Favorite Things

Just a few days ago I joined in on a conversation about favorite kinds of coffee mugs for living on a boat. It seemed like kind of a silly question at first, but I started to think about it a little more. I listened to what several others had to say and one comment really stood out to me.

…even if it means having to pick another.

You see… when I first started downsizing in preparation for moving onto a sailboat, I had more things to consider than just how much will fit. Boat life requires a bit of extra planning.

Will it break?

When it does break, do I have something else that can work?

Will it rust?

Will it get moldy?

Will it fade in color?

Will it disintegrate from UV damage?

Will it tip over too easily?

Most liveaboards (people who live on a boat) recommend not bringing glassware or regular dishes on board. For the most part, boats are constantly in motion. While underway it’s very common for anything inside to go flying if not stowed properly with padding placed around breakable items. You know the term, “prepare for lift off,” well, we practice that on a boat too! Sometimes it’s just gonna be a bumpy ride!

Instead of ditching all my glassware and regular dishes, I decided to bring it along anyway and lovingly use each and every piece until they break. I mean, I do still have a vacuum 🙂 It seemed silly to me to either get rid of or store all of my dishes that I spent my hard earned money on and trade them for cheap plastic stuff. Why spend the extra money on going out to buy plastic when I can just use what I have? Sometimes it makes all the difference using a real plate instead of a flimsy, soggy paper plate or a plastic one that has knife marks slashed all over it.

Well, the same goes for a coffee mug. I absolutely LOVE drinking my morning coffee. I’m originally from Seattle… are you surprised? Travel mugs are great but it’s just not the same as holding onto a heavy ceramic mug with one handle and feeling the warmth soak into my hands. It’s that moment, on a cold wintery day, sipping on a sweet white-chocolate-toasted-marshmallow-nonfat-latte, that brings instant comfort to my soul. Do you know the feeling? Even though I now live in the tropics Where The Coconuts Grow, I still LOVE drinking my hot coffee every morning and it brings me JOY!

So back to the original question… My dear friend Tammy replied, “I brought ceramic mugs with wide bottoms (sailing motifs) and a few of my favorite mugs from home when we moved aboard. We’ve lived aboard for two years now and have just had to say goodbye to the second of my faves due to small cracks. I don’t know if they would have eventually broken on land or not… but I have enjoyed having my ‘favorite’ every day on the boat, even if it means having to pick another.” **

I love that! Even if it means I have to pick another… You nailed it Tammy. I’ve also found now that I have spent a good amount of time living on the boat, I’m less attached to THINGS! Stuff breaks all the time and it’s no one’s fault, really. It’s hard enough getting around on a boat without bumping my head or stubbing my toe or drawing blood without even knowing it, let alone preventing things from breaking. Everything breaks on a boat. It’s okay though because they’re just things. When things break, it’s real simple on a boat. Either fix it, or find something else.

Just because I live in a tiny and unforgiving space doesn’t mean I need to sacrifice my favorite things. Like I have explained before, it’s okay to hold on to sentimental things simply because they make me happy. It’s very likely that I’ll find room for them no matter how much space I’m working with. On the flip side, if a sentimental item is accidentally destroyed, I don’t let it ruin my day. I can choose to hold on to the sentimental memories and know that I thoroughly enjoyed that item as long as I could.

My life is so much more simple now. I am not able to just hop in the car and drive to the store to buy another whatchamacallit. It’s much easier to just use what I have and make it work. And if my favorite coffee mug breaks, I’ll just get a new favorite!

**Quoted with permission from Tammy Swart. Tammy and her husband Bruce live and cruise on a 45′ sailboat, Dos Libras, with their two cats. You can see Tammy’s Tiny Floating Home on her blog, Things We Did Today.

What are a few of your favorite things?

By Jody Pountain for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Andrew M. Odom - November 28, 2014 Reply

My life consists of 3 favorites:

* my Yuengling beer glass
* a green Scottish wool sweater with high collar and zipper
* my beard when it grows past two inches

All replaceable (or able to be grown again) yet all so comforting. They provide me with a sense of self. But that self is past-tense and the operative word is provide. Like with all provisions they are “consumable” and then able to be replaced. Sense of self runs much deeper and while little reminders are certainly comforting they are not the core of who we have become!

Great post.

debi mcclain - November 30, 2014 Reply

I could never live small especially on a boat ! I don’t swim and 2 I love my collections too much to downsize but admire anyone who can do those things

katee - November 30, 2014 Reply

My life consists of 3 favorites:
* My soft lamb blanket
* Precious pics of the fam
That’s it!
I am preparing myself for retirement and keeping all things to a minimum, so when that day comes I am free to take off and go anywhere I wish…. Me and my little movable home…Thanks for the article.

Kimberly - December 3, 2014 Reply

Jody, I love reading your stories and you nailed the description of that perfect coffee mug. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Peter.

Jeanne Frostad - December 3, 2014 Reply

My favorite things consist of hot coffee in the morning in my favorite “Bean” mug, my very special everyday flip calendar with the thought of the day and, if lucky, sunshine in the morning. Living in the northwest luck has a lot to do with sunshine but when the sun does shine it is the BEST.

Great article Jody……made me and I am sure many others think about their favorite things. Thank-you.

    Jody Pountain - December 4, 2014 Reply

    I think it’s important to know what your favorite things are, to know what brings you joy. I’m so glad you know what those things are for you! Wishing you sunshine today…

Patrick - December 3, 2014 Reply

Jody you are such a fantastic writer stacy and I enjoy your stories so very much. While we did do a large downsize we still find room for our four most irreplaceable things: Sherman, Gus, Sadie, and Isabel. Our thought to you, Peter, Gunner, and Betsy

    Jody Pountain - December 4, 2014 Reply

    Patrick and Stacy,
    Thank you for the kind words!! It’s so nice to hear from you, as always, and we hope you and your irreplaceables are doing well!!

Big Improvements in a Tiny Space | Henry Bassett - October 30, 2015 Reply

[…] downsizing I did two years ago to before moving onto the boat, I retained a good amount of my favorite things that help to make my home feel more […]

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