The Basement is (drumroll please) ..... Organized!

kswl2April 20, 2009

I am so excited and relieved and happy that we finally cleared out our unfinished basement two and a half YEARS after we moved here. We took truckloads---probably seven pickup truck loads--- of JUNK to the county dump. We took about five truck loads of STUFF to the local charity resale shop.

The rest I sorted, organized, stored and labeled.... from Christmas (50 boxes plus trees, wreaths, u-name-it) to keepsakes for our teen and young adult children.... it is all ORGANIZED! Click on the link below... my family thinks it is crazy to post photos of your basement, btw, but I am so darned excited I don't care!!

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OMG. You are my HERO !

So, what is your method of organization? I'm curious about your labels, and what's in the bins?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 3:25PM
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Thank you!!!! If you could only have seen it before we got started, it was a nighmare.

We bought the racks online at and then bought out two Walmarts of their sterlite plastic bins. They fit perfectly and were on sale. The smaller rack uses regular cardboard bankers' boxes that are available anywhere.

We made our own labels and taped them on with clear tape, the same label on both sides.

We have LOTS of Christmas decorations and I have them organized by room, so we can take the bin upstairs and anything that has to be put away will go into the empty bin for that room during Christmas. (Or that's the plan, anyway.)

In three bins I have Halloween decorations for a BIG party :) And in two we have travel stuff---camping gear, backpacks, sleeping bags, etc. In several others I have three kids' childhood stuffed animals! In others I have our daughter's trophies (she was a world class Irish dancer) and various things like slings, splints and boots for broken arms and feet. We still have one at home in high school, and when he goes off we'll donate that stuff to our local charity.

I would say that 80% of it is Christmas stuff---and you can't see the zippered bags of garland, trees, wreaths, etc. in the photo. But at last I know where it all is!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 3:52PM
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"We have LOTS of Christmas decorations and I have them organized by room, so we can take the bin upstairs and anything that has to be put away will go into the empty bin for that room during Christmas. (Or that's the plan, anyway.)"

That's my system!
And it has worked wonderfully for 20 years!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 4:26PM
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I'm relieved to hear it, luann, as we used to store things by type and not location. I made photos of everything this Christmas and will eventually print them out and put copies of each room in "its" bin.... then maybe I'll get more help this year. I can just hand a person a bin, which contains everything needed---even timers and power cords, if necessary---and tell him to look at the photo and recreate it. We'll see how that flies come December 1st!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 4:37PM
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Well, it's just a great system. I love that what you kept is small enough to be put into bins, and that you put the labels on both sides of the boxes so you can see what is in each one from the aisles. I can only hope for this kind of organization at the moment, but it's something to keep front and center as a GOAL. (My basement is a very scary place.)

Forgive me if the answer is obvious, and I just missed it somehow. What did you use as the base for stacking your bins?

Thanks so much for sharing this!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 5:05PM
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Oh, I see. Racks from Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 5:06PM
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That is so fabulous!! I'll bet you can't help but continuously going down to look at your accomplishment.

Although I feel cheated, it might just be a good thing for me that we have neither basements nor attics in Florida.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 7:09PM
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wow you have every single right in the world to be proud of what you got go

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 7:10PM
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Congratulations on a job well done!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 7:17PM
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I have to admit that I love finding things that need to be put away, just so I can take them downstairs! While sorting all the Christmas stuff I found pieces of things---shoes from nutcrackers, finials from ornaments, etc.----and I have gathered them all up in a "needs repair" bin. Next year when my young nephews come for Thanksgiving I am going to sit them down at the workbench and play Santa's workshop :) I never would have known how many things needed attention (paint, glue) if I hadn't gotten organized. Thanks for the kind comments!

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:24PM
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That looks fantastic. I don't blame you for being excited. I think I will order some of those as I am cleaning my garage and bought shelving from HD but they are an inch short for my bins. I like that because I can't stand having to move all of them and for some reason the one on the bottom is always the one I need.

I'm in FL and we don't have basements but do remember mine in NY was the place that everything went when you didn't know what to do with it.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 10:36PM
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Lol, dd50, I still use the basement for everything I don't know what to do with, but at least now it looks better.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2009 at 11:03PM
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I lurk here on a regular basis and love your idea. After measuring carefully, I think these might work in our garage.

The directions for assembling these shelving units say they must be attached to a wall. From your pictures, it doesn't look like they're attached. Can you please tell what you did?

Also, about how long did the shelves take to build?

The basement looks fabulous!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 1:50AM
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The instructions do say that they "should" be attached to the wall, and there are nifty supports for that purpose. However, I spoke with someone at the company on the phone and described what I wanted to do. She said---and emphasized that for complete safety, they should always be bolted to the wall!---that if you put lighter bins on the top two tiers and keep the heavy ones on the lower tiers, especially the lowest, that you don't have to worry about stability. This is also common sense that you would see as you're loading up the bins---it is harder to get the heavy ones out of the top than to slide them out the bottom so you wouldn't ever put anything really heavy on top.

For maximum efficiency we needed to configure them this way as lining them up against walls is limited (obviously) by the number and placement of walls. (Our walls have shelving already!) Anyway, we did it this way and have had no problems, and I love being able to say, "look about halfway up on your right in aisle two" :)

My son put up the first three and said there is a steep learning curve. He finally got it down to about an hour and a quarter. You MUST have a drill with screwdriver attachments or it would take HOURS. It's vital to put the screws in for certain supports from the "wrong" side (clearly marked int the instructions) because if not they protrude and the bin will catch on them as you are sliding it out.

It's the kind of thing you look at and think, I could make that myself out of PVC, but the drill holes must be precise or it will be off kilter. We had a problem with one drilled hole on one support (out of five units) and they shipped a replacement part immediately with no need to send back the bad one. They are very nice!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 7:25AM
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Thanks for sharing your story! What an awesome reorganization! And you have a strategy to keep things organized -- good!

This inspires me to set aside some time for my own basement storage room. There are shelves already down there. And I did clear out a lot of clutter a while back, but I stopped short of reorganizing what was left. (Well, my breast cancer treatments kinda got in the way.) So now that things are more back to normal for me, I am going to finish the job.

I'm gonna take some before and after pictures! :-)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 9:42AM
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You are an inspiration to all of us who want to get organized and de-cluttered! Thank you!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 10:35PM
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Great job! I give you a drum roll, 2 tubas, a marching band, and the energizer bunny! LOL

Thanks for the inspiration.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2009 at 10:40PM
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Certainly worth posting, it's so inspiring !!!!!!!

I think the visual impact is great also.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 8:49AM
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Hooray! And thanks for the info, the inspiration, the example, all that stuff.

I totally understand your need to set the shelving up library-style. If you got really worried, could you bolt them to the floor, by installing L brackets? Maybe your concrete floor isn't thick enough, but a Tapcon screw (installed w/a hammer drill) would hold.

Do they feel sturdy enough?

    Bookmark   April 22, 2009 at 3:55PM
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I just had to come back to your project for more inspiration. I can't imagine the satisfaction you are getting from this.

MaryLiz, That it easy! We look forward to your B & A pictures.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 1:46PM
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They do feel pretty sturdy, talley sue, especially when the heavier bins are on the bottom rows.

Thanks, mustangs, I have to admit that just looking at it makes me smile!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2009 at 6:49PM
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