Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Basement Pantry - Organized

I spent about 8 hours last Saturday packing up all our Christmas decorations and getting the house back to "normal".  Even with the "let's clean and get rid of all the things!" bug that bites me every January 1st, there is something extra motivating about getting the (dead, very very dead) tree out and decorations put away.  While I LOVE Christmas (singing carols in church on Sunday had me thinking "I miss Christmas already" while the tree had barely been out of our house for 12 hours) and pulling it all out every November, I also get really excited for the "it's so clean!" feeling that comes with putting it all back in the attic.  And the sudden re-urge to organize everything in the house.

This project mostly happened pre-Christmas but with Christmas posts and taking a week off writing between Christmas and New Years (aka, one of the best weeks of the year), and doing some year-end posts...it's just getting shared now.  Which is perfect for reminding me of how good progress feels and does still kinda kick off the year on a productive note. 

Our basement has long been a source of agony (here, here, here).  At least organizing agony.  Our first few months of owning the house, things stayed pretty clean down there, mainly because we didn't own much stuff.  Eleven years later that doesn't exactly hold true anymore.  Matt's tool collection has grown.  We made part of the basement into our workout area.  We store things (although that has been reduced over the years).  We've accumulated paint from various projects, both buckets and spray cans.  I hoard stuff for garage sales.  The amount of stuff down there has definitely increased.  The organization hasn't.

One of my big projects for this year was to get this basement organized.  I want to stop it being an annoying thing in my life.  We've said too many times, too many years "we really need to organize the basement" but then don't do much about it.  I outlined the whole current plan back here and most of that still holds true.  We've made steps in some areas, starting with this one!  I said at the time to expect a post about it in 6 months...being optimistic...and 7 months later here we are!

This is where we started on this portion of the basement:

There was our pantry box to the right of the shelf, containing most of our unopened food items.  The boxes in front of the shelf are all canning jars that were passed onto us (for free!).  They had been there at least 6 months with no better place to store them.

Now this is what we are working with:

Weird to heart eye emoji a shelf?  Because I am.

Matt built that in November, exactly what I had been hoping for (which is good considering I drew him the rough plans).  He would like it noted that it's made almost entirely with scrap (reused) wood; he only bought the plywood for it.  After he built it, we spent 3 evenings painting it.  It took us, together, a solid hour to do the first coat.  That thing is huge.  Then once it had been primed, painted, cured, I lined the back of the shelves.  With liner I bought well over 6 months ago...

Then I had to find the right baskets for it, buying these at Target during various sales.  I was shocked when they were delivered in the midst of multitude of Christmas deliveries, completely blanking at what could be in the giant boxes.  I was THRILLED when they fit PERFECTLY and immediately ordered 3 more to fill the top shelf.  Then, the best part, filling the shelves.  You may not understand how incredibly exciting I find this part of projects (Matt was recently working on some better scrap wood storage by his workbench, when he told me he was done building and just had to fill it, I got really excited for him and told him that was the best part.  He just gave me a weird look.)

We had some very full baskets right before Christmas with food collection items and extra food for our various celebrations.  Now we're about due for our first major grocery trip in a month so things are running a little low (although, really, not much lower than usual since I don't do much stocking up). 

Storing potatoes has long been a problem for us, I think this is their 5th home in our house?  Hopefully this one keeps them mold/moisture/rot free.  I've been thinking about labels for all the baskets but I know what goes in each (one for canning lids/rings/freezer boxes, separate baskets for the church food collection, chips in one, sweet-ish pantry, savory-ish pantry, one that has remained unfilled)

Aesthetically I might prefer some of the baskets on lower shelves but Matt said for weight reasons the canning jars should be at the bottom so this is how it's going to be.  And you'll notice I clearly do a lot of canning...since all the jars are empty...this year I'm really going to figure out how to can on my own, without my Mom or sisters (ok, I'm probably going to ask my Mom for help the first time).

But still proud of the canning jar collection I've built considering they've all been passed onto me, besides the pretty blue (birthday gift) and green (I bought) ones.  Now they just need to be used for more than storing extra tubes of toothpaste (what one of my blue ones is doing at this moment). 

The basement has a long way to go but I feel like this is a giant step in the right direction.  Adding more storage isn't always the right answer but having a place for everything, and putting things in their right places, mostly definitely is.  Now excuse me while I go make more heart eyes at a shelf...in my basement...totally normal...

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