Galley: 1) the kitchen of a boat. Sally: 1) a venture off the beaten path, 2) a military action in which besieged troops burst forth from their position, 3) a witty remark.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Downsizing II

Alright. It is Day Two (Click here if you missed Day One). How does your home look this morning? There should be:

1) A big pile of stuff to get rid of by the door (unless your energetic friend took it to be donated yesterday).
2) A big pile of stuff out by the curb (unless it all got claimed yesterday, or you are hyper-organized and took pics of everything and listed it on craigslist instead, or you and your buddy had time to donate it all yesterday).
3) Piles of packed and labeled boxes (be sure to label those boxes!) of things you want to keep.
4) Rooms that are still unpacked, including kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and possibly office.

The first thing to do on Day Two is make space. If you made it through Day One without a friend, you will most likely need one today--preferably with a truck. If there is simply no one who can help, you may need to employ the likes of Got Junk.

(An aside, I won't frequently endorse specific companies, but Got Junk is amazing.We didn't use them for Project Downsize, but we did use them for remodeling cleanup, and they were fantastic. It doesn't matter what you need to get rid of. They show up, they sort it, load it, and take it away. The dudes who took our giant pile of stuff even picked over the gravel driveway for every stray nail, screw and bit of metal. They are not expensive, nor are they cheap, but they are worth every dime in terms of your time. Done.)

So, either call the number and sit back with your coffee for a few minutes, or get going. This part is simple, but repetitive: Load up vehicles to the brim, take to appropriate recylcling/upcycling/donation centers, empty vehicles, return home, and repeat (be sure to stop and buy your buddy coffee on the first trip). After your final trip, your home should be empty of the giant "to-go" pile, your curb should be clear, and you will need to eat lunch. Be happy your kitchen is still in good order.

After lunch, it's time to play The Visigoths are Coming! again, your aim being to pack as quickly and efficiently as possible. But let's pretend that Alaric is still a couple days out, so you can slow down a bit as you consider the following:  How much longer will you be in your current home, and will you be holding any dinner parties during that time? The answer to this question will inform what you will do next. If you will still be in your home for over a month or hosting parties, I'd recommend not changing much at this time (picture us with incredible food for a BBQ to celebrate our newborn baby daughter, and not a dish to be seen). Instead, you can either take the rest of the day off, or go start sorting through your clothing to decide what simply won't work for boat life.

If you will be in your home for less than a month and not hosting parties... Visigoths!

Again, you want boxes, and you want three choices: 1) Out the door, 2) Must keep but cannot keep on boat and 3) I really want to have this on my boat. Out the door gets packed and donated. Must keep gets carefully packed and labeled. On the boat stays right where it is in your kitchen. Basically, you want to purge your experimental galley (current kitchen) of all duplicates, all fragile items, and all things impractical for boat life (toaster oven, cuisinart, blender, etc.). You are trying to outfit your kitchen with the same things you will have in your boat galley, and then giving yourself the coming weeks to see how it works, and if you want to dig anything out of those carefully labeled boxes.

If all you have are glass or ceramic plates...  you can try, but I highly recommend enameled stainless as they are fairly attractive, indestructible, and can be heated to high temps. We have several ceramic mugs that have survived four years aboard. I'm against plastic as it isn't too good for you, scratches up, and can crack easily. You'll want to pare down utensils. Yes, multiple wooden spoons are good, but you don't need three spatulas, five ladles, two whisks, or twenty knives. Have fun pretending you are readying your boat galley, and really try to get everything you don't plan on having on the boat out of the kitchen. This will give you the chance to figure out what works, what is extra, and what you wish you hadn't packed.

Don't worry about food right now. This is a dishes/equipment only gig. Leave the food where it is.

At the end of this day, either make a last run to get rid of your "out the door" kitchen pile, or at least get it by the front door so it is ready to go.

Finally, make dinner in your "galley."

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?


  1. Very informative and humorous. I was wondering about plastic vs. ceramic. Cast Iron vs. non stick.

  2. For health reasons, I will always choose ceramic/stainless over plastic, and Cast Iron over non-stick. Ceramic, if stored well on a boat, is fairly durable. AND, it is much more lovely to hold in the hand.

    Regarding non-stick...There are unresolved health issues surrounding the non-stick coatings (a quick google search will give plenty of reading), and there are health reasons to support cast iron. Cooking with cast iron can add up to 80% more iron to your diet. In fact, the occurrence of anemia in women increased significantly as folks moved away from cast iron and toward stainless and non stick and such.

    Also splendid? An enameled Dutch Oven.

  3. Wonderful advice thus far, and something my wife and I have been planning to do for awhile now. We don't yet have a boat, and we live in a very small apartment as it is, but A) our lease is up at the end of the year, B) we simply have too much "stuff", and C) even if we don't move out of here and onto a boat...we'll still be moving, so it's a great idea to go through everything NOW!

    The only problem is the kitchen. I'm a chef (though not professionally anymore). I USE everything I have, so parting with various things will be difficult. I already did it once, and got rid of about 5 stock that I wish I hadn't now, considering that it was THE perfect size for a lot of things, but oh well. Knives? No problem - I have a butcher block they all fit into. Colanders? They'll be gone - I have a great one I found that's rectangular - better storage and it's designed to fit over the sink. Pots & pans? I'm looking into a stacking set that uses a detachable handle, but for now they stay put. Some will go, but most won't. Blender? Uh-uh...gotta have my smoothies. Fortunately, it's a heavy-duty thick glass blender that won't break unless you hit it with a ball peen hammer. Mixer? Maybe...maybe not. We'll see. Toaster? Yup...buh-bye! Bread machine? Not on your life. Gonna have to find a space...or build one. :-D

    Looking forward to part 3!

  4. First, it cracks me up that someone clicked "I'll try it!" for Downsizing II. Good fun.

    Second, thanks to David for joining the conversation!!

    And I love that you already have your galley plans so well figured out. Good ideas, and if you use everything, I'm sure you'll find space for it. We all prioritize in the end... if you're willing to give over some other storage space to galley equipment, or if you are lucky enough to find the RIGHT galley, you'll be fine.

    We once looked at a boat that had an absolutely incredible galley that we still dream about. It was, essentially, a professional chef space, as that is what the owner wanted.

    My only thought for you is electrical. Your blender and mixer will likely require inverters, and thus have potentially significant electrical draws. Not impossible, but perhaps informative for what type of boat you want, and what size battery bank you want.


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