Before & After: A Storage Room Overhaul

Before & After: A Storage Room Overhaul

Kimber Watson
Jan 27, 2011

I have to admit, it's a bit embarrassing to show the before photos. But I know there are many of us out there — clean and organized individuals with a room here or an area there that becomes a dumping ground for well, everything! And, as the story goes, once you start getting a little clutter — it's easy to attract a lot of clutter. After a quick trip to the home improvement store, I spent the day making over my storage room.

Before

If you have a room or space that could desperately use some help, the first order of duty should be to figure out how you use it. For this room, it's a small room located in our basement, and it's main purpose is to house the furnace and hot water heater. But, while it is small, there was plenty of extra space so it quickly became a dumping ground for paints, gardening tools and supplies, as well as lots of other odds and ends that you use around the house. I wanted the room to remain a storage room for those things, but also give me a little extra space for indoor gardening during the colder months.

After

Next task was to take measurements and buy the shelves, screws, and a few hooks. I purchased these things the night before so I could spend the following day concentrating on installing the shelves and organizing. Whatever you need, I highly recommend getting it beforehand, so you can start fresh and get straight to work. Our room was so messy, we had to pull almost everything out in order to fully open the door. It's probably wise to do this anyway, as it makes it easier to discard and reorganize, putting back in only what's essential. Since our basement has 14 foot ceilings, we knew we needed to use the vertical space for storage. We did this by installing brackets and shelves, definitely the biggest expenditure for the project.

While my S.O. was working on the shelving, I got to work on sorting through the junk. There was a pile for trash, donations, and what we were keeping — the "keep" pile was then sorted by grouping similar things together. I already had extra storage bins, which were perfect for keeping the smaller items sorted and contained. Even though my bins are clear, I went the extra step of adding labels so I can easily tell what's inside, without climbing on a ladder. The two galvanized bins were used to group gardening supplies. Soil, mulches, rocks in one; fertilizers, sprays, insecticides in the other. I also decided the wood shelving unit would be for garden supplies only, with enough room on top to pot plants if need be. Paints went on the top shelf, organized by the rooms they were used in. Anything that can be hung, especially tools that I use often, were hung on hooks. I added jute rope and curtain clips to hang lighter things like gloves.

It took a total of about eight hours to hang the shelves, sort through everything, and organize it all into place — but it was completely worth it. It's now a pleasure whenever I go in there and makes me want to tackle other areas of my home.

Tips:

  • When purchasing what you need to organize a space, if in doubt, I buy it anyway. It's easier to return an item than stop in the middle of your project to run to the store for something you need.

  • Always buy extra bins or hooks, that way you will be more likely to keep the space tidy as you add a new shovel or buy extra light bulbs.

  • Just as it's wise to keep extras on hand, I also recommend leaving room for more storage. If you notice, I have plenty of extra room to stack additional bins or hang more tools.

  • Set rules. Ours are 1) When you take something out, it goes back where you found it. 2) All shovels and tools must be clean/dirt-free before returning them. 3) If something new comes in, you must find a suitable place for it. Remember, clutter attracts more clutter!

Images: Kimberly Watson

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