For many people one of the hardest parts about moving aboard a boat is downsizing your stuff. Even if you’re moving from a relatively small house to larger boat you’re not going to be able to fit all of your land lubber possessions aboard. Some people get a real emotional attachment to their belongings.
Even if it’s things that have been sitting in a closet collecting dust for years they find it hard to let go. For me living a more minimalist lifestyle was one of the things that first attracted me to the idea of living aboard.
What Is Minimalism?
I could go into great depth on what minimalism is. There are entire blogs dedicated to the subject. In its simplest terms, though, minimalism is the idea of having fewer possessions, specifically unnecessary ones. When I first discovered minimalism I remember reading a quote that went something like this.
“The more things you own, specifically things that are un-needed the more your things start to own you.” By doing away with unnecessary things your life becomes much simpler. You eliminate clutter, you have less to clean, less things that need to be maintained, you lower your overall living expenses. All of this adds up to more freedom to do the things you want and less stress in your life.
How Does It Apply To Living Aboard?
On a boat you have no choice but to take on at least somewhat of a minimalist mind-set. You have much less room to store things than you do in a house or an apartment. There are some items that obviously have no place or use on a boat such as lawn mowers, snow blowers, gardening equipment, etc.
Then there are large electronic toys and appliances that use a lot of power, some of which may be a convenience but aren’t really necessary, such as a giant screen TV. Lastly there are your clothes. Obviously you’re not going to get rid of your clothes entirely, but if you’re living on a boat, especially in warmer climates, you can really cut back on what you have.
Taking It To The Next Level
The above are just a few examples. There are plenty of people living on a larger boats, especially powerboats with large gensets, who do run their TV, microwave, and every other convenience that they had when they were living on shore. Then there are people who even eliminate or do without certain boating equipment if they determine it to be unnecessary.
I’m In That Second Group
When I first bought the Turtle there was an air conditioner installed. Since I knew I was going to be spending most of my time on the hook, where it wouldn’t be used I removed it. When my chart plotter started acting up I just removed it since I was using my laptop for navigation anyway.
When the wind instrument started malfunctioning I uninstalled it and just did without a wind instrument entirely. By not having a wind instrument aboard it actually forced me to become a better sailor. Until very recently I didn’t even have a generator aboard, and finally did get one just because of the problems with the new batteries.
And I even have plans to downsize more in the future!