Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Yard Sale Score, Hoarding, and Odor Removal!

My mother, the littles and I all went yard saleing this past weekend (oh, be quiet spellcheck, that is too a word!) Daddy doesn't do yard sales. If he has to shop, he wants to get in, go straight to what he needs, and get back out before he has to actually interact with any people. (Yet, he will spend hours at an auction where he has no intention of buying anything - that one, I do not get at all.)
At yard sales, there is no quick getting in and out - there is browsing, rummaging, and staring hard at various items, trying to decide whether or not they are something you always wanted/needed, you just didn't know it until this very instant. As someone whose Pinterest boards are full of creative uses for old shutters (which I have yet to find at a yard sale), this is the part of yard sales that appeals to me most.
That, and, I'm very, very cheap.
So, at the second yard sale we hit, when I saw three new-looking, largish CD/DVD racks priced very reasonably, I had to stop and stare hard. My first thought was, "pantry!" But, I knew they wouldn't fit in my pantry. I stared more. I thought more. They were really very cheap. They would probably fit in the van. Obviously, what I needed to do, was get another pantry to put them in. So I bought all three of them (much to the dismay of two older ladies who came in right after me).
They did fit (barely), and as we drove slowly around to the rest of the sales on our list, I plotted where I could possibly put them. We picked up some kids' clothes, a kindling bucket for the wood stove, and a neat little cast iron grill. Then Mom and I both started to sniff suspiciously...
Cigarette smoke. Which we are both allergic to. The clothes, maybe? No matter, I always wash clothing as soon as I get home.
Nope...you know what it was, don't you? The shelves. The particle board shelves. Shelves made of porous material that soak in everything, and which would get completely ruined if soaked in anything liquid.
By this time, however, I had figured out where I was going to put them - the closet in the boys' room, which is just used for storage anyway - and I did not want to give up my new imaginary pantry. I brought them inside and wiped them down with a dish soap and Borax solution, then a vinegar and water solution. Nothing. Having a husband who traps skunks, I know the wonders of Woolite (forget tomato soup or the hydrogen peroxide recipe, trust me: Woolite takes out all trace of skunk odor!) I aprayed on a watered-down Woolite solution, leaving it as damp as I dared: no luck.
Fortunately, Daddy recently started using a new (to us) cleaner in places like the underneath of houses, where you can't just suds up with Woolite:
Hillyard, Take Down Enzyme Cleaner, Concentrate, fresh & clean scent, HIL0046804, 12 quarts per case, sold as 1 quart
As Woolite's biggest fan, I had a hard time believing anything commercial would work better, but I tried it. I sprayed it on, wiped it around - smells like soap and cigarettes. I resigned myself to months of baking soda boxes, and started moving the shelves into the closet. As I began piling cans on, I suddenly realized...
...all I smelled was soap. It took maybe half an hour, but it worked perfectly, and I have a new favorite cleaning product! (Don't worry, Woolite, I still love you for all my skunky laundry and canine needs!) It says it can be used on carpet, so I sprayed it on "that" spot in ours, and we seem to have a success there, too! (I am reserving judgement for a while - carpet odors are notorious for returning, especially when your house is as old as ours).
And my new pantry? Le sigh...
I really like this setup, because I can see very quickly what I need more of (mushrooms!) and what I am completely out of (beef broth! How did that happen?!)

The shelves are easy to move around to fit the containers. I did put shims under each set, to make it lean a little more towards the back wall - if I decide for sure I like this arrangement, I will attach them to the wall more securely.
The area to the left still had some free space (this is a very long, shallow closet), where I hung C.'s 4 solitary button-down shirts, and covered the floor with bottled juice. No wasted space!
I still have dry goods in the pantry just outside my kitchen, but they aren't likely to explode in extreme heat or cold. My plan is to move things like canning jars from the garage - which is on the other side of our property - to the 'old' pantry, so I don't have to trek over and search the garage for them. Hopefully, that, in turn, will give me enough space to organize old clothes and toys out there. Since the garage is not as well-heated as C.'s closet, however, that will have to be a project for another day!
So, what have you repurposed for storage in your home?

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