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suzette4prez
Apr. 6, 2011, 09:55 PM
Ok here's the deal...

Our BOs does so much for me and a few other of the boarders, so instead of buying the couple dinner, we decided to clean up and organize the barn one night without them knowing as a surprise. Sounds easy I know, but it's more complicated.

The couple moved from Scotland 5 years ago and were left with the barn quite messy, and that was THEN. The people before them left a lot of things when they left. It really is a great barn with nothing "wrong" with it, we just want to show them how much we appreciate everything they're doing for us since they pretty much have never seen the barn the way they want it to be (I don't want you to think I would EVER complain one bit about this barn ha).

I know that it's a pretty big job for 3-4 people but we're up for the challenge. I was just wondering if there were any products, techniques, organization methods, suggestions you could give to me.

Basically, everything is dusty and there are a lot of cobwebs and discarded items in some places. The aisle has some slight holes in it, which I don't think we can do anything about, but I don't know what you can tell me. The office and tackroom are disorganized and there are a few stalls in the back not being used that seem to have random things in it.

WWYD to accomplish this?
My main concern is being able to dust and get the cobwebs out easy- Do you have a certain way that works well?
Do you wanna tell me I'm crazy?
I'm all ears!

Thank you so much in advance!

Alagirl
Apr. 6, 2011, 10:17 PM
get the garbage cans ready, call the local scap guy...
See if you can get enough pipes to put on a shopvac to reach everywhere.
(maybe get 'the pickers' to look at the random stuff?) :D

Not sure how much I would do in the office, but the tack room would be a nice thing to organize.

Things like saddle racks might be a bit expensive to put in in large numbers, but bridle racks can be done on the cheap with slices of 4" diameter wood.

A few pieces of dowel rods tied with some in expensive rope cn be made into blanket racks....

A bucket of fresh paint goes a long way.

depending on the material of the aisle floor, the holes can also be filled in with minimal effort.

fivehorses
Apr. 6, 2011, 10:25 PM
I use a shop vac with extension wands and a ladder to de- cobweb and vaccumb the cracks and crevices.
A blower is also useful, but make sure you have eye protection and a face mask too. I also wear a hat or bandana, and plan for a nice shower afterwards.

GoForAGallop
Apr. 6, 2011, 10:25 PM
I think going into the whole thing properly organized is going to be your best bet.

1.) Cruise the barn over the next few days and come up with a list of jobs. Not "clean the barn" but something more along the lines of "organize saddle wall", "patch holes in aisle", "trim hedge along driveway", etc.

2.) Once you have your specific list, make sure that you have the tools to complete all the tasks. Does the barn have enough brooms for everyone? If not, make sure people bring one from home. Same with any power tools you might need (a drill, saw, etc), and any cleaning products. Have everyone bring a few rolls of paper towels!

3.) Right when you get to the barn, start working your way down the list. Each person picks a task and goes and gets through it....and then goes back to the master list, crosses off their task, and moves onto a new one. The crossing off will make you feel accomplished, and keep things moving along!

If everyone has a specific task and the tools to do it, it will keep everyone from bumbling about the barn haphazardly and wasting time.

One word of caution: Be careful of moving too many things around. Consolidate the items in the back stalls, for example, but don't throw anything away. Same with the tack room....old magazines may just be old magazines, but maybe they're saved for an important reason. You don't want to have a nice gift turn into a bad experience because someone is missing the 1985 Practical Horseman their friend's cousin was mentioned in. :)

JohnDeere
Apr. 6, 2011, 10:30 PM
Good on ya.

Get some good brooms and a webster cobweb remover. Or several. I use the webster on the stall bars and the broom on the stall doors. Thats how I was taut. If you want to get the dust in the people areas and have stalls real clean use a shop vac but the hroses might spook. Use a mask. Seriously.

Bring lots of plastic bins/trays/clothes baskets of many sizes to organize. Maybe get a big sturdy metal shelf unit to put these baskets/bins on. They are $20-$25 in auctions everywhere around here. File cabinets, used, are also cheap and hold towels and leg wraps, bandages. Medicines can go in a toolbox to grab easy. Plastic pull out stackable drawers hold bits and metal stuff. Black tape gets its own bucket or drawer--it always goes missing. Blankets go in hampers for the summer. Make sure theres hooks for bridles/halters/stuff. Cans painted pretty and mounted on the wall work just fine and are cheap.

Make sure they dont want something before it gets thrown away. Some people (usually older) want to keep it for 'someday'. If they arent there make sure you stack stuff neatly so they can go thru it if they want.


What do you mean holes in the aisle--stalls or floor or roof? :eek:

ladybugred
Apr. 6, 2011, 10:36 PM
We have some really good do it yourself CHEAP saddle racks at the barn, let's hope I can describe them properly;) Each rack requires 1 large. (1+in diam) heavy duty screw eye, 1 simple "U" type hook with two screw holes, 1 18in piece of wood (BO uses the type of post that has two flat sides and two round sides, like a "U" with an extra curve on top, hope that makes sense).

Screw eye screw into wall & stud. Attach hook to post with the bottom of the hook aligned with one short end of the post. Hook over eye, saddle rack. When not in use they can be put the other way so they don't stick out.

Hope that made sense!

We use brooms to sweep the cobwebs out of the raafters, be sure to cover your mouth, ask me how I know;)

LBR

Alagirl
Apr. 6, 2011, 10:53 PM
We have some really good do it yourself CHEAP saddle racks at the barn, let's hope I can describe them properly;) Each rack requires 1 large. (1+in diam) heavy duty screw eye, 1 simple "U" type hook with two screw holes, 1 18in piece of wood (BO uses the type of post that has two flat sides and two round sides, like a "U" with an extra curve on top, hope that makes sense).

Screw eye screw into wall & stud. Attach hook to post with the bottom of the hook aligned with one short end of the post. Hook over eye, saddle rack. When not in use they can be put the other way so they don't stick out.

Hope that made sense!

We use brooms to sweep the cobwebs out of the raafters, be sure to cover your mouth, ask me how I know;)

LBR

Like this:
http://www.doversaddlery.com/collapsible-saddle-rack/p/X1-27103/cn/173/


Also, old socks are wonderful to dust

suzette4prez
Apr. 6, 2011, 11:20 PM
Good on ya.

Get some good brooms and a webster cobweb remover. Or several. I use the webster on the stall bars and the broom on the stall doors. Thats how I was taut. If you want to get the dust in the people areas and have stalls real clean use a shop vac but the hroses might spook. Use a mask. Seriously.

Bring lots of plastic bins/trays/clothes baskets of many sizes to organize. Maybe get a big sturdy metal shelf unit to put these baskets/bins on. They are $20-$25 in auctions everywhere around here. File cabinets, used, are also cheap and hold towels and leg wraps, bandages. Medicines can go in a toolbox to grab easy. Plastic pull out stackable drawers hold bits and metal stuff. Black tape gets its own bucket or drawer--it always goes missing. Blankets go in hampers for the summer. Make sure theres hooks for bridles/halters/stuff. Cans painted pretty and mounted on the wall work just fine and are cheap.

Make sure they dont want something before it gets thrown away. Some people (usually older) want to keep it for 'someday'. If they arent there make sure you stack stuff neatly so they can go thru it if they want.


What do you mean holes in the aisle--stalls or floor or roof? :eek:



Ohh gosh not the ceiling haha! We have a dirt floor- shows how oldschool we are! [: Awhile ago they tried filling the holes with more dirt but that didn't exactly work out because it wouldn't pack down.

I talked to my friends that are helping and we're thinking that we're going to create 2 piles out of all the old stuff that's laying around- We figure one for the broken stuff (so that they can go through and maybe salvage parts of something) and things that we think could be used of sold. We even thought we'd suggest having a "Barn Sale" if there was anything that they didn't want and we could use the money for the barn in anyway they want. Only suggesting that though. For the office and tack room, we're probably just going to take everything out, dust, and put things back in generally the same area but more organized. Dusting and cobwebs are our biggest jobs I think... Is a broom the best way to get the dust of the wood, flooring, and anything else?

We went exploring in the back barn one day and you would not believe the kind of things that are in there. There are AT LEAST 10 blankets in different places- perfectly fine, some in tubs or bags, Parelli rope halters, tack trunks, grooming supplies, a bareback pad, show helmet, show coolers, braiding kit... The list goes on. This is only the stuff in really good condition to.

We have our work cut out for us, but we're planning to do it in the next couple weeks. That gives us time to make our checklist and figure out what exactly we need to buy.

crosscreeksh
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:25 PM
Cleaning, patching, repairing, organizing, painting, etc. is fine...I would NOT remove, scrap, destroy ANYTHING without the owner's permission/knowledge. They may have plans for something you consider junk. I know I'd appreciate the help, but would be annoyed if someone made descisions to remove MY stuff...other than blatant trash. JMO!

ReSomething
Apr. 7, 2011, 12:28 PM
I'd LOVE that as a gift, but my DH wouldn't. Not_at_all :uhoh:. So I really hope that you understand how your BO's might think about this and how they might have difficulty accepting some of it.

However, I used to work at a high end resort cleaning rooms and applying some of our techniques to attack a major party room you'd start first with trash bags to get out the for sure garbage, then broom the walls or even pressure wash if you could, start high and move the debris down to the floor. Repaint painted surfaces. Clean or install blanket racks and halter/bridle racks.

You can fill the potholes in the dirt barn aisle with a mix of clay soil or potter's clay and sand/gravel, it'll tamp down hard as a rock but it will shrink as it dries so you'll have to fill the holes by thirds and experiment a little with proportions.

I would limit your activities to public areas and not be poking around "finding nice equipment in the back barn". I most certainly would stay out of the office unless to majorly dust and sweep, I'd personally be not so happy if fellow boarders were poking around unsupervised in what might be files with private information.

Outdoor beautification would go a long way, and then perhaps an offer of a work day to help organize those items that they feel need done. If they don't, then they don't, it is after all, their barn and their business.

Alpha Mare
Apr. 7, 2011, 04:39 PM
OP- I think your idea is a lovely present, but I would not make it a surprise.

Not sure what you intended - if you and the other boarders decide to do this, maybe you could give the BO a 'certificate' for a 'work day' to include cobwebbing, clean out, organizing, etc. whatever you thought you might do, with the offer of supplies to match what they have (saddle racks, etc.).

For ANYTHING related to the barn my BO wants to know/approve of it. Your BO may want to be there with you and supervise what is done.

Just a suggestion to make it a happy event.

suz
Apr. 7, 2011, 05:42 PM
sounds like a great gift----will you please come here when you are finished?
anyway, i find old mailboxes make fab saddle racks, and as a plus you can store stuff inside.
also i would love if someone came and scrubbed all the buckets with white vinegar and water, dried them in the sun before putting away.
blankets can be pressure washed and left to dry in the sun, and a leaf blower works well for cobwebs too.
you guys sounds like a barn owners dream, makes me want to organise something for my barn owner, but her place is already darng near perfect. (well we don't have an indoor, but that's kind of beyond us i guess!)

JohnDeere
Apr. 7, 2011, 05:49 PM
Ohh gosh not the ceiling haha! We have a dirt floor- shows how oldschool we are! [: Awhile ago they tried filling the holes with more dirt but that didn't exactly work out because it wouldn't pack down.


Nothing wrong with a dirt floor. Can you till it up? Ours is so hard you cant :mad: but if you could smooth and relevel filing the holes. Then tamp. You can rent a lot of stuff you need.

suzette4prez
Apr. 8, 2011, 12:05 AM
Haha thank you again everyone! I also looked back and saw how it looked saying the stuff we found and how it looks like we were snooping- we looked in the back stalls to see what we can clean and dust. I don't want you guys to be under the impression that I was trying to rip them off or anything, I just reread and saw it looked bad!

We are planning even more over the next couple weeks. We looked in the back barn again before we went looking for supplies (I'm glad we did again) because we found out the lights don't work on that side! We went and saw that there are tubs at the store close by cheap for us to put the old blankets that are in the dirt in. We definitely aren't throwing anything away except things that are obvious to throw away- trash, ripped plastic bags, empty bottles, etc. The rest is going to be dusted and placed nicely back in the barn.

We have our work cut out for us, that's for sure!

Summit Springs Farm
Apr. 8, 2011, 09:54 AM
As a BO, I wouldn't listen to the nay sayers, as if any of that stuff you've found meant that much to them it wouldn't be in the condition or where it is.
I don't mean to throw things away, just don't worry about them feeling like you are snooping.
Very nice of you to help out this way, I know we would welcome some help keeping things tidy.
I do most of this myself and hired hands.

2DogsFarm
Apr. 8, 2011, 12:17 PM
OP- I think your idea is a lovely present, but I would not make it a surprise.

Not sure what you intended - if you and the other boarders decide to do this, maybe you could give the BO a 'certificate' for a 'work day' to include cobwebbing, clean out, organizing, etc. whatever you thought you might do, with the offer of supplies to match what they have (saddle racks, etc.).


THIS! :yes:

I know if it were my place I'd want to know exactly when & what was being planned.
The "surprise" part will be seeing what a difference your efforts make. :D

IronwoodFarm
Apr. 8, 2011, 01:12 PM
Agreed. I would be offended if someone cleaned up my barn without my input. But I would love to be surprised with the gift of a clean-up day that I could prepare for.

Alagirl
Apr. 8, 2011, 01:23 PM
I have a feeling that with many people involved and a lot of planning, it will not be much of a surprise.

I would probably plan my own surprise then though: Make sure there are plenty of cold beverages available, and maybe something good to eat, even if it's only a couple of Pizzas. :yes:

StGermain
Apr. 8, 2011, 05:01 PM
Personally, I don't like "surprises" like that. It makes me nervous when people poke around in my place. In fact, just thinking about it now makes me twitchy.

No matter how well-meaning, I would ask before you do anything. Maybe present them with coupons for labor to be redeemed how and when they want it. Or tell them you'd like to plan a couple barn work-days to thank them for all they do, and you and your friends will be there to do whatever they want you to do, like stall-stripping, cleaning, cobwebbing or organization.

StG

zakkandtoto
Apr. 8, 2011, 06:52 PM
A woman I know, and a few of her fellow boarders, cleaned what I'm told was a hazardous wreck of a tack room at the barn she's at.

The BO completely freaked out. She threw such a fit that one of the boarders moved her two horses out the next day.

As it turns out, this room that apparently had animal feces everywhere and so much clutter strewn about that you couldn't walk from one side to the other was, in fact, the BO's "office" in the fantasy world in which she lives.

I would recommend asking first.

Alagirl
Apr. 8, 2011, 07:03 PM
A woman I know, and a few of her fellow boarders, cleaned what I'm told was a hazardous wreck of a tack room at the barn she's at.

The BO completely freaked out. She threw such a fit that one of the boarders moved her two horses out the next day.

As it turns out, this room that apparently had animal feces everywhere and so much clutter strewn about that you couldn't walk from one side to the other was, in fact, the BO's "office" in the fantasy world in which she lives.

I would recommend asking first.

LOL, in that case, it might have been a blessing to clean the tack room...at least you know what you are dealing with! :lol:

susanne
Apr. 8, 2011, 07:59 PM
The only thing I would even consider doing as a surprise would be a thorough "spring" cleaning/organization of stalls, aisle and maybe tackroom. Nothing thrown away or stored out of sight.

DO NOT even consider touching the office. The best of intentions can lead to disaster.

A friend offered to help me pack for a move. It was late the night before we had to be out, and the two remaining areas were my bedroom closet and the desk area in my office. As crazy as it sounds, in my exhaustion I had her do the office, asking her to put stacks of papers, tools and whatnot directly in boxes, even if it seemed wildly inefficient (I knew my stacks at least). I did not want her to "organize" my stuff. Well...she just couldn't do that. When I went to set up my new office, I couldn't find anything. Her idea of helping took me months to undo. For starters, she put my zip drive in a box of books because she thought it was a radio and therfore not work-related. It went downhill from there.

Eleven years later, it still upsets me.

If it MUST be a surprise, stick with the barn area.erhaps you could do the stall area and give her a gift certificate for an addiyional work day for ger choice if area. You might alsobuy some half whiskey barrels and plant them with horse-safe flowers for outside the barn doors. P

As others have said, don't risk turning a sweet gestue into a nightmare.

crosscreeksh
Apr. 8, 2011, 09:27 PM
My own husband is banned from touching anything in my office or kitchen!! It may not look like it, but I know where everything is!!! I don't touch his work shop...although it could stand it...either!! God help a well intentioned stranger!! As others have said...I'd ask the owner what could be done to "help"!!

birdsong
Apr. 8, 2011, 09:50 PM
Its a beautiful idea. But..

I once cleaned and organized an area as a surprise for someone...didn't throw anything away..just scrubbed and cleaned. They got very upset with me as though I was insinuating they were unclean. (well, it was filthy)

You know your BO and what they would appreciate best.

I think its such a truly kind idea!

Alagirl
Apr. 8, 2011, 10:04 PM
Its a beautiful idea. But..

I once cleaned and organized an area as a surprise for someone...didn't throw anything away..just scrubbed and cleaned. They got very upset with me as though I was insinuating they were unclean. (well, it was filthy)

You know your BO and what they would appreciate best.

I think its such a truly kind idea!

:eek: did you clean something for my step mom?! :eek:

A few years ago I was supposed to spend an extended time with her and my dad. So I figured I would be pro-active and put myself to work, especially since she has a rheumatory condition that sidelines her quiet a bit.

I organized the bottles of laundry detergent, threw some empties away, scrubbed the top of the appliances...

"I am surprised that you see that..."
then I washed a couple of loads of laundry, folded it....

"You don't know how to fold these fitted sheets any better?!"


GAHHHHHH:mad:

yes, people can be weird about their dirt...


(Have we scared the OP away from her project yet?!)

suzette4prez
Apr. 10, 2011, 08:32 PM
Haha guys rock! I've definitely rethought how to approach everything in some respects.

My plan is to just get the cobwebs off of everything and clean/sweep the places everyone goes to in the barn and take it from there. I like the gift certificate idea so I'm going to make one for one additional weekend of help around the barn.

As for our "office" (if you can call it that haha), I'm going to stay clear of our mailboxes and everything around them. I figure some sweeping will basically be enough for in there. Since we have cement floors, they get pretty dirty.

I'm going to take some pictures and post them this week for any ideas!

rustbreeches
Apr. 11, 2011, 08:47 PM
I think it is a lovely idea, but if the BO's have gone this long with it being a mess, are they really going to appreciate it like you are anticipating they will? It seems like they might not care all that much.


I will suggest using willow boughs or thin pine branches to cobweb the hard to reach spots. You can just twirl them around and then throw them out!

ReSomething
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:08 PM
My trainer has a viewing room that she tries to keep swept and dusted and "company ready" and I'd bet that having you guys sweep the office daily so she doesn't have to, or change the TP or take out the trash or just keep the place tidy enough for potential new customers to be able to sit down in their office clothes might be appreciated.

suzette4prez
Apr. 12, 2011, 03:25 PM
My trainer has a viewing room that she tries to keep swept and dusted and "company ready" and I'd bet that having you guys sweep the office daily so she doesn't have to, or change the TP or take out the trash or just keep the place tidy enough for potential new customers to be able to sit down in their office clothes might be appreciated.

I really like that idea! Our office isn't much of an office so I'd really like to sweep it out. I was driving with one of the barn owners the other day and he made a comment about how he wished he had more time to clean up around the barn. I can't wait to actually do it though! I'm going to start little by little I think though. Gonna start with the wash rack and bathroom this weekend.

AnotherRound
Apr. 13, 2011, 01:46 PM
In one of our tack rooms there is a wall length shelf on which sits current jars of goop, swat, hoof stuff, radio. Its fine for all that. However, the assistant barn manager went throught the entire place and found all the bits lying around, everywhere, including in trucks, where ever.

Using the large spike nails, put them in under the shelf, so all bits are hung on nails. You can put 3 or 4 bits on a nail, so each nail is the same kind of bit (ie, french link baucher, largest to smallest, Loose ring snaffles, Eggbutt french links, etc. etc.

Man, did it look nice, AND its so useable - always can find exactly what we need.

kookicat
Apr. 13, 2011, 05:59 PM
I'm also in the camp of ask first. I would hate it if someone came and started messing with my stuff. (I know that's not your intention.:) )

nightsong
Apr. 17, 2011, 02:30 AM
Cleaning, patching, repairing, organizing, painting, etc. is fine...I would NOT remove, scrap, destroy ANYTHING without the owner's permission/knowledge. They may have plans for something you consider junk. I know I'd appreciate the help, but would be annoyed if someone made descisions to remove MY stuff...other than blatant trash. JMO!

More than this, don't touch ANYTHING without owner's permission and SPECIFIC directions. Even what you call "cleaning". Some rather junk-looking stuff is actually QUITE valuable, and you have no knowledge of what the owner likes, has plans for, or anything about what they want DONE with the barn or any contents. Patching, repairing, painting, etc. can destroy the original. Reminds me of the cousin who was ordered by his mother to mow our yard, and DESTROYED my delicate wildflower garden, and the neighbor whose entire perennial border was "weeded" by neighbor children who were ordered by their parents to "help."

Nes
Apr. 17, 2011, 10:55 AM
Don't sneak into the barn in the middle of the night, you'll scare the pants off the poor BOs! :D.


If you're really dedicated to the surprise, maybe give them a dinner/day out?