Before & After: my basement makeover

As folks who have participated in the Kickstart boot camp know, one of the goals I set out this year was to take our house from 80% moved in to 100% our own.

That’s kind of a fuzzy goal, so to ensure I actually made real progress, I identified four projects in January that I was committed to accomplishing before the year was out. The first project was the transformation of a little faux “wine” closet in the basement that we never used into a fully-functioning pantry. I crossed that off the list in April and boy, did it feel good. I absolutely adore having the extra storage space for kitchen overflow.

The next three projects on my list were also related to improving the overall functionality of the basement. It’s a really important room in our house as it serves as the main entrance from the garage (so, our de facto entrance) AND as the play room, AND as the laundry room. We’re down there a lot, especially in the winter.

On the whole, it was fine, but there were a few things that needed attention.

Project 1: creating an organized welcome

First, the entrance. Because my boys couldn’t reach the totally dysfunctional hooks drilled into the wall, the floor was always a jumble of coats, shoes, bags, and toys. It made me nuts, but because the boys couldn’t actually reach the hooks – and because there was no designated spot for shoes, I couldn’t get mad at them.

The solution: replace the closet with one long, open cubby and create a grid for shoes.

basement entry way - from disorganized and dysfunctional to organized and gorgoues

basement organizational makeover - creating an organized welcome

Mudroom after 2

basement entrance - organize shoes with a built in shoe rack

The results are better than I could have imagined. The boys actually like putting their shoes in the cubbies and hanging their backpacks on “their” hooks.

Project 2: improving toy organization

We had a closet with folding doors that served as the spot for all toys. It was fine…BUT…the doors were always coming off their rails, and the inside of the closet was woefully disorganized. While there were shelves, they were totally dysfunctional. We tried using bins. We tried affixing labels to bins and to shelves. But every toy always ended up in a jumbled heap, making it impossible for the doors to close. The kids hated putting the toys away in the closet because they would get “lost” in there (plus it was hard). Bottom line, we needed to find a better use of the space.

After looking at shelving systems like Elfa, which we love, we decided it would be better if the boys could store their toys in sturdy drawers. That pushed us in the built-in direction. So we commissioned a local woodworker to help us rip out the dysfunctional closer and replace it with a built-in cabinet.

Wow, was that ever the right choice! We love the look of it – and that it will grow up with us as our needs change over the years.

basement toy closet - from disorganized and dysfunctional to gorgeous and super organized

toy organization - better when things have drawers

And it turns out that drawers do make it easier for little boys to put things away. They hold a LOT, too.

toy drawers are easier for kids to use

Project 3: organizing laundry closet

I’ve admitted before that I am a freaky lover of laundry. And I’ve spent a fair amount of Pinterest time drooling over other people’s laundry nooks. There was one in particular that really caught my fancy…so I decided to replicate it to the best of our ability. Totally unnecessary, but in the end – not that expensive and the wave of happiness I get each time I open those doors is priceless.

basement laundry closet - from messy to organized and beautiful

If it is possible, I love doing laundry even more now. Thank you Pinterest for the inspiration!

i simply love laundry

This means I’m officially on schedule — having completed three out of four of the projects I had on my goal list before the end of Q3. The last project on my list: a gallery wall of photos. I have 5 months to get it done!

What’s on your home improvement list? Any thoughts/comments welcome!