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an organized basement nook: the after

After working away in this little corner of our pad for the last month, we can finally call this spot done-zo. And let me tell you, this nook works harder than any other spot in our place.

Here is what we started with. So much wasted space, so little organization, and just plain uuuugly.


We cleared out the space, painted the turquoise wall, invested in our IKEA Algot system and Aneboda wardrobe, some storage bins, and got to installing and organizing….


And now? Organization overboard. Booyah. Every single thing has its place. And probably a label to go along with it.


There are a few main zones of the nook. First off is the paint zone. We had this spot which was perfect for narrow shelves, so we took advantage and fit them exactly for small pots and spray cans. Hopefully at some point we’ll use up more of those gallons on the ground, and then can decant leftovers into smaller mason jars and move them up along with the others.



To the left of the paints are the drawer section of our Algot system. I really liked the idea of drawers, so I’m glad we designed it in such a way that we could squeeze them in. I’ve got pillow cases and small rugs in the top drawer, throw blankets in the second, and sheets and duvet covers in the third. Even though it appears tight in the photos, there is plenty of room to pull open the drawers and get at what’s in them without banging into the wardrobe behind you.


Then we move over to the actual shelving part. The meat and potatoes of this whole operation. I tried to use as many coordinating bins as possible – both so keep it looking streamlined and to maximize the space, as they are designed to work with these shelves. Some things just didn’t fit into the bins though. We stacked our weekend bags/backpacks in one area, fit our picnic basket and board games on the top shelf, and kept some of our magazine files in rotation.



All of our paperwork had been in magazine files up in our office (which will be no longer, with baby sprout coming along!), so we re-organized them into file boxes. It is nice to have them all in 3 boxes now and it’s good to go through files every now and again to purge paperwork that is old. A certain someone (*cough* hubby *cough*) likes to keep cell phone bills and receipts from the 90’s. They could practically be considered antiques at this point. Oh, and see that empty bin? Yep, still space to grow, baby.


The magazine files that stayed were for a few select items that we add to very frequently. In this row there are ones for my design tear sheets (I rip things out of magazines or newspapers all of the time and go back to them for inspiration), stationary, and my stuff related to the blog.


The shelves didn’t quite reach all the way to the other wall due to a bulkhead, but luckily, this worked out perfectly. We needed a little spot to put our vacuum (see it tucked away on the ground there?), our brooms/mops (which we installed a wall mount for), and wrapping papers.


I needed a bucket of some sort to corral my wrapping papers and other long tube-y things, so this hamper from HomeSense did the trick. It cost $16 and adds a little bit of pretty to the space.


And finally, along that last wall, is our new wardrobe. It’s actually pretty attractive, and it’s nice to have a break from all of the open storage.


The wardrobe is packed with functionality – we hung up suits, out of season coats, and a few of my dresses, and then still had plenty of space for shoes. Dan has a bunch of his boots and shoes along the bottom (the guy has SO many clothes since he’s a reservist in the military), and I fit a bunch of my shoes into clear shoe boxes and put them up top. My shoes had all been living under our bed, so it’s nice to get them into a proper spot where I can easily see them again. Once winter is officially over (c’mon, spring!!) , I’ll move my winter boots down here and move up my summery shoes.


After passing by the storage area, you get to the door to our basement apartment (those closet doors on the left lead to our shared laundry). I’m so happy to get all of this organized and looking better now. It’s SO much nicer for our tenant who has to walk by it every day!

As for the budget breakdown, this wasn’t a super cheap project, but it was well worth it. Plus, all of these things are move-able, so if we ever want/need to re-locate anything, we can! Nothing permanent here.

-IKEA Algot system (this was for all of the brackets, shelves, drawers, and clear storage bins): $300
-IKEA Aneboda wardrobe: $100
-Round bin from HomeSense for wallpaper: $16
-Wall mounted broom holder from HomeSense: $12
-3 File bins with some hanging files and labels from Staples: $100

Grand total: $528

For more info, check out the other posts associated with this project: the beforeclearing out, installing the Algot system, getting organized and making labels.

Phew! Glad to get that one out of the way. Our office is feeling incredibly empty now… time to start thinking nursery!  We are going to be finding out the sex baby sprout pretty soon… anyone have a guess?!

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  • Joy

    Great job! Organization projects sometimes seem to take many steps, but the outcome is so worth it!

    Have a great day!

    Joy :)

  • Ashley

    This post makes my organizing-loving heart so happy! Great job!

    I found you via 6th Street Design school and I am so glad I did – I am a new follower!

    • gemma

      Haha.. love that! Thanks for popping by!!


  • Kelly @ A Swell Place to Dwell

    Looks so nice! I have, have, have to get my paint into mason jars one of these days because I think it would free up so much space in our crawl space. I also love the bucket for your wrapping paper and such.

    • gemma

      Yes — do it!! It’s amazing how much space it saves. The whole task took less time and was less messy/annoying than I thought it would be.


  • Julia @cuckoo4design

    Looks awesome!

  • jackie jade

    looks great – love how much storage you squeezed into this space! makes me realize we need to tackle our basement/garage – arrgh!

  • Shauna @Satori Design for Living

    Wow, it looks so organized! Love your wall color, and I definitely need to check out that Algot system (we’re looking for better shelves for our basement storage rooms).

    • gemma

      Thanks Shauna! Yeah it’s a really great system — definitely worth the investment. Good luck with your basement!


  • Inspire Me Heather

    It looks so well organized, love that! Now all you have to do is keep it that way – shouldn’t be too hard, right?

    • gemma

      Haha – here’s hoping!! :)


  • Janelle @ Two Cups of Happy

    Holy moley, you really went all out! It looks so good. I need to do something like this with my craft stuff. It’s a mess…

    • gemma

      It really makes such a difference!


  • Laurie @ Vin’yet Etc.

    I love how you put little bits of paint in mason jars and labeled them, great idea! Oh your paint “section” makes me jealous, yep it does! Nice job, that was a lot of work… Love your blog’s name BTW, gonna go pay your FB a visit!

    Laurie @ Vin’yet Etc.

    • gemma

      It really does make a huge difference – and actually, makes getting the paint out for touch ups seem less daunting. Thanks for popping by, Laurie!


  • Thank you for this post! We have a tornado shelter that is looking for some real organization, and this is the perfect product. Now I need to learn more about it and see how it can work for us! I found your blog via Pinterest, and I’m excited to start following. :)

    • gemma

      Hi Lindsey! So glad this might be the right solution for you. We have really liked it — it has held up well, and it’s so easy to keep all of our stuff is so well organized now!! Good luck!