Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Basement Reveal

My husband bought our house 6 months before we met and it's taken us the last 3 years to turn it into our home. It was a lovely 1970's home complete with orange carpet, yellow linoleum and kitchen utensil wallpaper. (Can you sense the sarcasm?) Each room has been de-wall-papered and all offensive flooring has been removed. We've also painted some awesome colors on the walls, installed closet systems in all closets and done a little amateur decorating. But, at the end of the day, it's still a very... very... very small ranch.

The first major renovation project on our to-do list is to refinish our basement. For the first two years we lived here we battled with a wet basement. Last year we had it waterproofed but it is still a basement. Even if we may be a few years out from beginning the refinishing project, we still desperately need the space to be useful. So, I spend one weekend each year giving it a thorough cleaning. Here are the before photos of my disorganized, chaotic basement:

The empty corner where our yard sale pile used to be.

The Laundry Area


This is embarrassing.

We apparently have a cardboard box collection.

Well... now that was fun embarrassing! Here are a few tips for making an unfinished basement tolerable:
  • Invite my mom over. I didn't have her this year to help but she was a HUGE help last year when I cleaned my basement for the very first time... maybe ever. While I stare at a pile of mess wondering what to do, my mom jumps right in and gets it done! She can be bribed with coffee. 
  • Wear a pair of work/gardening gloves. I'm not a huge fan of touching dirty, dusty things and I'm definitely not a fan of touching cobwebs or spiders but for some reason gloves make it all okay. 
  • Buy or borrow a shop vac. This is necessary! I used our shop vac with 3 extenders to get all the cobwebs from the rafters. It's also necessary to give the floor a good vacuuming before finishing. 
  • Get some background noise going! Whether its plugging in your Ipod, inviting a friend over to girl talk and keep you company or turning on the TV, something entertaining will keep you motivated and make the time fly by more quickly. I spent 8 hours one day in the basement and ended up watching 5 movies (4 of which were musicals that I happen to know all the words to- "Tomorrow, tomorrow, the spiders are gone, Tomorrow....").
Hopefully seeing the after photos will give you a few storage ideas. I also wanted to show my modest stockpile. TLC's Extreme Couponing has given every non-couponer the impression that a) all couponers are extreme and b) that's the only way to coupon. Two assumptions that couldn't be further from the truth. I coupon with one Sunday newspaper per week and buy what we can reasonably use or what I can donate. (With the exception of my gigantic stockpile of Glade candle products. I have no excuses- I overdid it one winter at Target. The deals were too good to pass up. If anyone has a suggestion of a creative way to use/gift all these smell goods I'd love to hear it!)

I do have a lot of stuff. A... lot... of stuff. I know that. But I do not have 397 boxes of pasta. I bought almost all of our household items during college. I knew I was going to spend my money on something and figured it was a better investment to buy household items as I found great clearance and sale prices than more clothing. As a result, once I moved out of my parents house, I had everything I needed to set up house and didn't have to buy anything from Walmart! Woo-hoo! My husband and I entertain often and have cookouts/bonfires frequently during the summer so I put everything I have to good use. 

Now, onto the wonderfully organized, bright, clean, cheerful after photos! (Click photos to view larger)

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