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Date: 22 October 2013. Dratted Dishes.

In the continuing saga and hard work of de-cluttering your dirt dwelling, this week's task is again in the kitchen. As you can imagine storage space on all but the Queen Mary is rather limited so it's imperative that we pare down the items accumulated during our hunter-gatherer years. It should be getting easier to part with the minutia as the weeks progress. One turning point for my good sport (he's been providing the pictures in the Becoming Clutter-Free series) came when he realized that even his workers didn't want the stuff he'd been storing in his lockers for years.

Last week we focused on the small appliances that "seemed like a good idea at the time" and how many we tuck away for years at a time without using. These are the rejects one person discovered in his kitchen. He also found two bags of grocery bags and several economy sized containers of cleanser back under the sink.

Just because you've spent perfectly good money for
an item doesn't mean you must keep it for a lifetime.

Sometimes remembering the acquisition is enough and definitely the time is now for ridding yourself of the chaos. When you're out here there really is no bonus for having umpteen sets of dishes in the lockers. One is quite sufficient unless you keep kosher in which case two are required. On the water we really don't care if stuff matches, we don't mind if your good stuff is plastic and if there isn't a special holiday pattern we won't notice as long as the food on the dishes is tasty.

None of the trivia that was so important when ashore seems to exist, at least not among the cruisers I visit. We are more concerned with books to swap, tuna doors (construction thereof) and important things like who's hosting the next movie night. Does this heater work? How much power does that use? What's it like at the next anchorage?

Speaking of anchorages, I found an old picture of Boot Key Harbor back before it was infested by mooring balls in rigid rows. Take a look at a bit of history, taken 13 September 2001:

When you're at anchor no one cares that your dishes are Wedgwood or some other fancy pattern, so today and this week please go thru your kitchen lockers and remove every plate, bowl and such. What of those would you like aboard your boat? If your favorites are the "good china" by all means keep them as there is no reason why you cannot use expensive nice items aboard your boat. It's your home, so why not use the pretties?

HOWEVER every item that you return to the locker must be one you love. Nothing else! And remember the old saying that should by now be reverberating in your brain:

The ideal boat sleeps two, feeds four and parties six.

Thus, the most of any one item aboard your vessel should be six and really four is generally enough. If you're having that many people (six) aboard it is likely you'll use disposables so be very particular as to what you want to keep. Everything else needs to go -- if it's not good enough for your life afloat and wouldn't earn a place on your boat now is the time to donate it to a thrift store or the town dump. Only worry this week with the plates, bowls, your dinner sets and such.

As a reminder, since we started this project we have opted for the best of:

  • Plastic containers

  • Glasses

  • Small electric appliances

And this week it's the dishes that get your attention. Yes, I've got it all mapped out -- before the end of the year if you stick with the plan you will be clutter free and ready to shop for your dream boat.

Along those lines, there is that thing called research. Back in the dark days when I was stuck on shore, I had a working file of sailboats and motorsailers I considered for long-term life aboard. First do the work (dishes this week) and then visit HERE and have fun!

The pleasure when you're free of Stuff is unimaginably great. I wish I'd done this decades ago, but then, well, I was still in the hunter-gatherer stage of life. This one is so much better not because I have fewer things (and that's marvelous) but mainly because what I have is exceptional. When I cross stitch I don't take out boxes of cotton floss, I have one small box of silks. And when I paint, it's only oils. My ink pen is a nice one and the scissors I use when crocheting are very nice too.

Getting rid of Stuff isn't about doing without:
it is selecting and keeping only the best.

Take care this week to find your favorites and donate or dump the rest.

I'd love to hear of your progress.
And, are you interested in the the series continuing?


Categories: Anchorages, Becoming Clutter-Free, Locations

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