From Junk Heap to Useful Basement Space in One Week

As I wrote about in the recap of my May Goals, I recently turned the junkpile at the bottom of the stairs into a real, live, organized office space with storage for craft materials as well. If you ask me, this was desperately in need of a makeover and, you know, some shelves. I also cleared out our downstairs family room to turn it into a playroom for Grace.

Here’s the before of the office:

Not so nice, huh? Believe it or not, this is much better than before we brought in the desk, but it still tended to get messy very quickly because it was necessary to move everything around in order to get to items at the bottom of the pile. Also, Liesbeth and I both had bins of craft supply and they needed to be merged and sorted through. No need for multiple storage locations for the same materials.

Since we were doing this project on a budget, it was time to hit the thrift stores and garage sales. Luckily, spring is an awesome time for garage sale-ing. First, I bought an old-but-great-condition gray file cabinet at a local thrift store. Then, I picked up a metal shelf at a garage sale. Hit up the hardware store for a bucket of interior paint in FUCHSIA and some spray paint for the new furniture and I was ready to go! Here’s what everything looked like once it was painted:

A can of spray paint is a fabulous tool for making boring metal furniture into something bright and fun. Yep, we like bright! I managed to organize all of our art materials using the bins and boxes I already had, and I threw out lots of things that were to old and worn out to be useful. The completed office space:

It is now so much easier to get to things! This area ended up being a much bigger project than the playroom, mostly because I decided to paint the wall. The playroom is also now functional, but it will need more work. I plan to paint a chalkboard onto one of the walls, sew a valence for the window, decorate or paint the walls somehow, and of course, bring in more toys eventually. However, this is as far as I got before it was time to pack for our trip and I must say, Grace is quite pleased.

In the right hand corner, you can see our new reading nook, which is probably my favorite new addition to the room. We had an old circular bed that was made up of four wedges. We are getting rid of the bed, but I decided to recycle one of the wedges into a corner seat. It is so comfy and perfect for snuggling and reading! The bookshelf is next to it. On the far wall, you can see a big mirror which I freecycled from a dumpster- and it is in perfect condition. Someone was remodeling their bathroom and they just threw it out! After a little bit of digging, I dislodged the mirror from the construction scraps and stuck it in my trunk. That was definitely our best find. I visited a local glass shop for materials and instructions for hanging it on the wall. I will mount the mirror close to the floor so we can use it above a Montessori movement mat for our future baby. I’m sure Grace will enjoy it as well. To the left, you can see Grace’s completed new-to-us train table, which will be blogged about in the future.

In this photo, you can see a closer view of the train table. I don’t claim to be any sort of artist, but I think it turned out just fine. On the left are some dolls, leftover from Liesbeth’s childhood. At the back next to the standing mirror is a bin that will hold dress up clothes. The TV and entertainment center will be moved to the extra bedroom, provided we don’t find someone to rent it out. The right corner is cut out of the photo, but we have a bunch of cardboard stacking bricks and in that corner is where I’ll be painting a chalkboard onto the wall.

In case you are wondering how much has been spent on these projects (so far), here is the breakdown. Once I finish decorating the playroom, there will surely be a bit more spent.
Metal shelf: $3
File cabinet: $8
Spray paint: $18
Interior paint: $24
One pre-fab bookshelf:$17
Mirror hardware: $11
Total: $81

I have to say, I’m pretty pleased with how well I’ve been able to transform our space on a budget!

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One thought on “From Junk Heap to Useful Basement Space in One Week

  1. Looks great. I need a metal filing cabinet badly. I’ve been scoring CL for months, but nothing has caught my eye for a good price. I like the spray paint idea though. I’m not very handy, but I think I can handle that.

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