Live More With Less: Basement Organization

Our basement was actually in pretty decent shape going into this challenge. We don’t spend a ton of time in our unfinished basement, but we do have a TV down there (mostly for workouts) and a couch, a little workout zone and a kids’ play area with a storage zone. Until about a year ago, our basement was purely overflow toy storage for kid’s stuff, but right before Nell was born, T started to enjoy playing downstairs with the downstairs toys.

We’ve been realistic about the basement – we don’t feel like we’ll live here long enough to get enough use or our money’s worth out of finishing the basement, but we wanted the space to be functional. When we found out I was pregnant with Nell, B had a slight panic attack feeling like our house was too small for two kids (which is funny because I feel that way more now and B is more content where we are). Anyway, in January 2012 we had more lighting and outlets installed downstairs so that the basement could be a functional, though not finished, space. And it made a huge difference. Our neighbors’ gifted us with their interlocking foam floor when they did finish their basement, and that makes for a soft space to play knee hockey and play when we’re down there with the kids, and do situps and planks when we’re working out.

So, we’ve kept the basement pretty tidy, but the storage and kids’ toys can get a little bit out of control. We have just recently entered the realm of toys with multiple or smaller pieces that need to be kept together, and so my first order of business was to decided what needed a different storage solution and figure that out. I sorted through the toys – I keep a bin of toys that we rotate between the playroom and the basement out of reach for the kids so that when I bring them upstairs, they’re fun and new again. But the rest of the toys in the basement are free reign. I purchased small plastic bins and used my label maker to label the toys accordingly. We don’t have a lot of toys that need this storage solution yet (I would say that up until 2 1/2 most toys come in their own self contained storage container), but I see a lot more of these bins in my future.

Here was the kid’s play area before: Basement Before

And the kid’s area now with labeled, individual storage bins for multi-piece toys:

Play Area After

And just because I’m not sure I’ve ever shared them before, a few pictures of our basement. It’s nothing special, but it does the job: our workout zone, our TV zone, and the kids’ play zone.

 Basement Zones

I’m tackling the entire main floor in the last few days before Easter – perfect timing as we’re hosting Easter! If you cleaned out or organized this week, please link up!


  1. Storing toys and puzzles in clear plastic bins is my fave way to organize them. And you’re absolutely right that toys have a ton of pieces once they hit the 2+ mark. I really like using plastic drawer systems for all of the small items, like cars and trucks.

  2. it looks great – and most importantly, functional. i definitely would love a space like that where the toys can look like toys and it’s not a big deal – the living room isn’t working so well for us over here 🙂

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