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How Much Storage Do I Need?

By: Jeff Durham - Updated: 11 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
Storage Space On Boat Storing

It would be nice to think that living on a boat simply meant living on a luxury yacht where storage space was not even an issue. However, the fact is that the vast majority of people live on much smaller craft and storage of possessions can be one of the most difficult aspects to resolve.

It’s obvious that you’re most unlikely to have anywhere near the same amount of storage space as you’d have living in a house so a lot of the issues surrounding storage can be resolved by adopting an attitude to your new way of living which enables you to still keep some of your possessions on board whilst, at the same time, accepting that you will need to make some choices and compromises.

Storage Needs

Many people choose to live on a boat as they are looking to adopt a more simplistic lifestyle. If you live in a house and consider things carefully, just think about how much ‘junk’ you’ve accumulated over the years. It’s highly probable that if you went through every room and every storage area within it, you would probably come to the conclusion that you have more possessions within your house that you rarely or even never use than those you use regularly.

So, firstly, when considering storage, the size and design of your boat will be the first issue. Remember that whilst you may not have as many cupboards and the likes of the same number of wardrobes on board, there are lots of hidden nooks and crannies in which you can store items that you may only need occasionally.

Clothes storage causes the biggest ‘bone of contention’ and it’s usually here where you need to be a bit ruthless in your attitude. For example, ladies - do you really need 10 pairs of shoes and several handbags and men - are 10 pairs of jeans and 5 suits necessary and do your golf clubs actually need to be onboard all of the time?

The truth is that there are no rights or wrongs about what you should and shouldn’t be taking on board. That will vary from person to person. What is a fact, however, is that you will need to make compromises on the things you can take with you. One wardrobe or closet may have to suffice if you’re boat is fairly small.

Think about things like cupboard space in the kitchen, for example. If there are only two of you living on board, is it necessary to fill kitchen cupboards with a full dinner service, for example? Obviously not, and therefore you can free up additional space by working out your specific day to day needs when it comes to items that you’re going to be using on a regular basis against those which you may need but only occasionally.

Therefore, use every available tucked away nook and cranny to store those items that you’ll rarely need and then any cupboards, drawers and wardrobe space for the things you’ll need access to on a more regular basis.

Safety Issues

Not only is storage about making compromises, it also has safety implications too. For example, too many items can cause a loss of performance in your boat and, if not stowed away correctly and the boat is strewn all over with items, then this can compromise your safety, especially if there’s an emergency on board.


One of the best ways of approaching storage is to think about any new things you may want to bring on board. We all need new clothes now and again and there may also be other new items, even things as simple as perhaps a few books to read that we want to bring on board. So, if you adopt the attitude that for every new item you bring on board, you need to remove an existing item of similar size, then you won’t go far wrong with storage.

Other Considerations

It’s also important to remember that you’re living on the water and moisture is all around you which doesn’t mix well with the likes of treasured photographs, ornaments, record collections etc. so these are the kinds of things you should be keeping away from your boat.

Remember, many marinas and other mooring areas have private secure storage facilities that you can rent out and keep certain possessions in or you may have a kind family member or friend who has room in a garage or shed where you can store unnecessary possessions until you need access to them.

Possessions and the storage of them and your attitude towards that can actually make or break your determination and desire to actually enjoy the boat dwelling lifestyle. And it will be your ability to be ruthless about what you actually do need, what is actually now ‘junk’ and what you can store elsewhere which will have a major bearing on your enjoyment of living on a boat so it is something that you should consider very carefully and adopt a practical approach to.

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