organization, inventory, lists, labels? - SailNet Community
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organization, inventory, lists, labels?

Hi folks,

I have created a "map" of the compartments, shelves, etc. in the cabins of my Catalina 30.

Then, I have labeled the map with the contents of each location. The boat layout is permanent, but the items labeled are in pencil, as it will evolve.

What methods do you use to inventory and locate supplies, spares, etc. on your boat (and help your guests to do the same)?

I plan to put this 8.5" x 11" map in or near my nav station. I have a second small chart showing just my four thru-hulls. It's laminated (since it won't change) and will be displayed for emergency preparedness.

I have considered using a label maker to label each shelf, etc. However, this would add a little visual clutter.

Do you keep a list on a computer? On a list in the nav station? In this ship's log? Displayed or not? Is it a list instead of a "map"? Etc. Etc.

I look forward to your thoughts.
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post #2 of 8 Old 3 Weeks Ago
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Re: organization, inventory, lists, labels?

I have a CAD plan with all the lockers labelled. I have a spread sheet which I can list the contents, locker by locker. It's a huge job and I am constantly re arranging the locker contents. I have way too much stuff on board... as I could easily bring a lot of what I need when I go to the boat.

The whole process of inventory is work in progress. I should probably write down everything in each locker and transfer it to excel, print it and keep in in the locker and in a binder at the nav desk for reference.

Practically all one needs to know is where categories of things are... such as all plumbing related stuff, electrical stuff and so on. But finding the best place can be a problem
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Re: organization, inventory, lists, labels?

I just tend to live in the mystery… .

Seriously though, I tried various organizing tools in the past, both analog and digital. None really stuck for me. What did stick is just living with the space. Things tend to find their natural location, so I learn where to go for them.

As far as inventory of spares, I’m mildly unorganized. I have separate storage bags for various systems (electrical, plumbing, engine, fibreglass, varnish, general tools, power tools). I keep small spares with the various systems, and I keep larger spares in a few bins. I guess I have a mental tally of most things, but I sometimes get caught in my own ignorance.

For major provisioning we do use a list, but we don’t keep an accurate running tally of usage. Again, with constant usage comes awareness of what remains in the larder, so minor provisioning is pretty natural.

I guess my system (or lack thereof) works if you’re in the space all the time. Mine is my home (during the warmer months). Probably not so good for those who only use their boats periodically.

SanderO, I am once again in awe of you. I only wish my mind was that organized — seriously!

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Re: organization, inventory, lists, labels?

SanderO, Your accommodation plan is really sharp! Can you tell us a little more about it like what program, and did you draw the boat yourself or download it into the program? I copied a layout from my owners manual and overlay-ed the accommodations which looks amateurish compared to yours.

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Re: organization, inventory, lists, labels?

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Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
SanderO, Your accommodation plan is really sharp! Can you tell us a little more about it like what program, and did you draw the boat yourself or download it into the program? I copied a layout from my owners manual and overlay-ed the accommodations which looks amateurish compared to yours.
Winter gives me lots of time to do boat stuff while not being on the boat.

I have owned the boat since 1985 and so I am very very familiar with it... the geometry. I used my Vectorworks CAD program and a few of the dimensions I got from the architect's specs... and a sales brochure for Contest 36s... and a handful of measurements I took or know... like the length of the salon cushions... or the same for the aft cabin... the width of the galley counter and so on. I have many photos to use to "sketch from". The drawing is really a sketch with no actual or accurate dimensions and it doesn't need to be precise. For this purpose accuracy is not critical.

I have several layers using the same "background" for other systems and so forth. Something to occupy my time. The CAD sketches are works in progress and are continually being modified, corrected and updated.

I did one for the cooling plumbing for the engine... and several for wiring.

I had none of this until a few years ago so the vast percentage of the time I had the boat I used the Mike O'Reilly method... things were in the same place and I knew where they were. It wasn't until I tried to organize and remove unused stuff that I made the plan and now can't find anything ;-)

Thank you for the kind words!

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Re: organization, inventory, lists, labels?

Thanks guys.

My map is kind of like SanderO's. But, Sander, yours is a work of art. Mine is hand drawn. I like your method of numbering each location and then listing the equipment elsewhere. In my diagram, I wrote the contents directly on the diagram at each location. As you may guess, I had to write small and the diagram is a bit cluttered. I will probably redo it using your idea.

I've owned by Catalina 30 for almost a year. The PO had things relatively organized. But, I've slowly customized my storage plan and have landed mostly where I want to be. Of course, it will never be completed.
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Re: organization, inventory, lists, labels?

I found and printed a few pics of the boats' layout from the manufacturer. To date, they've been used to identify electrical components. One shows the type of bulb in each fixture. Are you sitting down? We have over 60 bulbs! The other identifies which circuit all of the outlets are on.

I've yet to record what is in each locker. There are two things holding me back. First, I'm not convinced I actually have everything in it's most useful location. I've just gotten used to it. Second, I move some things around, add stuff, remove stuff. Seems daunting to keep up.

Fun fact, a schematic like SO's is a requirement for several offshore races.


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Re: organization, inventory, lists, labels?

The contents of our boats is not static. For sure our clothing, towels, bed clothes are changing. But I suspect most don't accumulate these sorts of things they way we do on dirt. We donate clothes and so forth all the time. When we get something new to wear... we donate something old.

Food provisions come and go (consumed) and many pass their use date.

The problem for most of us are the repair, maintenance and sailing gear, spares and so forth. I've saved half cans of paint only to find that they had become solid because I never used them. We buy more fasteners than we need so built up spares... The spare inventory is not really needed for boats which don't cruise off away from chandleries and hardware stores. Now we have Amazon and other online vendors to delivery most anything within a few days. Many move their spares to the dirt residence and then finding stuff is the same problem... inventory and access.

The off-the-grid cruiser is another animal... they will need to keep all manner of supplies and tools to do repairs and maintenance. I was doing that and the boat actually remains a legacy example with me trying to keep track of too much stuff I don't need immediate access to.

I like the approach of planning a repair/maintenance project. Assemble all the stuff you need from wherever and then execute the project. This is far better then diving into it and finding the bits and pieces as you need them.

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