{Create} A Clean Basement

We all have excuses for keeping too much stuff in our home. My excuses fall into the we're newly married and trying to combine households, I work a lot and (the best) out of sight, out of mind categories. When I first moved in, we unpacked what we needed and dumped everything else in the basement. We had enough going on trying to get our *functional* rooms organized. Our downstairs is simply an unfinished cave that houses our TV and washer/dryer. Since no one but us ever goes down there, it's not a priority. But, in reality, we aren't really newlyweds anymore (sad!) and as I mentioned on Monday I'm ready to let go of excuses and get back on track.

We started with the basement. It's the scariest. And don't you think it's empowering to get through the task you're dreading the most?

Here's what we started with. Looks innocent enough, right? The bookshelf/books in the bottom left corner actually live upstairs. They'll go back up this weekend when I (finally!) take down our Christmas tree. So that leaves us with what ... just folding the blanket and call it good? Right. Let's take a closer look.

The couch is actually hiding all the madness. I can't even believe I'm posting this on the internet. Such a mess! And, actually there's more.

This is the entire downstairs. The two far left pictures (top and bottom) showcase our *coat* closet. This houses seriously lacks closet space. You all notice the shoe collection and hundreds of boxes. For what? Who knows. The bottom right photo was the view when you walk downstairs. The big object in the picture that everything is stacked on is actually a shelves we bought this summer. That's how long we've been *meaning* to do this. All in all, clutter-ific!

So the day after Christmas (I wasn't wasting any time!), I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. First I emptied and went through every box. I was ruthless about what I didn't want/need, consolidated boxes and better organized what I wanted to keep. At the end of the day I had a huge Goodwill pile, a huge garbage pile and a nice manageable pile of what to keep. I put up the original shelving unit and it was quickly clear that one wouldn't cut it. The next day, Chris and I made a list and headed off to Target/Home Depot where we picked up more shelves and tupperwear containers. Then we came home, threw more away and made a huge trip to Goodwill. 

And the end result. So amazing. We're in awe every time we walk downstairs. There's actually ... space.

The view walking downstairs. Better. So much better. All that's left is for an upcoming back entry project. So, for now it stays.

The miracle of a shoe organizer. All the bikes are hung and all the bigger gadgets placed in the space below.

And the main area (remember, the books are actually heading back up stairs!). Sure you can see it all now. But friends, we can find things! And everything has a place! And it's organized! Seriously, I can actually breath easier when I'm down here. I know longer feel my belongings closing in on me.

See all the trim on the right? We scored a bunch of free salvaged trim that is perfect for our upstairs. Here's to hoping we can trim out our rooms this year!

Check out all the floor space behind the couch.

Before we even met, Chris and I both had a habit of buying awesome, inexpensive frames when we found them at garage sales or thrift stores. This was before IKEA came to Portland and frames are so expensive!  If you follow my twitter feed, you'd know that I counted our *collection*. After I cleaned (some went to Goodwill) we still had 45 frames. FORTY-FIVE. You guys, we have a gallery wall in our living room that we didn't purchase one single frame for, and we still have 45! Clearly, we have a sickness.

So that's all for the basement. I keep thinking it isn't *pretty* enough. But then I look at the basement itself. Not. Pretty. I have no vision for bringing beautiful storage into an unfinished space, and I actually think it wouldn't fit in. At some point we'll finish out the basement (which will add a bedroom and a bath to the house!), and when that happens, in line with using what we have, we plan to move the shelves to the garage and beautify our storage. 

More cleaning will commence for me this weekend. Next up is the kitchen. How is all your cleaning going? What's been your most worth it cleaning/organizing effort?


  1. Haha you know exactly what i've been up to - organizational chaos! I'm still in awe of your 45 frames. You should do a giveaway on the blog to get rid of a few... ooooor just give them directly to me =) hehe kidding! <3

    anywho -- How amazing is it to know where everything is!? I bet you're so stoked! =) and so lucky to have a basement!!!

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  2. First, it's been over two years. You're definitely not newly weds anymore ;)

    Second, I have the opposite problem... I collect pictures/posters that desperately need framing. And keep forgetting to frame them. Sigh.

  3. Wow, that was quite a task..good job!

  4. This is my favorite line ---> "can't even believe I'm posting this on the internet."

    I hear you on that one. I'm not gutsy enough to post a true "before," I don't think...but then look at the "after" you've got going! pretty impressive.

    I also like that you're totally diving in...especially since I'm still in the "Read a lot of organizing stuff online and in magazines" part - not the actual doing part. Arg. Hopefully I can get a little jump start on things this weekend.

    Nice progress!

  5. That was quite the project!! I am trying to muddle my way through getting my teenytiny office in order and I gave myself a whole month. I also am in the same boat as Becky in that lots of things to be framed, not enough frames.

  6. Great job on the decluttering! I know that's got to feel good.

  7. oh my goodness, GOOD WORK Jenn!
    empowering is right!
    now I seriously want to get rid of some stuff of my own!

  8. wow, it's always the way, the more space you have the more chance it'll get filled with clutter. we've had the same thing happen, though on a much smaller condo-kinda scale. melding your things together is fun but also a bit tough to know how to create a space for it all. from every reno i've seen on your blog, you've mastered this skill superbly!

    i hadn't a doubt you'd have it spic and spanned up no time and boy was i right as i scrolled down to see the results. marvelous stuff Jenn, doesn't it feel so good when you accomplish a task this large?! I always go back like 20 times just to look at it again and again. 45 fames, wow, can't wait to see what you come up with for those! ♥

  9. I have a few closets that look eerily like your basement...we rent and our basement is shared space with our neighbors, so I try to keep it a little less messy down there, hence the cluttered closets...this post was just what I needed to get my behind in gear and get cleaning for the new year. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. Hi Jenn,

    Just found your blog. Wow, looks so much better! you are inspiring me. But honestly, my basement is twice as scary, so it will probably take me twice as long to clean it! ;)

  11. I really need to step away from the computer and do this. Every room needs it.


  12. There could be a lot of storage and fun in the basement if it is taken care of nicely.The damp and the dirt has to be cleaned carefully.The pipes checked for leaks and cleared of any such mess. Organizing the storage also makes the area tidy.


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