Today’s messy dilemma is all about answering four great basement questions that were submitted by Becky!
“How do I organize this space so that my three kids (ages 8, 6, and 1) each have age-appropriate toys without my toddler being able to get into the bigger kids’ small toys?”
Great question, Becky! I recommend putting the older boy’s toys on a higher shelf, or putting them in some sort of cabinet with a child lock, then teaching the older ones how to use the child lock. I also absolutely love Jennifer’s ideas about a shared space amongst multiple aged children, especially her idea about creating little zones.
“How can I arrange the furniture to create maximum play space?”
I know this is a huge no-no in the design world, but I personally keep most of our furniture against the walls. The reason is simple – it doesn’t divide up the floor space! I can have beautifully designed, middle-of-the-room furniture after my kids are grown, but for now I want to give them plenty of space to play and be creative!
So I recommend moving your couch into a corner and purging some toys, then putting the items that are left onto a book shelf so you can maximize vertical space.
“How can I bring more light into the room? The two small basement windows provide practically no light.”
I have three suggestions for bringing light into your basement!
1) Add lights. You can either add lamps or install overhead lights. If you or your husband are DIYers, you can add overhead lighting for a pretty low price if you shop around. If you’re not a DIYer, you may be better off adding lamps here and there.
2) Paint the basement a bright color. My mom has a small room in her basement that was a little bit dark and dreary with absolutely no windows. She solved that problem by painting the walls a cheery yellow color. And my own dreary upstairs classroom was fixed by painting it a fun, bright green in addition to adding lighting:
3) Accessorize! You can also bring more light into your basement by accessorizing with fun colors. A throw pillow here, a rug there – those little things can make a big impact!
Bonus tip: When you’re accessorizing and organizing, remember to shop your house first.
“How can I create some grown up space in this room for exercise and relaxation?”
It looks like you have a decent grown-up space already, but it seems to be currently surrounded by toys. If you follow steps 1 & 2, you’ll probably already have a great start on a nice grown-up space.
To complete your grown-up space, take a little time to declutter, even if you don’t really think you need to. For example, do you need a TV screen inside your entertainment center and a monitor on top of it, or can you get rid of one of those? Are there books or movies that you’re probably never going to watch or read again? If so, donate them! Is the air hockey table used regularly? If not, then get it out of there!
Once you’re finished decluttering, rethink the furniture arrangement. Is your entertainment center in front of a fireplace? If so, then move it out of the way! Even if you don’t use the fireplace, you can still make it a gorgeous focal point. You may need to play with the furniture a bit – don’t be afraid to try something out, and then move it somewhere else until you have it just how you want it.
I hope this helps you, Becky! Please let me know if you have any more questions about your basement and don’t forget to send after photos – we love seeing the success stories!
PS Don’t forget that if you submit your own mess by October 30th, you’ll receive a free copy of Chaos to Clutter-Free, plus you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card! Details and submission information are here.