The scary closet in the basement

kindred_nyFebruary 4, 2011

So after living here for a year and a half, I finally got up the courage to empty the scary closet in the back corner of the basement. Thankfully no mice or rats or spiders jumped out at me ( or scurried or anything). But I did find some very cool stuff. Some very old linoleum tiles (brown with yellow and off white streaks), floor wax,an old plastic toilet seat stuffed into the box from a wooden toilet seat, old bottles of various stuff (terpentine, and some Gallo wine!) and probably every can of paint ever brought into this house since the 40's! (the house is 1916). Someone must have either built the closet then or cleaned it out around the 40's, because there's nothing older than that in there(except maybe the tiles?). But it all sort of tells a story... :-) and I lived to tell it!!!

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Haha! I SOOOOOOO get this!!!! Your title grabbed my attention because when we first moved into our house, I was so totally freaked out by a closet in the kitchen that I screwed it closed! I was so overwhelmed by the house and having buyer's remorse at the time, and I just couldn't handle the thought of what could be in that closet! It took a good 3-4 months before I had the guts to take the screws out and open it up! The closet now holds all of my small appliances as well as my trash can, and I laugh at myself for having screwed it shut in the first place!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 10:25PM
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lol jiggreen. :) That's funny.

once upon a time we had a gravity furnace in the basement that was converted to oil. once upon a time that furnace was converted to gas. Then that furnace was taken out & we have a heat pump now.

We have a giant oil tank with a bunch of cans of paint under it (but behind the cans of paint I found a tin "house for sale" sign with a 3 digit phone number, which is cool!

I'm hoping someday the cost of scrap metal might be high enough to convince some guy to remove the tank for free (and clean up whatever nasty oil mess is left)...I'm sure it won't go out in one piece...

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 11:16AM
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Haha, I can also relate to this story too. We have a wall of built in cabinets in our basement that I would not touch for many years. My hubby looked into it shortly after we moved in basically said there wasn't anything in it, so I put it out of my head. At one time a few years ago I braved a peek inside to discover several rolls of wallpaper that match a few of the rooms in the house. It is not original wallpaper, but one in particular I am fond of and it needs some repair - I am so happy to have the paper to make the repairs with. AND this fall while I was looking for the original hardware for our back-porch door, I found an old tin covered mailbox. There were also a few bags of steel wool, some old terpentine and paste wax (Sound familiar?).

Can you tell what colors of paint are there? It would be fun to know what has been used in the past. And now you have new storage space ~ there is (almost) never too much of that in a house.

You might want to make sure the linoleum squares aren't asbestos. I don't know much about that, but to be on the safe side?

Too bad you didn't find the old family "stash" ;) But what a sense of accomplishment for you ~ and you now know that nothing scary lurks within, lol!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 2:35PM
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I just cleaned out two of the four attic eves last week...bed frames (Victorian) carpet, paint, and lots of picture frames including some art done of the house in the 50s and 70s. These were the two less full ones so I have much more to do. I have a cellar I've advised as well as the FULL water tower and both buildings attics. Honestly, I just want to get through the linen closet lol (it's been a year and I still haven't finished sorting the linens). Kind of like having my own antique/(more often) junk store lol.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 12:23AM
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I WISH I would find interesting things in my house. All I've found so far is a scrap piece of stamped tin that was nailed to a wall on the way into the basement to cover a hole in the plaster.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:38AM
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Don't know if this has ever come up but finding old paint can be fatal if you open it. Back in 1955 or there about family friend opened can of paint he found in garage. Second he opened the can in the house he keeled over. Died from the fumes. So if you are going to open any take them outside & use a very long screwdriver to open & keep you face a long way from the side that is opening up & no kids or anyone nearby. The man left 2 little ones & wife behind so use your good judgment on whether it is worth even opening to see what colors were used on house in the past.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 1:13AM
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Thank you for the information, Sunnyca. I never would have thought anything of it I'll be thinking twice about where (and IF) I open those paint cans!!!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 5:42AM
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Sunnyca, that would be so sad! I would bet there isn't much left of the original color inside the can anyway. If not just a dried mass of yuck, then at best there would only be several separated layers of various thicknesses of oils and pigment. Not worth opening in my opinion. But if there are drips on the outside of the can, that would be a clue.
And, probably thanks in part to this post, I was dreaming about finding an undiscovered nook in our attic...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 9:11AM
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i know all about scary closets in the basement... we had a small room in our basement and the door was nailed shut.
dh decided to open it up, it had grow lights and small shelves. it was a grow room for the PO's pot plants!!!! we just nailed it shut again!!! LOL

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 10:24PM
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When the house across the street from us was for sale, we went to the open house to poke around. It's the second oldest house in the neighborhood, 1790, and the basement was a stunner--super high head clearance, partial dirt floor, brick columns, fieldstone and brick walls, lots of nooks and crannies, efflorescence, and spiderwebs. And poor lighting. Creepy and cavernous. I went to open a very old wooden door that looked like it would lead to an abolition era tunnel or a secret cellar, and found--a skeleton in a closet! It was so funny. I love it that the owner of the house either had a sense of humor and didn't mind risking putting off a prospective buyer with a very tongue in cheek joke, or else were so out of touch with their house (it was a sprawling 6000 sq ft) that they didn't even know it was down there.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 8:18AM
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