With Spring around the corner, there will soon be an awful lot more of us outside taking in the fresh air again. The promise of warmth is invigorating for those of us who went into hibernation mode late last fall and have laboured under a blanket of sloth since then. How many of you got some, if any, of those DIY projects accomplished this past winter? Are you ready to tackle a few of them before the garden calls? Those extra hours of daylight that we’ll be getting as of this weekend are a great excuse to get at least one project done! So, why not put that pep to work inside, before you swear off the interior of your house for a summer sabbatical. My suggestion this week is to tackle the depths of your home. Let’s head to the basement today…




Let’s face it. Your basement is a place where no man should ever have to tread alone, unless accompanied by a large garbage bag and perhaps a shovel. Basements are usually the domain of storage, laundry rooms and billowing dust bunnies that scare the cat more than sticky infants right before nap time. I have wandered through immaculate homes that have shown beautifully, but then been aghast at the cobwebs coating everything in sight on the lower level of a house. So often basements just do not get the respect that they deserve. If you struggle with taming the trash in your basement, here are a few suggestions of how you can turn the lower level of your home into a clean and organized space that invites anyone to take a peak.


    • If moving day was 10 years ago, but you still have cardboard boxes of miscellaneous items stored in your basement, it’s time to take stock. Go through the boxes ruthlessly, tossing anything that you haven’t touched in over a year. If the box wasn’t opened from your previous move, it is time for it to go! Any remaining items that you feel you really cannot part with should be stored in plastic totes with tight-fitting lids. They will keep out dust, moisture and those nasty little silverfish that flash across dank basement floors when you turn the lights on. They come in a wide variety of sizes, plus are easily stacked. No more soft, lumpy cardboard for you! Don’t forget to label your totes with the contents of the box, so that you can quickly find the items that you are looking for.
    • With everything now in totes, grab your cleaning supplies and get at it. Sweep and vacuum every inch of the floor while you can see it. Don’t forget to wipe down the walls, sucking up cobwebs as you go. Grab the mop bucket and some bleach to eradicate any musty smells that might be lingering. If your basement suffers from dampness, pick up a de-humidifier to keep your room feeling and smelling fresher. Any allergy sufferers in your home will thank you.
    • Before you walk away from all those totes, think about how you are going to store them. They might stack well, but a sturdy shelf or two will make accessibility that much easier when it comes time to retrieving items out of the bottom tote. Plus, it adds protection for your precious stuff in case of basement flooding. Yes, that sadly does happen on occasion, especially during the Spring thaw. Place heaviest articles on bottom shelves and tuck in odd-shaped items, like skates or indoor planters, into the remaining spaces. Lightweight items should be placed on the top shelf, creating less fear of dropping that heavy bowling ball on your foot when you are pulling it down.
    • While you are assembling shelves, think about adding pegboard to store your tools. Create a space for your wrench sets, saws, levels and clamps; anything that might not fit into the nice little trays of your tool box. It is amazing how much smoother your next DIY project will go when your tools are organized and readily available at a glance.
    • Don’t forget your laundry room while you are down in the basement. There are those among us that do laundry on a daily basis. Why not make that never-ending task more enjoyable with a clean and organized space to do it in? Install cupboards or shelves for all your cleaning products like bleach, laundry detergent and fabric softener. Hang your ironing board behind the door to keep it out-of-the-way. Brackets for your mop and broom also create a more organized looking space. For those that are lucky enough to have the space to allow, a counter is an excellent place to fold those piles of laundry that come out of the dryer. For items that must be hung or laid flat to dry, a drying rack is a convenient answer that often folds up flat for storage after it is done in use.