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Swamping Out a Basement

 
master pollinator
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I am not sure where you even put this: Projects? Toxic Gick? Zero Waste? Homesteading?

It is not really any of those things, but it is one heck of a project.

This Tiny House has a basement, and one where it is very hard to get down into, so everything that has ever gone down there, has pretty much stayed down there. The house was built in 1930, so 90 years ago, BUT it replaced a house that burnt, so the foundation goes back to the year 1800. 219 years of accumulated "stuff" is almost overwhelming. There is firewood and kindling that has been down there since the 1980's, and the worst...canning jars from the same era. The latter would not seem bad, but the tops rusted through and mold is everywhere. If you break a jar the smell is gagging. Yet it all has to come out.

We got a fair amount done today, but there is a long ways to go. Katie is a trooper though, she just stays at it, bagging all the junk, and putting it up the bulkead to me. But after a few hours of that, both of us are taking showers.

Ultimately we want to clean out the basement, and then line the stone basement walls with insulation to keep out the cold. Our feet get really cold in the winter because it comes up through the basement, and we are trying to make this old Tiny Home super-insulated.


 
master pollinator
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I always say that if your storage isn't convenient and accessible , it's not really storage, it's just a neatly laid-out dump.
 
pollinator
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Bucket on a rope? I don't know how steep your stairs are but I think that's what I would do, we're lucky our cellar has a nice set of stairs into it and it's right next to the kitchen (under it infact) so easily accessible yours does sound rather larger. no old damp firewood in ours, what a strange place to store firewood. I remember clearing out some of my grandmothers cupboards when she wasn't looking, tins from the 80's some looking pristine some blown out, others rusted through with moldy gunk down the sides one was just mysteriously empty. Really made one worry about hand washing and NOT touching ones face.
 
pollinator
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Might I suggest a hepa rated breathing mask. The good rubber ones with the purple filters. Mold can be a killer and you are stirring it up as you clean. Best of luck in your endeavor.
 
Travis Johnson
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We have done pretty well so far. One tough situation was getting an old homemade woodstove out. It was made from an old oil barrel, had thick grates, and was just heavy! It was so heavy that Katie and I could not move it by hand. It came out easier than I thought however, as we put a chain around it, then pulled and tugged with my backhoe from over the bulkhead, and managed to wiggle it out of the basement and into our dump trailer. And once that was done, it made for a lot more room.

As for the firewood. Yes it is kind of a silly place to put firewood, and yet not. When it gets below zero degrees (f), the pipes will freeze, so there is a woodstove down there to help warm the floors and keep the pipes from freezing. So that is why there is firewood there.

At one time this Tiny House, built before insulation, had (4) stoves. One in the basement, the kitchen cookstove, a stove in the living room, and one on the second floor. Katie and I are not happy at how drafty this house is, but after inulating the walls and attic, the orginal builders would be shocked to know that we heat this whole house on one stove in the living room with what amounts to one armful of wood. But we plan on making it super insulated. (By one stove, I mean only on the most super cold days do we have the second stove in the basement going. As Dale mentioned, it is too difficult to go down there to keep it going all the time).
 
WARNING! Do not activate jet boots indoors or you will see a tiny ad:
A rocket mass heater heats your home with one tenth the wood of a conventional wood stove
http://woodheat.net
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