Storing Clothes

I’m not going to lie…it took me a full year to get used to living in a sailboat.  Herby has touched on the many things that I improved during the process of creating a comfortable living space aboard Wisdom, and I’m sure I’ll be talking about them as well in the future, but right now I’m going to focus on the challenge of storage.  As a female, I have many, many clothes.   Before moving into the boat, I filled a walk-in closet and two dressers with my various seasonal garments.  One of the biggest challenges, therefore, has been selecting my favorite clothes and storing them in a way that doesn’t drive me nuts.

 You may not like to hear this, boys, but if you want your girlfriend or wife to move into a boat with you, you must relinquish all claims to your largest closet.  I went to target and bought a ton of hangers for my sweaters, dresses, and button-down shirts.  I did give up quite a lot of closet space for the installation of the AC unit, but this was a necessary sacrifice and I have no regrets.  I am not a big shoe person, but when you live in a boat, even the smallest collection of items seems like a mountain of possessions.  It was a huge help when we got one of those shoe pocket things from Ikea to hang on the inside of the closet door. 

The rest of my clothing is stored in forward cabinet space.  Now in order to divvy up these cabinets fairly, I drew a chart of all the spaces and then we placed our names inside each one along with a label for what we planned to store in them.  Herby got the high up cabinets because he’s tall, and I got most of the bigger ones because I’m stubborn and have way more clothes.  Nevertheless, this worked very well for us and gave us a clear visual of all the space available before we started shoving clothes in random compartments.  I highly recommend it. 

I have an overflowing bin of pants in the largest cabinet and two plastic drawer bins from Ikea that I’ve filled with shirts.  There’s a convenient cluster of cabinets on either side of the V-birth entrance that are the perfect size for under-garments, PJ pants, and belts, and a small seat under which I store all of my graphic T-shirts.  It actually all works out quite well. 

My only complaint is when it comes to doing “The big seasonal switch,” as I have dubbed it.  This is when I take all my winter clothes in bags and switch them out for the summer ones because, I’m sorry to say ladies, but there just isn’t enough room to store warm and cold weather clothes.  My poor parents will be having to deal with half my clothes remaining in my old bedroom for quite some time.  This also includes all of my formal dress wear that I don’t use on any regular occasions. 

I’m going to list some other tips for storage that I have either discovered myself, or were passed along from my neighbors.

  1. If you have more storage room in your boat that isn’t readily accessible, store your off-season clothes there in tightly packed bins.
  2. Hang a rod in the back of your car and use it as extra closet space for dresses. (I’ve seen this done, but I wouldn’t suggest it if people frequently ride in your back seat.)
  3. Roll your clothes into tight cucumbers instead of folding them. 
  4. Use the bed to fold/roll laundry
  5. Go to Ikea
  6. Don’t wake up with a specific outfit in mind.  You’ll never find it. 
  7. Draw a picture of all the storage and divvy up space accordingly with your partner.
  8. Keep an open mind…you’ll get used to it once you establish a system that works for you.     
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