Basement Storage Organization

Regular readers of this blog (thanks for that, by the way!) are pretty familiar with our apartment’s rather minimal aesthetic.  It’s now time to head downstairs and reveal what lurks below, in our enormous basement.

BasementMess

Whoa.  This is what happens you have virtually unlimited storage space. It’s an embarrassment of riches.

BasementMess2

From the few episodes of Hoarders I’ve seen, “That could be useful!” seems to be a go-to hoarding justification.  I get that.  Sentimental?  Don’t care. Pretty?  Sure, I’ll keep a few pretty things.  But useful?  I want all them things.  Get in my basement, potentially useful things.

BasementMess3

Thanks to a major Craigslist score, all them useful things are now organized on some amazing heavy-duty storage shelves. These are the utility shelves of my dreams. $15 a unit!

Basement Storage Shelving

It’s possible that someone could find more happiness on Craigslist for $45, but it probably isn’t legal.

BasementStorageShelves

BasementStorage

BasementOrganization

I have a potting station, by the way: it’s a $5 metal shelving unit and a tabletop the previous tenants left in the basement.  I keep potting soil in an IKEA SORTERA bin.  This station is proof positive that I’m turning into my mother.

PlantingStation

 

A Project Room of One’s Own

We have the luxury of two small extra bedrooms in our apartment: one is used for the guest room, the other is used as my project room.  It swings wildly from tidy to chaotic.

Storage Room Mess

Storage Room Mess

It exploded into a mess recently, as you can see, but after a new year’s organizing frenzy, I think I have it under control for good.  I can now open the door and say to you, dear reader, “This is where the magic happens…”

Storage Shelving

I bought the IKEA IVAR shelving system off Craigslist last year for $60.  (Thumbing my nose here at the people who dismiss IKEA stuff as “disposable” – most of the IKEA furniture in our apartment was purchased second-hand.)

IKEA Storage Shelving

A digression: isn’t that vintage anatomical model great? Hand-painted, from Germany.  My brother-in-law saved her from going into the dumpster at the elementary school where he teaches.  I have since sold it on Craigslist to an oddities collector.

Storage Shelf Containers

The clear storage boxes are from The Container Store, provider of all perfectly-designed storage solutions.  Case in point #1: this simple, white, handled tray, which holds my most frequently used tools.

Tool Bin

Case in point #2: this adjustable divider box, which organizes all of my screws, bolts, hooks, etc. in an extremely satisfying manner.

Hardware Storage

The other side of the room holds the tool I will admit I don’t use as often as I should: my elliptical macine.

Elliptical Machine Room

Elliptical Machine Setup

We have a pretty nice mini-gym set-up: I have interlocking rubber tiles hidden under an IKEA HESSUM runner rug.  This base layer absorbs noise, provides stability and reduces wear on the machine.

Elliptical Machine Cushion

I mounted a simple shelf on the wall to hold a laptop.  Streaming a show or a movie on Netflix or Hulu is the only thing that can motivate me to work out.  (Well, that and the shame I feel because Jarrod exercises like a crazy person.)

Elliptical Machine Laptop Shelf

These days I’m working (slowly) through My So-Called Life and thinking (seriously) about wearing plaid flannel dresses.

Labor Day Weekend Odds & Ends

Three quick items to share:

1) Meat!
I picked up our fourth meatload from Cedar Valley Sustainable Farm (see #1 and #2 – I didn’t get a picture of #3 because it occurred on moving day).  We receive a share every other month and it’s plenty for our meat-cooking needs.  Look at that giant rack of ribs!  It’s like something out of The Flintstones.

Here’s what we got:

  • One whole fryer and one halved fryer
  • Stir fry beef
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • Pork bratwurst
  • Ribs
  • One and one half dozen eggs

2) Booze!
One of the most productive plants in our garden is Japanese cucumber.  We decided to take a break from cucumber salad and make cucumber vodka instead. One bottle vodka + one peeled, seeded and sliced cumber + three days in a cupboard.  Very easy and delicious.

3) Ping-pong!
We bought a cheap table off Craigslist this morning.  The other items on my to-do list are in danger of falling by the wayside as I turn my attention to Operation Destroy Jarrod.

Have a good weekend!

 

 

Shagadelic

The pictures I included in the last post had me thinking that two big flat-weave rugs looked too, well, flat and what I needed instead was a low pile rug for under the dining table and a plush rug for under the coffee table.  I picked up the VITTEN at IKEA this past weekend.

The rug pile is smushed down from being rolled up – I need to rake it.  Did anyone else have to rake their grandparents’ shag carpet?  (My cousins will know what I’m talking about!)  It was a satisfying chore: the carpet looked so groomed when you were finished.

I think it’s a nice rug, but in the context of this apartment, with our mostly vintage furniture, it looks way too retro.  Like we’re two steps away from setting up a tiki bar and tossing our keys into a bowl.  It’s shagadelic, and the fact that this rug brings to mind Austin Powers catchphrases makes it pretty clear that it’s not a keeper.  I don’t want anything in my home that reminds me of Mike Myers. (That said, I might make an exception for Wayne’s World.)

Doozy likes it, though.  It makes him feel like a jungle cat.

Another rug up for consideration is the Arrah Dhurry Wool Rug from Overstock.com (or O.co as they’re trying to sell us on these days).

(Never mind the brown around the edges: I just rolled it out on top of our current rug.)

Two people have already compared it to a barcode, which certainly isn’t working in its favor.  It doesn’t look quite as stark in person: the lighter stripes are a very light tan, not white, as Doozy helpfully demonstrates.


I’m very “eh” about this rug.  One thing I’m not “eh” about, however, is our new Ekornes Stressless recliner.  Craigslist has bestowed upon me two great finds since we moved into our new place: 1) the previously mentioned STENSTORP island, and 2) this totally awesome recliner.  I had an alert set up for “recliner” on CL and had seen at least 700 (easily) before this chair popped up.  The photo was so dark and the item was so buried amongst everything else he was selling that I almost missed it.  I clicked past and then realized “hey… that one might be good.”  It’s so hard to find a chair that meets Jarrod’s need for comfort and my need for stuff to not be ugly (and, as we’ve seen before, nearly all recliners are hideous).  These chairs are $2,000+ new, but I scored this one for $50.

The leather was in poor shape: very worn and sun-faded, with lots of oil in the headrest and pounds of food in the seat crack.  Here are a few Before pics:

I found a woman who reconditions leather (on Craigslist, of course), who made our chair good as new and even swapped out – for free(!) – the undesirable mahogany wood base for a medium brown base.

(It doesn’t dwarf our sofa as much in real life as it does in these photos.)

And there you see yet another rug option: the JORUN from IKEA (no longer available).  I love it, but it shows cat hair like crazy despite our very regular vacuuming and furminating.

Got any rug suggestions for me?  I’m starting to go insane.

Kitchen Progress: Part 2 of 2

As seen in the previous post, nearly all of the kitchen stuff is located along one wall, making the room sort of anchorless and not very user-friendly. I was won over by the STENSTORP island at IKEA: huge real wood top, stainless steel shelves, space for bar stools.


I thought it would be awesome in our kitchen but $400+ (including tax) was too steep; plus, I prefer to buy furniture second-hand for a variety of reasons. So, I set up a Craigslist alert for “STENSTORP” and one popped up a few weeks later. $175 – maybe not a steal, but definitely a good deal for such a major piece of furniture.

The island’s top had a big gouge that the previous owner had patched with wood filler. I decided to flip the top and sand the bottom to use instead.

By the way, it’s incredibly awesome to have project space in the basement.

I read online that mineral oil is good, cheap, food-safe protectant for butcher block counters. Jarrod was a good sport and bought it at Walgreen’s for me.

It was fun to apply and the wood drank it right up, so I thought we were good to go. Setting a warm pizza box on it, however, raised the grain of the wood, indicating that the mineral oil did not provide adequate protection against steam/water. I don’t want to have to treat the island delicately, so I upped the ante and applied tung oil finish, which is supposed to provide more water resistence.

If this doesn’t work, I’ll cave and use water-based wipe-on poly.  We won’t actually be cutting food directly on the island’s surface so the poly would be fine, but I’d rather use a product that absorbs into the wood rather than sitting on top of it.

Here’s what our kitchen looks like now.  (At this point it might be helpful to point out, in case you haven’t already noticed, that clicking on an image enlarges it.)

Cat food on the bottom shelf keeps it out of sight and out from underfoot.  Win-win.

Still need to acquire bar stools.

Not finished yet, but definitely some big steps in the right direction.  I still need to figure out replacements for the mini-blinds.  The trim hasn’t been repainted yet.  The space will be warmed up with more art, better dish towels, etc.  Most importantly, this ceiling fan needs help.

“Ugly as a mud fence,” as my grandma once said to me about David Letterman. “He sure is funny, but he’s ugly as a mud fence.”