10 Storage Ideas for Small Living ....

When living in small places like a yacht we need to be inventive when it comes to our storage solutions. On many occasions we need to store goods that will last us for many months while we cruise remote areas. Yachts have very awkward storage shapes and sizes that don't ever seem to be square. But if we are creative in how we use these spaces we can surprisingly fit an amazing amount of items. The key is to stay organised with a system so you remember where and when items were stored.

When we shop we SHOP ....

Finding storage space for all of this can be daunting. Get organised and it will be surprisingly easy.

1. Roll instead of fold.

In a home that hasn't got one square cupboard, folding towels and fitted sheets into these spaces is a chore in itself. So why not roll your linens? Just as it does in a suitcase, the rolling method creates more space and you do not have to worry about these items not fitting correctly. We store them grouped together eg: Vberth, aft cabin. 

2. Did we mention baskets?

Placing like items in baskets will add extra space to every shelf. Also, placing small items in a basket or an under shelf crate will maximise your shelf area. Sorting and separating will keep you organised when you store in attractive bins. In the head cupboards we have a number of small stackable baskets that keep items organised. 

We have hanging soft baskets for those everyday needs, quick grab and go solution. We also use baskets for extra provisions require for long Passages. And my all time favourite is "the where is is basket" this is located in the cockpit. It holds sunglasses, reading glasses, phones, iPads, books or anything else that seems to be laying around. If you leave it laying around too long it always ends up in "the where is it box"

Stackable baskets for the heads keeps things organised.

Extra Storage baskets for long haul provisioning.

Soft rope hanging baskets serve for everyday needs.

A wasted space above a locker now holds hats in a secured basket.

An open shelf is never secure. Use storage boxes that you have secured to the shelf of extra storage.

3. Seeing is believing.

We label everything .... in the panty items are marked on top and side. This ensures which ever way they are stored you can identify them quickly. Food cans are written on the top with felt tip pen so that again you can see them at a glance. Anything that you always struggle to find could do with a label.

Labeling containers is a helpful option when you have dark cramped storage.

4. Think outside the box.

Shoe hangers maybe shoe hangers to most but for us they great to store Tshirts. 

These are easily removed to provide access to storage behind.

Rubbish bag holders may have an obvious use but they are great to store navigation charts and root vegetables. 

Chart holder.

Hairdryer holders can be very useful if you have a hairdryer but if you don't they are great drink bottle holders throughout the day and can be the best waiter at Sundowners. 

Secured to the binnacle these are great drink bottle holders during the day
 and Wine bottle holders at sundowners.

Tool trays apart from the obvious are great first aid boxes enabling you to separate items into categories, and having a visual immediately where they are located. Karen also uses them for her jewellery. All these items have many uses aboard it's just thinking outside of the box. 

Plastic tool boxes are great options for so many storage options.

5. Make space.

Where you say … How can you make extra storage space in an already small space. Making storage space for individual requirements will make your life much easier. Our Galley is fitted with racking that you can buy in a number of retail outlets. They have been fitted specifically for the needs of the cook onboard. Spice racks was a number one priority followed by storage for bottles and knives. Fruit and vegetable hammocks save valuable space and insure our produce stays fresh. 

Racking on the inside of doors, uses space that quite often is under-utilised, we find having the easy to reach daily items saves time. Using compartments in draws also keeps things organised. It doesn't have to be a expensive solution, here we have used old take away containers. We also use cheap storage boxes to house small items. These are stackable and fit well in a locker. The boxes are labeled with the contents for easy reference.

Spice Racks. These are a great size holding small quantities that can be refilled from deep storage.
The Deep Pantry is fitted with racking to hold bottles.

These ready buy stainless racking systems can be used just about anywhere for anything.

Fruit and veggie hammocks. keep fruit aired and fresh. turning your fruit regularly stops soft spots.

Turn small draws into larger storage spaces. We had to small draws under the Dinette and Vberth that had a lot of wasted storage space around them. Solution make the draw fronts false and have hatches from above. We gained extra storage 10 fold.

Below small draws on the front of the dinette are now false fronts
with larger openings under the seats.

Turn areas that weren't accessible before into new storage space.
Behind Locker doors fit things that usually just get in the way.

6. Add shelving where you can.

As we now sail in relatively dry weather we have no need for a permanent wet closet. Ours has now been changed into a bosuns locker where small tools are kept in stationary filing draws. The washing machine was removed and it made room for a store cabinet for more important uses, art supplies and sewing machine.

Where the washing machine was once housed we now have
shelving with secured doors for extra storage.

Where we once had a wet locker we have now
fitted with shelves for small tools.

7. Break it or Brake it.

We are fortunate to have a cocktail cabinet in our main saloon which keeps our crystal glasses and spirits safe. However it certainly isn't a large enough compartment to hold the cellar. This is beneath the sole and to keep bottles from breaking we use secondhand baby romper suits. Each suit can be cut to secure four bottles they are washable and reusable.

Our glassware is protected stubby coolers. Many people have asked us why we bother to have good glassware. Simple we like to drink out of it, and it is breakable on land as well as sea. So we're not going to put a brake on our life because we live on a boat.

Don't put a brake on your life because you live on a boat.
We store our wine bottles in used baby romper suits.

Along with bottles the sole hides a myriad of things that we do not use regularly. Mainly these are spare parts or bulky items. If at all possible store these items in waterproof containers. 

8. Safety first.

Safety items relating to the boat and your personal safety should be housed in specialised areas that are easy accessible and well marked. All persons onboard should be aware of these areas whilst onboard. Flares, Life Jackets, Fire Extinguishers and First Aid.

9. Where is it …. Where could I have put it.

Now that you have gone to the trouble of sorting out your boat. Write an inventory… I know sounds anal and we have been the butt of many jokes. But if you do a simple system of numbering each locker and writing what is contained in each your life afloat will be a little bit less stressful.

This is a plan of our lockers and storage areas. We have numbered each and put it into an excel file. 

10. Eliminate the extra.

It's easy to get attached to things, either because you've had them for a long time, they have some special meaning to you, or because they represent the hard work and sweat you put into making the money you used to buy them. That's completely normal, but when you're looking to downsize and live within 80 square meters, you have to try and separate yourself from those feelings a bit. Here's how:

Ask yourself "What does this item do for me that nothing else does?" Start thinking about the utility of the item you're looking at. What makes it unique among your possessions? What does it do? Does it do multiple things or is it a unitasker?

Find items that are multi taskers.

Next, ask "Do I have anything else that does this better, or at least does something else as well? This is where you choose between your can opener and the other can opener with a bottle opener on the top. Pick the items that add more value to your life.

Finally, ask "Does this have sentimental meaning to me?" When it comes to appliances, tools, and electronics, it's easy to ask the first two questions, but if you're looking at a box of photos, utility doesn't come to mind. Sentimental value is important in a lot of things, so don't overlook it, just try not to get bogged down in how an item makes you feel versus what it does for you and how much space it takes. 

We have a saying that everything must have two uses on the boat.

Karen's excuse for having Crystal Champagne Flutes onboard .... They are really Scone Cutters!

Authors Note: Please remember whatever storage solutions you choose make sure you and the boat are safe at sea. Secure items that are not locked down, as rolling seas send anything flying. 

Secure your stowage areas. Rough seas will see things thrown around the cabin.

And …. If you can convince Karen not to keep bring books onboard, Our Dreamtime will be a much lighter and quicker boat.

We would love you to come onboard as our virtual crew. Subscribe to our Blog, Follow Our Dreamtime Facebook OR DreamtimeSail Instagram. If you like our Blogs want further info or just to say Hi comment below .... Cheers Rob and Karen.


  1. Reassuring ! Have ticked most of the boxes but it is always good to compare, update, reinvent. Thanks for a great article. Good photos to support the information.

    1. Thank you Sally for your comment, yes it is always good to know we are on the right track. Would love to know if you have any favourite storage tips you would like to share with us. Cheers Karen


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

10 Easy Techniques to Preserve Foods on your Boat

DRUM ROLL ..... Delicious Food Afloat has been released.

Our Galley Food Porn

Dreamtime Sail Instagram

Dreamtimesail Facebook