Clean Up: old basement progress, and finding things

I was able to get a bit more progress in the old part basement yesterday, and it’s the sort of progress that actually feels like things are finally moving forward!

Stuff got put back for a change!

Okay, so it’s really all temporary, but still…

The first thing I wanted to work on was getting the now dry shelves back against the wall. My plan was to put both on one side of the centre pillar, instead of one on each side, like it was before.

It didn’t quite work out that way.

I wanted to put the taller shelf right in the corner of the basement. Of the bricks available, the thinner ones are the glazed bricks that we have so much of, all over the place. I also had more of them, so I wanted to put them under both shelves.

I underestimated just how uneven everything is. Not just the floor, but the floor joists that make up the ceiling! Scrap pieces of paneling have been attached to them in the corner, to hold of things shoved onto the cross beam for storage, and that fraction of an inch made it impossible to fit the shelf in place, while still being on bricks.

It ended up going back to the same spot it was in before.

I don’t know why this shelf was ever nailed to the floor joist. I had to jam that thing in there. It is NOT moving anywhere. (Note the dangling pieces of plastic molding in front of the shelf.)

The little shelf, on the other hand, wouldn’t stop moving!

I put it upside down, so I could place more support under it. The floor is so sloped, plus the shelf itself it so light, it kept wobbling. I found a board to put across the bricks, then added another small piece of board under that to tilt the shelf backwards, toward the wall.

Then, since the intention is to replace the shelves as soon as we can, I got some of the twine I found while cleaning up, and tied it to that centre post it had been nailed to, before, so it won’t fall.

Once the shelves were in place, I had plenty of room to clean up the little bench and set it up.

It’s a solid little bench but, unfortunately, water damaged. Like so much else!

It was also very dirty and cobwebby. Yuck!

Eventually, it will go into the corner where the chimney blocks currently are, but for now, I set it up on bricks near the septic pump.

Then I had to put a half in piece of wood under one leg, because the basement floor is so very, very uneven!

The next thing I had to move was something I really didn’t want to bring back, but we can’t haul it out to the junk pile until the snow it gone.

This is the platform the washer and drier used to sit on. An old, severely water damaged pallet, with an odd addition to it.

That floating bit stuck on one side? I figured, I’d just get it off and be done with it.

But it wouldn’t come off. I even tried a crowbar, and it just started breaking the plywood. I finally scrubbed the dirt off and took a closer look.

For the first time, I found something that was screwed together instead of nailed!

Very thoroughly screwed in place, with four Robinson screws (square tip; it’s a Canadian thing).

Of course, none of the screwdrivers scattered about are Robbies.

So I got myself a Robinson screwdriver from upstairs and stared taking off the screws.

I quickly discovered that 3 of the 4 screws are completely stripped. The squares are now circles!

Part of the problem with this odd piece is not just how it’s completely misaligned from the rest of the platform, but those two pieces of wood supporting the plywood are unexpectedly heavy. MUCH heavier than the rest of the platform, making it very awkward to move around.

I ended up leaning it against the wall.

I put the pallet part of it on bricks, and the weight of the weird bit is braced by the wall. The storage bin lid (with no matching storage bin) was put there so that if the basement gets flooded again, the lid will protect whatever is in it. Then I shoved long skinny things into the spaces to store them in a more organized way.

That pipe against the wall was pipe my brother had bought, just in case it was needed, when he came over to help with the septic pump.

Also, remember that bundle of plastic molding I called attention to, earlier? Those were a real annoyance for me. The basement is so low, even I have trouble moving around in there, and I’m pretty short! I kept having to duck around the dangling bundle.

Well, not any more!

All I did was move them to the space above the shelves. The tall shelf is actually supporting the ends of the bundle.

That pipe hanging down, however, is there for emergencies. The last time there were problems with the septic, my brother had to bypass the outflow pipe from the septic pump. He made a hole in the wall (which is now filled in with spray foam insulation) and ran this pipe from the septic pump, out into the yard, while the system was being worked on. If we ever need to do that again, we can use this pipe, and carve the insulation out of the hole to run it through again.

May we never have to do something like that!!

While moving the bundle, I finally cleared a strange steel sheet with hanging hooks attached to the cross beam. I had been curious as to what was holding it up, because it was so loose.

Not much, it turns out.

It was held up – but not in place – by two of these nails. They were about two inches off in height, and neither was hammered all the way in, so this hanging thing (it appears to be home made) kept moving and sliding around. With the nails hidden behind other things, I couldn’t see what was holding it, and half expected it to simply fall off at some point.

I took it off and gave it a quick wash. I’ll find a better place to hang it up again later.

I also opened up one of those packages I’d found so many of, of things wrapped up in plastic bags. Whatever it was, it was very, very light, and felt basically like a piece of wood.

Given the sorts of things I’ve been finding, that wouldn’t have surprised me.

I turned out to be partially right.

It’s a very, very old level! The larger hole in the side has a vertical level tucked on the inner curve. It’s really hard to see, even when looking right at it!

This went to join the old planer for future cleaning and a bit of restoration.

One of the few nice containers I found in the shelves previously was a little wooden box – with 4 nails (plus holes showing where two more used to be) sticking out of one edge! After taking the nails out, I wasn’t sure what to use it for until I moved the plastic buckets holding the glass canning jar lids I’ve found.

It was the perfect size.

I even found a way to bring back that old wooden barrel.

What a shame, it’s so badly damaged.

Still, I found another storage bin lid with no storage bin, and the barrel is now protected by that. There’s really no reason to do that, since the barrel cannot be restored, but it won’t be hauled out until the snow it gone, anyhow.

And look! I even have an actual garbage can now!

More stuff was brought over to put into the shelves, but not much of what was there originally. Mostly the plant pots, which will come in handy in the future, and a start on the glass bottles that will be made into bottle bricks.

This is what the finished areas look like now.

I was even able to give my mother’s old crock that she used to make sauerkraut a quick wash and store it here, instead of half under an old chair, like it has been for who knows how long!

This is about as done as it’s going to get. Eventually, the shelves will be replaced with plastic utility shelves (which won’t need bricks under them! πŸ˜€ ), the chimney blocks will be taken outside, and the pallet platform will be dismantled and tossed. It’s going to look completely different!

Meanwhile, I did a bit in the area behind the furnaces, too.

The blower is tucked away until the next time we need it. I gave my mother’s “thou shalt not steal” sign a quick wash. After it’s dry, I’m going to put it on that student desk, leaning against the wall. It’s too funny, not to! I’d found an old creamer while I was cleaning things out, and I plan to put that on the desk with some fake flowers or something, and make a little display of found objects. πŸ˜€

That desk is up on bricks, too, with a board for stability. The folding camp chair is there to actually be used. πŸ˜€

There’s still the third shelf that was too damaged to be salvaged, and various things that need to be gone through and either gotten rid of or put away. I plan to dismantle the damaged shelf, to make it easier to remove.

Eventually, I’ll be able to start on the other side of the basement, where I first want to start dismantling the ancient hot water tank, so that can finally be removed, too. It would be nice to get that done before my brother comes back to install the new well pump.

And that’s it! Progress!

I’m finally starting to feel good about this area of the basement!

The Re-Farmer

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