The thoughtful use of resources inherent to the cruising lifestyle is one of things I most appreciate about living aboard. Water is not left running while brushing teeth. In fact, water is not left running at all, even for a wasted millisecond. All food is consumed, even if it doesn't quite taste right. Wearing the same clothes repeatedly and for multiple wears between washes is a given, cutting laundry needs in half. It is fairly quick and easy to clean up after the kids because they hardly have anything on board. The few items that did manage to make the cut have very specific places to go in order to minimize items floundering about underway. Our battery bank has a finite amount of power, so we are always aware of lights left on and fans running. It is a mindful state of being.
When we moved aboard Mi Cielito, we soon realized that her bimini would not endure a season of cruising. We made the hard decision to fork out the necessary dough for a new dodger and bimini to ensure a bit of comfort and protection from sun, wind, and rain in the cockpit. As we took down the old bimini, I could not bring myself to throw it away. "Waste not, want not" is firmly sketched in my brain. I cut up the old bimini fabric to make various size bags for an array of uses. Pearl and Juniper have matching water resistant bags to carry their journals and sand toys to shore, the straps of which are a thrift store belt I carried around for years waiting for the right use. Joey got a new bag for spare rigging parts. The other bags are used for storing things in less than dry places and for carrying things to shore in the dinghy. The webbing that attached the old bimini to the deck has been used to reinforce the edges of screens we made for the hatches and companionway. I feel giddy thinking of potential rubbish put to good use.
I also love teaching my girls to be thoughtful of our consumption of resources. Life on land made it easy to let things slide. With kids you have to choose your battles, so often my desire for conservation was usurped by my need for nice and easy. But now, it is necessary. And it is easier for them to understand. They see it in action. Our water doesn't just infinitely appear out of the faucet. The girls help us fill up our water jugs and lug them back to the boat. They stand guard to make sure we don't flood our boat by overfilling the tanks. They suffer through the engine running when our batteries need to be topped off (we really need a bigger solar panel). And when we run out of tape or oranges, it is not a quick trip to the store to get more. They play with the same toys repeatedly with joy. We read the same books over and over. We live with less and waste very little.