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I live in a small boat and I hate clutter. Those two statements together almost guarantee that I will forever be stressed out because, with a small boat, there is not a ton of space to hide the misc. bits of stuff that we need to live with, aka clutter. For example, at this very moment, within arms reach of where I’m typing this post, there are five books and two Kindles, and that’s just reading material! No wonder we’re always looking for creative storage solutions.

Not too long ago I came up with a storage idea that I thought would work but because it involved sewing, we put it onto the list of tasks to do when we next broke out the sewing machine. Getting the sewing machine all set up for just one little job is a PITA. Yesterday, and the day prior, was such a time though. After describing to Rebecca what I wanted, and sketching it out on a piece of paper along with some rough dimensions, she set to work. Fortunately, we still have quite a bit of Sunbrella remaining from the supply we purchased when we were back in Annapolis.

As with many boat projects, the original design ended up being modified a few times over the course of construction but we’re pretty happy with the finished product. While I had originally intended to fasten the top edge with screws, down inside the lockers underneath the seat cushions, I determined that if a block of wood was sewn into the top (we actually used a chunk of plastic material that we had on board), it would act as a stopper so that when the locker’s lid was closed overtop of it, it would remain in place. In my mind this is a big improvement as, while it is still secure, it can be removed easily and didn’t require any more holes to be drilled in the boat. Perfect!


  1. I really like those! I am always looking for ways to organize our boat

  2. Hey that looks great, a really good idea. You could probably use a few more of those around the boat, ex: one below the helm chair as a holder for binoculars, just a thought.
    Keep up the great work on this blog, we are always learning something from you guys.
    Safe trip to Trinidad.

  3. Kind of like the holders that go over the arm of a chair for remotes and misc. Gee do I see you on an episode of The Lions Den? Oh and I like the PITA, took me a minute, to realize it wasn’t of the edible kind.

  4. Great idea. Do you(Rebecca) use heavier duty sewing needles when sewing sunbrella?

  5. They are good. Well done Rebecca, and the designer too of course.


  6. Have you seen or used SNAD’s by YKK. They have a self adhesive base instead of drilling into the boat. Sailrite have a promotional video on them.
    They come in 2 sizes and some are UV resistant and seem to be a wonderful product. Only problem here in Australia is that no one will sell us 100 and only want to send 1000 at a hugely inflated price.

  7. Neat. I’ll be copying those, resized for my specific types of clutter. Also, my table is different and may have clearance issues.

    A few things that helped us a lot (I don’t cruise so far, but I do cruise for some weeks with 4 people, 2 of which are teenagers):
    1. Hinges on all of the salon and under bed lockers. When I open the lid, I don’t have to find a place for the lid. I can get one thing quickly.
    2. Trays for the same lockers. Reduces the amount of stuff lost in the dark. Bins can be good too.
    3. Trash bags. We keep little bags hanging on a stick-on hook on the aft edge of table. When trash is more quickly bagged, even a bottle cap, that always helps.
    4. Bags on the foredeck seats. One is a PCV pipe winch handle holder. I have winches on the mast and I don’t fancy climbing around the side deck carrying it. The other is made of tramp material and holds the bridle and a few other bits used when anchoring. I’ve taken green water over the whole boat and never lost anything from these bags; perhaps it is a matter of fit.
    5. Salon table clutter catcher. Rather spacific to our table, I guess.

    Hell, lots of other tweaks. It’s amaizing how long it takes to dial in a boat to the way you live. Seems it should take weeks, but it takes years for the simple to become obvious.

  8. Very nice! Now come up with a guitar holder. 🙂

  9. Tim and I have been talking a lot about this issue in the last couple weeks because of some interior pictures of cruiser boats that I’ve seen online. I just don’t want to live in a storage center so we’re trying to really be choosy about what we plan to take. We’ve been living on the boat 1/2 of every week for a couple years and other than some clothes and a few tools, there’s really not much we would need from the house. I hope to remain disciplined about this. Also, I try to find as many multiple-purpose tools/utensils so that it limits the space. So far the winner in this category is the venerable ice pick. I use it for ice of course, but also as an awl for sewing, as a cake tester for baking, as an aligning tool for fasteners…imagination is the only limit.

    Thanks as always for your informative and thought-provoking posts,

    S/V Kintala

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