What’s in your locker?

Me being melodramatic: Where o’ where do things go, on a thirty something foot boat?

Tig, who takes a more zen approach to things, answers, “We’ll figure it out.”

Of course he’s right. It’s not like we’re downsizing from a 47′ boat to a 32′ boat. We’re going from 1200 square feet to a 32-38′ boat. No matter what, it’s going to be like ripping off a band-aid; a huge adjustment, and we won’t know any different.

From everything I’ve read, there seems to be a few truisms when it comes to boat storage:

Rule No. 1: There’s never enough storage.

Rule No. 2: Kids have STUFF! Namely books, clothes, and toys.

Rule No. 3: The thing you need is always buried under a bunch of other items at the bottom of the locker

For those of us who need more concrete tips, I asked a veteran liveaboard family: what’s in your lockers? They very graciously shared some details which helped me to mentally map where various items might possibly go:

The nitty gritty locker tour

  • A big lazarette at the stern of the boat holds extra line, extension cords, hoses, a carseat and a booster seat
  • Cockpit lockers have weatherproof stuff inside–sails and line, life-jackets, along with the fuel tank
  • The starboard locker holds a generator (a great spare), oil and antifreeze, a 5-gallon bucket, spare hoses, and all the stanchions needed to resurrect the lifelines

Inside storage

  • I was advised to think about galley storage and what we will need to live and cruise. This family has a locker that serves as a pantry for sugar, flour, pasta, canned stuff, boxes of soymilk, peanut butter, etc. The bulky bread, crackers and space-hogging stuff will need to find a home.
  • In terms of tools, much of it depends on what we’re willing to do ourselves. They have drill, bits, grinder, sander, etc., all of which is used frequently. Most of the tools live under the settees in the main cabin.
  • They have parts and pieces for basically every system on the boat: bins for plumbing fittings, tons of electrical supplies and 16 gauge wire, rubber for gaskets, rebuild kits for the pumps onboard, extra wood and steel, a spare tiller, engine spares (they’re small–impellers, fan belts, filters).
  • The main cabin also holds extra blankets, clothes, and kids books. There is a bin of toys that lives under the table in the main cabin.
  • The bins under the V-berth holds mishmash of stuff that’s not used as often: dive gear, suitcases, a sewing machine, extra sails, instruction manuals, charts and weird tools.
  • The V-berth is where the kids sleep. Stuffed animals and some toys hang from  hammocks/bags along the sides.
  • There are two big lockers for clothes. The kids have one with a hanging side and shelves. Half of it is used for books and the other half for clothes. The parents share four shelves in the other locker.
  • The head has a nice mix of cabinets. Extra paint lives under the sink and the real bathroom stuff like towels, soap, shower bags, fits into cabinets.
  • It’s nice to have a roving workshop, but it’s also not entirely essential-your biggest challenge is carrying enough food, fuel, and water to get as far as you need to go.

One thing I hear often is that the use and optimization of storage is always evolving. Liveaboards and cruisers are constantly weeding out stuff, emptying out lockers and switching up contents.

If I were truly neurotic, I’d take the floorplan of the boats we’re considering and map out lists of things and where they would go. But I won’t. Really.

Coming up next: We’ll report on the New England Boat Show. Get free email updates on our misadventures.

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5 Replies to “What’s in your locker?

  1. Best tip we’ve been given? One in, one out – nothing comes aboard until something else goes out.

    (We moved aboard in October and put things in storage – I wish we’d put more in – we got rid of some things we didn’t anticipate needing. What we haven’t needed has gone to charity shops and friends/family – very rewarding)

    1. Waterwytch, I’m a big fan of the one in, one out rule. We also plan on keeping some off-season clothes in our basement as we figure out the space thing. My personality is definitely the “purger” while Tig likes to keep things just-in-case.

  2. Locker/drawer space looks so huge…until you put more than 3 things in them. I thought I’d totally downsized on my clothes (clothes, as it turns out, are bulky!) but I can barely fit what I have into the hanging lockers and drawers. If I had a girlfriend at the moment, she would be no doubt trashing half of my garb in desperate search of stowage.

    I probably have too many clothes. Donation time! I could probably safely get rid of a few more books. Have to see. I’m still unpacking and learning what I’ve got.

    1. Raven26, I’m afraid that one bulky fleece sweater is going to take up a whole drawer! Tig says that he wants to get those vacuum sealed bags, it might not be a bad idea…I’ve been slowly weeding out my pile of books in anticipation of moving.

      1. The previous owners of my boat did the vacuum bag thing. It didn’t seem to help THAT much, but your mileage may vary. I’m still staggered by the amount of stuff I have–and that’s after four years of slowly downsizing.

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