|A whimsical beaded bird, similar to this one from Beadworx, is one of the things I wasn't ready to part with|
As we started grappling with the massive downsizing that would be necessary to cram our previous land-lives into a 33-foot sailboat, the reality was enormously intimidating. It seemed it would be impossible to fit even the essentials of everyday living into the space we would own, much less the impractical or sentimental stuff.
And yet, as I read the books and blogs and websites, they all seemed to require the first painful step: get rid of everything. Nope. Not gonna happen. There were things I didn't want to part with, things that had a history that mattered, or merely, things that made me smile. Fortunately, no, more than "fortunately" -- sanity-savingly -- we had made a pact with each other at the start of this venture. We weren't going to do anything that would make us resent the process. Either one of us had veto power, no questions asked.
Note to self: All those internet pix of adorable tiny houses, with every precious thing perfectly in place? They are staged. So if you've been feeling like a failure because you can't quite match that Zen state in real life, you can stop fretting now, and stop comparing yourself. You can't get there in real life because they aren't real life. Real life is a bit messier -- where do you put the 8-pack of paper towels in those pictures (that you bought because they were on one of those weird sales where the 8-pack was cheaper than the two pack)? The dirty-laundry bag? The stack of books to return to the library? Worst of all, where do you put the box of wine or the bag of chips?
On the boat, the impossibility of that standard is magnified. There's more stuff to store (spares, tools, life jackets, foul weather gear, sail stuff, and sufficient provisions and other things you need if you're going to be off the grid for a while). And between lockers that can get moist or moldy, and the need to protect things that could be tossed around by the sea, there are fewer places to store things. Somewhere between minimalism and self-sufficiency, the desire to be prepared for anything would leave us with no space left for actual living, to accommodate the storeroom. We'd need a ten-foot-longer boat just for storage. Yikes, no thanx!
So we have storage on land. We (*gasp!*) rented a storage unit. It houses some mundane things, summer clothes in winter, winter clothes in summer, things we needed once and are likely to need again but not right now, income tax records and other original paperwork that needs to be saved for legal purposes, materials for some boat projects, books we want to keep in our lives, but don't need immediate access to. But it also has sentimental items or souvenirs we've acquired in our travels. Yes, it goes against the conventional wisdom of minimalism to pay money to store things we don't absolutely need. But at the same time, that storage unit costs 1.8% of our pension. I consider that a teeny tiny price to pay, for the saving of my sanity. And my beaded bird.