Clean up: old basement. It begins!

Photo heavy post ahead! 🙂

Today, I started cleaning up in the old part basement. Since I would have to move things to clean under them anyhow, I decided it was time to finally do the proper clean up I was intending to do, later in the year.

I started in the half of the basement near the septic pump, since that’s where the biggest mess was. Slowly, I’ll work my way over to the other half, where the tanks, well- and sump-pumps are, as well as the space that used to hold firewood. There are now two broken hot water tanks stored on that side, so while there’s less there to clean up, it’s got the big stuff.

Now that I think about it, the biggest job is going to be cleaning up under the stairs. *shudder*

Today, I got about 4 or 5 hours of work done, before I had to call it a day! I found so many things, I’m going to have to do a separate post, just about those! 😀

The first thing do to was haul out the sludge buckets.

Getting them up the stairs was not fun.

Talking to my husband about future renovations, one of the things I want to do is convert the space where the old chimney is now, into a dumbwaiter. That would make it so much easier to get things from floor to floor! Especially full, slosh-y things.

After sitting for so long, the water we got off the floor and bailed out of the old laundry sink had cleared up and settled quite a bit, but after all that work unclogging the drain, the last thing I was going to do was dump that water down there! They got emptied behind the outhouse – and once empty, that square bucket made carrying the sludge from the pipe much easier!

Now for the basement…

My brother had dragged a bench over from the new part basement (the “new part” of the house is a mere 40 or so years old, while the “old part” is about 90 years old) for something to spread his tool case open onto. There’s a pile of crumpled up old posters of trucks that used to be on the wall at the end of the stairs; I had taken them down and they were on the floor, waiting to be thrown away, and got very wet when the water backed up. I just quickly shoved them onto a dry patch of floor. The shovel was the ash shovel for the old furnace, I think. It became my dust pan.

There’s a whole lot of … stuff… shoved into the corner, including a bunch of broom handles, and a couple of old sump pumps that are probably broken.

On the other side of the entry into the new part basement is stuff I will get to later. There are 7 of those chimney blocks there, plus the one by the old laundry sink, that will eventually go outside. Behind the old wood burning furnace and the new electric furnace is a fantastic blower that does a bang-up job of drying that floor!

One of the first things I had to do was wash off the outside of the garden hose we used to clear the clog in the pipe, and clean and clear away a few other things. Only then could I finally get to work on the floor.

These are before and after shots of the corner after moving out the pallet based where the washing machine used to be. This basement is prone to getting wet in the summer, so a lot of things are raised off the floor in some way. I thought the pallet base could be moved out bit by bit, but it turned out to be all on piece, cobbled together. Once it was out of the way, I could sweep the area – including the walls in the corner – then mop it.

And mop it.

And mop it again.

It didn’t take long for me to give up on the mop bucket and just use the old laundry sink.

I focused on mopping the area that got hit the worse with the water that backed out of that pipe with the P trap. Which, my brother informed me, was where the washing machine had drained into. I don’t remember that at all. In fact, I think my mom was still using a wringer washer when I moved out, and that was emptied into the drain in the floor.

This corner alone probably took about an hour, plus another 10 minutes or so that I took to try and clear the drain in the floor a bit. I will get back to that another time, to try and clear it out more. It rarely gets used these days, so it’s not as much of a priority.

Once that area was mopped, including around the septic pump and the laundry sink, I set the blower towards it and got it going.

Then it was time to work on the next section.

Which took another 3 hours or so to get clear.

The things I was finding in there!!! But that will be in my next post.

Finally, I got it to this point.

I was shoving the stuff I cleared out into the new part basement, and was starting to run out of room. I didn’t bother emptying the one shelf in the corner for now, but could finally move the other two, starting with the taller one.

Which wouldn’t move.


It took a while, but I finally found why.

It was nailed to the floor joist above.

I had to first wrestle out the glazed bricks that were under it. That picture with the broom and the bricks? The shelf is hovering a couple of inches above the floor at that point. I could then use a crowbar to pry the shelf loose.

Which is when I could see there were actually two nails holding it up.

Once clear, I could lay it on its side and move it. I was rather pleased to see a complete lack of water damage at the bottom. Those bricks definitely did their job.

Then it was on to the shorter shelf.

Which turned out to be nailed to the post.

Once the shelves were clear, I could see the holes through that post. I have zero memory of why they are there, or what they were used for.

Finally, I could start sweeping the wall and floor.

The walls are something else, that’s for sure!

Two of the wall pictures are of that north wall behind the shelves. One is the section of wall at the bottom of the stairs. A lot of wall crumbles are being held only by paint. You can even see “bubbles” of bulging paint that’s still managing to hold.

I suppose that’s not too bad for 90 year old concrete?

This is where I left off for the day.

The blower did a great job of drying the floor in the corner, so I adjusted it again to aim under the old laundry sink.

While cleaning under there, I could finally see just how rotten the legs are. They look like old table legs. The back ones have a lot of water damage to them, and wobble all over the place. One of them doesn’t even really touch the floor. I’m not sure what’s holding it in place!

I found that sink to be incredibly useful. Even though we don’t do laundry in the basement anymore, it will be worthwhile to replace the laundry sink at some point. Maybe sooner rather than later, if we can.

Until then, I’ll be back at it tomorrow, and will hopefully be able to mop the entire area.

Then I’ll have to figure out how I want things to arrange things again. Lots of what was cleared out will be trashed. Others, I don’t necessarily want in the basement at all, never mind back in this area.

I’ll figure that out when the time comes. Right now, about the only thing I can say for sure is that I want to keep the corner by the septic tank as open and empty as possible, for access to taps, pipes and shut off valves.

Stay tuned for my next post, when I show just a few of the things I found in here!

The Re-Farmer

5 thoughts on “Clean up: old basement. It begins!

    • And this is the basement that was “clean”. Me brother had done a lot on this side before we moved in. Even the plumber commented on how good it looked, the first time we had him out here. Granted, he was around the hot water tank, and that area was almost empty at the time, but still… Lol

      At some point, I want to actually use the basements for things other than shoving our Christmas decorations and bags of aluminum for recycling out of sight. It’s going to take forever to do the new part. I’m hoping to lure my brother over for some of it, just so he can tell me what to do with some of the stuff we will be finding. I’m told the old drill press actually works! Lol!

      Liked by 1 person

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