What is the value of stuff?
When Ben and I flew to Panama to pick up our new boat, we carefully selected each item we would bring with us. Because we were flying we were limited by size and weight. Each tool, article of clothing, pot and pan was carefully chosen from all our belongings. Each bag was weighed, stuff was added or taken out, and then weighed again.
“Why is this bag 12 pounds overweight, when just a few minutes ago it was fine,” I asked Ben, “How many things did you add?”
“Only a tool,” he shrugged. Of course, it was a gigantic 24″ crescent wrench!
“Do you honestly think this is necessary,” I laughed as I pulled the 12 pound wrench out of the bag. There would be times on a boat when a wrench like that could be critical, but we still decided to leave it behind. It would have cost us $100 in additional baggage fees if we took another bag so the wrench could come along. In that instance, it was simply a measure of cost-benefit analysis when deciding the “value of stuff.” You remember your high school economics class, right? I’m surprised I still remember — considering our teacher encouraged us to share answers on our tests. “This is Econ class,” he would say, “You can barter and trade for answers!”
Now that we are in the states, we were able to collect the wrench and all our other belongings. They are loaded on the boat and I was assigned the task of making it all fit, or disposing of the extra. If you are following on facebook, you may have witnessed my progress and frustration!
Before buying Rocinante, our Norseman 447, Ben and I each had our own boat, our own set of tools and things. Now we share a boat,which incidentally came equipped with it’s own ‘boatload’ of tools and things. We have a locker just for wrenches! We have spares hidden in ever nook and cranny. We even have old broken spares as spare for the new spares! I want to toss most of it, but people are warning me that someday I might wish I had that single obscure strange tool I threw away today. Oops!
Another cost of having too much stuff is the visual clutter that interferes with the feng shui and harmony in the living environment and therefore life. I believe a cluttered room leads to a cluttered mind!
The Cost Of Stuff
There is a cost to having too much stuff. In one extreme, packrats and hoarders drown in a debilitating pile of stuff—things they believe to be useful and valuable. Yet because there is so much of it, finding, organizing, maintaining, and caring for all those belongings becomes a hassle. Another cost of having too much stuff is the visual clutter that interferes with the feng shui and harmony in the living environment and therefore life. I believe a cluttered room leads to a cluttered mind!
I haven’t always had a lot of tools and spare parts. When I owned Daphne I had very few, in fact. Sure there were times when having this tool or that would have expedited a repair. But never was my safety compromised because of lack of extra stuff. I borrowed or purchased items when I needed them, or found creative ways to use things I already had to get the job done.
So, how do I decide the “value of stuff?” As I comb through each locker I simply ask myself, “Is the cost of keeping this aboard greater than the benefit of having it in the unlikely moment I will want it?” If the answer is yes, then it is time to say goodbye!
Once all the stuff is organized there will be a few empty lockers for YOU to stow your stuff! Come aboard SV Rocinante for a sail training adventure this summer. Guaranteed $100 off your tuition just by commenting on this post!