With so many of us stuck at home, I couldn’t think of a better time to put extra energy into all of these problem areas that a new organization might need. I know that’s what I have done anyway! I do not exaggerate things, but I decide to tackle a point in our house every day, to work on the revision of our current organizational systems and also to carry out major cleaning work.
Shortly before we were all forced to settle at home, John and I actually removed one major item from our list: long-term storage on the unfinished side of our basement. The photos in today’s post are anything but pretty and certainly not “styled”, but I thought now would be the perfect time to share them just in case you have a similar situation in your home that you like would work from home. Keep scrolling to see how we maximized basement storage. You will also receive all my best ideas for organizing spring cleaning.
Before things can get better, I have to be humble and share the beginning. The photo above shows how we have stored all of our long-term supplies in inexpensive plastic shelves. Although we cleaned and dumped three truckloads of things last summer, we were still stuck with many things.
Everything you see here is used in our house (think of Christmas decorations, air purifier filters, carpet pads, additional art, picnic accessories), but only occasionally. We wanted to keep everything, but our current load was clearly too much for the plastic shelves – both sizes – and by weight. The shelves were literally crowded and buckled under the weight of our collection. You may also have noticed that we also wasted quite a bit of vertical space. We needed a change, and quickly, before everything fell on the concrete floor!
Around that time I spoke to the owner of the Community pottery studio where I work. He mentioned that he was going to get a few more commercial rolling shelves to use for members of the studio, and for overflow ceramics when it went into and came out of the ovens. I asked how much weight the shelves could carry and then grabbed a tape measure to check the height and thought they could be perfect for our basement.
The dimensions were correct and the weight capacity was path better than the plastic shelves we had gotten along with so far, so I asked if I could order the pottery studio to get three shelves for ourselves.
The three new metal shelves that we finally received are each taller and wider than our four old plastic shelves, so we were able to reduce the number of units required. You can see in the before / after photo above that we managed to fill them up to the ceiling too, so no space is wasted!
Now we have plenty of room to lift everything off the floor, and the best (unexpected!) News is the wheelset that came with every shelf. With these we were able to stack all art prints not currently used behind the shelves, as they are easily accessible by simply rolling the shelves out of the way.
We still have a lot of things and I plan to scale them down as often as possible (for example, if I notice that we haven’t touched a particular item in over a year), but the new system feels worlds and better off than where we started.
So I know your next question is probably, “Where are the shelves coming from?” Unfortunately, These came from Sam’s clubSo I’m not sure if you can order these types of things online. That means it is standard commercial shelves. I bet you can find similar options at your local restaurant shop or maybe even at Amazon. I attached a photo of the box at the beginning of this post if you want to search for it.
For other spring cleaning tips, I could go on and on about this topic, but I will try to keep it short as there are many detailed lists and you are likely to be flooded with information on the internet in the coming weeks. Basically, I start by making a list of the cupboards, drawers, and cupboards that I want to tackle, and then take things one day and one area at a time. That makes it more manageable than trying to turn everything off on a Saturday.
One area that I like to be up to date more often than just spring is the garbage drawer in our kitchen. I actually have to do a quick revision this week, but we did one thing last year that changed a bit. Instead of trying to keep everything in the drawer itself in order, we packed all the Tupperware containers that inevitably lost their lids (please tell me that we are not the only household whose Tupperware lids are inexplicably disappearing!) , And now use these to share items in our garbage drawer.
You can see what I mean in this old blog post, but the bottom line is that the new method has forced us to keep our garbage drawer relatively tidy all year round. There are actually a lot of organizational tips and strategies in this old post that could be helpful before you start working on getting your house in shape over the next few weeks.
Good luck with all your spring cleaning projects this season! I’ve already removed tons of projects (large and small) from my list in the four days I’ve been stuck at home, and it feels great to do. I was born for social distancing (Smile, wink, wink). Stay well, friends!
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