To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Inventory Reduction

Part of moving aboard is ditching the things we don't need. Some of the decisions are difficult. Using the "Purgatory" model seemed to help us distinguish between needs and wants.

Moving from upstate New York to Norfolk, VA, was a dramatic downsizing. We sold our 3BR 1.5Bath 1800 sq. ft. house, loaded up a trailer, and moved to a 2BR apartment. Some mistakes were made, but after three years, that initial downsizing was highly successful. There was no situation where we rooted through boxes looking for something we knew we used to have. AFAIK, the only tool we sold at the garage sale and later replaced was the basin wrench.

During the three years of refit, we've been using the Purgatory model to purge stuff a little at a time. A box that was never opened, for example, is it's own little purgatory. Nothing in the box has been taken out; the whole box can simply be donated to the local charities.


We've been trying to reduce the volume of clothes. After decades of wearing suits to work, we're slowly getting used to the idea of being under-dressed for every occasion. We feel that we should keep one set of dress-up clothes, suitable for weddings and funerals. Keeping down to one set is challenging.

We have a multiple-part clothing purgatory. A two-bedroom apartment has a lot of closet space for two people. We have separate closets. Things we're using go at one end of the closet. Things we don't seem to wear can easily be pushed to the other end.

As we get closer to moving aboard, we're getting much more strict on what is stowed at the "still being worn" end of the closet. I'm down to a half-dozen Tommy Bahama aloha shirts. Everything else on hangars seems like it can go.

We're trying to do the same kind of thing using 20-gallon plastic "flip-top storage bins" and our collections of T-shirts and shorts. Clothes we wear frequently can be promoted up to the "keep me" bin. Clothes we haven't worn in a while have to be demoted from the active bin to the "maybe not really needed" bin.

In some ways, it makes laundry day easier because we're not putting clothes into dressers and closets. We've got a kind of three-step dance. Empty the unused clean clothes from the bin. Put the clean clothes in. Of the unused stuff that came out, we have to decide what gets kept and what hasn't been worn for several weeks.

But. We also have to consider seasonality. Winter in the tropics can get chilly at night. And next summer we hope to go much further north.

And. We also have to consider the possibility of standing night watch in rainy, crappy weather. Warm clothes are a safety issue. Decision-making is difficult.




Tools present slightly simpler choices. Duplicates, clearly, must be discarded. There isn't room for four #2 Philip's Head screwdrivers, three of which have buggered up tips.

But more specialized tools... How do you decide?

We came up with the idea of Tool Purgatory. We started out carrying our tool buckets back and forth between the F-150 to the boat. Every tool was precious in those days.

After the diesel engine class, we saw the tools we were going to need. We replaced a number of low-quality tools, and added a bunch of new tools. One important part was purchasing two good, watertight tool boxes (Plano Shallow Dry Storage, #1412).

More importantly, we stopped schlepping tools back and forth from boat to truck. Instead we sorted the tools into two piles. The "good" pile was kept on the boat in the two dry storage boxes plus a 12" square electrician's tote. The "purge" pile was kept in the truck in a bucket with a tool skirt.

This worked really well. Tools on the boat that seemed useless could be demoted to the truck. Tools that we needed from the truck got promoted to the boat. The decisions weren't final, so they were easy to make.


The little grey Toyota was no longer particularly useful. We didn't know how much business travel we would do, so it seemed like a good idea to have an "airport car". We didn't know how easy (or hard) it would be to park the F-150 in the Historic Ghent neighborhood of Norfolk, so a small car seemed like a good idea. Consequently, we towed the car down from New York.

We used it a little. The most common trip was once each month where we drove it around the block a few times looking for a different parking place on street cleaning day.

Work From Home (and urban living in general) made the Toyota unnecessary. The good news was that mom needed a new car. So, we've towed the Toyota back to New York to sell it to her.

What's Left?

Following our Purgatory model for tools and clothes, the apartment has be partitioned into three important rooms for furniture:

Things are shifting around from room to room as their fate is weighed in the balances. Most decisions are easy. A few are difficult. For example, where to put the Acoustic-Electric 5-String Bass on the boat is a challenge. It may not make it very far.

We used to be very acquisitive. Now, we're being—well—what is the proper antonym of acquisitive? Abstemious? Why is this word not more commonly used?