This is a Journal of my struggle to control all the STUFF that finds it's way into my home. I don't want to be the "keep this for me" person anymore!
The saying goes… When it rains, it pours.
For several months I’ve smelled an odor in my house. It wasn’t very strong. Just a faint odd and stinky smell. It was kind of like wet dirt mixed with chemicals and garbage. I thought maybe there must be something dead in the basement. The basement has a damp earthy kind of smell. The only access to it is a hole in the floor of a closet. I’m not able to go into the basement myself. The last time a repairman went into the basement he did find skeletal remains of rats. At least they were dead ones instead of live ones. No, the smell couldn’t be dead rats. I haven’t seen any evidence of rats in the house for over a year. Hmm… I guess seeing bones of fellow rats has scared the new ones off? 😉
Ok, still searching for the source of the stinky smell. I think maybe it’s the garbage can. Maybe I haven’t taken the garbage out often enough? Maybe the plastic has picked up an odor of rotten produce or something. I empty and scrub the garbage can really well then put baking soda in the bottom just to be sure. No, that’s not it either.
Maybe the smell is from the sewer outside? A major sewer runs down the middle of the street. A vent opening is in the front of my house. Could the smell from the sewer be coming into the house by opening the front door? Umm… no. It’s not the same type of stinky smell. Over the next several weeks the smell grows stronger. Its a mystery.
Here’s another mystery. For a little over a month I’d noticed a puddle of water in the kitchen floor. The puddle would be there when I’d go to make my morning coffee. It was never a large puddle. I thought the furkid was having accidents during the night. He is very old ya know. I’d mop it up and make the coffee. I also thought maybe the upright freezer’s drip pan was overflowing or something. Ah Ha! Maybe that’s what the smell is? I open the access so I could empty the pan. Nope, not the drip pan. The pan is almost dry and still clean. Well what is it anyway? The garbage is taken out regularly. Dishes don’t stay in the sink too long. Nothing in the refrigerator is very old. I simply can’t figure out where the smell is coming from. A real puzzle. The smell is growing stronger each day. I put out several bowls of vinegar and several of baking soda and hope whatever it is goes away real soon.
A few days ago I had a marathon of food preserving. Prepared several different things to be dehydrated. This means a lot of dishes need washing when finished. I washed them and pulled the plug to let the water drain while I went to put a load of clothes in the washer. I come back to the kitchen and there’s a big, big puddle of water on the floor. I follow the trail back to the door of the cabinet under the sink. I open the door and water gushes out. Yikes! The smell is terrible. I look and absolutely everything is wet, slimy, moldy, and yucky. The strange smell mystery is solved.
I used the area under the kitchen sink to store stuff. Lots of stuff. The cabinet is four feet deep so it holds a lot. Cleaning supplies, canning tools and lids, energy saver light bulbs, paper towels, tissues, napkins, spray starch, sponges, hand soaps, dish soaps, rat and mouse poison….. ok you get the idea. I rarely opened that cabinet door because I hadn’t needed anything from there lately. Actually several months. I don’t use paper towels or napkins or tissues very often because I’ve switched to cloth. I haven’t needed spray starch because I haven’t been piecing quilts. The energy saver bulbs last a long time so those weren’t needed either. In other words, under the kitchen sink was a sort of long term storage area of seldom used items.
The sink drain line is cracked. It appears the crack started small and gradually grew. Do 30 year old plastic pipes need replacing? I thought plastic lasted just about forever. Anyway, the water from the sink was draining out into the cabinet each time I pulled the plug.
Absolutely everything in the cabinet had to be thrown away. Everything was slimy, stinky, and starting to mold. I’m glad I found out where the smell was coming from. I’ve dried out the cabinet the best I could. I’ve sprayed it down with peroxide to kill any mold left. I’ve put baking soda in there to absorb the odor. I kept a fan blowing into the cabinet for a few days. I really won’t miss the stuff that I had to toss because I wasn’t using it.
I can’t afford a plumber to fix the sink. It’s simply not in my budget. Plumbers charge from $80 to $100 an hour. Plus the cost for parts. Hmm…. I can’t use the sink anymore? Don’t laugh at me, K? I put a bucket under the sink pipe. When the bucket gets full, or I’m through with the dishes, I carry the bucket to the bathroom and dump it.
I actually use two wash bins for the dishes. One for wash and one for rinse. Just like we did when I was young and we didn’t have indoor plumbing. Well water came into the house in a bucket and went out in another.
When the dishes are done, I pick up the bin to dump the water into a bucket. It’s easier to carry a bucket with a handle than it is to carry these bins. Just like the old days.
Now what does this have to do with being a hoarder? Well, stuff happens. If a hoarder can’t deal with the problem, the problem grows. Like it or not my house is telling me it is time to get rid of the hoarded stuff. I am apparently not moving fast enough to get rid of things so it is doing the purges for me. My house says…… Yeah Anita, I wanted you to clean out the stuff under the sink months ago and donate it but you refused to take the time. Ha Ha Ha See if you can put off cleaning out the cabinet now!
You know what is absolutely heartbreaking about all of this? My new flooring is ruined. Again! Sigh. The water had evidently been leaking underneath the flooring for quite awhile. The floor has buckled up at the joinings. I can’t replace the flooring a fourth time. I’ll learn to live with it.