Overhauling the Most Embarrassing Area in My House

Do you have an area of your home that is so embarrassing that you don’t want anyone to see it? The most embarrassing area in my house is a tough competition, between a few spots I’ve never shared here. The contenders are the main floor bathroom, the garage, and the basement. Although the bathroom is quite ugly and desperately needs a renovation, and the garage definitely needs some work, too, the winner, by far, is the basement. It’s so bad that I’m not even sharing pictures yet, because I need to clean it up before I take the “before” photos. But I have big plans to make it better, and I’d love your suggestions!

Craft room inspiration
Definitely not my craft room.

When we moved in, I thought our basement had a ton of potential. The whole basement has concrete floors, but the walls and ceiling are mostly covered in drywall. It has two main rooms, and a wide hallway. One of the rooms is where my husband’s workspace is set up, and it’s also where our laundry machine, dryer, utility sink, and furnace are located. It sounds like a lot for one room, but it’s pretty big, with plenty of space between the different zones. Here’s a quick not-quite-to-scale drawing I did of the space:

Basement floor plan

The empty room at the top could be a great workspace for me. I’ve actually made lots of projects down there, and even photographed them with the photo studio I set up in the space.  But it’s currently a HUGE mess. The biggest problems with the basement are:

It’s a dumping ground – There are boxes piled up, and anything that we don’t know what to do with gets dumped down here willy-nilly. It’s already a mess, so what’s the point in trying to keep it from getting worse?

It has very little organization – I have a lot of craft supplies, and most of them are really poorly organized. Half the time I can’t even find what I’m looking for! I have so many different types of supplies, and not enough organizational tools, so every time I try to sort things out I just end up giving up. 

There’s no decor – Everything is utilitarian (and it’s not even doing a very good job).

What it really comes down to is that there was no plan. Most of the furniture down here is a cast-off from another part of the house. One of the tables is even one I found by the side of the road. Cast-offs can be awesome, but not when they don’t solve the problems you need them to.

Craft room inspiration
Not my craft room. This one is from The Container Store blog, and belongs to a mosaic-maker.

So I’m trying to come up with a plan that doesn’t involve spending a million dollars on storage. I keep staring at craft room porn to get ideas, but I feel like those super-organized spaces only belong to people who have a much more limited set of supplies. Like, they just have scrapbooking or sewing supplies, and maybe a few other things. But they don’t have supplies for knitting, sewing, jewelry, soap-making, candle-making, embroidery, and a hundred other random projects and crafts. Or if they do, they don’t show them in the photos.

Or maybe they’re just better at organizing than I am. It’s never been one of my talents. 

Craft room inspiration

Although I admire the hyper-organized, rainbow-ordered spaces of some crafters, I don’t think that’s ever going to be realistic for me.

Craft room inspiration
From the craft room tour at Happiness is Homemade.

But I know I can do better than my current mess!

I’m sharing this because 1) I don’t want to pretend to be perfect, and 2) I’d love any advice or organizing resources that you’ve found useful. Clearly my current situation isn’t working, so if you know of any awesome organizing tools I should know about, I’m all ears!

I do have some ideas of how to make the space work better, but step one is to purge. There are definitely some craft supplies I’ve been hoarding, so getting rid of those will help quite a bit, I think. Going through my basement and sorting craft supplies are my big plans for the weekend!

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