The pictures in this post aren’t pretty, since they are taken in a dark basement, so I thought I would preface it with some pretty shots with my newest lens. (And my last newest lens for while!) I’ll share more about it in another post, but after much research I decided to buy a refurbished 24mm f/1.4 lens. It arrived yesterday, so I snapped a couple of quick pictures with it this afternoon of some flowers in an ironstone pitcher that the lovely and talented Traer of Traer Loves brought for me. She came to my house to take some excess paint off my hands (a result of cleaning out the basement), which was a huge favor to me AND she even brought me this gift!
Anyway, they were a perfect subject…
The 24mm is a wide angle lens, so it’s not one I’ll use for a lot of closeup stuff. I bought it mostly for room & furniture shots, but I look forward to seeing all it can do. I’m loving how sharp it is so far and I can’t wait to do a proper shoot with it.
Onto the basement.
For about a year now, I’ve been thinking and talking about how I need more space. It’s not that I want a bigger house. We could actually do fine with a smaller house. I just need more room for my business. I’ve thought about renting a commercial space, which would open up a lot of opportunity, or perhaps even looking for another house or building a custom home with an outbuilding or something, but we’re just not ready to pursue either of those options. We want to keep things simple and work with what we have, so I had to figure out how to make the most of every square foot.
As I’ve been working on organizing my house, it occurred to me that I have a lot of square footage that’s being underutilized – the “old part” of the basement. Our basement workshop is under the new (er) addition and it has high ceilings and doors to the outside and it’s bright and very functional (it’s messy at the moment, but we’re working on that.) The old part is under the 1940′s part of the house, so it’s dark with low ceilings and pipes and wires running overhead. It just not a nice space to be in. Over the years, we’ve been working on that. We replaced all of the old wood and mismatched metal shelving with matching, metal wire shelves. We’ve done a lot to waterproof the space and we run fans, dehumidifiers and a dust filtration system to keep the basement clean and smelling nice. This past summer, we hired one of our youth guys to paint the walls and floors, which immediately made the space look brighter and more like a usable space.
After the painting project was completed, I never really got the basement put back together, so it became a dumping ground until there was hardly room to walk. High-stepping around boxes to do laundry was stressing me out, so my organizing frenzy finally made it to the basement. And I had the best secret weapon in the world to tackle a space like this – my mom. We both have a machine-like approach to projects and we like the satisfaction of being done with something, so we get a massive amount of stuff done together. We worked Wednesday night, all of Friday evening and almost all day Saturday and got the old part of the basement organized and cleaned.
Here’s what it looked like before…
(And that’s after tidying things up a bit, so we had room to walk!)
This is what it looks like now…
I’ve cleaned out my basement before and I’ve even purged before and I always say, “This time I’ll keep it clean.” Things always seem to get out of hand and it gets away from me. I do feel like this time is different. This time, I didn’t just organize the stuff we had and get rid of obvious trash and junk. I went through everything and got rid of anything we don’t use, want/love or need. Everything. I don’t care if someone really sweet gave it to me or if it is valuable or if we might need it someday. If we don’t use, want/love or need it, it’s outta here. We took two truckloads to the thrift store, plus put freebies on the curb and gave things away through Facebook and Craig’s List. We hauled out about 10 contractor bags of trash, rolls of old carpet, broken furniture and at least 20 product/shipping boxes that were taking up space.
We organized every little thing in every box, so everything has a place. We even have a packing station set up with envelopes, boxes, peanuts, etc. and my t-shirts and books, so I can open my online shop! And, I have a farm table that I haven’t been able to sell and some extra chairs that I want to keep, so we set those up as a work table. My basement has become a graveyard for rugs, so I rolled them all out to add a bit of comfort underfoot.
I had an extra chandelier from my office, so I hung it up over the table for fun. I think we actually will run wiring to it. I know it’s going to get all dusty, but that’s okay. It really does make the space look a little prettier.
We still need to install some florescent shop lights (we have a stack of 12 waiting for a day we can do it) and that will brighten the space even more and make it better for work and taking pictures. And we’re going to make some sort of hanging screen to hide the “guts” of the house – water heater, boiler, etc.
The space is still a basement and we’re not ever going to finish it, but all of these changes have given me the additional space I need. It’s at least enough until the timing is right to move or rent a space or whatever we decide whenever we decide it.
For now, we have a new space we can use and enjoy.
…and we already are.