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Thread: Storing fabric in old wooden secretary

  1. #1
    Member cawsings's Avatar
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    Storing fabric in old wooden secretary

    My husband inherited an old handmade wooden secretary when his grandparents passed away. For the past 5 years it has been a catch-all...and served no real purpose (he really just kept it to please his mother). We are talking about starting a family soon and my husband says I'm "nesting." I've been trying to reorganize the house so that we have more room...and always trying to figure out a better sewing space. So, when showing him all kinds of plans of what he could build for me he suggested fabric storage in the old secretary. It's not the most beautiful piece of furniture and has been altered a few times but I think I can make it work...plus hubby's mom and grandma were/are sewers/quilters so they would appreciate it. Part of the secretary has shelves with a glass door and I plan to wrap fabric around comic book boards.

    The only problem is the cabinet smells (as hubby says), "like my grandparents house." I stuck a little bowl of baking soda in there after I cleaned/dusted...do you think this will do the trick? I haven't put any fabric in yet...but plan on working on it in the next few days. Any other suggestions for eliminating odor would be great!!! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Member grandma nurse's Avatar
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    I bought a roll top desk that was in a smokers house and even the drawers smelled. I put wintergreen lifesavers in the drawers and keep them shut for a few days. It did take care of the smell. The lifesavers had to be thrown away because they tasted of smoke. I also put some fabric softener towel in places, but the lifesavers did a better job and it didn't leave strong mint smell.

  3. #3
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Be careful about storing fabric next to wood. Wood contains acid that gradually destroys fabric fibers. Without knowing what kind of finish is on the wood, I would consider encasing all the inside shelves in muslin or (easier solution) painting all the wood surfaces with a clear polyurethane. The polyurethane would prevent acid from seeping from the wood. You may also want to cover the insides of the glass with fabric to prevent light from getting to your fabric. Light fades fabric.

    Edit: I had a wooden featherweight case that smelled moldy. I placed a couple of Dr. Scholl's odoreaters inserts for shoes in it (the kind with charcoal) and that took away the smell. Charcoal is the best "odor eater". You could buy a small bag (Amazon carries it) and place it in bowls inside the cabinetry, then close it and leave for a couple of weeks. Just be careful not to spill the charcoal!
    Last edited by Prism99; 03-28-2013 at 07:11 PM.

  4. #4
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    You can also, crumple up newspaper and put in it. They are good to absorb orders. Worked in a refrigerator once. Worth a try & it's cheap.
    Vonda-Texas MiMi of 4 Beautiful Grandbabies

  5. #5
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    I think it will work fine, but, as suggested by prism99, consider that the wood has acid and take appropriate action.

    I have a china closet with glass in my garage that I use to store fabric. The shelves are glass, too. I put a fabric I don't love over the glass to keep the sun out, as my DH tends to leave the garage open and the afternoon sun shines in. I also use two pieces of a 3 piece entertainment center in the garage that have glass, and the glass is covered in the same way. Opening up the glass doors makes it real easy to spot fabric, too.

  6. #6
    Super Member Gladys's Avatar
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    I use the fabric softener sheets but there are great suggestions here.

  7. #7
    Super Member hopetoquilt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vondae View Post
    You can also, crumple up newspaper and put in it. They are good to absorb orders. Worked in a refrigerator once. Worth a try & it's cheap.

    I would echo that!

  8. #8
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    also cut up some apples and lay them around in there a few days they also absorb odors. i have done that

  9. #9
    Super Member nhweaver's Avatar
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    Storing fabric next to wood can be detrimental to your fabric, acid, color, splinters etc can do harm. So any where your fabric could come in contact with wood, you could have a problem. I think using an old secretary is a great idea. I use an old jelly cupboard for my quilt kits, the shelves were removable, so my husband covered the top of each shelf with removable contact type plastic (duct taped on the bottom of the shelf - didn't peel off the sticky stuff protector). He did the same with the sides. But I have stored fabric in my mother's old dresser, and haven't had any wood transfer, but I think the inside of the drawers are sealed.
    If life gives you lemons, make a margarita.

  10. #10
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    I store my fabric in a wood cupboard and the comic book cardboard bottoms rest on the shelf not the fabric. You could put in acid free shelf lining paper if you were concerned. I think I would try the lifesaver trick first because I love the scent of the wintergreen ones.

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