18 Months of a Clutter Free Life – Space Constraints on a Narrowboat

It’s hard to believe we’ve had Fantine for over 18months now, it’s flown by for us. I’m going to cover over the next few blogs the questions we still get asked, and the new questions that have developed with the time aboard increasing. The first one of those questions is:

You must be starting to struggle for space by now?

No.

Simple!

We quite seriously still have the same amount of space aboard as when we first moved in. I would argue that now it feels like we have a little more, as we’ve got better at managing it over time.

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The biggest thing for me has and always will be clothes, anyone who has read any of our blogs will know my on-going struggle. However, I’m almost fully cured of my addiction. Downsizing from the three-bedroom house really helped (forced me kicking and screaming) to sort out my clothes hoarding problem.

The result of that, saw me sending two suitcases of tightly vacuum-packed clothes to storage, the remaining 6 bin bags full went to a combination of my sisters and the charity shop.

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I had a few weeks off over the summer and being the hip young thang that I am I went and sorted out our storage unit, rock and roll my friends. That saw me get ruthless, this stuff has been in storage for 18 months now, if we haven’t had to bring it back to the boat and if it doesn’t hold sentimental value, well why are we holding onto it all.

Want to know the exciting thing, I was able to get rid of a lot! I mean a lot! We had six boxes and four suitcases, we’re now down to four boxes and only one suitcase, and before you jump to any conclusions the suitcase is full of James’ racing gear, not my ASOS addiction!

There was so much in there that I started to wonder why we had packed it in the first place. It kind of goes to show you what you think you need is so far removed from what you do. Of course, it’s wonderful to know that the last birthday card I got from my Grandad is tucked away safely, but can I live knowing that James’ high school football boots have made their way to charity shop, yes absolutely.

Boat life has also helped to kerb me adding to this collection of ‘stuff’, I’ve realised that through not having the space for ‘stuff’ I more often than not don’t need it. And if I really, absolutely, cannot live without that gorgeous pastel pink summer duster coat, with crane print that, will probably be suitable for wearing two days a year, well what am I getting rid of to make room for it? (In honesty one of my three winter coats took the hit for it).

Seriously though boat life has 100% changed how I think about things like this. So those two suitcases full of vacuum packed clothes? Well they’ve reduced to one suitcase which now lives under the bed on the boat. Give me a break I said I was getting better, not entirely reformed!

There is one thing however which remains annoying in terms of space, and that’s Birthday’s and Christmas. When you have a home, whether it’s a one or six bedroom property, it has nooks and cranies and little hidey holes around, when you have a boat there are no nooks and cranies, and if there are, you can be as sure as there will be a queue to get up the Watford Staircase, that they’ll be used for something. It’s frustrating, especially with Christmas, I like to have all the presents around, I’m a visual person and I need to be able to see them and regularly sort them, so as I can rest assured that I did buy those Britney Spears hair bobbles for my best friend!

It’s silly and probably if you are not as ridiculous as I am you’ll happy cope with Christmas aboard, by tucking away any gifts in storage or wherever else. But I really struggle.

Do I miss having that space and spending so much on ‘stuff’? Not one bit. Of course I still buy things, I’m me, but I think a lot more about how these things will be used, whether I really need them and where they will live once in my possession.

It’s rather refreshing and I recommend it to anyone.

James & Kirsty

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