I Love a Good Challenge



If living in a 244 square foot Brooklyn apartment taught me anything, (besides a love for exposed brick walls) it was how to effectively organize my crap and make use of every nook and crannie for storage. With the refit of our interior we’ve been actively adding as much usable storage as possible. So, what is an organization obsessed girl like me supposed to do with a big black hole of a hanging locker? This sucker is pretty big – about 3 feet deep and 4 feet wide. The thought of throwing duffle bag upon duffel bag in there to fill up the space was giving me anxiety. I was sure I’d just have to get the bag that was on the bottom every time. The anxiety was keeping me up at night and I decided I was going to do something about it.

Me: “I want to put shelves in our hanging locker so we can organize our stuff a little easier”

Jason: “OK. You figure that out. You’re probably going to have a hard time getting the shelves in there with the curve of the hull.”

Bob: (our boating neighbor and friend): “And, if you do, there will be at least a 6 inch gap at the back”


I was officially on a quest. I was going to use my newfound wood working skills and transform this hole into a closet with shelves. Luckily I had just removed the floor panel to reglass in a new piece, so I could use the floor as a template for the lines of the front part of the shelf. Nothing is ever straight on a boat so having this template was a real save in this project. However, the curve of the hull changed with each shelf so I had to remeasure each one of those.

My challenges with this project:

  • There is only a small door (about 15″ wide) and a small cutout (about 8 inches wide) for me to use to get the shelves in. With the space being 4’x3′ you can see the issue
  • I wanted to keep an area where I could store tall things (like a broom)
  • We wanted to always have access to the chain plate and will still need to reattach the stanchion post which happens to be as far back in the closet as possible.

How I overcame these challenges:

  • Cut shelves in half lengthwise with a jig saw so I can get them in easier 
  • Cut stringers in half so that i can put up the first half and have both halves of the shelves sitting on top of each other. Then, hang the second set of stringers. This allows me to avoid trying to screw in stringers in 8″ of space.
  • Screwed in the front half off all the stringers first. Then I put the shelves top two shelves in and hung the second have of the top stringers. Next put the middle shelves up on the first half of the stringers. Then I hung the bottom stringers. Last was the middle stringers. Once all stringers were up I slide the shelves into place!
  • I also cut a 5 inch space into the left front side of each shelf so that we could store tall things as well. I will have to put a lip of some sort on each shelf so that things don’t come sliding off the shelves.

A little tip – avoid painting until all shelves are in because I seriously scratched up all the paint with the oddly shaped shelves as I was getting them in.

I still need to glass in small blocks along the hull for added support. I’ll also be attaching some sort of stringer down the center of the shelves for extra support once we reinstall the chainplate and the stanchion. But for now I can start to lessen the absolute chaos that this boat has become. I’m using 18qt dishpans to help us organize our stuff that I found at Wal-Mart for $2.93 each. The 11 quart ones were $1.93 each. These were much cheaper than any other of the storage boxes I seemed to come across. Using any sort of storage container allows us to use the space in the very back much easier as well.

I will end this post by saying SUCK IT BOYS. I FIGURED THIS BEAST OUT! I now think I qualify as a crafty woodworking craftswoman.

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