compost I produced was placed for it’s final decomposition. Six inches under the beds was a worm factory decomposing the soil that once was mostly clay, sand and tree roots. Now the area is full of green cover crop and tomorrow my friends are coming over to take it to their gardens because they witnessed this whole four year process. In the end I learned some basic permaculture and my friends are able to reuse what remains.
As far as the rest of the stuff, I am trying to pass on what I think my friends and family would enjoy and then sell, donate, and dump the rest. When it’s all said and done I will have a storage unit to whittle away at for another few months and then find a place for the rest I plan on keeping. I have thought a lot about why I would keep any of it but truthfully I would like to have skis and some outdoor equipment so that I can keep skiing, camping and climbing while I’m still living in the Pacific Northwest. I would also like to have a little bit of stuff in case, or when I do move back onto land. Mostly kitchen stuff as the rest isn’t that important. If a man can cook, shower and have a bed to sleep on then he can survive until the rest of the home is assembled, which I doubt would take long.
I have a year to get comfortable on Satori and make her my home. In that time I will also have time to complete much of the work that is needed to refit her for oceanic voyaging. I’ll miss the house; the garden, chickens and space to share but I’m excited every time do something to downsize even more. Each item that leaves the property is one step closer to living the dream.