The dream of trundling along the canal or river on long summer days is idyllic, but there are some realities that you need to consider when thinking about spending time on a houseboat. If you’re packing up and deciding to live on it, then what do you do with your existing property and contents? If it’s a hobby where you get out on it at weekends and holiday times, what do you take with you and where do you put it?
It’s pretty obvious that storage space is limited on houseboats. Living day to day in the confined space of a houseboat is a long way from the comforts of a house. There may well be space to have some storage, maybe even some built in cupboards, but inevitably you are going to need to get creative with your storage solutions if you own a houseboat.
There are lots of ways of maximising space on your boat and finding extra storage solutions.
Hang Things up – Hooks on the wall and inside cupboard doors are great for storing pots, pans and bags etc. Over door hangers are great too if you don’t want to put screws into your doors.
Use every bit of space – There’s bound to be some ‘dead space’ somewhere. Odd shaped spaces where cupboards meet or there are curves. Try fitting some custom shaped shelving in there. You can also get baskets and storage containers in all sorts of shapes and sizes. If putting shelves above floor cupboards, go as high as you can. Is there scope to raise the bed frame so you can have storage underneath?
Baskets, Boxes, hanging storage – Storage containers are no longer the unattractive plastic boxes they used to be. You can get attractive containers of all shapes, sizes and materials. Hanging wardrobe and shoe containers can help maximise use of any wardrobe space.
Vacuum Pack – Do you need to take extra blankets or quilts? You may not need them all the time and vacuum packing them can save a huge amount of space. If living on the boat permanently the same could apply to seasonal clothes.
If you’re considering buying a boat and living on a boat, the storage solutions are probably handy to know, but more important decisions like what to do with your property and its contents will be the top thing on your list to sort out.
You may be selling your property to pay for your life on the water, so the bricks and mortar won’t be an issue. But the contents will. Do you sell everything? What happens if you change your mind and decide you prefer terra firma? It may seem like an idyllic dream, but the reality of living on the water may not live up to expectations. Do you really want to have to buy everything again? What if you have things that you really don’t want to ever part with, but there’s no room to take it with you.
If you’re selling your property to go and live on a boat here’s what you need to consider.
- Decide what you need from the house to go to the boat. This will more than likely be things like kitchenware, clothes, bedding, pictures and personal belongings etc.
- Decide what you plan to sell from the remaining items and arrange to sell them
- Decide what you can’t bear to part with or want to hang on to just in case you, but can’t take with you and arrange for good, dry secure storage. Make sure you prepare and pack those items properly before they go into storage. They’re going to be in there for some time and you don’t want them to get damaged.
Maybe you’ve decided to hang on to your property for a while as a failsafe and want to rent it out instead. You’ll still have the decisions about what to take from the house to the boat but in addition you’ll need to decide whether to rent it furnished or unfurnished. Even if you decide to leave the main furniture behind (sofas, wardrobes etc.) it’s likely there’ll be some items of value, either sentimental or financial, that you don’t want to leave in the house. It may not be practical to take them on the boat so you’ll need to arrange suitable storage. Self Storage centres have units of all sizes, so whether it’s your grandmothers best set of china or a hand carved sideboard, you’ll be able to store it safely and securely out of harm’s way.
Finding a good self storage centre that you trust and that gives you peace of mind is important as there may well be times when your boat needs to be out of the water for a period of time for repairs. If that happens the chances are you’ll end up staying with friends for a week or two and they may not have space to store your belongings.
If boating is your hobby and you’re closing the boat up for winter, you may only need to take some things back home with you. If you’re sure the locked boat will be secure, then most of the smaller things can probably stay, but items of value should really be removed. If you decide you’d rather take things out, but don’t have space to store it all in the garage at home a self storage unit will solve your problem.
Do you own or live on a boat and have any tips for those pondering the idea? Is there something essential that no-one warned you about when you made the leap from land to water?