Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Getting Ready - Downsizing

The first thing we need to do is pare down all the crap we've accumulated over the years and jettison anything that isn't practical to take with us into "the Bush".

The cabin we're going to build is about 1200 sq ft and we will eventually be generating all our own power (solar pv, wind and backup generator). We don't plan to be complete Luddites, so some tech gear will be coming with us and hopefully we'll get a satellite dish for Internet access once the cabin is built. While we're clearing the land and building the cabin, we'll be living in a 16x20 wall tent which is just about the size of our living room/dining room. That's pretty convenient, because we can move into the LR and see if our stuff fits comfortably.

The first things to go are anything that takes a tremendous amount of electricity that doesn't directly work toward our survival. So the big televisions and huge stereo system gets sold, but all the power tools and LED monitor/TV come with us. The desktop computers go, but the laptops and MP3 players get to come. DH can't quite part with his video games, but we have whiddled it down to 2 consoles and one 3" binder of games... all the other consoles and games get to go to the garage sale. We've gone through all the music CDs and DVD/BluRay movies, and transferred the keepers into 3" binders. The VHS tapes and CD/DVD/Game jewel cases have been recycled.

The coffee maker, blender, food processor and other electric kitchen appliances go, and we have to replace with a percolator, food mill and other hand crank versions. All the aluminum and "non-stick" cookware goes because it doesn't hold up so well to campfire and woodstove heat (we tested, it melted), and we're replacing with cast iron skillets and dutch ovens. Even the ceramic dishes are going, to be replaced by enameled metal Graniteware that should hold up better to the rigors of campside living. We're keeping a few pieces of stainless steel, mostly the little pots we use for warming things up, so they wouldn't go directly into the fire or on the hot part of the stove... or at least not long enough to deform. Pyrex also failed our tests, so we'll be replacing all that gear with stainless as well. No need to replace any of the baking stuff... 1) we won't have an oven for a LONG time, 2) I don't bake much anyway, and 3) what little I do bake I know how to make in the dutch oven.

Pretty much all our furniture is in the sell pile. It's either not practical, won't fit in the new place, or would be much simpler to replace from a garage sale once we get there. The only things we're taking with us are the resin lawn chairs, our Ikea bed, our Ikea dressers, and our Ikea bookshelves because we need a place to sit, sleep and store stuff in the tent. See a pattern? All the Ikea stuff breaks down into flat-packs and will take up so much less space in the trailer. I love Ikea!

Even with the new replacements and survival gear, it looks like we'll be getting rid of 75% of our household stuff. Jeez, it's amazing all the things that you think is so critical, but is really just a gadget, doodad, or mind-number. Heck, even some of the stuff we're keeping isn't 100% survival functional, but it's way less than we've been anchored with (gotta have fun sometime, right?!). I really hope we have a good turn out at the garage sale, but whatever doesn't sell gets put on the charity truck!

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