NMC052 Boat Projects and IKEA

Daphine Mbithuka


Episode #52: Boat Projects and IKEA

Recorded: April 17, 2017

Location: Riviera Beach, Florida

Subject: Decluttering and reorganizing – maximizing the enjoyment of our little space!

“Small little space” is how Rosa Linda Román, the host of New Mexi-Castaways describes their home; the sailing catamaran, s/v Dawn Treader. Whether living on a boat or in a normal house, clear spaces can make us enjoy our homes more. But one of the things that can make it harder to enjoy our home — floating or landlocked — is too much clutter. It may surprise you how easily things get cluttered, even on a boat.

With her kids in Chicago, Rosa Linda felt this would be the perfect time to sort out what’s important and what’s not really needed for their liveaboard lives. In this week’s episode, Rosa Linda takes us through the KonMari process, which her family uses for organizing, downsizing, and reworking their tiny home. She also shares her excitement over a trip to IKEA in search of some things for the boat.

If your house is full of clutter, this episode may inspire to you start your own decluttering and reorganizing process. Enjoy!

P.S. If you liked this episode check out our most recent episode:

NMC051 Night Watch

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Episode Transcript:

Rosa Linda Román (00:29): Hello, and welcome to New Mexi-Castaways. I’m Rosa Linda Román, and I'm glad you're here. I am driving from the Fort Lauderdale Airport after just dropping off my husband. He is heading to a conference in Las Vegas. My kids are in Chicago. We're staying with my family, having a blast with all their cousins. And I'm going to be by myself with Nala, the doggy. She's our little large puppy who just had her birthday a couple of days ago. And so, she is one. And I'm a little distracted because I'm listening in my ear to directions to head to IKEA. I don't know if you've ever been to IKEA, but it's a store that has like all kinds of stuff for the house and I love it. Rosa Linda Román (01:20): And I've only been a few times ever and they just have really cool, interesting things and a lot of things for small homes like ours, because as you probably know, by now, we live on a 45 foot sailing catamaran, the Dawn Treader. And now that I'm here in Florida, I am reworking some of the spaces that we have and looking at what I need to maximize our enjoyment of the space. So now that my family is all gone, I am going to do my best to get the house in order. I just gave a whole truckload, a trunk load of least of things to donate to good will. My husband brought that down to good will today. I kind of collect things around the boat over time and in one spot, and then, we take it all down to give away when we have a minute. So, today was that chance and Nathan said, the boat is riding higher now because of the elimination of all that extra stuff. And there will be much more to come as I finally have a minute to sort through and sift through and do things on the boat without anyone else in the space. Rosa Linda Román (02:32): I don’t know if you've ever had that experience, but it's a different thing to work on organizing, and downsizing, and reworking a space when you have other people in the space. And I'm really good about being respectful of the kids things and all of that. But after a certain point, I just need to get in there and help them purge some of the stuff that they never will even miss. And so, that's what I'm going to be working on in the next three days. Before this, while the kids were still in Chicago, Nathan and I basically did vote projects. We've been working all around the Dawn Treader to fix things, prep things, order things that needed to be ordered. Rosa Linda Román (03:30): Let's see, I'll start from the stuff that we're adding. Now, sorry about the loud noise. I actually brought the case for my RODE lavalier level mic, but neglected to actually put the mic in the case, so that didn't do anybody much good. So, you're hearing me just on the Zoom H4N recorder and that is… I think picks up a little bit more of the ambient sound than the little lapel mic does. So anyway, hopefully, you hear okay, beause the other thing I forgot was the headphones that would allow me to hear how this sounds, sorry about that. Not perfect, but trying to keep up and keep track of what is going on. So, I hope you still enjoy it even if it is pretty noisy. Okay, so what the boat projects that we worked on? Well, first of all, just starting from the end backwards, my husband just spent the afternoon before we got in the car to drive to the airport fixing a broken pump underneath the floor in our room. Rosa Linda Román (04:41): And what that means is the pump that, when you're taking a shower, so it's totally different than what happens when you're in a house. Everything works differently in a boat. I guess some boats are more like a house, but ours, everything is manual pretty much. So, when you're taking a shower there's a little button that you push, a little black button that you have to push a few different times throughout your shower. And that sucks the water out of the shower, down through some tubes and out of the boat. Because it's just a gray water, I think they call it, and that doesn't hurt anybody or you know, don't use toxic chemicals or anything like that. And so, it just washes out to sea. Well, that pump apparently broke and we didn't know it because the bilge pump, which is the system that sucks water out of your boat, out of the bottom of your boat on the inside, that pump that should automatically suck out any water was also broken. Rosa Linda Román (05:49): So, we didn't know, but we had water filling up the underside of our boat on the master bedroom side, which is the starboard side. And that's not good. I don't remember how we discovered it. I think it was because we were checking a filter, my daughter Ahava and I were checking the filter so that we could, let's see, I'm just checking directions so that we could run the air conditioner and we discovered it was, the hold underneath the floor was completely filled with water. So, that wasn't good. So now, Nathan for the limited time he was home, he worked on fixing that and fixing a number of other things. So, that was one project. Well really two because he also fixed the automatic bilge pump and now the shower's working and draining properly, and the bilge pump is properly sucking things out if it didn't drain properly. Okay, so those are two things. Rosa Linda Román (06:53): We also worked on the dinghy quite a bit. Now, the dinghy is our car. That is how we get around everywhere here. When you live on a boat, the dinghy, which is a small little boat that is on the back of your boat, generally, that is your mode of transportation from your boat to the shore. And our dinghy was giving us endless problems. Apparently, the fuel that we had used in The Bahamas was not good fuel and we now know in hindsight people had mentioned that, you know, to be careful of bad fuel. Well, we didn't really know what that meant until now. And we now know that happens quite a bit actually in some of these locations. And the fuel that went into our dinghy engine just fouled up the engine and made it so it didn't want to start many times. Rosa Linda Román (07:58): So, the kids and I had many adventures of getting stranded in the dinghy, especially, when we were in George Town and I was by myself because my husband had come back to the States to work. And so, the kids and I would be sitting there ready to head off to land and the dinghy wouldn't start, or we would be somewhere heading back to the boat and the dinghy wouldn't start. So, that was one of the big projects that we worked on once we got back. And then, when I say we were worked on, I really mean the he of we meaning Nathan spent a lot of time working on these projects. It's funny though, because before the kids left for Chicago, whenever he was home, which isn't that much, he travels quite a bit. So, you know, he he's a doctor and he goes to New Mexico, still to do his clinical work. And he's a vice-president of integrative medicine and this group of hospitals. Rosa Linda Román (08:51): And so, he travels a lot to these different sites to work on helping the hospital’s program in these different sites. And so, he's gone a lot, and when he's home, because of the nature of having a boat there's always projects that have to be done. Well, when he's home with the kids there and these projects are there and they want his attention for the limited time that he's home and the projects need his attention, and of course, throw in the dog, and then, finally, the wife who would like a little attention too, you can imagine he feels like he's in a pressure cooker. So, he was spending the first part of our boating adventure, our live aboard adventure pretty much cursing the boat and talking about selling it all the time, just not enjoying it. Rosa Linda Román (09:46): But now that we had, I think we had like four or five days home alone without the kids before he had to leave on another trip, and he was able to get a bunch of these projects done, and that changed how he felt about the boat. And that was really nice, to have that dedicated time. It's funny because, you know, everyone's like, “Oh, what are you guys going to do now that you don't have kids?” And I'm like, “We're going to work on the boat a lot.” So, we scrubbed the deck, we refilled the fenders, because the air had over time. The fenders are what keep your boat from crashing into a dock or rubbing, you know, and hitting the hard surface of a dock. And so, the fenders take a beating over time. So, we refilled the air and the fenders, we refilled the dinghy, like re-inflated it. I guess I should say we re-inflated the fenders, we re-inflated the dinghy. Rosa Linda Román (10:43): He added a fuel filter to the fender so that when… F for fender, to the… I'm out of it, still, how is that possible? I actually am getting sleep now. So, he re-inflated the dinghy, and then, he added a fuel filter to the dinghy, which now if we get bad fuel it will filter some of that excess stuff, whether it's water sometimes gets in the, fuel or organic matter. A lot of times little like microbial critters are in there and they fell up the engine. So, he put the filter on, he restrung the pulley system on the davit. So, we now have new ropes because they were so frayed. They were certainly going to break very soon. They were in very bad shape. So, he did that. He did it in a much better way than it had been because everything rubbed so much that that's why those ropes were breaking. Rosa Linda Román (12:00): Plus when we were underway, the dinghy would just take a beating. I mean, it would just, you know, swing and bang against the davit and really not the best situation for the dingy and probably was reducing the longevity of our dinghy just from the crossings. So, that was another project we worked on. I scrubbed all the cushions all over the deck because when we were at the marina in Nassau, we were near the cruise ship port and the shipping port, and those boats put out this disgusting soot and made a total mess of our boat and it was covered in a thick layer of soot from the crossing, but before that a thick layer of like oil and soot from the air, from the Nassau port. Rosa Linda Román (13:08): So, we had a lot of cleaning to do it took us all day yesterday to get it clean, but it's so pretty now. And that was another project we did. Let me think, what else did we work on? He added like ropes on the side of the dinghy. Usually, they're used for handholds. So, when you're underway you can hold onto something and if you hit a wave you don't fly overboard. So, he fixed that. He added some new ropes. A big one was changing the spark plugs in the dinghy, and he added fins to the bottom of the dinghy engine or motor. I don't know if that's the right word, but he added these… they looked like dolphin fins to the back bottom by the propeller of the dinghy motor. And that's supposed to stabilize it because one of the things that was the scariest for me when I was driving the dinghy alone, either with the kids or alone was realizing that if I went even remotely faster than very, very, very slow speed the dinghy would suddenly… the front end would come up right and it felt like it, and it probably would have flipped over backwards with me in it. Rosa Linda Román (14:14): And so, I always had to move at a snail's pace. So, these wings or fins are supposed to remedy that situation. So, I'm excited to try that out and see how that all goes. I'm trying to think what other projects we've done. Well, there's always something, but we enjoyed it. And what I was going to say is now, even though he was working on all these projects, Nathan really seemed much more to be enjoying the boat process, the boat life. And, you know, it'll be different, obviously, the kids will come back and it'll be loud again. But hopefully now that he got some of these things handled, I mean, everything from ordering a new toilet for the master bathroom and stuff like that, you know, there were a lot of things that had to be done. Rosa Linda Román (15:16): So, the toilet in our bathroom leaks and so that's gross. So, he ordered a new toilet. He ordered solar panels because one of the problems we had when we were out sailing and cruising is that our batteries would deplete very, very quickly. And when you have solar panels they can help recharge some of your batteries not completely, but they can last longer. So, that was a big thing we did. So, we ordered that, let's see solar panels. There was some other big purchase I'm trying to think of, we got the toilets, the solar panels oh, the Wi-Fi. So, a big challenge that we've had because we're trying to stay connected, especially, Nathan with his work is that we have been trying to, you know, you try to get internet and the internet has been so awful at our boat, but not terribly awful when we would head into town. So, we started asking around to people, you know, who were using internet and seemed to be perfectly fine with the internet that they found at various locations. And we asked them, what is the deal? And they said they had a booster, a special internet booster. So, that is what we ordered it's called a [PH 00:16:58] wirey pro and I will tell you more about that as time goes on, Rosa Linda Román (17:04): But guess what? I just arrived at IKEA and I'm very excited about that. So, I'm going to let you go and I'll record more after I enjoy this store that is like a drool fest for me. Okay, talk to you soon. Rosa Linda Román (17:25): All right. I am back and I just left IKEA, which is just a wonderland of amazing, you just wander around this massive place. And after having been in The Bahamas, in the islands, where there are no stores like that, first of all, and just generally you do without a lot of things and learn how to be resourceful, and creative, and make sure that you have what you need, but really you don't need all that much more, it's really amazing to me. It was a little overwhelming to be honest. But it's good. It was good for me to kind of wander alone through the store, just kind of thinking about what I want our house to look like and house being the boat, and what I do want and what I don't want. And we're really in the process of purging so much stuff and trying to get rid of stuff that I don't want to just take on a bunch more. Rosa Linda Román (18:35): So, I'm trying really hard to be mindful of anything that we pick up. And so, everything that… I tried to apply, the KonMari principle as I was walking through the store, I'd put something in my cart and remind myself to ask, does this spark joy? And if it sparks joy, then that was a keeper. And then, of course, the next question is, do we have space for it? And if so, where can it go? There were a number of things that I was going to get that I put back and I figured, okay, I got to sit on this because I loved them, but I wasn't a hundred percent sure it was worth the space it would take for those things. So, I'm still fine tuning the space. It's amazing because this is April. We've owned the boat for maybe a year and a half and lived on it full time for 10 months, at least, right? April, May, June. Yeah, so for 10 months we've lived on this boat full time, and yet I'm still very much actively figuring out how I want the space to be. Rosa Linda Román (19:48): There's certain areas that always get cluttered, always end up being very frustrating. And so, I'm always looking for solutions and trying to declutter. So, with the KonMari process, which if you've listened for a long time to this podcast, you know that I went through this system called KonMari, which is the life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo. And that is how I downsize my house. And one of the things that you aspire to through that system is you always look for the click point, the point where you feel like, okay, this is really our new reality and not just an organizational event or where you kind of try to get organized, and then, you kind of lapse, and, you know, back and forth, back and forth. Rosa Linda Román (20:43): The idea is you get to a point where you're not doing that anymore. It's a click point. And so, anything that comes in is something that sparks joy and you instinctively know the stuff in your life that it's time to let go of that no longer sparks joy. And I feel like I'm moving in that direction, but part of the challenge with living in such a tight space nonstop with my family is sometimes it's hard to hear my own voice. I want to make sure everybody's safe and everybody's happy. Plus, I'm homeschooling them. plus my husband has a crazy, unbelievable travel schedule. So, I'm always trying to make room for his big energy when he comes home and when he's gone try to fill in the void. Well, you know, as my kids obviously miss him, and I miss him, and so in that cycle of the way our lives flow I sometimes don't really hear myself. Rosa Linda Román (21:50): And I'm sure many, many people, moms in particular, feel like that because we're so busy making sure everyone else is okay. We forget to make sure we're okay. And I think I've been pretty good about trying to stay connected with at least a pretty good part of myself, the fact that I'm living on a boat and pursuing my dreams, right? That's a pretty good indication that I'm, I'm doing some things right. But the space still feels like there are times where I feel trapped in the space, not necessarily because of the size of the space, but because like I've got these schoolbooks around that were donated by various people and we never use them. And so, every time I… and that's sitting on like on a counter in my room, taking up all the space in that part of my room and there's clutter on my desk. Rosa Linda Román (22:49): And when I see those things, it makes me feel like I'm not really owning this house and feeling like I'm where I want to be. I mean, when we hit these really rough seas, like we did this last passage coming from The Bahamas over to Florida, you know, things fall and too much clutter. There's just no room for it in my life, but certainly no room for it when you live on a boat. So, it's an ongoing thing. The people who do KonMari, there's groups. Like, groups where everybody supports each other. They call it a KonMari Festival when you go through this process. And I guess I'm realizing I'm starting the KonMari Festival or renewing it for the second time. I feel like it was pretty amazingly successful to get me to be able to move on to the boat and pursue a lot of what we've been doing, but I want the space to reflect our new reality and who we are, because a lot of it, I realize is indicative of the old way we were, where you're in the kind of normal routine and there's the normal expectations, and you're pursuing things like your neighbors do or people that you're familiar with and maybe people from your family, right? Rosa Linda Román (24:04): And now I'm at the point where we create our own reality. And when we do that, there's things that were at some point a part of our lives that just no longer serve us. It was an interesting thing today. I had a friend of ours who lived on a boat in the same arena that we've known since basically we moved onto the boat. She's been our neighbor on and off. Well, she just left this morning to go to a new marina. And when she did, she gave us a little carrier for, she has all these little dogs and she carries them around on the… Like, it attaches to the back of the bike and you can put the dogs in there, but it really is a kid carrier, I think. Rosa Linda Román (25:03): Well, she left it for us thinking… and it was very nice. You know, I would have liked to have that. It seemed like a nice idea, but as soon as I started thinking about it and looking at where it would go and you know, whether it would really serve us, I started to realize I didn't want it. And it was a really good feeling to realize I don't have to accept something that doesn't fit in our lives. So, I'm going to donate that. I'll find someone else who will appreciate it, but really getting clear on not taking stuff into our world just because somebody graciously is offering it. And that's a big step in the right direction. But I'm still going through it. It's still an active process. When I look around my house, like the school materials, Nathan and I talked a lot about, well, all of the homeschool type stuff that we have that is not this school year, like I have right now, Samuel’s in kindergarten, Ziva is in fourth grade, and Ahava’s in sixth grade. Rosa Linda Román (26:14): Well, I have like second grade stuff and third grade. So, there's no one going to be using that for two years, but I still have a bunch of material taking up space on the boat. So, I start to really think about that and what do I want to do with that? And Nathan suggested we should just get rid of everything that we haven't used, he said in the last four months since we sailed to The Bahamas, but certainly everything we haven't used in the last 10 months since we lived aboard full time, because we've gone through pretty much every season now, winter, spring, summer, fall. So, at this point it makes sense that if we haven't used it in that timeframe it's time to let it go. Rosa Linda Román (26:58): And then, the other issue is if we're not using that now, for example, the school materials, you know, let that go and we can get it again or get something more appropriate for our kid when they reach that point. So, these are the things I'm thinking about. You know, I loved IKEA and I loved going through and really just kind of sitting with some of the thoughts that came into my head about, “Oh, this would be great.” And I think the most rewarding part for me was thinking and looking at all this cool stuff and saying, “Huh, yeah, we don't use that anymore. We don't need that. Not only do we not have the space for it, but I don't have the need for it.” It has reduced my… I don't think craving’s the right word, but like where the things draw me in, I can look at them and say, “Wow, that's really cool.” But not feel like, “Oh, man, we really should have that.” Rosa Linda Román (28:03): And I don't think we were excessive in our amount of things that we had even in our house, in New Mexico, but over time you accumulate stuff. And it's really been very freeing to realize that I don't have the same need for stuff accumulation that I once did. So that’s what's on my mind. Let me see, what did I end up buying? I ended up buying a, well, so I bought a foldable dish drying rack. I bought these really cool suction cup bathroom hooks and soap holders, things like that because I I've come to realize things just like fall in the shower. So, we used to have those, or we still have those from the first time we were supplying the boat and went to IKEA, and so now, I got some more of those. Rosa Linda Román (29:14): Let's see, what else did I get? Oh, I got plates and dishes because not surprisingly several of the ones from our set that we bought from IKEA when we first moved down to the boat have broken because we live on a boat and every now and then our house takes a beating along with the people on board. And so, yeah, I bought a set to replace the broken ones. We've tried to glue theem and I'm just over that. So, I got myself a new set of dishes and frozen icy makers napkins. Oh, the thing I was most excited about is a napkin holder that has like a weight thing in the center and it will keep the napkins from flying away because with the wind, when you're on the boat, everything flies away. And I like to do our Shabbat dinners and sometimes we have friends over and we like to sit outside. Rosa Linda Román (30:19): So, it's just the little things that you end up appreciating. There's these little containers that are magnetic. And I got those because my daughter has a little magnetic board in her room. And so, that's fun to put her little treasures in there. Yeah, so that's about it. I got some other things, but a lot of the bigger stuff I decided against because we don't have a lot of space. There was a wall map of the world that I was looking at. And I was like, “Oh, that's a perfect map, I'm going to get it.” And then, I looked at it and I thought we don't have any room for that in our house. In New Mexico, I had a wall map that was like, I don't know, 18 feet wide, maybe 15 feet wide, something like that and six feet tall a world map and that was part of the inspiration as I was planning to move on to the boat. But we don't have room for that right now. So, that was pretty funny. Rosa Linda Román (31:21): Okay, well, that's what is on my mind now. I'm just kind of coming into my own head and thinking about what next and where we want to go. Nathan and I spent a good part of the last few days while we were working on projects just talking about where we're going to go next, what we're going to do. The plan is to head up the east coast to like Washington DC and New York city, and really experience some of the places we've never been up the east coast. I mean, I've been to New York and I've been to DC and stuff like that, but it's different when you come into a harbor, first of all, and it's different when you have your kids with you. Rosa Linda Román (32:05): So, we're talking about doing that, but then we have moments where we think, why are we going to do that when we could just turn around and go back down to The Bahamas and beyond? So, we're struggling with a decision of what to do, but it is what we're talking about as we're prepping the boat. And we also talked a lot about making sure that we don't let the stress of all being in this tight space get to us as a family. So, we've been talking about new techniques and new about what we're going to do when the kids come back. A big part of what we're going to be looking at is more doing things for others, things outside of ourselves, because we're so busy with, like so many people, we're just busy and we want to slow down and make sure we're helping other people and doing things that help our kids and ourselves, really look toward philanthropy and how to help others. So, we're going to look for opportunities for that. Rosa Linda Román (33:14): And yeah, so that's what I'm thinking about lately as I drive back now to West Palm Beach, Riviera Beach and go hang out with Nala who will certainly be very unhappy because I left her for several hours by herself on the boat. But hopefully, she didn't upset the neighbors too much and she will get an extra treat when I get home later tonight. All right, guys, I hope you enjoy these New Mexi-Castaways episodes. And I would love to hear your thoughts, if you want to send me an email, rlr@newmexicast.com. If you would like to check out my channel on anchor.fm, it is New Mexicast. And that's a place where I do kind of short audio snippets of our exploration, our daily routine. Sometimes it's just the mundane things that happen when we live on a boat. So, that's a little bit more frequently updated than this podcast, but they are shorter, usually, five minutes or less. So yeah, if you want to check that out, I'd love to hear from you about that as well. Anything you want to hear about, learn about, know about when it comes to living on a boat with your family or whatever other things I might speak to let me know. Thanks for listening. I am Rosa Linda Román and this is New Mexi-Castaways.

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