The Sunroom and Carport Cleanup Progress

Well, hey there! I’m back after a week of attempting a major cleanup around here. If you read last Monday’s post, you know that our sunroom and carport had gotten completely out of control. You can click here to go back and read more about those areas, but in a nutshell, the sunroom had been neglected for so long, and had been filled up using my open and shove method of storage, that it ended up looking like this…

It just had one narrow trail off to the left where I could get to the washer and dryer, and one narrow trail to the right where I could get to my big tool chest.

The amount of time that I had to work on it wasn’t as much as you might imagine. The dumpster wasn’t delivered until Tuesday night, and then I don’t ever work on Wednesdays. So I worked really hard on it Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Then on Sunday, I was so exhausted that I had to take a break.

So if you showed up here hoping to see a completely cleared out and organized sunroom, I’m afraid that you’ll be disappointed. This is going to be an ongoing project for a while, and I’m hoping that I can dedicate at least two or three hours to it every week until it’s all finished.

But I think I made a huge amount of progress, and I didn’t do it myself. On Friday, my mom and my friend Angie came over and helped.

My mom helped by getting rid of all of my paint cans that had been accumulating. I won’t even embarrass myself by admitting how many paint cans there were, but I’ll just tell you that in order to throw away half-filled paint cans here in McLennan County, the paint has to be hardened with either paint hardener or cat litter, the lid has to be put back on tightly, and then it has to be put into a garbage bag. And with the amount of cans I had accumulated over the last few years, that was an all-day job for my mom.

And then Angie worked like an absolute machine. She got my mountain of cardboard boxes cut up, and then got the huge pile of scrap wood in the carport put into the dumpster. Then on Saturday, Angie came back over with her husband and three teenage boys, and they loaded up almost all of the cardboard to take with them for use as weed block in their garden. And then while Angie and I supervised, the four guys got the huge yellow piano and the treadmill moved out of the sunroom and onto the back patio. Just getting those two items out of the sunroom felt like a HUGE victory!

So while it’s not yet finished, the sunroom went from looking like this…

To looking like this…

You can see that there’s still quite a few items on the back patio, but I don’t think that any of it needs to come back into the sunroom. And there’s still quite a bit in the sunroom that needs to go into the dumpster, but I just ran out of time. I’ll have the dumpster until Wednesday, so I have a couple more days to get it filled up the rest of the way.

I still have a pretty big pile of things that needs to be washed, dried, and put away, but that pile is now mostly sheets, towels, jeans, and my two huge canvas dropcloths. And then I have a bunch of random stuff that I need to go through and either get rid of or find a place for it.

I regularly have people ask me where our washer and dryer are. Well, they’re right here, and just on the other side of that wall is the hallway bathroom. When we moved into this house nine years ago, I decided to go to a secondhand appliance store and purchase a refurbished washer and dryer until we could decide what to do about a laundry room. Well, here we are nine years later, and I still don’t have a laundry room, but I do still have these…

See that big cutout in the wall? That’s where the original window in the hallway bathroom used to be.

hallway bathroom before - edited 2021

And that’s why I closed up the window when I did the bathroom remodel.

Obviously, that used to be the exterior wall of the house, but at some point long before we bought the house, the sunroom as added on. And while we won’t be keeping this sunroom, we will be tearing it down and building a family/media room, along with a new laundry room and master bedroom.

Anyway, on the other side of the sunroom, you can see that the piano is gone (sitting outside on the patio and wrapped in a huge tarp to keep it safe from the weather until I can get pictures taken and put the piano on Facebook Marketplace). But that sure did free up a whole lot of space!

After the piano was moved out, I did something that I probably shouldn’t have done. But for nine years now, I’ve been so curious about what’s under this nasty green carpet. So I got my utility knife and cut away some of it, and oh my gosh…

It’s just so gross. When they enclosed this room, they just put down a layer of thick plastic, then a layer of particle board (not plywood or OSB, but particle board), and then two layers of carpet over the top. Every time it rains, water comes in under the door, and probably under the walls as well, so the particle board has completely disintegrated, and there’s just no telling what kinds of mold and mildew this stuff is harboring.

But what’s underneath all of that nastiness is concrete. IT’S CONCRETE!! I would so much rather have a concrete floor in here than layers of disintegrating particle board and moldy carpet!

So now I just need to find time to get all of this carpet, particle board, and plastic out of here. I can’t even imagine what we’re breathing every time we go into that room, but I want it out ASAP. And honestly, I don’t even care if the concrete doesn’t extend the full width of the room. I’d rather have a dirt floor than what’s there.

As I was working in that room, I kept having thoughts like, “Maybe I should just paint the walls. A coat of clean, white paint would do wonders for this room!” But I have to stop myself. I refuse to spend any money on stuff like that in that room. The only thing I’ll spend money on is shelves and other storage/organization items that can eventually be used elsewhere. But I won’t be putting any lipstick on this pig.

Anyway, let’s move on to the carport where Angie worked her magic. If you’ll remember, it started off like this…

And now that huge pile of scrap wood is gone…

As is the huge mountain of cardboard boxes…

So now I’m just left with a center pile of things that I’ll need to go through to determine if I want to keep them or get rid of them. And if I keep them, I need to find a place to store them other than the carport.

And Matt had plenty of room to get out of the studio doors, down his ramp, through the carport, into the van, and off to church yesterday morning. He was quite pleased with the progress, and that’s what really counts.

So these two areas are far from done, but we made huge progress, and filled up a 14-yard dumpster in the process.

I didn’t even get to the pile in Cooper’s yard or the scrap wood in the home gym. I may have to have the dumpster man empty this one and bring it back for another week. But it feels so good to get these areas cleared out! It really is amazing how freeing it feels to get rid of junk and clutter. It motivates me to continue on so that I can get these areas completely organized and useful.

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    1. Absolutely pull that nastiness up, if able to! Not only healthier for you two, and your pets, but also will give that sense of “relief, accomplishment, even pride”. Got that dumpster FILL IT UP!

  1. You got a LOT done. I would hire someone to rip out that floor Kristi. You need to use your skills on fixing the house up. Not tearing this creepy stuff out. Congratulations on what you accomplished!

    1. I agree with Carla on this. They should probably be wearing protective clothing and masks as well. It looks hazardous to health for sure.
      You are making amazing progress on this! Bravo!
      (Hoarder? As if!! (eyeroll)

  2. Oh my, you have been busy! This is looking great! I love following your remodels and clean-up. It is such real-life.

  3. Gosh, you’re going to need a Hazmat suit to get rid of all that moldy particle board! Hiring someone to do it sounds like a good idea! And it does feel so good to get rid of clutter, keep on clearing, Kristi!

    1. Totally agree. That nasty carpet is hazardous material at this point! You need to hire that out! But great job on the clear out job. I know it’s not in your mindset, but it would be so much easier to avoid this kind of mess if you took the time every few days to just put things away. So what if you end up having to get it out again? At least you can find it easily if you don’t have to dig through a landmine! That could be a Friday or Saturday “date” every week, just like your Wednesday is a non negotiable day.

  4. Hi Kristi, how’s the van life going for y’all? Is your husband still eager to go out? The carport views reminded me of that. I was happy for yall on those post, so I’d love to hear a follow-up.
    Take care! 🙂

  5. I’d seal the door between the sunroom and the rest of the house. Clear the carport, Use that space to store more wanted sortable things and clear the room to rip up the carpet and bad subfloor. Do another dumpster purchase closer to the room clear time to immediately have a place for moldy carpet to go.

    So a thing my dad did was frame a basic box fan in a way you could place a cheap filter on the side that draws in air. Do that with some scrap wood. After ripping up the unwanted floor run that before opening the sunroom to the rest of the house to minimise any extra stuff in the air. If super picky run while wiping down the surfaces. Also you got a use for extra masks for your health durring the project.

    1. On “seal the door” is keep the HVAC from pulling air from that room and recirculating into the home. I’d lean on turning off the HVAC, while disturbing it. That’s is not likely a feasible option considering Matt’s needs. I wouldn’t suggest sealing a door unless he already had egress re-established. That removal is going to take some time and its been disturbed and exposed so it’s likely to get more active if it can find new material to grow on. Fun tip sunlight does wonders to passively disinfect surfaces, and can prevent mold some. That’s why sheets hung out to dry in sun can be cleaner than sheets from a dryer.

  6. I sure look forward to your blog posts. Thanks for keeping it real and humble by showing us the reality of home improvement behind the scenes. And hugs to your reinforcements that came to help out.

  7. What progress! You have a great team.
    I looked at your old preowned washer and dryer with envy. Keep that set as long as you can, We bought a new washer in 2019 and it broke in less than 2 1/2 years of light use. It was recommended we buy extended warranty because the new stuff doesn’t hold up. We’ve waited over 3 months to have it fixed. After several weeks wait and reschedules we finally had a repairman come & tell us it really should be replaced but parts will be sent to your home to fix it. The repairman said, “it’s basically the transmission of the machine being replaced” and there will be a lot of hammering and banging to tear it apart and put it back together.
    Because of the contract we cannot schedule a repairman directly. The repairman has to work his way to our location, and after waiting all day, they sometimes run out of time and don’t show. The scheduler has no priority list, they just reschedule the first available day which can be another 2 weeks wait.

  8. Looks good ! I would have saved the left over paint and painted the sunroom and concrete floor. I have always used my leftovers to make new colors. I have mixed every sheen together at one time or another, it’s always turns out great. It saves a lot of money. For a room your eventually go tear down, it would have been perfect.

  9. Do you have Habitat for Humanity stores down there? They take unused building supplies, but I believe they also take unused paint. I think they put it all in a big vat and mix it up and sell it for CHEAP.
    You have done good on cleaning up.

    1. FYI my local elementary school’s art department took the paint that I no longer needed. It was an easy way to “dispose” of unwanted paint and they were very grateful to receive it.

  10. I used a Bagster for the junk in my basement which had accumulated so much stuff. My Fella was able to toss a lot of it without a second thought while I was..” oh I remember this…” and off I’d go, down the rabbit hole of memories! Gotta tell you, I felt like I was walking taller and leaner after the crap began to go away. Isn’t it good to have friends help? I’m so proud of your progress because I know how hard it is to accomplish.

  11. You have done a great start and I hope you will keep up the momentum instead of hoping to dedicate at least two or three hours to it every week until it’s all finished. You can complete the task much sooner than that if you put your mind to it instead of going back to your bathroom project. After finding out what’s under the carpet in the sunroom it should incentivize you to purchase a more adequate house filter than what you were hoping would work out. You and Matt’s health is up most important.

  12. “ I get by with a little help from my friends “ ! Great team work ! Since you have the land maybe a storage building should also be in the plans ?

  13. What amazing progress you made in just a few days! I hope it feels a little less overwhelming now, although the flooring must have been a rude awakening. Having lived in a “mold house” for several years before discovering the problem, I know the dangers of breathing in toxic mold. Please be careful and if you can, do get professional help. If you do have to do the work yourself, please where protective gear and a high quality respirator. And a shoutout to your Mom, Angie and Angie’s family — so glad you have loving support!

  14. Great progress! Keep up the momentum and get the rest of it cleared out. I bet you’ll have so much motivation for other projects with out the mess weighing down on you mentally!

  15. So is Matt pleased? I’m glad he was finally able to get in the van and go somewhere. Will you be working on the bathroom this week?

  16. What glorious improvement! A week well spent!
    We too had a shocking number of paint cans a few years ago. Everyone who’d ever lived here left every color they’d ever used. 😧 To my husband’s horror, I put it all at the street… just in case someone wanted the stuff. It was snapped up like it was gold! And we live out in the sticks with minimal traffic. I was SO happy to get rid of that mountain, at zero cost!

  17. Great work. When the carport is finally cleaned out, will you be putting the new van in there so Matt can get into it easier? and not get wet?

  18. Woooohhhoooo! Great Job! And I agree with others. Hire out the floor demo. Your talents are much better used completing the bath or sorting your treasure pile!
    Sheila F.

  19. Progress like this feels so awesome!! I know you guys are pleased with the results so far!

    Do put on a respirator when you rip up the moldly carpet and boards, and pull the dust out the back with fans in the windows. If there is any dirt floor areas, a clean cheap outdoor carpeting will work.

    If it’s going to be more than a year before you rip out the sunroom, I would totally roll the walls with white paint. 🙂 I’m in my utility room almost as much as I’m in my kitchen…. having it bright and cheery would make a world of difference!

  20. You have some good friends and a great mom. I’m so glad you didn’t have to tackle that job on your own. Otherwise, you would still be working on it a month from now.