shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Clothes Storage Aboard

April 6, 2015

A few weeks ago someone asked how to keep clothes organized on board. I've mentioned a few of these ideas in various places (most of them in Simply Sailing: A Different Approach to a Life of Adventure), but I think it's worthy of a repeat.

One of the biggest adjustment to moving from a house to a boat is erasing preconceived notions. In a house clothes are stored in the closet, in a dresser, or in the case of my kids, on the floor. While hanging lockers are usually found aboard most boats over 30 feet, they are generally small and create their own problems after a while. Anything that you can manage to squeeze into a hanging longer is going to swivel as you move. While this may seem insignificant, if you rub the same piece of fabric against a bulkhead enough times you will eventually wear a hole in it. If the noise doesn't drive you crazy first. We solve the noise problem by jamming our hanging locker so full that nothing moves much. Much. But we still don't hang anything that's not rugged enough to take the friction, reserving the small space for foul weather gear, jackets, wet suits, and what has become known over the years as "the shoe thing."

Shoe pockets

The shoe thing is designed for use in house closets. It velcros over the bar (I have had to sew it on to keep it in place.) and can hold up to 6 pairs of shoes. In our case, we use the shoe thing to hold items that we may need in a hurry and not want to dig in the bottom of the hanging locker to find: harnasses, umbrella, sungloves, bandanas (to keep my hair out of my eyes on watch at night), and a dozen other little items whose permanent home has not yet been determined.

Clothes pockets

We have two drawers in the head of our Creekmore 34 where we store small clothes like underwear and socks. Larger items are stored rolled in a ziplock bag. When we first moved aboard I had the seemingly brilliant idea of storing my extra skirts and sarongs in a pillow cover. This worked great until we spent too much time up north and the boat began condensing on the inside: these pillows got damp and the clothes inside them mildewed. Now all my clothes go in ziplock bags to keep them dry. Rolling them helps minimize the wrinkles, but it still helps to plan ahead if you want to attend a less casual affair without looking like boat people.

Kids' toys pockets

Over the past 15 years aboard we have had several variations of clothes storage. I made wall pockets for the boys to store their toys and then liked them so well that I made one for myself for swim suits and other clothes I didn't mind being against the hull. I have also hung (and then removed, and recently rehung) a hammock for clothes that I need to grab in a hurry: a hat, long sleeved white shirt, my favorite swim suit, a sarong.

Izzy sleeping on a clothes pillow

Oddly enough, I rarely put shoes in the shoe thing. When there were 5 of us onboard Dave's biggest pet peeve was the pile of shoes that was always by the companionway, so I took my basic pocket plan and made shoe pockets. They are made of phifertex so they breathe to help keep shoes from getting funky.

The shoe thing

There are dozens of imaginative ways to store clothes and what works best on one boat may be impossible on another. But by gathering and trying different ideas, you can find your own solution to the ever present problem of storing clothes aboard.

Ziplock bags full of clothes

We are hardly gadget people, but MONDAY we'll share a new piece of electronics that we think is old-school enough that even we can appreciate it.

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