So. I took on my first ‘home improvement’ project. Something small and seemingly easy. I know, I know – when you live in an old house ‘easy’ is kind of a joke. Seriously though, my project was to spruce up a closet. How hard could that possibly be? Our house has a back stairway with a closet space under it. It is in the perfect spot to be used as a coat closet for winter gear and jackets. The closet was dark and dingy and the wood floor looked to be filthy. What I thought was filth was really cardboard stuck to the floor. I’m sure the cardboard was put there to protect the wood, but after years of wet shoes setting on it this is what happened:

I thought that a bit of water and a scraper would be all I needed to loosen up the cardboard. I opted to use a mask because 1) all the folks on HGTV wear them when they’re doing projects and I’m kind of a follower. Ha! and 2) the dust created from disturbing the cardboard was pretty irritating.

I gave it my all for a good 20 minutes or so and came to the conclusion that my plan wasn’t working. This is as far as a got:

Plan B involved one of my favorite cleaning solutions – Murphy’s Oil Soap!

The scraper was virtually useless. Good old-fashioned elbow grease is what finally got the job done. I had to empty out my bucket of sludge a half-dozen times, but in the end it was worth it! I found a carpet remnant up in the attic and put it down over the scarred, but clean, floor. I’ll admit that the idea of simply putting the carpet on top of the cardboard did cross my mind, and in the midst of scrubbing the sludge it was pretty appealing, but I was determined to improve the space, not just cover up the ugliness. I’m glad I kept at it. Even if I’m the only one who knows that it’s clean under that carpet that’s okay with me. And now you know too, so it was definitely worth it! 🙂

My husband painted the walls for us and we put up some battery-powered lights. I’m learning that in an old house it is possible to add modern conveniences (lights in a closet), but those conveniences are sometimes a little different from what I’m used to.

It may not have been a huge project that makes a huge impact on our house, but it did enable me to unpack the box of coat closet stuff. That’s pretty huge to me!









4 Thoughts on “The Sludgey Closet”

Comments are closed.