Friday, February 26, 2021

Under the Stairs


Yesterday was quite busy -- a full morning at the library, including a chatty Zoom meeting with my colleagues, and then an afternoon of tasks around the house.

I repotted our amaryllis bulbs in fresh soil, so they're all set for another year. I watered them and set them just inside the back door, where it should be warm and bright enough to get them sprouted. They only hibernated in the shed for about four weeks, but they were largely dormant in the dining room for several weeks before that so I think they're sufficiently rested.

I also repotted a hanging basket just outside the back door -- the one holding our red verbena. That thing has been going strong for several years now, and it needed a slightly bigger home.

But the biggest task...


...was cleaning out the space under the stairs. This area has remained largely unexplored by us in the almost seven years we've lived here. It's been chock full of random household items, cans of old paint, boxes of tile, curtain rods and other stuff, and for all I knew there were literally skeletons in there. We use a small space just inside the door to store tote bags, paper products and empty but potentially useful cardboard boxes, as well as our fan, but the inner reaches contained stuff either left behind by other tenants or belonging to the landlord.

Well, I pulled everything out, sorted the stuff worth saving from the stuff to be discarded, and vacuumed the entire space. There were things in there I didn't realize we had. For example:


Look at this groovy old floor scrubber thing! I don't even know what to call it. Here's a close-up:



I have never in my life seen anything like it. According to this web page, which is apparently run by someone who collects old vacuum cleaners, it's from 1961. It's not a vacuum, because there's no air suction -- it's just a scrubber or buffer. Those bristles are seriously stiff. I'd be scared to plug it in but with all its turquoise retro charm, I'm not going to get rid of it.

There are, however, two other vacuum cleaners in that space -- plus our two vacuum cleaners, which means, yes, we have FIVE floor-cleaning devices -- and I'd like to throw two of them out. So I've written the landlords and asked permission to do so. I have two boxes of old paint for the council to collect, and I've thrown away a bunch of mouse-nibbled junk. (There are no mice in there now, but there were in the past.) It makes me feel better knowing that space is no longer packed with debris.

(Top photo: The steeple of a church in Marylebone, near the entrance to Regent's Park.)

43 comments:

  1. That Is A Classic - That Whole Paragraph Is A Classic - True Skeletons In The Closet - Right On

    Cheers

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    1. At the very least I was afraid I might find animal skeletons -- but a person wasn't out of the question! LOL

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  2. All the lock down you've had and you've let this space fester. Five vacuum cleaners indeed!

    The device is a floor polisher. Say it with me children, a FLOOR POLISHER. My grandmother had the same one. After the floor was brush scrubbed, felt pads were clipped onto the brushes using the centre studs to clean up the liquid polish from the floor, and then the lambswool pads were clipped on to buff the floor to a nice sheen. I still have the lambswool pads and use them to shine my shoes. You would then have the shiniest linoleum in the street and hope someone called in to notice. My mother had a three brush Electrolux polisher and while heavy, it didn't run away like the lighter Hoover you found. I would thing there would be a hungry market for your floor polisher.

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    1. We let it fester because we considered it basically the landlord's storage space. Only recently, as I began thinking about the safety of having all that stuff crammed in there -- and the certainty that the landlords had NO IDEA what was in that closet -- did I think we should clear it out. I'm glad you know how that polisher works! I don't see any polishing pads -- just the attached brushes.

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  3. Why did you report the hanging basket? Had it been breaking COVID rules? By the way, we can see your reflection in the glass door next to the floor cleaner! The words "unforgiveable" and "oversight" spring to mind.

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    1. How do you know that was an oversight?! Maybe it was intentional! I was being artsy!

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  4. You have to be more ruthless, less sentimental, Steve. Think of purging places like your cubby hole as weeding. The definition of weeding "plants in the wrong place" (stuff surplus to requirements).

    Naturally, give it a few more years, and that Hoover will be the bee's knees again, commanding high prices. A bit like a friend of mine (let's call him FOS - father of son) who kicks himself to high heaven for getting rid of his vast Vinyl collection when CDs became the in-thing. His records were to die for, now commanding eyewatering prices at a place near me or ebay and Amazon. Clear out in haste repent at leisure. Having said that I do keep on top of "stuff" at all times and what's gone is gone. Even if, five minutes later, I wish it hadn't [gone]. Sometimes I think loss of any kind prepares us for the greatest loss of all. Don't quote me on this one - more learned philosophers have written reams about it, at considerable lengths, without me diminishing their achievements with one single observation.

    U

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    1. I did the same with all my vinyl back in the mid-'90s. I often think it would have been nice to keep it, but at the time it seemed like extinct technology. Who would have foreseen this renewed appreciation for vinyl? Also, record albums weighed a TON, so I imagine having to carry them on the several subsequent moves including the one that brought me to London, and overall I'm glad they're gone.

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  5. I've seen one of those floor scrubbers before but I can't remember where. I think "groovy" is a great word for it.
    I love the church tower.

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    1. I'm impressed you've seen one! It was entirely new to me. I thought maybe they weren't a "thing" in the USA -- they're clearly familiar to people in the UK and Canada.

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  6. Part of my childhood. From a time when wood floors were waxed, with actual wax, then buffed with pads, which you seem to be missing. The bristles look iffy for wood floors; we used them on linoleum. Not vinyl, actual linoleum.

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    1. Yeah, I don't have any pads. Just the brushes.

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  7. Also, the bristles were used to remove old layers of dirty wax which could build up in a hard, disgusting fashion before spreading and buffing the new wax with the pads. The previous method to remove old wax was on hands and knees with a scrub brush and ammonia. For my mom and my friends' moms, this tool was an exciting innovation. I remember when she got it; I think she saved up Green Stamps for it.

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    1. I remember stripping floor wax from our kitchen floor with a scrub brush and Spic 'N Span. Do people even wax floors any more? I certainly don't.

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  8. I'm fairly certain my grandmother had one of those floor scrubbers!
    And while I wouldn't know what to do with it, I also don't think I could toss it out!

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    1. At some point old things become so cool that they demand to be saved even if they're useless!

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  9. It must feel wonderful to have that closet in better shape. I need to do that with the closet under our own stairs. There's a video camera in there that was probably used about four times. It weighs at least forty pounds. Like the floor polisher (thanks, Lynn Marie for explaining that!) it was top quality at one point but now should be resigned to the trash heap of time. Mr. Moon doesn't want to let it go. I have no idea why. There are so many crocheted squares that I made which I will never finish or make into an afghan in a big bin. Also wrapping paper and bows and so forth. August calls it the "wrapping place". It's all so...ugh.

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    1. I almost told you to send me the crocheted squares. I do NOT need another project. (But really, if you want to send them to me that would be great. Ha!)

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    2. It DOES feel wonderful. It's needed to be done for years and years. I wish you courage in tackling the "wrapping place" -- and look, Bug will adopt your crocheting!

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  10. I love that floor scrubber! Very groovy. Also, I thought you said that you repotted the LAUNDRY basket & that was a real head scratcher. I don't think laundry baskets would be very efficient pots for plants. Ha!

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  11. That's a crazy amount of floor cleaning machines under there. Imagine all the stuff you can collect once you get rid of the unwanted stuff. It's going to be a whole new world beneath those steps.

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    1. I am NOT, I repeat NOT, going to fill it with new crap! This is my solemn vow!

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  12. I can't believe you haven't emptied that little closet til now. 5 vacuum cleaners? the space must be much larger than the photo shows.

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    1. Well, ours stands outside the closet, and one of the five is a little hand vacuum like a Dust-Buster. But still.

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  13. It feels great to clean out a large closet full of stuff you don't need anymore! Like adding a new room to your home! Well done! (don't keep the scrubber even tho it is cute)!

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    1. Oh, I'm keeping the scrubber. There's no way I could throw that away. Besides, it IS technically the landlord's. :)

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  14. I have one of these "machines" It has various attachments. Ours was used as a floor polisher when we had hardwood floors.

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    1. This one has no attachments, at least not that I can find. Maybe they've all been lost over the years.

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  15. My mum had a floor scrubber like that in the sixties. I'm always happey when I get something organized.

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    1. It's funny how so many people are familiar with this device! I've never seen one before!

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  16. We had one of those floor polishers on the Fifties. Our housekeeper’s husband used to come periodically to do the ‘heavy’ work, and that included stripping, re-waxing and buffing a couple of linoleum floors. Ours was gray and even bigger than yours as I remember it.

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    1. Ugh -- all that floor stripping and waxing that people used to do. What a nightmare.

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  17. I've never seen a floor scrubber like that either. Good for you for tackling that job; it would be an easy one to procrastinate on. Now there is space for Harry Potter.

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    1. Indeed! It IS Harry's lair! I was a little afraid I might find him in there.

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  18. WOW, i am almost inspired- i will need more caffeine for the job beneath our stairs and it is guaranteed that nothing as cool as a turquoise floor polisher is in there! What a find!

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    1. But who knows what you DO have. Knowing you I'm sure your storage space is full of fascinating stuff. :)

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  19. I remember the old floor scrubbers. Of course, I also remember the big black clunky phones with no dial and a cord connecting them to the wall. Your cleaned out closet space looks nice. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

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    1. I remember big black clunky phones, but not without a dial! How could you make a call? Just ask for the operator, I suppose.

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  20. How about a photo of the closet in its present appearance.

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    1. That top photo sort of shows it, but not the dark inner recesses to the right. It would be hard to take a picture in there!

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