Basement Blitz

Yesterday I mentioned the great date my hubby and I had on Thursday. What I didn’t explain were the details surrounding our “date day”.  About 3 or 4 years ago, we had hydro come out and do an efficiency test on our house and it failed miserably. That was not surprising since our heating bills for our first winter surpassed our monthly mortgage payments. Once the test was done, we were given an outline of suggestions that would help to make our home more efficient. The number one suggestion was insulating our basement.

The basement of our 1921 home had no insulation, but there were a few rooms that had been roughed in. Obviously, these were primarily used for storage and laundry and looked to be at least 70 years old. It was in a very sad state, but provided adequate space for all of our tools and stored items. We had everything put away and organized and although the basement was really only used for laundry, it was tidy and functional.

However, when we decided to insulate and drywall the space to help lower our heating costs, we had to remove everything from the exterior walls and place it in the center of the space, so that Tim could work his way around the exterior. This project seemed to progress in spurts with most of the insulating completed a few years back, but it was at this point that it seemed to stall out. Now, for an organization freak like me, this became a huge issue. It wasn’t so much that the basement wasn’t finished, but more an issue of not being able to find what I was looking for. I absolutely hate wasting time and sorting through a “pile of rubble” was not scoring high with me. Although my husband won’t admit it, I think that he felt somewhat overwhelmed by the job. We have pipes hanging awkwardly from the ceiling and wires that need to be moved as well as bulkheads that need to be built. Between the mess from the renovation, the pile of storage tubs and the construction materials themself, he just kind of shut down and really no progress has been made for a long time. It was a bit of a “hot topic” in our house, but last fall I finally decided to temporarily let go of the idea of having a finished basement and just focus on what was stressing me out the most ~ THE HUGE MESS! So, this is where the date comes into play.

The Best Date Ever:

So, you can imagine my excitement when I got my husband to agree to “a date”. No, this date didn’t involve a romantic dinner or flowers, but something much more meaningful to me. A special date marked on the calendar that would be dedicated to the basement. We would clean, purge and organize as much as we could in one day. That is all I requested…just one day to see what we could accomplish. So, on April 3rd, shortly after lunch, we took the walk of shame and headed down to the dungeon. Honestly, it felt like a clip from the TV show “Hoarders”. There was stuff everywhere and I simply could not live with it any longer. Although we have a large basement of about 1500 square feet, there literally was hardly any floor space. Construction materials, tubs of storage items, tools and sporting goods seemed to be everywhere. So, without much of a plan, we set to work.

  • We sorted out our pile of reclaimed wood from the tear down to determine what we should keep and what should be tossed.
  • We organized all of the scrap wood we were keeping for future projects and placed all of the large garbage items at the base of the stairs. We need to get a BFI bin or something for all of this, but wanted to have all of the garbage ready before we actually order it.
  • I went through all of the cans of paint to determine what was still good and what needed to be tossed.
  • Tim vacuumed and cleaned all of the floor space and moved all of our storage tubs against one wall, so that they are more out of the way.
  • I spent about 6 hours going through all of our “hardware” stuff: screws, nails, tacks, plumbing, electrical and painting supplies. I sorted, vacuumed, organized and labelled until I was almost delirious.
  • I bought a Casio label machine and was so excited as I began to unpack boxes of supplies that had yet to be unpacked from our move to this house in 2008. I think Tim just kept waiting for the day he would have his basement “workshop” set-up and never really bothered to go through some of the boxes. Normally, I would just go do it myself, but I knew that it was impossible. I had tried a few times, but this was his stuff and I was unable to determine what some items were and how they should be sorted or if they even needed to be kept. I knew that the only way to get this done was to work together.

So, after about 14 hours of work (times two bodies = 28 hours), our basement is in much better shape. I was disappointed when the sample roll of label tape ran out and I hadn’t finished my job, but overall it looks much better. There are still many things that need to be done down there, but I can live with this. It is organized and there is once again ample usable space. My hope is that now that the mess is cleared, Tim will feel more optimistic and once again begin to complete one task at a time. We don’t really have a design plan in mind for the “family room” type of space that will eventually be down there, but we have already got the walls up and drywalled for the storage room and we’ll keep the existing laundry room walls. Of course, I have my wish list and even a preference for the order of completion, but for now I will relish in the fact that a job that was long over due is finally done. As I looked around the basement, I seriously got a bit teared up. This basement has been a huge bone of contention for me and the disarray of this space just seemed like a weight on my shoulders. Every time I walked down the stairs, my annoyance would resurface. This was a huge amount of work. It was dusty and dirty and tedious and long, but none the less, for me, the best date ever! My husband scored huge points with me this week. I can find what I need and now have the space to work without feeling like I need to drag everything up to my scrapbook/project room.

If and when we proceed with our basement plans, I will keep you posted. If I had my wish, we would begin by finishing the storage room. Although it still needs a ceiling, flooring, mud and sanding, and electrical work done, it still seems like the most logical space to complete first. Finishing this space, would allow me to move all of the tubs of storage items into their permanent home. It would literally clear-up most of the basement clutter and because it will only be used for storage it seems like a great space to fumble and learn. I’m not really worried about perfect seams and the finished look in this space. I’m merely looking for a clean, organized room banked with shelving and hooks to store our Christmas decorations, off-season clothing and other off-season items. Finishing this room will be another great reason to celebrate.

Now, I had to dig deep to actually have the guts to share these BEFORE/AFTER pictures with you. Anyone who knows me well, would be astonished that my basement looked like this for so long. I certainly didn’t keep it a secret, but few ever saw the state of affairs. The makings of this mess began innocently enough, but I just didn’t know how to get things back on track when I really was not able to do the work. I would love to think I am capable enough to be a great helper or assistant, but the reality is I don’t know the first thing about basement construction and my hubby really does have to take the lead on this. You know what they say about couples and how opposites attract ~ I am a total “get ‘r done gal” and Procrastination is Tim’s middle name. Ugh! I love him to pieces, but sometimes, I can’t figure out how we manage to make it all work. I’ll give God credit for that!

Brace Yourself for the BEFORE Shots:

Basement Before
Basement Before
Basement Before
Basement Before

Basement Before


28 Hours and Two Back Aches Later:

Still so much to do, but I think we might actually be back on track. What a relief!!

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About Cindy RoyI’m a busy mother, wife and kindergarten teacher. I have a huge list of loves! I love my family, The Source Church, old houses, “up-cycling”, DIY projects, scrapbooking, volleyball, interior design, cake decorating, party planning, healthy eating, and last, but certainly not least…gift wrapping! I just launched my brand new Youtube channel and am super excited to share BOWhemian WRAPsody with my followers. My channel is dedicated to all things relating to gift wrapping and creating beautiful eye catching presents…its all in the PRESENTation! I’m very organized and reflective, and am continually striving to do life more lovingly, passionately, effectively and successfully.

2 thoughts on “Basement Blitz

  1. GOOD JOB YOU GUYS. What a lot of work. I think you should have dinner out to celebrate such a great effort.

  2. Way to go, CIndy and Tim! Yes, that is also my idea of a wonderful date and what a great feeling to make a path and feel organized. I think we are truly sick girls, lol.

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