Basement Stairs Rearranged

April 29, 2015 § 2 Comments

Our house is very low on utility-type closet space. We have a large basement, sure, but it’s not a very handy storage space for things that we need regularly but not daily (like the vacuum cleaner), or things that don’t like humidity (like cardboard). Therefore, we use our basement stairs as a de facto cleaning closet / pantry, and store tools, outdoor furniture, outgoing recycling and the like in the basement. Earlier, at times when life was very busy, we’d “temporarily” drop off a thing that was supposed to go to the basement, and never remembered to actually move it when things calmed down. Towards the end of last year, the stairs had gotten cluttered enough to bother me.

Top Half Before

Bottom Half Before

Ugh. Time to do something.

Since the stairs are wide enough and we don’t mind storing things there, we decided to keep the basic arrangement and just impose more order. First I carried everything out and went through everything to toss tossables (like torn bags) or relocate keepables (like tools and empty bottles) and, finally, vacuumed the stairs. Then I created zones.

The top half of the stairs is still a bit of a mix, but it’s neater now. At the top are my work slippers and on the wall a DIY corkboard and pens for Mr. E’s homebrew info; below the corkboard there’s a recycled sixpack carrier in case he wants to send some samples home with a visitor. Opposite that there’s a small container for expired drugs waiting to go to disposal. There’s still a broken cabinet door and an extra shelf waiting for their final destinations; they won’t stay long term.

The landing is now our tall-stuff-cleaning-closet. I added a wall rack for the tools (mop, sponge mop, broom) and hooks for the two collections of reusable / recycling bags. We’ve really grown to like tossing our recyclable paper into a cardboard box or paper bag and toting that to the recycling center; it works well for us. There’s also space for a large sheet of cardboard (to be reused for mess protection or shipping), the vacuum, kitchen window screens (note to self: install them soon) and two gallons of potable emergency water. Here’s the top half after reorganization:

Top Half After

The bottom half of the stairs continues as a pantry; I just removed everything else and dedicated the area to food-related items. Chipboard clementine boxes lined with brown paper make very nice, unobtrusive (=narrow) produce drawers. We’ve successfully kept potatoes, onions, squash, pumpkins and apples there. This is what it looks like now:

Bottom Half After

You could say that this isn’t much of a change and be right. It is, however, enough for now. (I dream of at least painting in the future.) What’s best, even after a few months, we’ve been able to keep the new “cleaning closet” and “pantry” neat and clutter-free – that means it’s working!

Here’s a before-after photo of the top half and the landing:

Top Before After

And a before-after photo of the bottom half:

Bottom Before After

As it turns out, we unknowingly timed the change very well. This February’s snowstorms created so much ice in March that our roof leaked. It was a relief not to have to worry about cleaning tools falling on you while stomping up and down the stairs to deal with snow and the leaks.


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§ 2 Responses to Basement Stairs Rearranged

  • Lii says:

    I really enjoy insights into your mind at organising! The wall rack and the clementine boxes make such a huge difference.

    • ekoti says:

      Thank you. I agree – we really like the boxes as veggie bins! And hanging the rack helped so much, in addition to also hanging the reusable paper bags. The two smartest changes in this tiny space took only five screws, total. 🙂 [The rack I had bought earlier but changed plans before I hung it, so it was just kicking around, waiting to be used.]

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