The ‘cold room’ is what we call the unheated utility room at the back of the house. The house has a slab foundation and flat roofs; though it’s pretty well equipped with closets, for many years there was no room in it for the things one would normally store in a basement or attic. So, at some point, probably forty years ago, my husband’s parents had the cold room built.
It’s an unheated room made mainly of concrete brick, shut off from the rest of the house by a heavy door. It has a single window and an unpainted concrete floor and can get very damp, given that the whole house is in the woods and this part stands in a particularly shady spot. During most of the year the room has no ventilation; it’s warm and dry enough, though, to appeal to spiders.
Despite these few drawbacks (which one notices when one is cleaning) the space is well-designed and has lots of storage, a full-size freezer, and utility racks for hanging up all kinds of tools. Over time, it’s become the repository of a great assortment of household equipment and supplies. It stores everything from kindling to sprinklers to cleaning supplies. My husband likes to ‘buy ahead,’ which makes sense because the nearest hardware store is many miles off.
Being out of the way, the cold room is a convenient place to dump things. A miscellany of junk had come to crowd its cabinets, counter, corners, and bins. A lot of stuff was left over from various improvement projects and remodels: pieces of downspouts, half-used buckets of paint, used light-fixtures, a hammock we can’t use because one of the trees it was attached to came down in a storm.
Anyway, I spent yesterday afternoon in the cold room, throwing out useless items, and cleaning. Of course I ran across some oddities, like a painting that my niece Briana (then 7) made for me when I had to have an appendectomy. And an antique set of bells that used to be part of our phone system until lately. And a box of silent stones from the beach, which are waiting for the right moment to tell me their story.