Monday, January 7, 2013

Do I Have To? Organize the Basement

Here, my readers, is your next installment of the "Do I Have To?" series, once-a-month annoying tasks that, whine or not, need to get done.

That said, I think this entry is really super-ambitiously titled. Probably untruth in advertising, really. Organize my basement? Well, a part of it. All of it? Not even close. You'll probably get "Organize the Basement" in sequels running through part 14 or 15. Seriously, it's that bad.

I have a small pantry cupboard in my kitchen, but it isn't quite big enough to handle all my groceries. Secondly, I have some kitchen equipment that is either a) big enough or b) seasonal only or c) both, that I can't have taking up room in my kitchen year round.

In the basement we have a centrally located utility room, which has the furnace, water heater, the deep freeze, and a bit of open space. I bought one small metal shelf and put it down there a few months ago, but it took no time at all to become a disorganized mess.

(my apologies for the cruddy photos. The shelves are in the one room in my basement with no windows, only a few bare bulbs for light, and these "before" photos were taken with my cell phone camera)

Yeah. It was a jumble. To make matters worse, there was some weird contraption left by the former owners to the right of this shelf. It was made of particle board, which had absorbed the moisture from the basement air and sagged:

Notice how it's supported by a triangle of particle board on the left side underneath, and on the front top corner by a hook and a chain from the ceiling on the right? I'd like to nominate this one for a "what were they thinking" award. It also didn't help that I'd piled it full of random junk from the move-in......a year and a half ago.

My son Grant and I had it ripped out in about five minutes, which makes me wonder how it was holding my boxes up.

I spent another hour finding other places for the boxes (trash, goodwill, other storage areas, about equal parts).

Grant assembled the second shelf, and I spend about another hour cleaning, organizing, and tidying. We ended up with this:

Left shelf: The groceries and supplies. The bin for the small tomato paste cans on the second shelf and the bin for the onions on the bottom shelf are ones I already had. I'm not really much on purchasing extra organizing gadgets and containers unless I absolutely have to. This time, I didn't have to. What surprises me is that for a family of five, I don't have as much in stock as I could. I have about the same amount again in the pantry cupboard in the kitchen.

Right shelf: kitchen ware that I don't have room for in the kitchen.

The containers have popsicle molds (top shelf, left) and Christmas cookie cutters and sprinkles, food coloring, cake decorating supplies (second shelf down, left). You can see some grill tools hanging on off the shelf on the left too. That little crock pot liner on the left on the third shelf down? Where the outer warmer is for that is beyond me. It's MIA, even after organizing this space. No hot dip until we find it. Bummer.

The bottom shelf finally has all of our insulated coolers rounded up into one place. I have no idea why these things end up scattered all over the various shelves and closets in our house, but now they have a home.

The only thing left is a rack contraption above and to the right of the two shelves that I believe used to hold lumber. Except that it also has a metal rod affixed to the front of the bottom shelf. For hanging clothes? The heck? Another one for the "what were they thinking" files.

I would like to add a third shelf system once that lumber rack thingy comes down. In a corner opposite this wall, I'd like to set up a gift-wrap command center. For some that might seem a bit silly, but for me it's a luxury of organization. It's too bad I couldn't have had it set up in time for Christmas, but with any luck it'll be up and running for the next holiday.

What's on your annoying list of things to do? Why are you avoiding it?


  1. This kind of project always makes me feel so good. I never posted about it, but I did a major pantry organization this fall, and I'm still happy every time I get into there.

    My annoying list? Too long to put here! :-) Still wanting to get paperwork in some more manageable state. So not fun.

    1. It does feel like a big relief, doesn't it? I was to the point that I was shopping for items I already had on the shelf because it was too disorganized to find in the short minutes I had between getting home and getting supper on the table. This looks (and feels) much better.

  2. Looks good, but you need more groceries! It must be something about this time of the year. I've been in a frenzy of closet organizing. I've come to the conclusion I either need less stuff or more closets. :)

    1. Yes, I probably should keep more food on hand. Except for snack items, which the boys just eat more of the more I buy. I don't expect to get more closets, so I guess it's down to getting rid of stuff. Would you be interested in moving your frenzy to my house for a couple of weeks? There's the bathroom hall closet, and the downstairs linen closet, and....:)

    2. yes, Dyan, please bring your frenzy to Kansas, too!