COFFEE AND CONVERSATION #6: Tales of Woe From the Underground

So, if you will recall, a few weeks ago, I alluded to how I had finally decided to tackle our basement.  I posted a few really scary pictures of just how horrendously messy it was, and then gave little updates on how I was doing each week.  I’ve been working downstairs every night for about a month now, along with trying to devote as much time as possible on the weekend.  Basically it’s been a struggle to get ahead in the basement, while at the same time maintaining our actually house. However, this weekend, I worked downstairs on both Saturday and Sunday in about 10 hour stretches.  With the help of my husband, we took several more loads of stuff to Salvation Army and threw out bags and bags of boxes and papers, and junk.  I organized totes of clothes, christmas decorations, kids toys, and moved around entire rooms of furniture.  But as of today, I can officially say it’s finished!

So just to refresh this was the before.  There were boxes and boxes of kids clothes that no longer fit, bags of stuffed animals, pictures I no longer used, candles, and movies from who knows how long ago.  Basically, the basement had become a dumping ground of 12 years worth of things, and it had to go.  Also, as you can see from some of the pics, there is useable living space down there.  It was just getting it to the point that it was clean and functional again!

The biggest task, but the very first thing that has to be accomplished was finding out what was down there.  I opened EVERY SINGLE BOX AND BAG in that basement and went through them all piece by piece by piece.  Anything that no longer fit, had a use, or wasn’t practical anymore was donated.  Paperwork was shredded, and any type of cardboard was thrown out.  Our basement is dry, but cardboard still drawers moisture and I had noticed that it did have a bit of a musty smell lately so I was trying to avoid that.  We took about 10 van loads of stuff to the Salvation Army.  Most of it was baby and toddler clothes.  I still had nearly every piece of clothing from three kids down there, and I could have fitted an army.  We also donated a lot of house decor, and kitchen appliances.  Basically if we weren’t using it, and hadn’t used it in the years it was down in the basement, it was going away.

After the tough task of going through everything, I needed to start organizing.  I started in one corner, and just started putting things away.  I grouped all of my holiday stuff together, extra household decor together, and kids clothes all in one place.  I organized and labeled bins, and tried to get as much stuff as possible up off the floor.  I also looked at the functionality of the basement as a whole.  I knew I wanted three things when I was done.  One, a clean space.  Two, a functional family room and play area for the kids.  And three, an office/working space for me to work on the blog, read, and take pictures for bookstagram.  Moving the furniture and getting areas that worked for us as a family was probably the hardest part.  I basically took the area that we had before, and flipped it.  I moved out shelves of toys, and replaced them with five book cases, and additional shelving.  I used tables and other furniture we already had, and built my spaces around those items.  By Sunday night, I had functional space, and was basically down to a quick clean up of dusting and vacuuming.  The office area, was still “under construction” but that was like building a whole new room and I knew it would take a few more days.

So after weeks of work, this is what the basement storage area looks like now.  There’s so much OPEN SPACE!

The family room took some time to arrange the toys and stuff for the kids, but they absolutely love their new space, and they’ve gone down there to play every night this week after school.  My upstairs is staying cleaning, and everyone is happy!

But my favorite area of the entire basement is my space.  I have waited YEARS to have somewhere that was just mine.  When we first got married, we moved into this house.  We had three bedrooms for two people.  I had our bedroom, a home office, and a library.  I had plenty of space to hang up whatever I wanted and let me nerdy girl flag free.  When we had our oldest, I lost the office, but kept the library.  And then we had our daughter.  My books went down the basement, and I missed them dearly.  When we had our third baby, I bought shelving for my husband and I’s room so that I could still have some books upstairs, and it helped, but I was still lacking that space that was just for me.  Once I started bookstagramming this became an even bigger issue, because I was constantly getting out my stuff, only to have to immediately put it all away.  The constant putting up and taking down of a softbox was getting tiresome.  But now, ladies and gentleman, I have solved the problem.  Look at this room!

I have a place for my softbox, a table for my set ups, plenty of storage, my books, and a desk I can work at.  I could move in down there.  It’s completely separated from the rest of the basement using a clever placement of furniture, and it’s like its own little oasis.

Honestly, I’m a little bit in awe of myself, and how much I accomplished in just a few short weeks.  but I’m also incredibly proud of myself because I really did take lemons and make lemonade!

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