Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cedar You in My Dreams

It is Spring Cleaning season, and I thought I'd share a bit of closet envy.

We all know about people with entire bedrooms devoted to their wardrobes, or Carrie's dream shoe closet (or the above male wet dream according to Heineken). Me? It wasn't so much the space but the type of space. Personally, I've always dreamed of a cedar closet.

I'm not sure why I had such a fascination with cedar. Growing up on the west coast everyone was familiar with the Lane cedar chest (do girls still wish for hope chests?). I'd never really had a problem with moths - not like we do in Wisconsin. But I also detested the moth balls used to keeps wools safe, and longed for the chemical free use of cedar. It just seemed like such a useful, little luxury.

In our digs, I first laughed at the little slip of a door in the hallway:

Then I opened the door: Holy bananas!

This tiny little space is floor to ceiling cedar, including the door. There are two rails allowing for double hanging. And the shelf is adjustable.

What is the purpose of the cedar closet?

Protection from predators
If you live in Wisconsin and have wool, chances are you've seen this little bugger. I brought two wool rugs with me from California, and one disintegrated before I realized the problem. The other is hanging onto dear life. The natural oils in cedar help repel insects. For added protection, it is still recommended to "bag and ball" (did I just coin a phrase?).

How does it work and what keeps it working?
This floor-to-ceiling cedar closet is ideal because it is the natural oils in cedar that give the distinct aroma that drives bugs away. It is the destructive larvae that eat through tasty fabrics, and adult moths won't lay eggs in such a pungent smelling environment.

The oils don't last forever though. Cedar should be refreshed with a light sanding to revive the wood. Too much contact with air, dirt and simply time turns the cedar from a nice red to a brownish tone. This color change or lack of scent is a sign to perform maintenance or risk creatures getting cozy in your goods. Sanding once a year is a common recommendation, with a light application of cedar oil as an option. Maintenance is so easy, even Spiderman can do it!

How do I get my own closet?

If you don't already have a built-in and are looking to convert or build, there are two ways:

1) Use Eastern Red Cedar. This is the original cedar harvested primarily from the southern Appalachian Mountains. These planks produce the strong cedar scent. This is the more expensive route but will provide a beautiful finish.

2) Cedar flakeboard. This was my backup in college, and I have pulled those boards and taken them with me everywhere I've gone. You simply nail them in and you're done.

If you share the same dream I've always had, don't despair. Seems dreams really do come true!


Anonymous said...

Very nice. Never had a cedar-lined closet myself, but we don't have much problem with wool moths here on the west coast. I do have a cedar chest that I keep some of my woolens in, just in case.

I've heard mixed stories on whether cedar really keeps the moths away. Not sure what the latest theory is.

Solessence said...

I've heard mixed too, but I think it is largely attributed to whether the closet is sealed well and if the scent is fresh from sandings.

A cedar chest does well because it generally has a good seal. Let me know if you've ever sanded it down though.

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