The Dreaded Post-Construction Clutter

Amid all the odds and ends and this goal to not work too hard on the house, I’ve been chipping away at the dreaded clutter. And there were some pleasant surprises. First, I had some old kitchen cabinets in the basement but decided they won’t be reusable after all. I was ready to drive them out to my parents’ place in the Land of Good Public Services. But luckily for me, the Irishman was cleaning out his basement, too. And he rented a very large dump truck and loaded it up. And now my stuff is gone, baby, gone! This also marks the first time, I believe, that there is absolutely no scrap wood or scaffolding anywhere in the back yard. I still do have a big pile of Belgian blocks in the alley but they can stay.

Then there were lots of boxes to go through. But it turns out most of those were half empty. And half of what was in them was construction detritus. I found broken trim pieces from the old recessed lights, small strips of bathroom floor tile that were cut off, and of course lots of dirt. I also finally found the roller ball catch for the linen closet door! I was not willing to buy this again since I knew it was down there, so now I’m finally free to make all the interior doors operable


(If you forgot, I put a dummy knob on this door because it’s too thin for a mortise lock. At one time it had a latch more like a cabinet door.)

And this is now all that’s left in my big dumping ground under the kitchen. Trust me, it’s progress.



And the same thing happened in my bedroom and the bookshelves in the living room. I’ve passed Peak Box and shedding cardboard fast.


But there is a downside to all this. The bookshelves are much tidier, yes. But what’s left on them is morphing into the physical manifestation of a to-do list. There are hinges for the doors that aren’t hung, missing pieces to the kitchen drawers, rolls of non-slip shelf paper, laminate adhesive… but I’m loving being able to put these jobs off.


Of all the random junk sitting out, I started with instant gratification. I owe Mary Elizabeth a big thank you for mailing me curtains for the only room that’s ready for them, the one that I don’t use.


And I’ve finally hung up the bathroom mirror. This was probably the most pathetic thing to hold off on, but apparently I found it less aggravating to sit on the floor to shave than to put 2 screws in the wall. It’s kinda junky thermofoil over particle board and didn’t hold up very well to being stored in the basement through demolition but I’m thinking of painting it a fun color to spruce it up until the Phase 2 bathroom work happens. Whadaya think? Maybe not worth the trouble since it’s going in 2 years.


And I hung up “Ne buvez jamais d’eau,” which was easily the best piece of artwork in my grandmother’s house. I thought it was too small for this wall but it’s actually fine. You can kinda see the scale in the photo above.



2 thoughts on “The Dreaded Post-Construction Clutter

  1. Mary Elizabeth

    OK, the bathroom art is perfect! The blues in the sky and water and the blue-green of the frog blend in with the wall color nicely. You’d think it was painted just for that space. 🙂

    While we’re going all HGTV here, why don’t you go to IKEA and buy some cheap but attractive storage baskets for the bookshelves in the living room and store parts for your hardware projects, etc. in those, instead of having them loose on the shelf or in shoe boxes?

    Good job cleaning out the basement.

    I like the idea of painting the bathroom mirror, especially if you are going to keep it for two years. In the meantime, what is going to replace it in the next phase of bath renovation? Are you putting in a medicine cabinet or are you going to have a better mirror? You don’t have to spend much to get a really good mirror. I’ve had a lot of luck sanding down and painting old wood mirrors for bathrooms, but I don’t suppose I would take the trouble with a particle board one. You can also buy a wood picture frame and paint it, then have the glass people put mirrored glass in it. I find the old mirrors and frames at the Re-store, flea markets and tag sales.

    And for your roommate’s room, it looks nice. But please put on an outlet plate. Glad she likes the curtains. They do seem to blend into the wall there without making the windows seem small.


    1. Chad's Crooked House Post author

      I’m planning to have 2 sinks in a larger vanity so I’ll need either a pair of mirrors or a really big one. As for the bookshelves, I’m hoping to get the bottoms cut down soon and put them together properly, and plan on making a dent in the remaining stuff that’s sitting out by then. I do have some nicer baskets and could use them after that. But I want to do a little more clearing out before I tidy up and make the mess palatable. And for outlet covers, I’m not happy with the plastic ones I have and plan to paint and reuse a bunch of old ones my dad was holding on to.



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