How to Organize Your Basement


The Oaks Victorian Inn has a huge basement. There’s an office, a laundry room with 1 washer and 2 dryers, a boiler room with 2 heaters and 3 hot water tanks, a workshop, dozens of built in storage shelves, several metal storage cabinets, several large work benches and lots of alcoves with more storage units. When we took ownership, it looked like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, Benjamin Moore, Staples and a visitor’s center had exploded down there. There was “stuff” everywhere.

The first step to organizing your basement is get yourself an Edie. Edie is our Goddess of the Laundry, Housekeeper Extraordinaire and Master Organizer. The first year we were here she helped us dig through “the stuff” getting rid of several dozen old shutters, some broken furniture, a cast iron radiator, a cabinet that was falling apart, old linens and towels and miscellaneous junk. We kept lots of plumbing and electrical supplies and a dozen shelves full of old paint cans, tile and grout for touch ups here and there. After all, one never knows what might be needed for various small projects and repairs. The basement was now clean and sort of organized.

Last month we decided to let Edie loose in the basement to do the ultimate organizing job. First she unpacked boxes of mugs and wine glasses that we sell and neatly stored them in cupboards for easy access. She set up a packing station. She organized all of our cleaning supplies. She put up hooks and nails to hang mops, dusters, packages of vacuum bags etc. Next she went through all the paint cans throwing out any that were empty or dried up. Those that still had paint but were old and yucky got disposed of at a hazardous waste facility. 12 shelves of paint cans became 4 freeing up space for boxes of tile, bags of grout and assorted painting and tiling tools that had been hiding in the workshop. Outdoor furniture cushions were covered in plastic and stored until spring.

The workshop shelves and cupboards, workbench and peg board of tools were next. She went through all the plumbing and electrical odds and ends tossing out old parts for fixtures that aren’t even in the house anymore. Tools got organized. Personal and B&B items got separated packed and labeled. Boxes of annual files were put in their proper place and cabinets full of visitor guides were cleaned up. Obsolete materials were brought to recycle. Finally the laundry room got reorganized. Old doilies, yellowed sheets and excess boxes of rags and ratty towels were tossed. All the bedding was checked and anything in poor condition was given to some local ladies that take in and adopt out stray cats.

The basement looks great! I keep going down there just to look and marvel at what she did. Do you need to organize your basement? Get yourself an Edie. She’s amazing!



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