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Friday, October 8, 2010

Basement Storage Room Makeover

We have owned our house for 17 years this month. When our kids were young, they wouldn't go down into the unfinished basement because it was too scary. Typical. To entice them we sealed the floor and applied a coat of white epoxy paint, added a huge Berber carpet remnant and put 100 watt light bulbs in all the rafter sockets. This allowed for Big Wheel riding, Nerf basketball, playing dress up, and eventually in-line skating with neighborhood friends. Yes, the occasional spider halted play and damsels in distress had to be rescued, but it worked decently. Then we moved in 2001.

During our 4 year departure, it seems our basement became party central for the renter's teenagers. As in, the police were called to our house twice according to our friends and neighbors.  Back to square one. Clean up everything and repaint the floor. Add a guest bedroom and full bath then finish the majority of space as a media room and a hangout for our now teen children.  Minus the nightclub inspired antics and elixirs.

Entrance to the storage room

On one end of the basement is where the HVAC, water heater and sump pump are located. It would also be the new enclosed storage room for everything. And, literally everything got shoved in here when the construction was taking place. My husband built the shelving ( from 2x4's and plywood) years ago, it was the only thing that saved this space from becoming a total dump!  New stuff came in. A few things went out.  But, not nearly enough. It was the beginning of Oscar's takeover.

Things that keep the A&A house comfortable

Step 1:
Take everything out. Vacuum and mop. I could not bring myself to photograph this part. The contents stretched nearly to the other side of the finished part of the basement!

Step 2:
Paint the floor. Two coats of epoxy.  Let it dry for 48 hours.

Step 3:
Implement my 3 D system. Several bags of trash were dumped.  Then I held a little tag sale in my basement. I called a few friends who share the same aesthetic as me and they each brought a friend. In case this seems odd, friends & family have shopped my storage room before. They know buying is a necessary part of my work and that I love to scour and hunt. Many of them do not. But, they do enjoy the deep F&F discount! I will on occasion shop my stash for clients. A bed, chair and bulletin board were the first things go back in the spring for this project. Many items were also loaded up in my car and donated to our local thrift store. And, of course I decided to keep a few treasures, such as this wire urn:

A longtime favorite!

Suzanne Kasler used the same one here.

Step 4:
Create a small work area. Install sheets of pegboard to hang paint supplies and tools.


Peg board up and floor painted


Mr. A&A loves this space!

Behind the HVAC is a decent amount of useful space, but it's very dark. My husband does a lot of the painting around the A&A house (a skill acquired working summers during college and paints as well as the best contractors I know) and kept his supplies in a plastic opaque bin.  Not efficient.  He was always searching for something and buying duplicate supplies. Need a putty knife?


Right side

Same side...yes, there was more in the corner!


After-right side

After-wide view.  Everything in & organized!

You may have noticed from the before shots, I already had a system in place for holiday decorations.  Bins are colored coded based on the Holiday. Good thing too, since a few were shoved in places they didn't belong! In addition, the Christmas bins require labels, indicating their contents, since there are so many.  I don't always use the same decorations from year to year and it's great to know exactly what I am pulling from the shelf.  Only a few new containers needed to be purchased. Clear bins (lower left side) are the best choice for many things so contents can be identified at a glance. Now there is plenty of room to walk around. Before there was only a path with stuff blocking off one side of the doors! In all likelihood things will be reduced even further as I go through bins this holiday season.


Before-left side...OMG!

After-left side, middle shelf.  What I decided to keep.

After-left side with room to spare!
  Step: 5

Abide by the rules:
1. Cardboard boxes/shopping bags can not be used for storing items.
2. Color code and/or label bins that are not clear plastic.
3. Group and store like items together.
4. Keep  floor storage to a minimum.
5.. Make sure that everything remaining is accessible!

What it cost:
Peg board: $17/sheet
Hooks/organizers: $15/pkg.
Plastic storage drawers: $11each
Clear storage bins: $40 for 3
Concrete paint:$25/gallon
Labor/Organization plan: Seriously unpleasant/free!


  1. Loving all of the organization! Doesn't it feel great?

  2. Great job!!!
    beyond jealous!

  3. It looks really amazing, and the floors are so nice and clean, that is my favorite thing, I love painted cement flooring. xoxo

  4. R, I had to
    do a double-take;
    at first glance
    I thought that
    Step One said,
    "Valium and mop!"
    I kid you not : )
    What a relief to
    have this project
    done, no? You must
    have so much free
    time now that you
    are all organized
    in the basement
    and garage {ha ha}!
    Seriously, well done.
    I'm just jealous.....
    xx Suzanne

  5. oh i bet that feels so good to be organized! it looks great!

  6. Looking good! Love seeing everything so organized. You are inspiring me to do the same. My garage is a disaster!

  7. WOW WOW WOW!!!! What a wonderful transformation! I'm sure it's a huge feeling of accomplishment. (and I SOO identify with buying duplicates of lost tools ... it's a problem a lot of us have.) When our awful garage rises to the top of our To Do list, I'll have you and your basement storage room to use for motivation.

  8. I love the idea of color coding the holiday decor boxes! Looking great!

  9. Lots of hard work and it looks great! I love the feeling of the results of those kind of projects!

  10. Beautifully organized. I so need to do this in my basement! Looks great!

  11. What an eye-candy! So gorgeous! I love organized stuff. Kellie xx

  12. I know this was lots of hardwork but it was truly worth it. You have inspired I just need a kick in the pants to get to work on my garage! Very well done. It looks great.

  13. You take on some pretty amazing projects. You always inspire me. Mona

  14. Oh my goodness - this is SO inspiring! I sit and stare and ponder over my basement AND my garage (which I want to turn into my own office/workroom) on a daily basis. I have magazine cuttings, I have plans, I have ideas - but I lack the most important thing - MOTIVATION! Seeing how you've transformed your areas may be the push I finally need to get going...I'll just put the kettle on first though! xx p.s. lovely blog GREAT ideas.

  15. You have been so hard at work. What a great feeling you must have being so organized and having accomplished all of this!!! Enjoy the fruits of your labor!!! xo E

  16. Organized storage is just as pretty as a well set table or a made up room--this is so inspiring! I totally need to get myself in gear and go to town on our storage areas--baby clothes, decorations, and bins (and bins!) of fabric abound.

  17. Oh what I wouldn't give for that kind of storage. Alas though, our water table is too high in Houston for basements. :(

  18. Genius! Love all the efforts and the amazing results. I always need such an inspiration to tackle somewhat unloved organizing projects. I just did it with my (awfully old) kitchen and I am quite pleased with the results.
    LIve with what you love and edit the rest....and then love what you have!



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