dil·i·gence:careful and persistent work or effort

Proverbs 13: 4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Basement shelf organization

Have you guys ever stumbled upon Jen's blog IHeart Organizing?  Well, um, let me tell you- I heart it!  It is an organizer's dream blog!  Jen is what I would call an extreme organizer, and her blog is chock full of great organization tips and ideas.  One my favorite parts of Jen's blog and her ideas is that she bring beauty to the world of organization, which is an area in which I am trying to improve.  I think, basically, she is my organizing hero.  Call it a crush, if you want.  I won't disagree.

I am a faithful reader of her blog, and she inspires me almost daily to try to improve upon my systems of organization. So, recently I decided that my basement storage shelves needed some help.  Desperately.  I'm almost embarrassed to show you this picture, as it's pretty bad.  But, here is what I was living with:  a messy shelving area with stuff just thrown onto the shelves.
 Not only was it a sight for sore eyes, it simply wasn't functional.  I couldn't fit everything I needed to fit in the space that I had.  I couldn't find things, and I had absolutely no system for where things were.

And now, the space looks like this:
Oh, be still my heart!  Does anyone else hear choirs singing when you see this picture?!  So, let's see: what did I do?  The first thing I did, which I cannot stress the importance of enough, was to de-clutter.  I got rid of the broken pop-up tent.  I set aside some light fixture globes to sell at next weekend's yardsale.  I truly evaluated the importance of each item on the shelving unit.  And, once I got rid of some stuff I didn't need, I found that I had plenty of room for the stuff that I do need.  **happy dance!!**

My main partner in crime for this makeover was a bunch of clear plastic lidded bins.  I picked up a bunch from Ikea, and the shoebox sized ones were from the Dollar Store.  I think they all ranged in price from a buck to maybe 3 bucks.  And, once I had those, it was really just a matter of grouping like items.
Some of the containers and their labels were fairly straightforward:
While for others I had to get creative:
But really it all came down to identifying what items often get used at the same time and putting them in a bin together.  And, let me tell you, this bin in particular has been a game changer for me:
I mean how long did it take me to figure out that I *always* use the drill and the drill bits at the same time?!  And, it's so much easier just to grab a bin with everything I need for a little project then it is to guess the drill bit size, and then realize I don't have the correct size, and then I don't have the screwdriver bit, and so on.

And, usually when I grab the drill bin, I grab this one, too.  Because this is where all of the hardware and picture hanging supplies live.
So, once I had all of my bins filled, I started to organize them on the shelves.  I grouped like items.  So, we have the electronics section:
And, the painting section:
 And, most everything else sorta just got put together:
But, back to the painting section for a moment.  If you don't already do this, do yourself a favor and label the tops of your paint cans.  You'll thank yourself on Patch The Walls Weekend.  Trust me.
So, yeah, that's about it.  I created the labels out of cardstock, and I adhered them to the bins using packing tape.  I just slapped the clear tape right across the homemade labels, so not only does the tape adhere the labels to the bin, it also sort of laminates the labels.  Perhaps Jen would have come up with something a little fancier, but this is the basement, people!  And, besides this project didn't exactly have any money budgeted for it, so I had to go with what I had.

So, now when I go to the basement for a tool or some paint, I am welcomed by tidy, organized shelves where I can easily find what I need.  Does it get any better?
And, because no redo is complete without a side-by-side before and after, here's mine:
If you need me, I'll be in the basement!



**sharing with the girls at


  1. What a wonderful job of organizing. I need to do more of that and soon! xo Diana

  2. Looks great! I feel like I'm constantly on a quest to better organize my entire house! The storage area under the basement steps is a particular area of focus -- Jim and I each worked on it a little bit after our bathroom redo this summer, since we used a bunch of tools and as we were putting them back, it only made sense to semi-organize stuff. But it still has a way to go, in my book. My dilemma is this: Jim says he doesn't like containers, but how do you organize without them? Maybe he'd be OK with ones without lids, since he'd be less inconvenienced than having to take off and replace lids each time he needed something... I'll have to think about that!


  3. Thanks for the inspiration! I haven't got a basement, but I have a garage that needs this treatment.
    Your labeling reminds me of one of my categories. Seems like tape and scissors were always misplaced years ago and my husband and I agreed to put them all in a specific desk drawer. We called it the sticky drawer for things that stick, like glue and tape, and things that can stick you, like scissors, exacto knives, box knives...
    We're divorced now and I don't know about his house, but I still have a couple of sticky drawers. My hot glue gun has it's own container, but the sticky drawer is the perfect catch all for random items in this category. I've actually used up glue sticks because I can find them instead of throwing them away because they've dried out!

  4. I am so jealous! My basement and garage are both in serious need of some organization! This is an inspiration!

  5. So nice and organized! Love the bins for similar items. Makes like so much easier. :)