Questions,  Simple Life

Thoughts on Moving and Possessions.

When we moved from the house to the Alberg 30 back in ’05 we had a terrible struggle trying to find a place for everything. After giving away piles of stuff to Goodwill, selling junk in garage sales and just junking piles of other crap, the rest went into one of three places. Some went into storage, others things wandered into my mother-in-laws basement and the rest we tucked into the nooks and crannies of the Alberg.

It was an uncomfortable existence. For instance, my books. I loved having my book collection available to me at the house. Whatever mood I was in, I could head over to the bookshelves and satisfy my current curiosity until the next change in focus took place. When I moved all the books into storage, I lost the ability to reference my collection and have been feeling the loss of ‘curiosity relief’ for two years now. Now that I’ve installed some shelves here on the River Queen, I’ve been reading and referencing at will again – oh, what a relief it is!

Another example is cooking supplies and equipment. The Alberg had a very (very) limited galley area. Basically, a small but deep sink, a 2 burner Origo alcohol stove and a toaster oven. No cutlery drawer, no pots and pans drawer, no cupboards to speak of. Now….I’ve got a 3 burner propane stove with an oven!!! A massive pots and pans drawer. Cupboards that are stuffed full of supplies and cutlery at my fingertips. The luxury!

Moving from the Alberg to the River Queen could have been done in about 4 hours if we had really put our minds to it. As it is, we still have some stuff on the Alberg. What I can’t believe though, is how fast the River Queen is filling up. I know we have so much more room here, but do we actually have to fill it up?

This brings me to my final thought on this post – possessions.

Do we actually need all this junk? If you don’t use it and you don’t miss it, do you really need it? As I look around the room here, I can see several items that have not been touched since we moved aboard over a month ago. I suppose that I will use that foot rest under the helm someday – but I haven’t yet. And that Captains chair – man that looks good – kind of impractical though, as it is too high to sit comfortably on unless you are actually piloting this tub. And my new book shelves – already filling up with books that I want to read but likely won’t get to anytime in the near future.

So, how does one maintain a clutter free life – free of the encumbrances of unused possessions, without giving up all that stuff that you want to have around because … well, just because? Is there some sort of checklist that one can follow, or do we have to go though the yearly process of collecting and purging like some bulimic teenager?

Thoughts anyone?


  • Charlotte

    I know what you mean about really needing our possessions. I’ve had to stop myself from feeling smug when compared to my neighbors on land. I’ve thought to myself that Eric and I really have it made….but then I really, really think about it, and I think the only reason we have so few possessions is because have so little room on the boat.

    Give us a few more feet, we’d have a few more inches of junk, a few more feet, some more junk, and the cycle would probably just work its way up!

  • Steve

    Know of any blogs on liveaboard and dumping “stuff” of the older set, like 50-60?
    Our 4year plan
    Mate complete rn school (has BS in Info Sys), sell stuff from house and 32’x24′ garage.
    Lots of stuff- old classic project car, industrial sewing machines from business, and the list goes on and on.
    Sell house, get apartment, buy boat.
    Live on boat till retire in 4 years, then head out.
    Being young with lots of years ahead is one thing, but doing this at 50-60 years old (9 grandchildern). Thank goodness we are in good health.

  • Frank Schmitt

    I served in the U.S. Navy for 4 years and I still remember squeezing all my clothes and uniforms and gear in a foot locker under my bed. It sure teaches you how to live with only what you truly need. You don't horde things so much and discard useless items. Not like living on land where you look in a closet and wonder where all this "stuff" came from. It is my dream to live on a boat. I love the ocean and waterways.

  • Charlene

    We live aboard part of the year and I love books so my solution was to get an iPad.  Not as good as having my beloved 'tried and true' go -to books, but allows me to have hundreds of novels at my fingertips.  Prevents sinking the boat with the weight of all those books!

  • Anne

    My folks moved me on to a 40' sailboat when I was 10. We lived aboard for 2 years, one spent living aboard in US harbor, the 2nd spend cruising Mexico. Best two years of my childhood!!
     I can remember hauling tons of junk on the boat at first- toys, clothes, books, etc. By the time we left for Mexico the next fall, I had returned 2/3 of this junk to storage. I didn't miss it, it didn't fit in my bunk, and when we got back from Mexico, sold the boat and moved back into a house I couldn't believe how much stuff there was to deal with!! It was overwhelming. I sold a lot of it at yard sales. The experience really made an impression on me. When you have that much "stuff" it owns you, you don't own it. It's amazing low little you miss it once it's gone, and how much you treasure memories of what you did instead!

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