Organizing the Basement

How’s that for an inspiring post today? Let me just say, I’m no Marie Kondo! I’ve just been listening in to her show on Netflix, have you seen it? She’s a cute and perky little thing with a passionate love of organizing, it seems. The people she is helping definitely need help. I’ve seen that hoarders show before and even though Mark and I have lots of stuff, we aren’t to that stage yet, thank goodness. We do, however, need to pare down more and could definitely do more organizing around here.

The basement is one area that I have let go and not touched since we moved in over a year ago, so it was time to tackle that space. The upstairs is in pretty good shape, but when you have a basement, you know that it can become a clutter magnet. We have things that we having gotten rid of yet, a few pieces of furniture and things we aren’t using in this house, but I haven’t been able to give away or sell yet. I did get rid of a lot when we moved and even had a yardsale last spring to pare down even more, but this is what’s left.

The basement is definitely different than it used to look when it was empty after this beautiful vinyl flooring went in. We have a hallway as you come down the stairs with 3 separate spaces. It’s not all there yet in getting organized, but now I know much better where everything is.

I had already started organizing this some before I took these pics, but I stopped and took some progress shots so you could see what I’m working with.

Several extra pieces of furniture and just general things after the move, like boxes of books and craft supplies were waiting to be unboxed.

Looking towards the windows, that’s where Holly’s crate is and her food as well as the basement door. Past that barricade it’s pretty open except for her crate and some Christmas trees to the left.

Looking to the stairs from my storage area. Mark and I have our own storage areas down here, so that makes it nice. I have never had a basement before, so I can tell you this…I love it! I  know it’s not ideal in that it makes you hang onto things that you should probably get rid of, but having an unfinished basement is nice for any overflow of things that you just don’t want to get rid of yet. I’m a collector and have always had a lot of stuff over the years, especially decorating things.

As a blogger, it is just magnified in that decorating is what I share so much of on my blog. One of the best things I did in my old house was to buy these steel shelving units from Home Depot and Lowes. I have 3 of these in my old storage room at my old house for all my extra decor and Christmas stuff. Now I have more room for it to spread out! Good and bad! This is still the mess of Christmas before I put that back up again.  Stay with me, it looks better now!

I bought another shelving unit from Home Depot. They put all their storage pieces on sale in January, so check it out. I love these large steel shelves for holding all sorts of things. You can adjust each shelf to go where you want it and it really does hold a lot, allowing you to see what you have. This one holds my entertaining pieces. I have beverage dispensers and finally have a place to put all my linens, like placemats, runners and tablecloths, etc.

I love putting them all on one shelf so I can easily get to them. Extra pillows are here, as well as my aqua glass bottles that I love to use during spring and summer. My blue and white is all grouped together too. Trays and tiered serving pieces are on top and I love seeing it all at a glance on this shelving unit.

On this shelf is all  my mostly summer things that I use periodically in the house. I have white dishware and more summery type accessories. Many of these things I’ve had for a long, long time. I don’t buy a lot of new things, I just shop my own home! Just getting this shelf more organized feels so much better!

That corner shelf and the bins in front are all devoted to Christmas decor. I labeled all my plastic bins again this year and pared down some of my Christmas decor, I’ll give it away or pass it to Goodwill. It felt good to label my bins again, I had done it a few years ago but things get out of order. Now I can see that a bin is marked Gold and White or Silver and White and I’ll know where to look.

I also store Christmas things in sturdy bags if they are shaped differently or even leave them in original boxes if I can see what they are. Now I know what’s here at a glance and next year when I get these bins out again, it will be a lot more organized for the Christmas season.

On the top of the next shelf, I have a few more Christmas pieces that are larger and I didn’t want to put in bins. It’s easy to see what’s there and I readily find it. I put my wrapping supplies on the second shelf.

I just write on boxes to let me know what’s in there.

Same with bags, label them for fragile things.

I placed some tabletop trees on top of the bottom bins and they will be fine here.

All my Shiny Brites are in original boxes and stored in this sturdy paper bag.

Just labeling bins on both sides is a good start to getting organized.

I’ve had that little box for years and it holds my ornament hangers.

I instantly know it when I see it, a cute little box that I picked up somewhere.

The Sharpie comes in handy for getting organized.

Bins labeled and put away.

Nativity and manger at the top of the bins.

I also added large nails to the studs down there for hanging wreaths. Great way to get them up off the floor and you can see them too. I use some of these seasonally as well.

I love hanging things high off the floor and getting them up and out of the way.

Now, it’s looking so much better. I haven’t seen this floor in over a year! It feels so much better when I go down there, now I can actually find things.

This area looks and feels so much better to have things up on shelves and off the floor.

I’ve got some of my Christmas gift wrap in a bag hanging on the side of the shelf and this shelf is old photos along with my Fall decor items that I rotate around.

On another wall I have these two bookcases that I’ve had a long time. They hold miscellaneous things, like craft supplies, old yearbooks and photo albums, old family pictures that my mom passed to me, fabric scraps, and sample paints.

I finally unloaded all my Haven bags from over the years and they are all in that blue bin. I’ll sort through that later, but it’s all sample things and good useful things that are too good to throw away. I got all my chalk paint placed on that blue Ikea rolling cart so I can find those when I need them. I had those old bins in my old laundry area and those bin hold useful things too, crafty supplies, etc. Extension cords in the bottom of that rolling cart are easy to get to.

I have Frogtape to last for years and so many bags it’s crazy!  I mentioned on Instagram that every event I go to, I get a bag. So the bags stack up and I’ve given so many of them away and still have a ton from 12 years of blogging and 7 years of Haven. We had Haven swag bags all those years and that’s a lot of stuff inside.

I’m definitely not all finished, there’s more to do, but for now this feels pretty good. To actually see the floor is a huge accomplishment for me. I’m still not ready to get rid of the extra furniture yet, but at least I have a safe dry place for it. I just sold that black lantern light fixture, it was in my old house and we put up another one that wasn’t so big and blocked the light. I still have boxes of books to go through.

We have lots of Christmas trees as you can see. I’m passing one of these to my step daughter and we will have one big tree left, plus a smaller tree in an urn and this tabletop tree from Ballards that I’ve had for a long time, so keeping 3 of these.

I kept our newest tree intact and Mark and I carried it to the basement. I wrapped it in that moving wrap to keep it mostly dust free. The dust down here isn’t too bad, although I’ll have to wipe things off as I use them I’m sure. That’s Mark’s wicker trunk and his youngest daughter’s dollhouse, which she doesn’t have room for yet. We have a few things that we’ve stored for his daughters, so some of this will eventually go.

Do you see those Plantation shutters hanging there on the basement studs? There are even some small ones hanging on the ceiling. The first owners left those (we asked the folks we bought the house from and they said they were left there from the first owners), so we are going to use these on the screened porch wall next to the outside stairs when we get to that project hopefully in the Spring. I think they will look great out there! They didn’t fit any of our windows.

In the other main room by the windows, I added another plastic shelf for all the outdoor cushions. It’s definitely full and I may get a bigger one for these, but for now I’m happy to get them all stacked up in one spot.

The mower is in here, as well as that slipcovered chair and ottoman that we don’t have room for here. I just can’t let this go yet, it’s a Sherrill chair that I found at the Salvation Army for $100 in Birmingham and I slipcovered it years ago, but I’ve always wanted to get it recovered. I’m not sure if I’ll have a place for it one day, but for now I’m keeping it. And there’s the bamboo vintage chair I found at the Goodwill last summer that’s going on our screened porch when it’s finished.

Mark has a rolltop desk down here as well as another section that has homemade shelves that he built and he has all his memorabila and family mementos in boxes on the shelves. It’s a full room too! He loves his stuff and I don’t think I can talk him into paring those down either. At least we have room for it all. I can’t imagine us ever not having a basement now that we have one. We just couldn’t make it without one, I don’t think. It sure is nice for overflow and to have a place for things you don’t need to look at everyday.

We may end up finishing off this middle room one day, but it’s not like we need the finished space. It would probably be for resale value. If we kept the other 2 spaces as storage and finished this one off, which is the one down the hallway, it would be nice. But we’ll have to figure that out later. It’s definitely not going to be anytime soon.

I hope this sparked ideas for you too, to get organized and pared down more for the New Year. This is a hot topic this month, organizing and decluttering. Again, I’m not the queen of organizing or decluttering (I go in spurts!), but I can get somewhat organized when I need to. This feels good to me even though it might look like I have a store down there! We all have different tolerances for clutter and things, so I have no idea where I stack up with all of you, but that’s where I am at the moment. We may look like hoarders to some of you, but others are nodding along and saying, yeah I’m right there with you!

Are you decluttering and organizing this time of year too?


- Rhoda


  1. We digitized all of our family photos years ago. We keep the originals, of course, but the digitized archival discs are stored in a fire-proof place. We also gave copies to our children. We photographed everything, or almost, for insurance purposes with a brief description and copy of the receipt if we have it.

  2. VintageBeachgirl says

    Oh my, what I’d give for a basement like this! You’re so fortunate to have so much storage space. Since we’re living at the beach cottage full time now we’re using our other house for climate controlled storage for out of season clothing, extra furniture etc. We really need to do what you’re doing, organize and pare down but it’s such a huge task that we find ourselves paralyzed and keep putting it off…… it’s definitely daunting. You’ve inspired me to get started, I’m going to get into our guest room/ironing space/office right now and get started. That room has been so much more useful since we had the Murphy bed and matching cabinet built but it does collect clutter.
    Thanks for the inspiration and storage tips Rhoda!

    • Hi, VB, when we were house hunting we definitely were looking at houses with basements, so we didn’t even consider anything that didn’t have one. It’s been wonderful for us. There’s a place for all our “stuff” and the dog has a nice place to sleep too.

  3. I’m currently working on decluttering bathrooms, one at a time. We have a large basement partially finished and I have a lot of stuff stored down there, too! Decor, greenery and wreaths, Christmas and Fall, candles, glass cylinders. I do events and weddings so I have some stuff for that. I’m thankful my husband built a great storage closet for me! I do need to declutter down there again, but as you said, there is room for it to be stored. I’m thankful!

    • HI, Deanna, basements are really great, but they do enable you to keep more. We couldn’t make it without one as a couple.

  4. It’s fun to have collections and switch things out throughout the year. We just moved to a townhouse with about ZERO storage and the garage is full of manly tools and such and I am zapped out on having my things in there!

  5. Great job Rhoda! Doesn’t it feel good?!? You are so lucky to have that great basement. We have those same shelves in our garage and I put together 5 more for my sister’s garage. They are actually really easy to assemble…if I can do it, trust me anybody can! My sister stores all of her extra decor items on the shelves. We love to “play house” when we visit each other and rearrange tabletops. Invariably, one of us says”go out to the store and get…”! Marie Kondo would be so proud of you.

    • Hey Roxanne, those shelves are great, although you need about 4 hands to get started or a big space to put it over on the side. Mark helped me get this one together, but I put all the rest together myself. I love them, great for easy access to my “store” too.

  6. We don’t have a basement so our 3 car garage is our storage area. I have recently decided to get rid of everything we haven’t used in a long time or don’t need or want. I have made probably 10 trips to the Goodwill and now the garage looks great. I have another day to work out there, going through some drawers, but visually it looks so nice already. Now on to closets. You have accomplished a lot in your basement & the nice finished floor looks so nice.

    • HI, Linda, that sounds like a great project! We still need to work on our garage more. We do park in there, but definitely it could use some organizing too. Good for you, I’m sure it feels great!

  7. A basement can be a thing of joy…or disaster…lol! You are doing a great job of sorting through and organizing. My youngest daughter has a basement in her house and that is where the kitty box is, laundry and storage.

  8. I’ve been working on my basement too- thanks for the ideas! It must be so nice having those easy to clean vinyl floors down there- wish we had those. Marie Kondo’s show is quite the inspiration. I try to pretend she’s standing next to me as I go through things…..

    • I just read it is a great time to shop at consignment shops, Goodwiil, etc. because so many people are watching Marie and cleaning out stuff!!,

    • Roxanne, I bet that’s right! Like we all need to go buy more stuff, but it’s probably good stuff!

  9. Rhoda, you’ve inspired me to hit our unfinished basement! I think there’s great information in the show, but would like to read the book. Not one to thank things I’m getting rid of, but approaching from a “what do I love (and use)” vs “what do I want to throw away” has some merit!

  10. I keep hearing the name Marie Kondo… I really need to check her show out! I am working today on my upstairs linen closet which is in a royal disarray. Last year I was in a Spring community yard sale and plan on participating in that again as I have more to get rid of. I have also taken many things to consignment or donated which helped in the de-cluttering process. We have a walk-in attic above our garage which is great for storage and having all my seasonal décor in storage tubs helps in keeping things more organized.

  11. Rhoda, I have so many books that I need to sort through; but it is so hard for me to let them go. Do you have that problem, too?

    • HI, Barbara, I used to collect books more than I do now. Most of my book collection is decorating books at this point, so I can let the others go. I used some books in my old house when I had more spaces to decorate, like my bookshelves. I don’t have that here, so really don’t need to keep the books I have, so I think I’ll get rid of most of them. I am not one to keep books that I’ve read, fiction books and so don’t buy those. I used to go to the library all the time and that kept me in books too.

  12. Rhoda, At first I didn’t even ‘see’ all your stuff. All I could think of was, “Wow, what a fantastic space for extra living quarters!” And those beautiful floors… Is it climate controlled down there? I really don’t know much about basements. We’ve never had one. Looks like you’re getting it all together. I used to be a collector myself, but a number of years ago, I pared down. We pretty much use everything that we have now. All we have in our attic is our Christmas decorations, and not many of those.

    • HI, Lisa, thank you, I’m so glad we have a basement too, we knew we neeeded it and we got a good one. It’s not climate controlled, but it does stay cool in summer and not so cold during winter. Mark has a humidifier running during summer all the time to keep the humidity controlled and it does a great job of that.

  13. My husband took the plunge and totally, I mean, Marie Kondo totally went through all of his clothes and wow, our closet doesn’t feel so small anymore! Now my turn LOL – thanks for the inspiration! Looks great, you should feel really good about your organized space!

    • Wow, Sandy, that’s incredible that he took that on himself. Men usually don’t get into organizing as much as women. Guess you’ll have to catch up with him!

  14. Marlene Kocher says

    Wow,you’ve done some much to organize your space and “stuff”.
    I suggest placing your wreaths in dry cleaner bags…to minimize dust.
    Also place all your fabrics and pillows in a plastic bag…I use old zippered bags that comforters and bed linens usually come in.
    I’ve used space bags at times but that isn’t necessary
    I use clear garbage bags for my outdoor cushions too.

    Thanks for posting
    I enjoy following your blog.

  15. What a great blog! I just started following you! The house we moved to in UT had an unfinished basement, and the first thing we did was buy all of those metal shelves, getting everything off the floor! They are the best. We finished the basement, but still have areas available for seasonal storage. We did purge quite a bit before our move from CA, but then donated a lot more when we started the basement. Thank you!

  16. Cecilia from Georgia says

    I also started trying to organize my 2 attic areas and right now I am overwhelmed to say the least. I sat down to rest and read your post; I feel so much better now! I wanted to get some sewing projects done during the MLK holiday but don’t see that happening. My challenge is that I never went through my mother’s letters and papers until now. I am so glad I did because I found letters from my Dad to her when my sister and I were babies. How beautiful were their love letters. Anyway, your detailed decluttering post was just what I needed to get me back on track and finish this Godzilla of a project. As a former floral designer, I have collected everything imaginable because I am always asked to decorate for most any function in town. Enjoy your new clean basement! XOXO

    • Hi, Cecilia, thank you again for stopping by and leaving me these great comments. I love to inspire and even though I’m not an organizing guru, it helps to start somewhere doesn’t it? I’m sure you’ll get there too. It does feel good to start the process and I have more to go too.

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