If Only…

If only I followed my own advice. The advice I use in my books Tagged for Death and The Longest Yard Sale. Yes, even Sarah Winston knows not to buy something at a garage sale without smelling it first. You might look silly opening a drawer, sticking your nose in, and taking a deep breath. But it’s better to look silly than to bring home something that smells bad, really, really bad.

I’ve had this thing about wooden boxes lately. Here are some pictures of a few I picked up.



I don’t know if it’s a good thing I found another source. Here she is:



I recently bought this box at an event that was outside. It’s an old crayon box.











I like boxes that are put together without nails. So the one above caught my eye. It was only $3.00 dollars. (I paid $1.50.) But in my enthusiasm I didn’t take time to do the sniff test and since it was outside I didn’t notice it smelled. When I got it home, every time I walked by I wrinkled my nose because it is so musty.

IMG_4986Charcoal absorbs odors so I filled the box with charcoal briquettes (be sure to use the kind with no additives) and sealed the whole thing in a plastic bag. Some people say that activated charcoal (like the kind used in aquarium filters) works best.

I’ve used briquettes before and they worked. I bought the little chest below at an antique show in Dayton, Ohio. It was in a big gymnasium so again the odor wasn’t apparent. It’s the piece that taught me to always smell before you buy. I filled the drawers IMG_4988with charcoal and in a few weeks the musty smell was gone.

The good news is that if it doesn’t work on the box I can toss it without regret. And buying it reminded me, when I was out at thrift shops this week, to smell before buying. Lesson learned. Again.

  11 comments for “If Only…

  1. July 31, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    Good advice not to be sniffed at Sherry 😃

  2. Barb Goffman
    August 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Bring on the charcoal!

    • August 1, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Just don’t light it!

      • August 1, 2015 at 4:44 pm

        If it’s bad enough, you might want to!
        But I won’t turn up my nose at your advice.

      • August 1, 2015 at 10:16 pm

        Laughing, Tonette!

  3. August 2, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Good advice, Sherry! BTW, I admit I’m a book stalker. I zoomed in to check out your TBR pile on the nightstand! (Fatal Reservations is up next for me.)

    • August 2, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      I love that you zoomed in! Fatal Reservations is excellent — I’d finished that one but hadn’t moved it yet! Any suggestions on which one I should choose next?

      • August 3, 2015 at 11:35 pm

        I’ve finished Caught Read-Handed — definitely recommend! Fun characters, place I’d love to hang out, nice follow-up to Well Read, Then Dead! Looking forward to Fatal Reservations 🙂

  4. August 3, 2015 at 2:44 am

    Yeppers! Give EVERYTHING the sniff test. From some things, even charcoal can’t remove the odor!

    • August 3, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Charcoal is a last ditch effort in most cases. I’m sure I look weird at sales sticking my nose in drawers, purses, clothes, etc!

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