Hall Closet

When your hall closet starts to smell, it’s probably time to empty it and dig through the piles of houndstooth-print rainboots until you find the box of rotting hyacinths from last fall that you never got around to planting.   That’s when it’s time to finally get around to spackling, priming and painting the neglected walls you always meant to fix.  Since you’ve already gone to the trouble of spackling, priming and painting the walls, you might as well continue at full speed and install the Elfa shelving you bought on sale six months ago, when your dreams of sleek Scandinavian organization were a bit more tangible than, say, the reddish mold on the hem of the shower curtain liner.

Once the closet is empty, it’s time to remove the questionably-installed shelving that you’ve been reluctant to load with any significant weight.  It’s standard-issue big-box home improvement store variety wire shelving.  Removing the shelving shouldn’t be an issue.  You just pop it out of the side bracket, lift 80ish degrees toward the celing and pop it out of the little wall cups.

Unless you have a home formerly improved by Harry Homeowner, who lost the home to foreclosure after his plan to renovate and flip fell somewhat short of impressing buyers.  This debacle may have had something to do with the vinyl-tile floors which look like they were installed by a man both blind and raging drunk, in the last throes of Parkinsons, working in the dark.  That’s the most logical explanation for the cuts made and layout chosen.  If he has done the work in your house,  then you get things like this:

Imagine the upside-down one screwed in (I had already started taking them out)

Then you look down and find an exposed electrical cord, with the copper poking merrily out of its casing.

No problem.  You were a Girl Scout once, back in the dark days when you had to socialize with a group of vicious 8-year-old girls.  You totally blocked out the memories of interacting with those miniature harpies and only remember the important bits — always be prepared for everything.  Which includes keeping a roll of electrical tape and those cute itsy-bitsy screw-cap thingies that go on the end of electrical wires so you are always ready to foil an electrical wire’s murderous plans.  It helps to test the wire to  see if it’s live.  Because sometimes it turns out that the wire has, not to put too fine a point on it, shuffled off its electron coil.  This brings us to an important point:

Wire demon tamed, you can go forth and spackle!  Because this is not your first home improvement rodeo, you have a handy little tub of spackle at the ready with your painting supplies.  Which, incidentally, is labeled Wood Filler.

A quick trip to big box home improvement store later, you are in business.  Did you know they make magic color-change spackle?  Trufax.  It’s nearly as much fun as the Barbie with color-change lipstick.  You know, the one that you’d sit with for hours with a warm washcloth and a cold washcloth, dripping water all over the carpet because after a week the novelty had still not worn off?  No?  Just me then?  Well, if you had had a magic color-change Barbie, you will know that Dap spackle is almost that much fun.

There are not pictures of the sanding and priming.  Imagine a closet with pristine white-primed walls.  Oooh and aaaah and cough on the VOCs.  Now stay up way past your bedtime to properly appreciate and behold the painted closet:

Next, install your Elfa shelving according to the handy-dandy instructions.  Take pictures and post them to the internet with a rambling and mostly-true story.  Congratulations!  You’re well on your way to Home Improvement Success!

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