As we approach our 4 year anniversary of living aboard (CRAZY!), I've begun to reflect on many things about this life we've chosen. Along the way I've often said, "How did people live aboard without ______?" Well, here's a list of some of the things that have made our live aboard life a little easier. We could probably still live aboard and cruise without most of this stuff, but why suffer when you don't have to?
1. Patience. 4 people living in a space 39' x 13.5' (oh wait, the anchor locker takes a good 3', then the lazerette takes another 2'-ish, so make that 34' x 13.5 IF you count where your arms can touch vice where your feet can get to...) is "cozy" if you're a realtor, "tight" if you're a good chunk of the American population. Only 2 doors in the entire home lock (the bathrooms). 2 people can't cross paths without both of them turning somewhat. You hear "excuse me" a lot.
2. 3M Command Hooks. I love the cherry wood interior and these hooks allow us to try new ways to store things without scarring the walls for life. They also help us deck out the entire boat for the holidays.
3. XL Ziplock Bags. There are tons of great little nooks to stash stuff in on a boat, but if it's against the hull and near/below the water line, expect mold unless you can seal stuff up tight. I put spare linens in these mega bags and stash them in the storage under our bed. They're pretty durable and even if you do rip one you're not out $20 to replace them.
4. Box Wine. Do I really need to explain why this is awesome??? It's wine! In an unbreakable container! Even better, if you're really crunched for space that fancy cardboard box isn't really necessary. And these days you can get some pretty decent wine in a box. We like Bota Box.
5. Platypus Bottles. Ok, putting this right after the wine makes me sound like a lush (or a Sailor???), but we use Platypus bottles for rum and vodka (and maybe more in the future!). Unbreakable and compact!
6. Microfiber Camp Towels. Moisture management is always a battle in a boat, especially with 4 heavy breathers, cooking, and living in places where the water tends to freeze part of the year. These towels dry fast, don't take up a ton of room in the bathroom, and don't take up a ton of room in the wash (key when you're hauling stuff to a coin-op laundry).
7. Removable Wall Decals. While definitely not a requirement, these are a nice-to-have as we work hard to keep our kids happy. Happy Kids = Happy Parents! Being able to decorate their cabins keeps them excited about living aboard and proud of their rooms. We've had Cars, Princesses, Pirates, and Avengers rooms (and soon one will become a flower room!). While we have learned that the stickers mar the wood finish, they are great everywhere else.
8. Magnetic Storage. We have a small, galley-style kitchen. I'm no gourmet chef, but I like nice knives and know that a little bit of spice can make everything better. We have a magnetic bar to store our small collection of knives (out of the way of the kids!) and a have a magnetic "wall" covered with spice tins. It's the little things that make a little kitchen survivable!
9. LED Lighting. Over the past 4 years Frank has been converting us to an LED boat. This has been great for power management on the hook and just helps with that good green feeling! I think we only have one string of Christmas lights left to replace! I guess I could add solar panels here, too--that's another Frank-Custom-Special and I love them.
10. Wrinkle-Resistant Clothing. This may sound silly at first, but I have neither the desire to iron or the space to store an ironing board and iron. Enter LL Bean's wrinkle-resistant shirts and chinos. Keeps the Captain looking good for his day job!
BONUS ENTRY. Frank. Without Frank 0% of this would be possible. He's the brains and the brawn of this outfit. He knows every system on this boat intimately and has thought out everything to get us ready to cruise. We love him!
Honorable mentions: Dehumidifier, 2-in-1 coats, 3M blue tape, IPhone/IPad navigation apps, Febreeze, LL Bean Waterhog Mats, fishing rod holders. :)