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.
Charcoal 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 with 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.