Christmas Storage + A Tour of All Our Basement Storage

posted by Andrea | 01/8/2013

I’m not sure what my “deal” was this year, but I could not wait to pack up our Christmas decorations.

Our house looked lovely with my simple, child-friendly seasonal decor, but after all our holiday parties were finished, all I could think about was how “cluttered” our home felt. Dave made me wait until December 26 to take them down — and they were all down by noon on December 26!

I felt a bit like a scrooge, but I just had to pack them away.

I think this is partially because I’ve been on a mission to clear every bit of clutter from our house ever since we finished our huge kitchen renovation this summer. I lived with clutter and mess ALL summer long, so once the kitchen was finished, I started going through every room, every closet, every cabinet, every drawer, … and purging.

We still played Christmas music, did a bunch of Christmas baking, and enjoyed every minute of our Christmas break… just without the decorations!

Every year, when I put my decorations away, I get rid of anything that’s broken, damaged, stained, etc. as well as anything I don’t absolutely love. I figure there’s no point storing something for 11 months out of the year unless I really love it and will want to display it again next year.

I was ruthless this year and pared things down to 2 storage bins.

  • One bin for ornaments, garland, lights, tree skirts, and other tree decorations
  • One bin for everything else

As a disclaimer, these bins do not include my Christmas trees — those are also in our basement (with the lights still on!) 

Even though we have plenty of storage space in our basement, I personally don’t want to store so many Christmas decorations — especially since I only had them up for about 3 weeks this year!

As I was packing up our decorations and whittling my stash down to my two allotted bins, I thought, “I bet people would like to see some pictures of our basement and how I store our extra stuff.

So, for those of you who’d like to see what the basement of a 120 year old farmhouse (with a crazy organizer living upstairs) looks like… here you go!

The wood on the walls is from the barn that used to be on our property before we bought the home…. and the posts you see in the middle of the picture above are compliments of our kitchen renovation (we had to put more supports in the basement since we took out the wall in the kitchen!)

Since our basement is somewhat “sprawling” and has a bunch of different rooms, here’s an aerial view — mostly to scale :)

When you first walk down the stairs, there’s a really yucky room that had a huge oil tank (something to do with heating the house). We just keep that door closed and don’t use it for anything.

The door next to the Bed, Bath, & Beyond bag is that “yucky room”…

When you turn the corner, we have a small room with our furnace and water heater… pretty much right in the middle of the basement (on the very left side of the picture above and in the middle of the picture below).

The door on the left side of the picture above leads into a “tool room” where we keep most of our tools, paint, painting supplies, shop vac, step ladder, etc.

This is the tool room — it’s also kind of grubby… but it works!

The room behind the tool room is our Tornado Shelter. And yes, it really IS a tornado shelter! I keep my Christmas trees back there… and there are also a bunch of shelves back there where I store all my canning stuff, extra jars, and empty boxes that will eventually house more jars once we eat our current canned goods.

Speaking of canned goods, I’m currently storing those back out in the main part of the basement. You can see them on the far right side of the picture below.

There are long shelves in the “hallway” that leads to the tool room so I figured that was an adequate storage spot for now — especially since I don’t have near the canned goods I’ve had in previous years.

The Rubbermaid cabinet next to those shelves holds our excess pantry items that don’t fit in our kitchen. This is much smaller than in previous years because our kitchen has SO much extra storage now!

Our freezer is also in this open area, but on the opposite wall because we have a special plug over there specifically for the freezer.

Eventually, we’re hoping to finish off part of the basement for a Family Room . We would put up a wall where those 3 posts are, so in the mean time, my goal is to keep ALL our “storage stuff” on the other side of those posts, just so that whenever we do decide to finish off the basement, we won’t have to first purge half our belonging!

I absolutely LOVE the shelving unit we have in the back corner of our basement. We purchased it from Lowe’s several years ago — it can be assembled in so many different ways so you can customize it to fit your specific bins, boxes, room layout etc. You can see how I used to have it configured in our old basement.

The shelves can hold 500 pounds each, so it’s really sturdy — which I like. I also like that two of my most favorite purple-handled bins fit perfectly on each shelf!

You should be able to find similar bins almost anywhere — mine are from Target, but I’ve also seen the exact same ones at Walmart and Bed, Bath, and Beyond. I love that they are almost perfect rectangles so you don’t lose storage space by having curved or angled sides. I also really like that the lids manually clip on.

Ok, so I think that’s it. 

That’s what the basement of a 120 year old farmhouse looks like — and this is actually a REALLY nice basement compare to some of the homes we looked at!

We do have quite a bit of empty space in our basement — but that’s because I hate “stuff” and  I’m trying to keep it as cleared out as possible in case we finish off the basement some time soon!

Also, we do have another small storage closet upstairs where I keep extra linens, extra baby stuff, sleeping bags, and a few other odds and ends.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Filed under: OrganizingPurgingStorage

 
 

32 comments

  1. Shareen

    01/08/2013

    Ahhh the many benefits of a basement. I think yours is my favorite basement. It’s as uncluttered as it gets and houses only the very necessities of “extra”, if that makes any sense.

    [Reply]

  2. Chris

    01/08/2013

    I have an off topic question. I love to read your blog daily and today was reading some old posts. Do you still live off of 50% of your income and would you consider doing a post (or perhaps that’s too personal?) I’d love to read it. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Sam Reply:

    I would also really like to see a post on this. I am getting married and this is something that we are considering doing with our finances.

    [Reply]

  3. Jen

    01/08/2013

    I literally laughed out loud and startled my nursing baby when I saw “Yucky Room” on your floorplan. Hilarious.

    [Reply]

  4. Lisa

    01/08/2013

    I love it beautiful wood our base looks terrible concrete walls we. Do have some planks outside great idea think it looks like weekend project I love seeing hoe people decorate and organize I love your site also great pics ! Can’t wait for more after Christmas pics of home noe need motivation I love to purge also!

    [Reply]

  5. Kristin

    01/08/2013

    I have a question about the basement walls. We also live in an old house, built in 1918 and our basement is quite large (the full size of the house) but pretty much not usable at all. We have a stone foundation, so while it is solid it looks pretty ugly from the inside and is also cold. We have to leave our basement door open because our cats’ food and litter boxes are kept there (to keep the kids from getting into it). Now to my question: is your basement foundation stone? Do you have the wood from the barn covering the stone walls and does that help with the insulation?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Our basement was actually re-dug in the 40′s so it has cement walls and floor. Our basement is also quite cold because we don’t have any heat registers down there, but we also keep the door closed at all times so it doesn’t bother us. I definitely don’t think the wood helps to insulate anything — but who knows. We’ll be removing the wood whenever we decide to finish off the basement, but that probably won’t be for a while yet.

    [Reply]

  6. Heather

    01/08/2013

    What brand and size are these storage totes? I am in the market for some similar to these.

    [Reply]

  7. Becky

    01/08/2013

    I totally agree with your plan to keep all the “stuff” outside of the space that you eventually want to become a family room. We had stuff all over our basement and had to do a large purge when we started to finish it a few weeks ago. It was so easy to just stash stuff in there and plan to get to it someday. It was a lot of extra work but having a guest room, family room, and rec room will be so nice.

    [Reply]

  8. Scarlet

    01/08/2013

    How do you store your Christmas trees? I need to put away our miniature white three-footer, and the only idea I have is to push up all the brunches to make it as narrow as possible, and then wrap it in mover’s shrink wrap. Then maybe put it in a couple of layers of black garbage bags before putting it into a locking closet with have off our apartment patio that’s good for off-season things, but tends to gather lots of grime. I’ve had success using this method in the past, but the items weren’t so delicate (e.g. an extra bathroom cabinet door).

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Our Christmas trees are literally just standing up (fully assembled with the lights still on) in the back tornado shelter (where I have them drawn on the floor plan photo). I just put a blanket or garbage bag over them to keep some of the dust off.
    I am seriously considering switching to a real tree just so I don’t have to store our fake tree all year long… we’ll see :)

    [Reply]

  9. Nicole

    01/08/2013

    Wow, that is the best 120 year old basement I’ve ever seen. I’ve lived in 2 houses that are that age or a little older and the basements were stone walls and very short, even with dirt floors in one spot. Looks great! I’m purging in our basement currently as well.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I know Nicole — it was one of the reasons we really liked this house over other old farmhouses we looked at. The basement was actually re-dug in the 40′s so it’s cement walls… not stone and full 8 ft. ceilings!

    [Reply]

  10. cathy

    01/08/2013

    Great basement and great ideas!
    I have one suggestion–I wouldn’t store glass in your tornado shelter, if you should ever be hit by one the last thing you want is broken glass on the floor or flying through the air of your safe room.

    [Reply]

  11. Verity

    01/08/2013

    Thanks for this post! :-) I’m over half way through our basement, and this was helpful!!

    [Reply]

  12. Nicole(Whole Strides)

    01/08/2013

    This is awesome! I totally love it. I like my storage areas neat and tidy, too, so I get it. We don’t have a basement, but we do have two good sized ‘rooms’ in our garage that we use in much the way someone would use a basement. It’s not ideal, but it works!

    [Reply]

  13. Marina

    01/08/2013

    A-MA-ZING!! What an inspiration to start off the year with everything in its place. Thank you!

    [Reply]

  14. Doreen@househoneys

    01/08/2013

    I love your basement! Growing up, we lived in a ranch which had a basement, but when I was around 14 we finished it off. It was great to have the extra living space, but that left us with very little storage space except for the attic and one car garage. Fast forward and when we bought a house it didn’t have a basement, and the one car garage had been converted into half storage and half office space. We did have a nice sized attic though and a shed, but I have always missed having a basement. Three weeks ago we moved from our 2500 sq ft home into a rental that is 1250 sq feet. No basement, BUT, we have a very large one/two car garage with a full size basement beneath the garage! That’s very unusual to find, and it is awesome to have. We also have a small attic, so even though the house is half the size of our previous one, there is more storage space.

    I know exactly what you mean about getting rid of the decorations. I go through that nearly every year. As soon as the holiday is over, I want everything gone.

    Your basement is super well organized…my fav part is the canned food ;).

    [Reply]

  15. Crystal @ Blissful Homemaking

    01/08/2013

    Ok I am so jealous of that space, basement or not! LOL. Pretty cool pictures. Awesome job organizing your Christmas decorations. Labels are a good idea, which is something I didn’t think to do on ours.

    [Reply]

  16. kathy w

    01/08/2013

    You have done a really good job organizing your basement. Our project is to go through our unfinished basement and do some serious purging. Do you think you will be finishing your basement any time soon? You have such great ideas and I am sure it will be great. Love your
    blog.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kathy. It will probably be at least a couple years before we finish off the basement — at least that’s the plan right now. However, I guess things could change. We’ll see!! Goo luck with your basement purge!

    [Reply]

  17. Linda B

    01/08/2013

    I’d really love to know what is in each of the clear totes. I know 2 of them are Christmas stuff.

    I’m just wondering what else you store, and how much of it.

    I have WAY more tubs in my basement…

    [Reply]

  18. Tara

    01/08/2013

    Ok, this makes so much sense. You actually have a place to store things so organizing them is much easier! Our smallish 3 bedroom single level home in the soggy Pac. NW has no basement and no room for a storage shed. I have very little storage space in my kitchen and use a hallway closet for pantry space.

    This fall we had a friend/contractor build us some garage shelving on one side to replace the dinky wire shelving that was there when we moved in. But I didn’t plan it very well as I had a newborn to care for and now the garage door interferes with half of the top shelf. :o( I was hoping for more storage out there, but I’m not sure we got it.

    As it is my walk-in bedroom closet is stuffed to the hilt with clothes, luggage, shoes, my baby’s clothes, bed linens, extra blankets, sewing and craft supplies. I have purged and purged and reorganized and reorganized. It all looks neat for a day or two, but even a well organized closet can quickly turn into a disaster when there are just too many things inside.

    Ahh! If you lived in Oregon I would totally hire you to come and help me maximize my space. I’m sure there are lots of things I could do, but I just don’t have the creative organizational eye. You don’t have any equally gifted colleagues in Oregon you could refer me to for organization services do you?

    [Reply]

    Natalia Reply:

    Hi Tara,
    It’s great to see another Oregonian in love with Andrea’s organizational skills. I’m learning so much from her!!!

    I also live in the soggy Pacific NW, (in Gresham, OR), but I have a large detached garage/workshop that keeps calling my name to clean it and reorganize it. I’m just waiting for that perfect sunny day, when birds are chirping, the sun is smiling, and I have plenty of energy and time to tackle it…. Oh, well. I might have to just do it this week-end!

    This is such an inspiration! Thank you, Andrea!

    [Reply]

  19. Five4FiveMeals

    01/09/2013

    Good for you keeping it so nice and tidy! It would be so tempting to just throw things down there and run.
    We don’t have basements here in South Alabama. It’s too humid.

    [Reply]

  20. Lee Cockrum

    01/09/2013

    Wow, so very spacious looking! I could NEVER in a million years get my tree ornaments in one box that size! I came from a family who always had eclectic ornaments, received or chosen over time, no sets of balls etc. So most of my ornaments were gifts or ones that I chose because I loved them. I recently donated everything that I did not love, and trashed anything that was broken.

    I am curious as to what the lone jar on the floor in the corner is?! It looks like a jar of peaches or some other canned good. It is in a couple of the photos.

    [Reply]

  21. Terri

    01/09/2013

    That basement of yours reminds me of my house growing up. Ours was big and empty and my sister and I would rollerskate down there all the time. Fun!

    [Reply]

  22. Carrie

    01/11/2013

    I love your basement. I used to live in a house that had a partially finished basement and we have at least 6 sets of shelves in a room for storage. While I loved it at the time, having since moved into an apartment, I am desperate to simplify and minimize my belongings. I went through my clothes and the kids’ toys and all of our belongings and have donated a lot of stuff as well as sold some stuff on craigslist.

    But, if I did have a basement, I wish it could be like yours! Can’t wait to see posts on future projects down there!

    [Reply]

  23. Nicole

    01/15/2013

    WOW Andrea what an organized basement! oh yeah and the cleanest basement I’ve ever seen! inspiration for me to clean up mine. thanks!!

    [Reply]

  24. Jessiejack

    02/10/2013

    Your basement looks great – so neat!
    You do seem to have several christmas trees-do you keep the ornaments on them year round with the lights? You said you only had 1 box for ornaments in storage

    [Reply]

  25. Sheryl

    06/09/2013

    Hi Andrea,
    I was wondering if you have any good ideas for storing tablecloths so they don’t take up tons of space and are not super wrinkled when you want to use them.

    Thanks,
    Sheryl

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Sheryl, I honestly don’t have many tablecloths — because I hated storing them! I have 3 or 4 and I just keep them folded up in the drawer of the red hutch in our dining room. Another idea would be to hang them up in the back of your closet, in a linen cabinet, on the top shelf of an unused cabinet/closet, etc. If you’re worried about wrinkles, you could always mist them with water and toss them in a dryer for a few minutes before you put them on the table.

    [Reply]

Leave a comment

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.