Basement Storage

It’s been half a year since I posted, but I have three excuses: new house, new job, and new baby in the span of three months. It’s been busy to say the least!

For now I’ll start with the house: we moved out to the suburbs/country outside Madison to get some more space to grow. It’s a 96-year old farmhouse that is in very good shape for its age but also has a lot of options for projects. Hence a new “Home Improvement” category for the blog.

One of my first projects is building some open shelving for a storage room in our basement. We don’t have very much shelving for large items, so we have some stuff lying around in the basement and garage that sorely needs a home. We’re hoping this room can be a great spot to store all kinds of larger household supplies.

Here’s what the room looked like when we moved in: 1970’s cabinets and cheap carpet. It was an incredibly inefficient use of space that was ok for lots of little items, but had zero ability to store anything the size of a rubbermaid container or larger.

Original attempt at 'storage'

So, we started off by taking out all of those original cabinets and pulling up the carpet. Then I painted the walls a gray-blue (for some reason, just about every new paint we pick out at the store ends up being this gray-blue color).

Same angle, with all those cabinets and carpet ripped out, and the walls painted

Now I’m in the process of building the shelf frames. We need 8 in total: two for the far short wall, and two stacks of three each for the long wall.

Frame building in progress

I’m using a circular saw with a new carbide-tipped blade, a great drill my parents got me, and various other tools. I’m enjoying the irony coincidence of each tool being a different bright color, like a set of tinker toys (the circular saw blade, not really visible above, is an obnoxious red). The materials at this point are 2x4s and 3″ decking screws – plywood and heavy-duty bolts to come later.

Here are a couple of the mistakes I’ve made so far:

Drill bit snapped off on top (the small hole), and the bottom screw split the board

I had intended┬áto drill holes before putting in the screws, as you can see by the snapped-off drill bit on top. But then since it snapped off, I figured maybe I could get away without it, and the bottom screw there is the result. I think it is still more or less strong enough to be usable in the frame, just have to make sure the shelf’s weight isn’t pulling directly against that fracture.

And here’s the finished product, the first shelf frame.

First shelf built, not too many mistakes...

If you look close you can also see the scrapes on the wall that I made while trying to fit it in place, before eventually concluding that it was just too wide. I need to leave more like a half-inch of clearance lengthwise to be able to get the shelf in the short end of the room. I’ll use this frame for the longer wall instead.

Just 7 more shelves to go! Then it’s attaching the plywood surfaces, bolting them into the wall, and bolting on the front vertical supports.

Leave a Reply