We didn't sand it down to the bare wood, just enough to roughen up the surface for the new paint. I hooked up my shop vac to the end of my electric hand sander so I wouldn't have to dump out the 2 oz. collector bag every 15 minutes.
After 2 hours and resulting numb hands and ringing ears, I called the sanding job done. We vacuumed as much dust as we could and took a damp cloth to every surface, just in case the Dyson didn't do a good enough job.
Now comes the next decision.
In trying not to spend too much remodeling and getting new fixtures, cabinets, etc., we are going to try and keep these 1 and 1/2" down rods used for hanging clothes. But... what do we do with them? Paint them Simply White like the rest of the shelving? or Hale Navy? Another option may be to stain them a dark wood color since the plan is to get dark wood flooring throughout the first floor. Hence why you will also notice in the "after" picture that the base boards are not painted white, preemptively for when we have to rip out the carpet.
Decisions... decisions... Any thoughts?