Monday, June 15, 2015

The Daily Done: June 13

On June 13, I cleaned out my basement. While it certainly wasn't auditioning for an episode of "Hoarders," it was far too cluttered for me. I had brought things down and just left them near the door too many times.
Clutter! Argh!
stuff piled on the floor = unacceptable
disorder = unacceptable
The basement cleanup was actually a multi-objective mission. Objective one: Despiderwebbing. Practically every time I go to the basement, I walk into a strand of spiderweb. I curse "Damn spiders!"and then spend two hours feeling like I have spiders all over me (though I never see any actual spiders).  I've learned to wave my arms around in front of me as I walk, which I'm sure makes me look totally sane. :P So before I spent any time in the basement, the spiderwebs had to go. I made quick work of this task with my trusty Shop-Vac.

Objective two: Set up the table which came with the chairs I bought off craiglist a while back. It's ginormous and will make a great work table. But the table top has been propped against my garage wall since I bought it. Why? Because I can barely move it. That mo-fo is HEAVY. One reason is that there are steel slides underneath which allow the table to be split so leaves can be added.

The good news is that I could take off the slides by removing some screws. 36 screws. With a power driver, of course. I love power tools!

With the slides off, I could easily carry the two halves of the table down the stairs one at at time. I reconnected the halves and put the slides back on. 36 screws. Did I mention I love power tools?

Then I attached the legs, which are held in place by a bolt and nut. A square nut. Maybe there's some great reason to make nuts square, but I had never seen a square nut. And I certainly didn't have the right tool - power or otherwise - to tighten the thing. I had to make due with pliers.

Finally, I righted the beast and added the leaves. The table will make a great work surface in my "saw shack."

The saw shack is a corner of the basement where my chop saw sits. I hung plastic to create a third "wall" behind the saw.

Across the front of the "room," I hung a piece of plastic on magnetic hooks stuck to the metal beam. I can easily pull it closed to keep sawdust from getting on everything in the basement.

As an aside... If you look closely at the picture of the table, in the bottom left corner you can see a footprint. It's one of several. Whatever that white stuff is on the floor -- it's not paint and it's not something loose that can be vacuumed up -- somebody was walking around in it barefoot.

Objective three: Banish the creak. There was a spot on my floor that creaked when you stepped on it. Not a sound like a squeaky floorboard, but a sort of groaning creak that somehow sounded like metal. It was such a disconcerting sound that I would often walk around the other side of the room to avoid stepping on that spot. Investigation revealed that the cause was another of the previous homeowners' home "improvement" projects.

When they built a dividing wall, one stud was cut too long, and it ended up directly under the metal HVAC duct. The stud bowed the top plate (the horizontal stud) up and squeezed the duct between it and the floor above. Every time weight was put on the floor, increased pressure on the duct caused the groaning sound.

I was afraid to cut the stud because an electrical wire was stapled down the entire length of it. There was no slack in the wire, so I couldn't pull it out of the way. Eventually, I had an electrician disconnect the dubious DIY basement wiring. With the wire no longer live, I felt safe to cut the stud. It was not easy! Because of the pressure on the stud, the saw kept binding. Luckily, the wood was already cracked, and eventually I triumphed with a combination of sawing and hammering. I ran upstairs and walked across the floor... no creak! :D I might have danced a little.

Objective four: Get rid of a few things and organize the rest. After the ordeal with the table and the battle with the stud, this was the easy part. :) In one area went furniture to be refinished.

In another, various items to be used in future projects.

Across from the shelves, assorted pieces of wood. The stack of small crown molding at the bottom was a great find at the reuse store. It's new, I paid $4 for the whole stack, and there's enough for the entire bathroom. :)
The wood storage is simply pieces of 1x2 that I screwed to the studs.

Behind that, seasonal decor items and empty boxes. I'll save some of the useful boxes and break down the rest for recycling.

Now the basement is once again within acceptable neat freak parameters.

Tidy basement... Done!


  1. Intrigued by the square nut and its history, I went researching and discovered that square nuts have their own wiki page :p

    The barefoot table prints a bit disconcerting.

    Sounds like you had a super productive day! Repairing that groaning floorboard sound, awesome.

    1. Ha ha! I did the same. I'm such a research junkie. Square nuts are supposed to resist loosening... but that assumes one can tighten the weird thing to start with. ;)

      Indeed. Sort of gross, walking around barefoot in who-knows-what.

      It was productive. And banishing the floor groan was the greatest accomplishment. I hated that sound!

  2. That is super impressive that you diagnosed and fixed that floorboard.
    And how you were able to garner the motivation to clean up your basement, well that's equally impressive-- look at that! So much room for activities!

    1. The diagnosis was a little unorthodox. I didn't have anyone to walk around on the floor while I went down to the basement, so I had to reason out where the sound was originating by studying the floor from the underside.

      I've been wanting to clear it out for a while, and was finally struck with the urge to organize something. :) It's actually a good space to work in, especially during hot weather. The temp outside got up to about 85, but the basement was a consistently comfortable 68 degrees the entire day.

  3. My garage needs to be overhauled like this. I still haven't recovered from the Roommate Fiasco.

    1. Ah, roommates. They can be a great joy or emotionally exhausting. Mine have generally been the latter. :( I love having the house to myself and it would take dire circumstances to force me to live with another human again.

      I'm gonna go drink juice straight from the container now. :D

  4. MOST excellent post and pics!! If I had a basement, I would definitely hire you to come and organize it for me! And I'm always impressed when you talk about power tools as if they are your friends... which they obviously are! I've got a small tool box AND I know how to use what's in it, but power tools are beyond me. You are definitely an inspiration. :-)

    1. If I weren't too introverted to find clients, I'd be a professional organizer. :)

      Power tools are my friends. Except circular saws. I am terrified of those things.

      I used to be afraid of power tools in general, but I have come to love them. Maybe I should write a post about Your Friend the Power Tool. :) I can sing the praises of the oscillating multi-tool.

    2. Why not? It would certainly be within the scope of this blog!

  5. The tidying looks great but those footprints... argh! Scary!

    1. Indeed. Walking around barefoot in a mystery substance... ick!

  6. I also cleaned up our basement recently. But our's is pretty small - exactly 2.4 square meters, so cleaning up was more "organizing" than putting stuff in other parts of the room...

    1. Mine is about 1000 square feet / 92 square meters (the same dimensions as the house). All that space makes it too easy to collect more things than I need.