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living on your boat

Tips for onboard storage

Make the most of your boat space with these 10 storage hacks

When you live on your boat, especially if you've recently moved out of a house, storage space can sometimes be hard to come by! Even if your boat is large it may not always have as much space as a house. So within this guide, we have come up with some creative storage hacks for you to try.

10 creative and essential storage hacks for living in small spaces:

1. Under stair storage

When it comes to saving as much space as possible on your boat, it is essential you don't overlook any storage opportunities, including your stairs. More than just a necessity to getting above and below deck, your stairs have the potential to store items such as shoes or tools.

See the images below from Everything Goes, a business by London based designer Susanna Gibson who developed a range of customisable furniture for boats and small spaces - inspired by living on a narrowboat herself. Showing just how much potential there is for stair storage.

2. Under sofa storage

Your sofa is an essential piece of furniture in your living space and is a perfect opportunity for some additional storage. There are various designs and brands on the market offering sofa's with storage solutions from lift up seating to pull out drawers.

See in the images below the Belvedere Futon Sofa Bed a design from The Sofa Bed Barn which perfectly demonstrates how under your sofa can be a great place for books, DVD's and more.


3. Storage furniture additions

If you do not wish to change your current furniture, then you may want to consider a small additional piece to make smart use of your space. Ottoman and storage stools are perfect for this, giving you an area to hide items away whilst providing a second purpose in your living space.

See in the two images below, the variety of options there are online to choose from, with plenty to suit the style you have in your home. See how they can be decoratively dressed with books or trays too.

4. Foldaway or collapsible furniture

You may notice a bit of a theme, but the furniture choices you make for your boat have a large part to play in the amount of space and storage you have available. Foldaway or collapsible furniture will definitely be your friend, especially if you live on a narrowboat. Dining tables generally take up a proportionate amount of space, by considering a foldaway table and chair set you will potentially space x2 the floor space.

See in the images below two potential solutions. The first is a furniture piece that neatly tucks away both the table and chairs into a sideboard, or if you like to do a bit of DIY yourself, there are multiple ways in which you can hinge and prop a table from the wall of your boat, like this one made by Cluett Carpentry.

5. Roof box

When you have used up every spare space inside your boat, then you may want to consider what space you have on offer on the rooftop. You may already have a roof box, but if you don't this is a perfect way to store some less used items, there are several options available to buy with various materials to choose from including wood and plastic.

The roof of the boxes can also double as an opportunity for additional energy, should you consider a solar panelled option. Or turn your roof into a growing space, seizing the opportunity to grow your own salad and vegetables onboard. See in the images below some examples of this.

Tip: One thing you will want to measure up is the height you are adding onto your roof, especially when travelling under the lower bridges on the canal and river network.

6. External bike rack

If you use a bicycle as a mode of transport from your boat, or you enjoy it as a sport, then you'll probably already know that having bikes onboard can take up valuable space. Whilst investigating solutions to this we came across a blog NB Lazy Days by Alan and Frances Riley.

See in the images below how they managed to establish a tow bar fitting on the rear of their boat, giving them the option for a removable bike rack for their narrowboat by using one designed for a car tow hitch.

7. Hanging or vertical storage

Wall space is one area on your boat which is perfect for displaying and storing smaller items. We spoke with customer Mel Munro from Sawley Waterside & Marina for her storage tips and this was one of them. There are plenty of ways you can make use of your vertical boat space.

Mel loves to use felt fabric hanging pockets, she likes that there are larger and smaller pockets for different items, one of which she uses to store sunglasses and sandals etc. The fabric material allows for 'wiggle' room, as you can sew and adapt the pockets to what you need.

Head over to our social media channels to view Mel's tip video.

8. Rotating TV bracket

Another top tip from our lovely customer Mel Munro, is to hang your TV on the wall using a TV arm to save additional space on your shelf. Not long after moving onto their narrowboat, Mel and husband Paul didn't take long to find a suitable one online.

There are many options available, Mel opted for a 360° rotating one which gave her the option to rotate the whole TV portrait on the wall out of the way. Then when relaxing and watching TV, it can be manoeuvred and angled closer to their sofa.

You can see this demonstrated on video over on our social media channels, you can find the links below in the footer of the page.

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