3.21.2011

Spring Cedar Extravaganza

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We had a little cedar extravaganza a few weeks ago after I discovered one of my favorite sweaters had several moth holes in it...when I was in the car on the way to dinner. I was pretty pissed. But thankfully a review of all my other sweaters didn't reveal any more holes. Plus the sweater was in the hand-wash hamper for a really long time and not near any other tasty moth treats. And I just admitted that I wore a sweater from the hamper before washing it. It wasn't actually dirty, it had a deodorant stain on the front that I wiped off and then I tossed it into the empty bin to wash that weekend, a dozen weekends ago. Excuses.

I'm no stranger to moths or moth larvae. My mom was pretty conscientious about storing off-season and heirloom clothing/woolens, carefully washing everything by hand at the end of the season and storing it in a cedar lined closet or chest. Since I moved from my parents' house I've stored my off-season sweaters packed with dozens of lavender sachets. Plus I've been knitting and amassing expensive yarn for more projects than I can do in one lifetime since I was wee and part of keeping all that yarn in good condition is making sure to keep the moths out. We have a cedar chest that I got when I was younger, but it's full of special stuff like our hand knit Christmas stockings.

So I decided to store my yarn in the little red chest in our basement and line it with aromatic cedar. When I went to the 'Depot to buy a package of cedar closet lining I discovered the price was about half as much as the last time I bought cedar.
At $23 for 15 square feet I'd be able to line the chest and a closet or two for the price of one sweater. Sold. I started by measuring the width and depth of each drawer in the red chest, which is currently our TV stand in our about-to-be-demolished den.
The cedar lining comes in varied lengths, so I lay them all down on the floor, measured each of them, lined them up in drawer-like configurations, numbered them and then marked where to make my cuts. Because the lining cedar is fairly thin wood I was able to use our battery powered circular saw, which I should have used outside since cleaning up the red cedar dust from our utility room was kind of a bear.
I arranged the pieces in an alternating brick-like pattern, clicked the tongue and groove pieces together in the drawers and filled the dresser with yarn.
That aqua yarn is for a herringbone cowl, which I obviously won't be wearing this winter.
Then since the whole purpose of the cedar project was to protect my sweaters from nasty little invaders, I moved upstairs to our guest room and our Ikea Hemnes wardrobe where I keep most of my sweaters. I managed to fit together the entire lining of one drawer using just leftovers and a few pre-cut pieces. The pieces don't fit the drawers exactly, but this isn't really a for-looks application.
I folded and arranged my sweaters so that each of them touches the cedar. Necessary? Probably not, but it makes me feel better. Plus I threw a bunch of lavender sachets on top just for a little extra insurance.
Before I cut pieces to fit the second drawer, S and I moved on to lining our entry coat closet, where we have a gazillion dollars worth of wool and cashmere winter coats/ moth treats. Or I do, 'cause when you're from Maine winter coats are like shoes, you just keep amassing your collection since you wear them 80% of the year. I wonder if S knows that I left two thirds of my winter coats at my parents house.... 

Lining the closet was similar to the drawers in the measure-and-cut department, but affixing to the wall was a whole other issue. We bought paneling nails, which we quickly discovered would rather bend that pound through our ultra-thick plaster walls. So we used the next best thing: liquid nails. Liquid nails is the best gift to plaster walls, ya' know as long as you don't intend to un-liquid nails from the wall later on.
We squirt a bunch on the wall, smushed the cedar against the wall and clicked it into the panel below. The liquid nails made very fast work of the project. Since we decided to just line the back of the closet, we finished off the edges of the cedar with a couple strips of molding, which we nailed in place with much stronger nails.
I painted the trim, baseboard and shelves white and the walls gray and while that dried we moved on to lining the upstairs hall closet where we keep our jackets and suits. The scraps from the two closets left enough leftover cedar to line the second drawer of the armoire. Since we don't really have space to pack all our coats in bins with lavender each winter (I'm thinking we need to add pull-down stairs to the attic and a ply-wood floor to next year's to-do list?) we need to keep them year-round in the coat closet. Hopefully our cedar extravaganza will continue to keep the bugs at bay, in addition to making everything smell good.

If the magnolia tree that's about to bloom across the street is any indication, making dozens of lavender sachets to pack in among our sweaters as we transfer them from the cedar drawers to rubbermaid totes very soon. But first I'll be doing some serious closet purging with that hope that maybe we'll just be keeping our sweaters in their cedar drawers year-round from now on. Of course I think I said the same thing last Spring. Am I the only one who purges a closet only to end up with a full closet after making a car-full-of-clothing donation?

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2 comments:

  1. Love the cedar and it will surely keep those sweaters safe from holes! I can only imagine how nice the cedar smells too, and no your not alone on the closet purging. I seem to overhaul our closets only to see them packed full within a month again... and oddly enough I don't really buy all that much lol.

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  2. Wow you guys did a lot of work! It will all be worth it when your clothes are hole free and smelling great! Thanks for sharing!

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