Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Creating a Room

So the state of my house is really starting to drive me crazy. Maybe it's that on-again-off-again organizational obsession that has been dogging me for the last two years. Maybe it's my new cleaning regime (more on that later). Maybe I'm just fed up with chaos.

Anyway, the fact is, we have a small(ish) house (by American standards)--it's about 1500 square feet, has only two (good-sized bedrooms) and an open-concept floorplan downstairs. But we do have a full daylight basement that could be a useful and functional, even aesthetically pleasing space. If only. If only it was not full of skis, bikes, yard tools, scrap building materials, power tools, chain saws, record albums, recycling bins, garbage cans, flower pots, camping gear, and tons of other crap (let's not mention the boxes and bins of fabric, yarn and craft supplies, shall we?).

I have a vision for it--beautifully plastered walls, book shelves and cabinets, a corner for arts and crafts, a corner for C's office (so that I can reclaim the large chunk of my livingroom currently devoted to his two desks, filing cabinets, computer, printer and reams and reams of god-knows-what piled all over), a big play area. It'll be sweet.

I had been waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for some other structure to come along to take in all the afore-mentioned stuff (particularly the outdoor-oriented stuff), but no shed or garage magically appeared in the yard. So finally, tired of waiting, I decided to just start doing something about it. In addition to massive amounts of decluttering (into which I have only just started to dip my toes), I have partially finished off one room to the extent that I can do so myself without any help or skills.

We planned this little room on the north end of the basement (directly under our mudroom) to be a pantry (my vision) or a root cellar (C's vision). But what ended up happening is that it became a place for us to pile all of the junk that didn't have a home elsewhere (backpacks--why we have four I don't know--gift bags and boxes, skis, ice skates, a sewing machine C found on the side of the road, ugly paintings, you name it). This is how it looked before I got started:

I spent 15 minutes a day for a week clearing out all the stuff inside, then over the Columbus holiday weekend (I had an extra day off, kid-free!), I painted the concrete walls with clay paint (from here--the color I used was "lemon"), moved in a book shelf from the main room (which involved piling all of the craft supplies that had been on the shelf onto the floor) and arranged jars, baskets, berry boxes, buckets of potatoes and other miscellaneous kitchen items (that we don't need in our kitchen every day) inside.

This is how it looked when I was done:

And yes, it did occur to me as I put it all together that I had just spent a weekend remodeling a room for the sole purpose of storing empty mason jars. But they won't always be empty. Even C, who thought I was behaving irrationally, will be very pleased by the convenience of finding and storing jars when he goes to make maple syrup next spring.

I still want to move our new chest freezer in here, but that will require that someone (not me) wire an outlet. Also, one-and-a-half walls are still not done because they have insulation on them and require drywall (which has been quite conveniently leaning against said walls and becoming warped for the last eight years), which means I require C's help. But that might take awhile because (as a direct result of my taking action on this room I'm sure, though he would no doubt deny it) he has begun work on a barn/garage (henceforth referred to as the "barage"). Which will hopefully come in handy when addressing the rest of the basement:


  1. Oh, if only I had a basement, I would pile it haphazardly full of all the clutter that is piled all over our 1250 square foot house. But it would flood, so it is probably best that I don't.

  2. LSM--I like to think that if I DIDN'T have a basement, I would never have accumulated all this crap to begin with. Wishful thinking, huh? (And flooded basements are no good...I used to live in one. To this day I can't sleep when it is pouring rain).

  3. As with most of your posts I feel like shouting ME TOO ME TOO! This one is no different. (To be clear, I have a messy basement...I do NOT have the 15 minutes a day discipline to do anything serious about it).

  4. Okay, just for a little perspective: I am so jealous that you have a basement. Could you store root vegetables in there?
    Also, nice work on the first step of organizing. I am continually amazed at what you accomplish on top of your full time job, 3 kids, etc...


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