One of the big differences between living in a house and living on a boat is where stuff is stored. In a house it all makes perfect sense. Clothes are stored in the bedroom closet; bath towels are stored in the linen closet; and food is stored in the kitchen. It sounds pretty logical, right? On a boat, stuff is stored in every nook and cranny. It’s like a treasure hunt just to find a band aid.Toilet paper? In the saloon in the drawer under the book shelf. Pots and pans? Spread across several drawers in the salon. Backup computer hard drive? In the port side locker next to the wine. Food? Most is stored in the galley, but it’s also scattered about in various lockers throughout the boat.
Food is the biggie. It’s so easy to toss a can of beans in a locker, forget about them for a few months, then stumble across them right after you’ve already bought two more. In a house, finding a can of beans is as easy as opening the cupboard door and BAM! It’s right in front of you. On a boat, finding a can of beans means opening up the locker you think they’re in, taking each item out until you find what you’re looking for, possibly standing on your head and straining your neck to see what in the waaaay back, then putting it all back again and hoping it fits.
Organized cruisers have a list of every food item on their boat and it’s location. We were not among the organized…until this weekend. I knew I would make a list like this eventually and based on my penchant for making lists I’m surprised I waited this long. I looked at lists other cruisers have created and put on their website and came up with my own, very simple Excel spreadsheet. Then I started taking everything out of the lockers to catalog and put it all back in a more organized way (I hope).
I must say I’m shocked at the number of spices and dry good we have in stock. We could seriously live for about a month or more with what we have on hand right now. I’m glad I found those rancid almonds, but wish I hadn’t put a handful in my mouth before I realized they were bad. I’m also glad I found the Worcestershire sauce that expired July 28, 2012. We moved aboard September 1, 2013 so that means I moved Worcestershire sauce that was already a year over expiration and it’s been living in my refrigerator taking up valuable space. And I think the last time I used Worcestershire sauce was in 2011. It was for a recipe that called for about 1 tablespoon and I’ve never used it since. Yeesh!
So now that I’ve made the list, the real challenge will be to keep it updated. Ideally, every time something is used the list should be updated. I seriously doubt we will be updating the quantity of sesame oil the next time we make stir-fry. We’re more of the “go a few days and try to remember what we used” type of people. Once a year or so I will likely be dragging everything out of the lockers again to re-catalog. But that’s ok; I like making lists.