8 In uncategorized

ready, steady, organize

So the last time we left off on Project Basement Organization, we had just installed the IKEA Algot shelving/drawer system. This past weekend was a nice, quiet one at home, so it was the perfect time to get cracking on organizing down there.

Just to recap, we need to keep everything that was originally down there (paints + supplies, home improvement stuff, brooms, vacuum, etc), and then add in a whole more.

Like, for instance, this entire closet from the guest room/office which will soon be the nursery’s closet…


.. and our games from this little dresser in our living room, which will soon house our laptops (when we’re not using them), and some baby stuff….


… and all of our paper documents which are currently filed away above our desk (these shelves will go when this room turns into the nursery) and in a cabinet at my parents’ place…

office 2

… and a few other things floating around our pad. So yeah, a lot of stuff. Other than one small linen closet in our house, it’s our only storage area besides the garage (where hubby’s workshop is, plus sports gear, big pieces of furniture we’re not using, everything car-related, etc).

My basic method was to tackle one area at a time. I would take everything out, group like things together, and then fit them into the most size-appropriate bin. We had purchased the clear bins from IKEA that fit perfectly with the Algot system – some are tall and others are shorter and you can stack them. Once I had things in their bin, I would bring the bin down and place it on the shelves. Oh, and you’ll notice in the left hand side of this photo, that Dan put together the armoire (it’s the Aneboda from IKEA for $100), which replaces that wooden shelving unit that had been sitting there.


There were a few things that didn’t fit into bins (like our bags), some file folders we decided to keep (instead of filing away in filing boxes), and the linens which went into the drawers, but just about everything got a bin.

And you know what bins mean to this organizational freak, right? Labels. So my jam. It was a use-what-I-had situation, so I grabbed some colourful cardstock and cut them to size.


I used some double-sided sticky squares to adhere the labels to the bins. That way they’ll be super easy to take off in case I ever need to switch them up.



I also needed to do something about the paint cans. Remember all of those big gallons sitting on the floor? Well, at least half of them were almost empty.


Time for some decanting. Luckily I had some unused mason jars sitting in the garage, so I grabbed the cans and the jars and got to transferring the paint over.



Mason jars have a good seal, so paint can happily sit in these jars for quite some time. Actually, I read it was better for them than sitting in an almost-empty can that has tons of air sitting in it. Oh, and for anyone wondering, we had the window wide open and I was wearing a mask while doing this job. Not all of these are low-VOC so gotta protect baby sprout!


I didn’t do anything too fancy with the labels on these guys – just used some white address labels I had. I made sure to write down all pertinent information – brand, colour, finish – and also what rooms I had used it in. It makes a huge difference to get a lot of those big cans off the floor.

DSC_0282 (2)

So that’s where we stand. Things are really coming together. Just a few last finishing touches, and moving our clothes down to the armoire, and we’ll be set. After photos to come soon!

What did you guys get up to this weekend? Doing any organizing at your place? Ever done the mason jar thing with your paint stash? 


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  • ali thompson

    yes! lots of organizing over at our house this weekend too–i love your idea for putting the paint in the mason jars–so much easier to store and keep fresh. great tip!

  • jackie

    HURRAY! I’m so happy to see it done! But of course, just like in life, I couldn’t help but think of what should happen NEXT. My main problem is with baby clothes. People are so nice to give you hand-me-downs or even fancy clothes for baby, but they are a huge variety of sizes, from newborn to (seriously) things in size FIVE. Not only do you need a system to not forget about the things they have yet to grow into, but you need a system for picking out things that people have lent to you, that you want to keep, and what you want to give away or lend to others. OMG it’s crazy. I think you would need a whole other room the same size as this one to do all that, so hopefully, don’t do what we did, and just decide from the start that you’re limiting yourself to one of these categories. I just found my baby’s first real cute outfit that he wore in a box meant for giving back to someone who lent me clothes, in the basement, even worse! Thanks for inspiring me, and I LOVE the decanting idea, never thought of that. Makes me happy I have more storage space than you, but scared to go down and start a little bit! Thanks Gemma! Hope the baby is doing well!

    • gemma

      Oh my gosh, Jackie – I totally agree about the baby clothes! Thanks for the advice. I think the best strategy is to only take what people don’t want back again, and that way you can donate if you don’t use it or when you’re done with it. I’m definitely going to have to have some kind of sizing system for the baby closet.. We’ll see how that works for me as I go into that phase of my life :)

      I’ll post all of the actual “after” photos of the storage space soon… !


  • Tia

    That’s a great idea, re: mason jars! I have so many empty big cans downstairs.

    • gemma

      Yeah, you should totally do it! So easy and saves tons of space.


  • Joy

    I love the finished basement storage! I have an Aneboda chest of drawers in my bath, and love it. I found some nautical paper at Deserres and have used it to line the front of the drawers so that the design shows through (and the contents of the drawers are thoroughly hidden).

    I also like your idea to decant the small portions of leftover paint into Mason jars to save space – that’s something I need to do in my tiny abode! :)

    • gemma

      What a great idea, Joy! I toyed with the idea of putting some patterned paper behind our wardrobe doors… glad to hear that it worked well for you!

      Definitely do the mason jar paint thing… it saves SO much space! :)