I've Always Wanted To Try To Get -- The Basement Cleaned Out

3 Materials
1 Day

This is not a fun, exciting project. It is one of those that gets relegated to the back burner over and over. I keep the main floor very clean and organized, the craft area a little less so, depending what I'm working on, but, as you can tell, the basement storage area is a disaster.
What a mess! It's embarrassing to show this, but I hope it inspires you to a) not let it get this bad; and b) it is possible to roll up your sleeves and clean it up.
And another mess on the other side. Since the Christmas decorations had to get back in here somewhere, I finally broke down and dug in.
We had soda packages, beer packages, and water packages. All laying in different places, all as unsightly as this.
And this.
Here's where one of the four milk crates we have comes to good use. After transferring the cans and bottles into it, the crate is now in the garage, where nature is taking care of keeping the beverages cool.
We bought this shelving unit a couple years ago when we were doing craft fairs. It folded compactly, making it easy to haul around, but now it was in the back against the wall, folded up. Time to put it to use again. It was a conundrum getting it set up - all the stuff in the way but no place to put the stuff until it was usable.
After working for several hours I can see what color the floor is again.

This looks like a different room, doesn't it? Wow, after hours of sorting, repacking, trying to go vertical for a smaller footprint, most all is well.
Here's one of those vertical storage items I mentioned above. The spray paints are now in this over-the-door shoe rack, which is really hanging from one of the metal shelving units. It needs a little organizing yet, but I can see at a glace what colors I have.
A step in the right direction was to label everything. Some had labels, some not. Some were handwritten, some typed. I don't have a color printer and didn't want to spend any money so I made labels up on the computer and printed them on plain paper. My experience with shipping/address/file labels is they don't stick very good to anything other than paper and I also wanted to use a larger font so the print area wouldn't be limited.

I taped my metal yardstick down on top of the tool chest and laid out the labels on top of it. I unrolled the packing tape over the top of the labels and then cut them apart and affixed them on the totes/drawers. That was so much easier and faster than doing each label one by one.
The labels above were ready to affix.
In the process of cleaning up the basement, I also went through the tool chest and cleaned out the drawers.
These totes and drawers look so nice now. If there's not a label, the drawer is empty.

I finished up with a quick sweep and mop, and like a lady once said in a movie, "This house (basement) is clean."

I can't tell you how much less stress there is because this room isn't at the back of my mind all the time, bugging me because it's a mess. What a relief. I remember what an organizing pro once said. To begin - work on the area that is bothering you most.
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Have a question about this project?

2 questions
  • Jewellmartin
    on Jan 9, 2018

    Terrific job! Where did you get the door pocket hangers? I’ve never seen any that large, with that many pockets.
    • Mary Ann Goldberg
      on Jan 10, 2018

      Thank you, Jewell! This hanger I got at a rummage sale for a dollar or less. The hanging part at the top was ripped up so I did some surgery on it and it works good for this because I used S hooks and could only hang those on the grill work that the shelves are made of. I have purchased others at Walmart for other uses, including shoes. I like that they're clear and can see the contents. It's been a couple years but I think they were under $10.
  • Michelle Brown
    on Jan 11, 2018

    Where did you get the drawer storage? I would love to put my out of season clothes in the basement with these types of storage
    • Mary Ann Goldberg
      on Jan 12, 2018

      Hi, Michelle, those storage drawers came from a friend's job at a greeting card store. The store was going to a different system and gave all their drawers away and we were blessed to get these.

Join the conversation

3 of 20 comments
  • S. Kennington
    on Jan 27, 2018

    I tried this labeling idea last year when I attempted to organize Christmas decor in plastic containers in our garage. It might be the weather here in the south but the tape got dry and the labels fell off 😒
  • Cli11303202
    on Feb 3, 2018

    I love your ideas. I will be starting next week to organize the basement .You gave me some great ideas. Thanks
    • Mary Ann Goldberg
      on Feb 4, 2018

      Thank you, Cliftoncj12! Thinking about it is the hard part. Action is so rewarding. Good luck and happy I could help.

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