red barn with daffodils and rock wall
colonial farmhouse

The Great Barn Loft Clean Out

Last month we tackled The Great Barn Loft Clean Out.

Did we accumulate THAT MUCH junk in less than two years of owning the Colonial Farmhouse that we needed to clean out the barn loft?

No. But…

Here’s an itty bitty detail that’s important to this story.

We had never looked in the barn loft before last month.

That’s right. We bought the property with the barn loft sight unseen and then ignored it for almost two years. Who does that? Us, apparently.

In our defense, the loft doors were nailed shut and it’s not like we weren’t busy dealing with all the other problems this money pit house of our dreams threw at us.

We knew there was stuff in the loft by peering through a crack in the ceiling, so we finally ordered a 15-yard dumpster to deal with the problem once and for all.

But first we had to install a new hinge on the barn loft door because we broke the old one trying to get the door open. (You know I really mean Handy Husband broke the hinge, right? But I have to say “we” because of the marriage pact.)

barn loft clean out

Anyway, “we” had also saved some old hinges from a gate “we” dismantled, so it wasn’t too long before “we” were back in the barn loft clean out business.

Then it was time to draw straws to decide who would be the one to test out the stability of the floorboards.


Handy Husband knows, in this instance, I’d cheat so he’s resigned to do all the gross, scary stuff first. Plus, I just think he doesn’t want to deal with me whining about gross, scary stuff. Folks, my evil plan is working.

But don’t worry! We wouldn’t have a party up there, but the floor was totally fine for the purposes of this project. Now we just had to clear out all the junk.

barn loft clean out

Have you ever listened to that Johnny Cash song titled One Piece at a Time? It’s about stealing accumulating car parts from the factory over the course of years and using the parts to build a mismatched car.

One Piece at a Time, minus the stealing part, could have been the soundtrack for this barn loft clean out. Handy Husband would toss, literally toss, a bucket seat out the barn loft door, then a steering wheel, some brake rotors, a gas tank, a handful of tires, and so on. If I was a betting woman I’d say car people used to live here.

There was some other random stuff forgotten in the loft like a desk, a rocking horse, and a window. Nothing super exciting though.

Certainly not a chest full of gold coins. Seriously. Is that too much to ask? It would have helped pay for the dumpster at the very least.

We did find one neat old thing: nearly 100-year-old newspapers. I think it is neat because I’m not sure how they survived. They were laid out flat over the barn loft floorboards under some straw “insulation.” We are guessing they were put there to keep the straw and dust from coming through the ceiling.

barn loft clean out The New York Times July 4 1926

Over the last 100 years the mice had made themselves a nice cozy nest out of the newspaper, but enough of it was intact for us to get the gist of why it was up there.

I saved a couple of the pages to place in the house history file I’m keeping. I did spend half a second worrying about how to preserve the newsprint, but then I realized if these pages survived nearly 100 years in a barn then I’m sure they’ll be fine enough however I store them.

I’m hoping someday someone will appreciate having a bit of the house’s history to look back on.

barn loft clean out

We are so happy to have this dirty task out of the way. We wore dust masks to minimize the amount of dust we inhaled, but we came out of this task completely covered in dirt and grime.

Say what you will about our design choices and the improvements we’ve made to the Colonial Farmhouse, but at the end of the day we will leave this place cleaner than how we bought it!

P.S. These are the dust masks we used.

P.P.S. I didn’t do any funny photoshop business on the exterior photo of our little barn. The previous owner had the barn painted, but not the eaves. They also didn’t take down any of the stuff hanging on the barn in order to paint. Therefore, we have a splotchy, two-toned red barn and zero touch-up paint.

Thanks for following along with our old house journey! Here are some other posts you might enjoy.

How to Dust a Piano (Or Any Furniture) With a Glossy Finish

Vintage Milk Can Side Table  (Also found on the property.)

Black Painted Stair Risers


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