Before and After: Basement
“The previous owner had a hard time parting with the house, so we told her she could just leave behind anything she didn’t want," says April Celli of Westwood, New Jersey. "That included a slew of paint cans, roof shingles, old tools, and bathroom tiles. We followed suit and filled every corner with our own junk, too.”
Found in (and Tossed From) the Celli Basement
1 dead computer hard drive
12 crusty cans of paint
1 hockey trophy from 1996
1 mini trampoline
2 license plates from April’s first car
34 bathroom tiles
2 ancient speakers
1 college trunk
1 never-used panini press
1 lone key hanging from the ceiling
1 hook in the shape of a finger
After: Open Storage, Energized With Color
After tossing broken or useless items, we replaced the wobbly workbench with a durable steel model, pushing it to the back wall to open up the narrow space. Then we carved out zones for tools, bulk supplies, and sports equipment, turning the clutter catchall into a real room.
Bulk items, contained. A glass-front black steel pantry (Edsal freestanding shelving, $624, lowes.com) keeps canned foods, bottled water, and household supplies clean and free of dust. The windowed doors allow April and her husband, Bryan, to see when things like paper goods and lightbulbs are running low.
A warmed-up floor. An indoor-outdoor polypropylene rug ($519 for 8 by 11 feet, Ballard Designs, 800-536-7551) takes the chill off the tile floor, resists mildew, and can be rinsed off on the driveway. A retro stool (Safco Diesel industrial stool, $147, amazon.com) helps turn the chaotic corner into a neat and welcoming spot.
Pretty tools all in a row. The streamlined metal workbench against the back wall (Husky steel bench, $199, homedepot.com) spiffs up a dreary area, especially with its pegboard spray-painted in Krylon Cherry Red ($5.50 at drugstores). Hooks keep tools accessible. Red plastic bins (Unibox red crates, $10 each, containerstore.com) hide supplies.
Deep vertical storage. A tall red metal bookcase (Hancock bookcase, $199, cb2.com) ensures that everything stays off the floor. Woven-nylon bins ($40 each, containerstore.com) hold miscellany organized by category (summer items in one, home repair in another). With sturdy handles, they’re easy to transport.
Genius Solutions That Inspire Order
Here are a few more of the too-cool-to-ignore storage products that helped transform April and Bryan’s basement.
Mobile Tool Kit
A clever two-sided steel pegboard on wheels (32-inch Wow cart, $232, alltimetools.com) holds saws, a power drill, duct tape, and pretty much anything else that can hang from hooks. It can be rolled closer to the work area during projects (the wheels lock when you want it to stay put). The tented area provides hidden storage (April and Bryan use it to corral extension cords).
Clear jars ($4 to $7 each, containerstore.com) make it easy to keep track of tiny items, like screws, nails, and picture hooks.