Basement Overhaul Phase I

2 Materials
2 Days
Rob and I have been trying to purge our house (especially the basement) while also working on a little renovation in our kitchen/living room area. It's amazing how much stuff we have accumulated over the past 6 and a half years of being together--not to mention the fact that between the two of us we had a house and a storage unit before meeting. For the past 4 years, I've picked back up my passion of art, crafts and have made a living doing all sorts of projects and handmade items, so of course my stash of supplies has expanded exponentially! Life gets busy and since we're not in the basement everyday, things start to pile up so we finally got down there together and started getting a grip on the chaos. Thankfully, we already had a few storage shelves and several bins so it was just a matter of organizing and re-figuring the space.

-Zober over-the-door shoe bag
-HDX 12 gallon flip top tote

*As I mentioned before, we already had tons of bins and some shelves so I picked up about 6 more bins from Home Depot and ordered a shoe bag for my new work space.

Can y'all say HOT MESS?! I promise we don't live in a pig sty--I'm a very organized person but when you have so much stuff, it kind of becomes an organized MESS. However, between work, running a household and being a stay-at-home mom, I have a habit of throwing something down in the basement with all intentions of finding the "something" a home and things start piling up.

Here's a shot of my corner of the basement (left) where I would store things I had made and hadn't sold, most of my supplies, things that I'd picked up through the years to turn into something else, etc. The picture on the right is across from my space where our washer/dryer are and a bunch of space that wasn't being used to it's potential.

We decided to try and get most everything off the basement floor so we refigured shelves and some of the things that couldn't fit in bins and organized them on the shelves we had.

Rob is a former Marine so he had several green bins from the military that are water proof and stack nicely so most of our seasonal clothing are stored away in those. We also had other store bought bins that we've accumulated over the years and we simply tried to stack all bins and have them in one corner of the basement. Our goal was to have as much walking space as possible.

Our washer and dryer are in the basement (yes, I'm 8 months pregnant with our second child and have to go down a ladder to do the laundry...I did it when I was pregnant with Bo too...but I'm thankful we have a washer/dryer and I don't have to trek to the laundry mat or wash clothes in a creek somewhere) so we tried to create an open space where I'll be able to have all of my laundry essentials out (they used to just sit on the dryer). We plan to get little foam puzzle kit to set out in front of the laundry area to make Bo and CC a play area so when I'm in the basement working, they have a play area. In the meantime, we put his art station and a few toys there to occupy him.

*Stay tuned for our Basement Overhaul Phase II! We are ripping our top kitchen cabinets out in the coming weeks and transplanting them to the basement so I'll really have a space for storing my laundry essentials and other items!

We moved all of our hanging clothes to a sturdy pipe by the washer/dryer so that we weren't running into them every time we walked around the basement stairs. They are so much better out of the way!

I shop at Costco and Amazon for our bulk items so we store all of those things in the basement until we need them. I used to store them over by the laundry area where our shelving is which means I have to go down the basement stairs/ladder and walk around to the back of the basement to get grocery/paper good items. Rob decided it would be better if we moved that entire shelving unit to the bottom of the stairs which is what we ended up doing.

*I often ship different shaped orders so I broke down all of my cardboard boxes that I collect from Amazon and the Post Office, and put them on an extra shelf we have so that the boxes would be off the floor. Our grocery shelving unit is right beside where my work space starts.

I have tons of crafting supplies--be it sewing essentials, items for repurposing, paints, brushes, tools, vinyls, jewelry making items, or spray paint--I'm the go-to girl when you're looking for something craft related! I have so many bottles of spray paint and I didn't want to take up room on another shelf that could be used for something else so I purchased a hanging shoe bag to place my spray paints in them.

The shoe bag came with holes on the top and hardware to hang it over a door but Rob thought of rigging it up around one of our floor joists which I love! It covers the ugly pole and makes it functional at the same time.

Our basement has a little alcove (I guess that's what you would call it...?) that to me, is just dead space because of how deep it is; however, the additional bins I purchased came in handy for this area in my work space. One of mine and Rob's businesses is custom made shirts so I have 2 bins with shirts which I plan to eventually divide out into drawers once the entire basement overhaul is complete. The other bins have random crafting items such as chargers, wine bottles, etc. I have some pallet signs and windows that haven't sold so they are neatly stacked beside the bins and a few on top. Behind the bins we have large baby essentials such as a swing, activity table, etc. I'm considering getting a wire or some sort of piping to install across the top of the alcove to hang a curtain in order to cover this whole area as I don't like seeing it even though I know it's as organized as it can get.

What I'm most excited about with all of my work stuff being in one space is that hopefully production will become streamline. I have my new sewing machine and my heat press on one table, old antique chairs for projects stored underneath and another small metal shelving unit from Home Depot that holds my wood finishes and other crafting items on.

My mom gave me a bakers rack years ago and this thing has been used for so many different things since I've had it! I've now moved it into my work space to hold all of my painting essentials. If you've seen some of mine and Rob's older projects, you'll remember the antique ladder he created for storage baskets which used to be upstairs. We decided to move it down to my work space to hold my collection of twine and tapes.

I get so excited every time I see this space! It may not be much to some but for me, it's a breath of fresh air. The work desk that Rob made for another project back over the summer has now been moved to the basement as well, and I love the fact that I can work on both sides of it. I can use the space underneath for more storage, and if you've seen this table before on one of our tutorials, you'll remember that the ends have shelves which means even more storage.

Plastic drawer units may not be the prettiest things to see but for me, they have been so functional for my space in the basement. I have all of my jewelry making essentials and ribbon in one unit and all of my vinyl in another. Then, for my large rolls of vinyl, I have an old waste basket to store them in.

Of course it would be nice to have a huge, beautiful room upstairs and decorated the way I'd love to someday see my studio with everything matching and uniformed, but I'm working with what I have for now. The fact is we live in a small, 2 bedroom house and will soon have 2 kids under 3 years old with lots of toys and baby gadgets. In order to have our living area as tidy as possible and welcoming to guests (and less stress for us), we have to use the most of the space we have. It's not worth us adding an extension so until we move, I'm happy that our basement is functional in so many ways and that I finally have a work space away from my living space. For anyone who works from home, you may sympathize with me in that it's hard to turn yourself off of work mode when you live amongst it. With my work space now being in the basement, I can come upstairs and not have to see my work which is a great feeling to have.

Suggested materials:

  • Zober over-the-door shoe bag   (Amazon)
  • HDX 12 gallon flip top tote   (Home Depot)

Frequently asked questions

Have a question about this project?

  1 question
  • M M on Apr 09, 2017
    where did you get the metal shelving? i have been looking for some for a long time. thank you


Join the conversation

5 of 41 comments
  • Ron Duckworth Ron Duckworth on May 31, 2017
    What amazes me is how much - superfluous stuff people keep - WHAT FOR?? Toss the stuff or donate it. Then the storage of REAL important STUFF can be configured.

    • See 2 previous
    • Mo Mo on Apr 19, 2020

      You have that alcove because your basement was dug out after the house was built. Handy for storage but like you said they are deep. Underbed storage totes would work for the long vinyls and could be put on that deep "shelf".

  • Jan Jan on Apr 22, 2020

    I'm so happy to see someone else managing to live with an unfinished basement!!! We live in my husband's family home which is over 100 years old. I have painted everything and just finished reorganizing all our "stuff". I am finally parting with a lot of items that I have been moving around for 30 + years giving it away to others who may need "good stuff" : ). It feels so wonderful to see the cleanliness and tidiness of our new organized basement!