Saturday, May 9, 2015

Homeless...With Too Much Stuff

I woke up this morning and find myself, for the first time in about 23 years, homeless.  At least that is how the government sees me.  We closed on the house yesterday evening without even being there, having Fed-Ex'd the signed paperwork to the title company a couple days ago.  So today I have no fixed address.

And yet for having no house, we still seem to have a lot of stuff.  So today we spent more time trying to find places for stuff.  Ever since I moved aboard, I've been using the rear berth as a storage area. The cabinet in the berth was where the previous owner had put some spares and supplies already, so it just became the defacto garage.  Whenever I had larger items or things that I just didn't know where to stow, they ended up piled in that berth.  So yesterday I decided I wanted to reclaim that berth...or at least most of it.

We now have two nice dry storage areas in the peaks of the two hulls, and those seemed like the perfect places.  You don't really want to store heavy items in the ends of the hulls, but the space would be perfect for big and bulky items. Rolls of fabric for the dinghy chaps project and window coverings went in the hold.  Other longer term project items found their way to the spaces further from the holds hatch.

It had a LOT more stuff in it when we started.

A couple of the items that have been living on the berth bed were my bags of hand tools.  The main reason I was storing them there is that is where I also had the dehumidifier hooked up, and I figured keeping the tools in the least humid part of the boat was a good idea.  But they can't take up permanent residence on the bed, so I had to come up with another solution.

Since the port forward hold is at the opposite corner of the boat from the generator, I figured placing the tools there would help to balance out the boat (the starboard rear always sat just a little lower in the water due to the generator).  But what to do about moisture and rust.  I did some research and found that some people recommended linseed oil as a protectant and others suggested storing tools in boxes with DampRid or a similar product to help dehumidify the tools.

Anyone know where I can get a pie shaped container?

Looking into DampRid, I found the chemical they use is Calcium Chloride, which can be purchased cheaper in pool supply stores or as ice melt.  The other problem is that it dissolves into solution as part of the water attracting process, which I thought might get messy and makes reuse difficult.  Continuing my research I found a better option...I think.  You know those little packets of stuff you find in electronics packaging and medicines?  It is called silica gel (and the packets usually say "silica gel, do not eat") and it is a desiccant that doesn't dissolve.  In fact, you can reuse it by drying it out in an oven at 250 degrees for a while.  This sounded like a better option to me.

But how do you get a lot of silica gel without buying thousands of dollars worth of electronics or thousands of bottles of aspirin?  If I had only known I could have saved all those little packets, but they are long gone.  You can, however, buy it in bulk at your local craft store (Michael's or similar).  But don't go in there and ask them for silica gel or a desiccant or a chemical to keep tools from rusting or you will get some strange looks.  However, if you go and ask them for the stuff used to dry flowers, they will point you to a 5 pound box of the stuff.  Then all I needed was a way to use it without making a mess and picking grit out of my tools.

The solution I came up with is similar to small versions of the DampRid buckets.  I found some small plastic containers with screw-on lids from the dollar store, and a pair of pantyhose from the same place. I cut holes in the middle of the lids, smoothed the holes with a lighter, and cut bands of the pantyhose (also using a lighter so they wouldn't unravel) to make screens for the holes.  Fill the container about half-full of silica gel, place the pantyhose over the opening, screw on the lid, and presto - one large, spill resistant desiccant pack.  I found a couple storage boxes with gaskets and placed my tools in those boxes along with a couple of my desiccant jars.  Hopefully that along with the oil treatment will help keep the rust at bay.

Homemade desiccant jars

So, I've reclaimed some of the space in the berth least enough I can now access the engine underneath without having to move a bunch of stuff.

Hold filling up.

One other interesting thing happened yesterday.  A nice guy I met back in Colorado at ZeroToCruising's party dropped by for a visit.  He is originally from the north Florida area and was visiting family.  He stopped by, and I gave him a tour of our boat (even though it was a total mess right in the middle of our reorganization attempt), a tour of the marina, and then we went to lunch.  Since he was a local and likes to fish, I took the opportunity to ask him a few questions because I still know almost nothing about deep sea fishing.  We had a nice visit before he had to head back to his family.  Thanks for stopping by David, it was good to see you again, and thanks for lunch too!

Well, I had better get back to work so we can get this boat moving north.


  1. Congratulations on your new homeless status. :)
    Looking forward to reading more about your adventures.
    Only just noticed your updated About Me description "an ex-software engineer".
    Looks like all the pieces are falling into place.

    1. Thanks Alan! Don't recall exactly when I added the "ex-" but it was well after I left that job. Still trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. :-)

  2. Congrats on selling the house! I remember how great it felt to have that burden/anchor gone.

    Can't wait to read about your cruising adventures soon and hopefully meet up out on the water.

    Fair winds,


    1. Thanks Cap'n! Hope to catch you out there soon.

    2. Thanks Cap'n! Hope to catch you out there soon.