by Connie McBride
From a three-bedroom Cape Cod in a quiet neighborhood, we moved our family, including three small boys, into a home of less than 300 square feet. With our new home came a new lifestyle: we were now “cruisers,” living and traveling on a small sailboat. We had planned and schemed for years and were confident that we could both live in small spaces, and comfortably raise our family while traveling through the Caribbean. When the five of us tried to move what we considered “essentials” onboard, though, the space quickly shrank.
While I was chastising the boys for bringing too many toys and my husband, Dave, for his multiple lockers full of tools, I discovered that I too had overestimated our boat’s capacity. I was left with 10 sarongs and skirts that would not fit in my clothes locker. After questioning why I even own 10 sarongs and skirts, Dave jokingly gave me the same solution we had been telling the boys, “Guess you’re going to have to sleep with them.”
I glanced at the throw pillows we had inherited with the boat but planned to throw away. The stuffing was mildewed and not worth trying to save, but the shells were salvageable. I smiled, thanked Dave for the suggestion, then got to work.
I cut along one seam of each pillow, removed the stuffing, washed the shell and sewed Velcro on the inside of each cut edge. Next, I folded the clothes to the width of the pillow and rolled them, placing them on top of each other, filling the shell. I Velcroed the edge shut to complete the “pillow.”
After a few years we replaced these aged pillow shells with covers designed to go over throw pillows. They have a flap on the back, eliminating the need for Velcro. I have learned not to store anything with zippers or buttons in the pillows because we do still lean and lay on them. These clothes storage pillows are uncharacteristically heavy, but they are comfortable and look good. Best of all, I don’t have to sleep with sarongs and skirts.