A boat is meant to be a source of relaxation, enjoyment, and fun – not an extension of your home. If you have a lot of clutter in your cabin, deck, and storage boxes on and offshore, consider why. Now, think about your boat size, then factor the ways you use your boat and the amount of time you spend on it. You should be able to establish what your organizing needs are with this information thought out. Always be sure to factor in safety and regulation items into your organizing plan. These aren’t optional, they are requirements.
Create a list of all activities that occur in the boat, such as fishing, entertaining, relaxing and playing. Then, divide the boat into spaces for these activities to occur, allowing some of the activities to overlap into the same spaces, if necessary. Sound strange? It isn’t! A boat is a very tight space and every inch is valuable.
Starting with your cabin, empty the space out and sort through all of the items you are currently storing.
Sort the items into three categories – Keep, Get Rid Of, or Undecided. The Keep items will be going back onto the boat, space permitting. Depending on the size of your cabin consider what you really do use and need onboard. Often times the concept of “What if” or “Well I may want” is just a concept in thought not in real need.
Lastly, when thinking about what you use onboard contemplate what is used seasonally. Some things you may use for only part of your boating season, others you may keep onboard all year. The space that gets allocated for those seasonal items should be considered. An example is leaving lots of space for extra blankets when you may need them only one time in six months.
Now that the sorting is completed and you’ve decided on what must absolutely come back into the cabin, it’s time to place the items into zones of usage. Some examples of zones might be: galley, v-berth/aft cabin, bathroom/personal hygiene, entertainment. The deck may be where you want to keep your fishing equipment; safety items (flares, S.O.S. flag, and life preservers). Many boats have storage under seats, under the sides, and lots of little cubbies, so try and use the space a practically as possible.
Some easy storage and organizing suggestions:
· In cabinets where dishes, condiments, and spices are stowed, non skid vinyl liners are fantastic
· Consider using uniform storage containers that are stackable or nestle into each other of like a puzzle; you will have to experiment with several types of containers to get the best fit for your storage area. Removing provisions from their boxes will take up less space and avoid having issues such as moisture or insects invade.
· Although many cabinets that have doors have locks, there are is still the risk of them accidentally opening. When this happens, items tend to shift or fall out. Make sure to put items from cans, jars, and packets in high clear containers that fit snugly on the shelf.
· Plastic containers are wonderful for a multitude of purposes. Plastic containers, bottles, disposable bags, and so on can be handy for storing just about anything. Just be sure not to go overboard and have too many extra containers on hand.
· Hooks and nonskid bins are also a great way to keep things organized without taking up a lot of space. Those tools work well especially for items that are temporarily in need of storage, such as perishable foods in bins or hooks to hang towels or clothing on.
· In cabinets that are spacious but not uniform (often under sink in the head, for example) consider using hooks to hang hair driers, curling irons, etc. Another idea is to use stackable small plastic bins or drawers, depending on the cabinet size.
· Vacuum sealed bags for extra blankets or linens, or clothing can be a significant space saver for rarely used goods or long journeys.
· Fishing rod straps for your deck are invaluable. If you have multiple rods look into “rod locker organizers” that resemble a board with many small PVC inserts in it. They usually come in pairs, and will do a nice job of keeping rods bouncing all over the place. They also do a great job of letting you “file” rods according to action, length, bait they are designed for use with, or whatever system you prefer.
· Tackle boxes are an obvious organizational tool for the fishing, but also consider using tackle or tool boxes for small safety item storage that is quick and easy to access.
Lastly, another important point about storage and organization is to be absolutely sure your “must haves” are in locations that make them accessible in an emergency. Life jackets, first aid kits, flare and signal kits, as well as tool kits are all within easy reach. Also, two more important tools are a boat paddle and telescoping boat hook. They should be easily accessible and within reach.
With a little creativity and wise decisions your boat can store everything you need regardless of how long or short your boating trips may be. And with these organizational tips you should have a great start to getting your boat space organized for maximum enjoyment.
Cindy Gunderson is the Chief Organizing Guru at TheChaosPlan.com the most comprehensive, creative and cutting-edge personal organization service on the web, we help men and women cut the clutter from their lives. Our members receive individualized attention, direct support, and access to dozens of resources.
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