We have always used our basement for three things: laundry, storage (aka dumping) and, seasonally, seedlings. There are two large rooms and a spacious corridor.

One room holds the furnace and the two big oil tanks that the previous owner needed so her 50-year-old furnace could overheat her uninsulated house (we fixed all of that first thing). Those two tanks now store enough biofuel for the next two and a half years, maybe even three if we stretch it. The rest of that space has some great shelving, racks against the ceiling for wood and piping, and a concrete floor. It is the perfect space for a workshop and that’s what it will be: a space for messy projects that involve sawdust, splashes of paint, grout. and soil and water for the seedlings. All it requires is the removal of “storage boxes” and the food pantry (jams, canned foods, honey, etc.).

The other room is so large as to be a bit amorphous, which invited spontaneous (i.e., unorganized) dumping.  It used to have asbestos tiles which we had removed, leaving an unappealing concrete surface. We have already covered that with a DRIcore subfloor, and over the weekend we put up a dividing drywall with a door.

The smaller room to the right became the storage room. It will hold all our boxes with out-of-season clothes, clothes of Amie’s en route to Goodwill, old toys, electronics and miscellaneous  There is also an inbuilt cabinet where I’ll put all the food related storage items: all the glass jars, plastic containers, as well as the big canner and dehydrator.

The larger room to the left  will be our media/project room. The idea is to watch movies there (projected on a screen), but mainly to work on arts and crafts. I envision several work tables, benches and shelves for painting, sewing, electronics, printing, etc. Also some bookshelves. This room needs the most work. I can feel a TO DO list coming on!

  1. sand down seams in drywall (already spackled)
  2. paint all walls and doors
  3. install finished (laminate)  floor
  4. put up bookshelves
  5. put up shelving, benches
  6. move in all the tools, books, paints etc that are cluttering up the rest of the house

Amie is very excited! We all are! But splitting up that one big room it is as if we added two whole new rooms to our house.

And that’s not all. There are three more basement areas to work on. First, the laundry area, which is in the corridor. It holds the washer and the dryer, a sink in a grubby, warped cabinet. I’d love to put in some new and clean cabinet space for storing laundry soups, etc., and a counter where we can at least make some coffee or tea and wash up the dishes.

Then there is the pantry. At the moment our food storage is in the “messy room,” but I’d like to move it closer to the kitchen. The corner in the corridor right next to the stairs is perfect. We’ll need to add some shelving there.

Lastly there is what I call “The Hurricane Room – You Only Need It Once!” (yes, that’s its full name). Our house is a ranch with a steel beam running along its length in the middle.  The tiny space under the stairs is also right under that beam and so the most reinforced place in the house.  It’s also near a window (for egress), and right around the corner from where the pantry will be. That’s where we will store our emergency supplies, and I’ll make it comfortable enough so we can spend an hour in there if need be. Like I say: you only need it once!

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