Going through the mess in my basement to unearth its contents ended up being a relatively painless task. As predicted, there are a number of boxes filled with my old teaching supplies, some chemical cleaners and bug sprays that are past their prime, and a multitude of cobwebs.
I didn’t find anything shocking in my first day of work, but I was confused as to how some things ended up in the basement. I discovered a set of dishes that I thought I’d given away before our last move. I learned the kickstand on my bike is longer than it should be, which is why my bike tips over whenever you pass by it to get to the tool bench. And, I realized that we have more screwdrivers and socket wrenches than we need (three complete sets).
Items like the dishes and tools can be donated to charity, sold, or Freecycled. However, I was unsure of what to do with a number of items I found on our shelving. Once I left the basement and made my way to the computer, I quickly discovered what to do with many of the items:
- Paint. I will need to sort these into two groups — good and bad. Good paints are those that match colors currently on our walls and that could still be used. Bad paints are those that don’t match anything in the house and/or those that were improperly sealed and are dried out. I will continue to store the good paints and write notes on their lids with a permanent marker (Living Room, North Wall). The bad paint, however, will need to be taken to my county hazardous waste facility. The latex paint isn’t necessarily hazardous to the environment, but our local facility still recommends bringing it in to them. To learn the location of your local hazardous waste facility, go to your city or county’s website and do a search for “hazardous waste disposal.”
- Caulk. We have three partially used tubes of caulk, and none of it looks like it could be used again. Since I don’t remember when or where this caulk was purchased, I also need to take it to the hazardous waste facility.
- Bug spray. I discovered that we have ant, roach, wasp, hornet, slug, and snail sprays. All of it has passed its expiration date, and all of it is poisonous. So, like the paint and caulk, this stuff will need to be taken to the hazardous waste facility.
- Weed spray. I’m pretty sure this bottle was here when we moved into the house. I’ll be taking it to the hazardous waste facility, too.
- Grout and tile cleaner. These cleaners were still good, and we have to use them from time-to-time if one of our cats gets sick on the kitchen or bathroom floors. (Yuck!) I have a metal box that I purchased from The Container Store many years ago that I’m going to label “Powerful Cleaners,” place on a high shelf, and fill with these cleaners and similar cleaning products. I want to keep these poisons out of the reach of my son, and so I want to make them as inaccessible as possible.
- Joint compound. This is still good and we use it to patch nail holes, so I’m keeping it. However, it is poisonous if consumed, which means that it will also be going on a high shelf for storage. If we don’t use all of it, our county also recommends taking it to the hazardous waste facility for proper disposal.
- Thorocoat. We’re required by our home owner’s association to cover all exposed concrete on our house with this product. It’s still usable, but since we repainted last year, we don’t currently have a need for it. I’m going to send an e-mail out to our neighborhood discussion group to see if anyone wants to buy it from us for their home.
- Wood glue. I discovered five bottles of dried-out wood glue on our tool bench. The wood glue is water based, so it can be disposed of in our regular trash. If it were solvent based, it would have needed to go to the hazardous waste facility.
The next step in the process (unfortunately) requires me to get my hands dirty and make a giant mess. I’ll be pulling everything out of the basement so that I can clean the cobwebs, dust, and mess that currently sits beneath the clutter. I’ll discuss this process in tomorrow’s Project Basement post.
Other posts in this series: