What I learned in my first year:
#1- How to stay warm ( in New England)
CERAMIC electric heaters-cheap & easy, coiled heaters are dangerous!! and/or purchase 2 20lb propane tanks & a small Mr. Heater from Tractor Supply or Home Depot, 15 ft of hose
We set the tiny ceramics in the engine compartment & under the V-berth on the lowest setting. We ran the propane once it got into the 30's and have the second tank to switch to when the first runs dry. ALWAYS fill the tank the day it runs dry. Tanks stayed in cockpit.
Down comfortor-king size so when he pulls the covers I still have some.
Electric mattress cover-heated the bed for 15 minutes before we got in-lovely!
#2 Water- USE IT! We don't skimp on our water usage so that our tanks are constantly flushing. We have no smell or taste issues.
To fill tanks in the winter, drop the entire FROZEN hose into the water-it will defrost the hose so it's pliable. I snapped several hoses before someone taught me this trick.
#3 Showers- we always use the marina facilities. It reduces the condensation in our boat.
We each have a shower bag ready at all times with the exception of a towel.
A) in the summer leave a towel in your car so when you realize you've forgotten yours you don't have to go all the way back to the boat.
B)In the winter-take quarters with you-dry your towel in the on-site dryer, it'll never smell moldy. You can come back later to get it out of the dryer.
#4 Galley-NO GADGETS!
good mechanical can opener
one very sharp knife
two frying pans- 1 large, one small
two soup pots-medium
one sauce pan
my coveted convenience-my coffee maker (I knew I couldn't live without quick coffee in the AM)
we shop daily for fresh stuff- I got used to doing this after wasting too much food that won't keep on the boat; you are allowed to buy 2 bananas, it's ok. Buy indiviual rolls-loaves of bread don't last(they become swan food)
we indulge in spices, we keep all the little bottles in one ziplock bag
#5 KEEP EVERYTHING IN ZIPLOCK BAGS!!!!Clothes, toilet paper, paperwork, playing cards, cookies, tampons(yes they burst), EVERYTHING bags come in all sizes
#6 HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!!
#7 Enjoy yourself, the people, the wildlife, the environment, your vessel!!