What Changes Most When You Have a Narrowboat?

I’ve been very lovie dovie lately and banging on about narrowboats making your life change in all kinds of fabulous ways, today folks I’m getting real. The biggest thing that has changed isn’t my attitude toward space and buying stuff, it isn’t towards nature and how pretty witty it is outside. Nope the biggest change has come from living narrow kicking me in the butt for being a lazy so and so.

See back in ye olde days when we had the house I used every inch of that space, for my mess. I would come home from work, change in the spare room, the clothes I took off would remain there, strewn across the floor or bed until wash day, or more likely than not until the day that I wanted to wear them again and I would curse myself for being unorganised. The other spare room (I know how posh and unnecessary) was our home office, which is officially land dweller code for ‘the dumping ground for everything except clothes’. The kitchen, well on the whole it was neat and tidy, but if we got home late from work and didn’t fancy doing the dishes they would happily sit on the side until the next day, no problem at all.

These are luxuries you are deprived of with boat life. You don’t have the spare room dumping grounds, I have tried, multiple times to use the floor at the side of the bed as my dumping ground, but I learned the error of this at 0200am when I got up for a drink and stood on an upside down stiletto. OUCH! My clothes and shoes now go neatly away in the evening.

If you don’t quite feel like doing the washing up one evening, leaving it on the side leaves you without a kitchen, it’s just massively unpractical. The washing is now promptly completed after meals.

In short when you are existing in such a small space the smallest amounts of mess or untidiness becomes a huge problem, whether that’s in leaving areas of the boat unusable or creating a sense of claustrophobia. It’s actually been quite a nice, if unexpected change, it’s nice to not have to wire wool the dishes clean, it’s nice to have your clothes hung up and ready to wear.

Don’t get me wrong we are not totally changed, after a long week of work we may leave the dishes on one evening, and James’ side of the bed is his permanent floor-drobe, but on the whole things have gotten a whole lot neater.

I totally understand that this won’t be the same experience for everyone, my sister is super neat and tidy, if you pop round for a cuppa your cup is washed before you’ve finished drinking. But for me, who has always been the opposite, boat life has done wonderful things in forcing me to be neater and tidier!

James & Kirsty

A diary of live aboard life

2 thoughts on “What Changes Most When You Have a Narrowboat?

  1. You have hit the ground running. Well done. Of a boater of 30+ years I sooo recognise your sentiments. Welcome to the cut. It is ever changing; ever delighting. Hope to see you out and about.
    N.b. Chaulden


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