Dabney's Cure: Taking Stock of the Basement

Liveblogging the January Cure 2014

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Last January I did the traditional Cure, but this time I'm going off the rails a little bit and tackling my home's musty underworld: the basement. While everyone else is working on their living spaces — redoing drawers, buying flowers, and deep cleaning — I'll organize tools, drag a lifetime's worth of stuff around a cement floor, and clean cobwebs out of my hair in the process. My Cure won't mirror yours exactly, but I'll take similar steps to get clean and organized for the new year.

In prep for today's post, I spent some quality time downstairs, getting reacquainted with the space and saying hello to some of my favorite spiders (Hi Bob!). Here's my list:

  • Clean up the pile of random crap in the middle of the floor. Why is there a pile of random crap in the middle of the floor? Our basement is pretty leaky and, at some point, a bunch of stuff got wet after it rained. It was mainly cardboard boxes and packing materials, which I wound up sweeping into a large pile before I got busy and left it there. That was a couple of months ago (okay, six months - I can't lie to you kind people).
  • More purging. Even though I did a round of donating back in August, there's still some stuff I need to give away. The biggest of these things is a very large desk that I bought off Craigslist about five years ago when we first moved in to our house. We never found the right place for it, and it just sat downstairs all that time. It's time for the thing to go.
  • Organize, organize, organize. I'll say it once more: organize.
  • Put together existing metal shelving. I bought some heavy-duty shelving off a friend about a year ago, and have only put together one of four units. The rest is sitting in pieces on the floor, and is doing no one any good whatsoever.
  • Probably the largest project I've been meaning to do is replace the awful plastic shelving that's down there now, and install some DIY wooden shelving in its place. The plastic stuff is all wonky, not very sturdy, and I'd love to have a long row of wooden, built-on shelves that aren't going anywhere.
  • Vacuum up the cobwebs and dust.
  • Set up a permanent tool workbench and/or workspace.
  • I mentioned the mustiness of the basement, right? Our basement isn't sealed and is, in no way, water tight. We have one dehumidifier that's a workhorse, constantly swimming upstream against the current of moisture in the air. But! The basement is very, very large and stuff on the other side of the space often gets a thin sheen of green mold on it (tasty). A second dehumidifier would go a long way towards making the basement more functional as storage.

So, that's the list. There is nothing sexy about this task: it's a good old-fashioned clean-up and organization job. But it needs to be done, and now is a great time to do it. Do you have a basement you are neglecting?

  • Join the January Cure
  • Go to the January Cure main page

  • (Image credits: Dabney Frake)

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    When Dabney's not writing around here, she's digging through other people's attics for fun and interesting stuff, or running around with her bloodhound Friday. Originally from the East Coast, she's still shocked to find herself living in Missouri.