A Big Project Long Overdue

We moved into our house in January of 2015.  A short two weeks after moving in, I started in-home childcare.  I wasn’t unpacked.  I didn’t have a sewing room.  We drug any remaining boxes off the main floor and did my best to set things up the best I could but I was far from feeling like things in my personal life or childcare life were at all normal.

At the time, I had recently quit teaching childcare classes.  I had a stink of teaching classes from about 2004 to 2014.  I very much enjoyed doing it and I think I was very good at it.  But…regulations were changing.  Classes were being standardized throughout Iowa and the cookie-cutter classes that they had moved to weren’t my style.  I’m not a teach to the manual sort of girl.  I had classes that were fun and full of activities but much of that they were forcing me to change.  I didn’t agree with it all…so I quit teaching.

Being we moved in 2015, I had kept my stuff from teaching not knowing if things might change back…not knowing if I might continue teaching at conferences in Minnesota as I had been.  All of that got shoved to the basement…and there it sat.

I had other childcare stuff in the basement.  That all just sat too.

Periodically I bought some shelving thinking I’d organize things.  My hope was that I’d use the basement in the winter with the childcare kids putting ride-on toys down there.  I never really ever completely got everything gone through.

I started time and time again to get things organized.  It never really happened.

After my husband, Kramer passed away in 2019, I had time on my hands and thought I’d finally get to the basement.  I didn’t.

Our son Karl, who was living in Houston at the time, decided to move home.  He didn’t have a house…I was a little needy, so he moved in with me.  He used the basement as his man-cave.  I ended up buying the shelving you see on the right.


Karl didn’t know what I wanted where…I didn’t want to invade Karl’s man-cave so everything just sat.

This spring Karl bought a house and moved out.  The basement was mine again.  I wanted to get it all organized but…it didn’t happen.

Then when I was off from childcare I made a list of things I really wanted to get done while I was off.  Figuring out the basement was on the list.

It’s just an unfinished basement with no real appeal…and that’s okay but, I was tired of the mess.  All of December and almost all of January the basement hung over my head.  I didn’t feel good.  I just tried to forget about it.

Then an idea clicked in my head.  I had stuff for finishing cross stitch in the garage but it was on the highest shelves and I couldn’t readily get to it.  I had season decorating stuff in the basement and I hated that.  I hate carrying the boxes up and down the stairs.  Then is hit me.  The seasonal stuff, except for Christmas, was coming to the garage…and the cross stitch finishing stuff was going to the basement.  YES.  I would use the shelving that was work height and make a finishing station for cross stitch pieces.  Now I was happy…but still tire easily.

So how was I going to accomplish this?

Friday night I looked things over and made a plan of attack.  Saturday night I told myself I was going to go to the basement and work for an hour.  I did and felt much better about it all.

Doing the organizing isn’t what tires me out.  I can sit on a chair and sort boxes.  It was the running up and down the steps that gets me winded and pooped out.  So, I noticed Karl had some wine-making stuff that needed to be organized so I called Karl and asked if he could spare 30-45 minutes on Sunday and he could take care of his stuff.  He was on board.

Sunday I started working in the basement and about an hour later Karl came.  He organized his stuff…and then asked if there was anything else I needed.  I knew he’d ask.  He’s a great guy like that.  By that time I had 90% of the boxes and junk that needed to be taken upstairs in a pile…Karl carried it all upstairs for me.  YAHOO!!

I spent about five hours down in the basement…Rosie …helped.  (That’s a lie…she was a pain).  She could jump up on the couch, jump up the back and walk over onto my work area.  UGH.


Our basement is unfinished and nothing beautiful but it’s going to be perfect for what I need it to be.  I didn’t take a picture at the beginning.  This is taken when I was getting close to being done and only had the cross stitch stuff to put away.


So, this is going to be my work area.  I need to sweep, dust, and clean the counter off but everything else is organized.  I’m so happy.

I had these totes that slide right in.  Before I had these bins on the very top shelves in the garage.  I was trying to lift the heavy totes over my head to bring them up and down.  That was just silly.

This is going to be awesome.  I’m so excited.

I have about 30 minutes of time yet to put in down there…but for now, I’m completely and perfectly thrilled.  It doesn’t look like much to anyone else but to me, it’s a 7-year goal that finally happened!!  I’m seriously so happy.

Going to bed early because I’m pooped is totally worth it.

In celebration of completing my goal I got upstairs and to the computer.  I looked at the time and it was only going to be minutes before Deborah Harry’s bag sale started.  I had talked myself out of getting a bag.  Then I decided that I needed something to celebrate my accomplishment…I was able to get this bag…


I’m so excited…I just loved it as it wasn’t as girly as some of the bags.

So I was doubly happy…a new bag AND a clean basement.  WHOOT!  WHOOT!!   Two things I can enjoy for a long time to come.

33 thoughts on “A Big Project Long Overdue

  1. Virginia

    You make me smile. You have so much energy, and goals even tho you feel crappy. I so admire your get up and go!!

    Reply
  2. Sharon

    You’ve done great job big accomplished well done for you. Been following you projects and I did counted cross stitch years age and have started back doing it now. Enjoy it and very relaxing.

    Reply
  3. Edna Gerrans

    Good for you! You did the thing that was dragging you down. Even with feeling less energetic you made a plan and you carried through, with some Karl help. Enjoy your space!

    Reply
  4. Ellie

    Congratulations on tackling a big job and really making it happen! I’m sure you will put that workspace to ver good use! And I’m so glad you were able to snag a beautiful bag to boot!

    Reply
  5. Kate

    Your basement is great just the way it is. I used our unfinished downstairs for my sewing room in one house we lived in and loved it. When I was looking for a house, an unfinished basement was on my list of must haves. I needed a place I could craft without worrying, etc. Your basement is very neat and looks good. I like the window you have there.

    Reply
  6. Heidee

    That bag was one of my favorites. I’m so happy that you got it! Perfect reward for all of your work in the basement.

    Reply
  7. Anne Fisher

    Awesome and so satisfying I know!!! Are there African violets under that light???? It all looks terrific.
    Hard work, but the ultimate goal reached is beyond measure. Enjoy it!! And another great thing–Karl’s help!!

    Reply
  8. June

    So glad you’re feeling better. I know exactly how it feels to want to accomplish fixing your space…My home in NY was perfect but I was too busy working and taking care of the grands. Here we are much smaller by 1100 sq ft-but I’m still taking care of the grands ; ) I’m trying to be good and not hog the dining room table but it’s not working… You’re Blessed to have such a sweet son. Awesome basement.

    Reply
  9. Carolyn Sands

    Good for you! The best part is that you put your hands on pretty much everything and now you know where everything is. Good for you!

    Reply
  10. Kim from TN

    How wonderful that you got so much done and that Karl was opened to helping you with all that leg work. Your new space looks wonderful and user friendly.

    Reply
  11. Judith Fairchild

    Wow! A crosstitch workroom. A place for everything and everything in place your basement looks grand! Enjoy it. Kudos to Karl for being your extra hands and feet.

    Reply
  12. Beryl in Owatonna

    Looks great!!
    I, too, thought more room for cabinets!! The only problem I see is how to get them down there!
    You will love it!
    Be sure to rest.

    Reply
  13. Judy

    Your basement looks great. What a lot of space. How nice Karl was to help lug things up the steps. Your dog has the sweetest little face, like she’s asking you what could she do next?

    Reply
  14. Donna

    An awesome Job, Jo. Way to go! So glad Karl was able to come over and help out.
    And your new bag is lovely! A nice reward for a job well done!
    Love and prayers

    Reply
  15. Bridget

    I would kill to have an unfinished basement!!! Mine is finished, which leaves no storage in the house (also no attic!).

    Reply
  16. Cindy F

    Yay for you! What a huge weight off your shoulders! Having a dedicated space to do things is a huge plus too. I’m just waiting for my husband to retire at the end of this month and we’ll be tackling some areas in our basement.

    Reply
  17. NJ

    You’re a strong and independent lady but sometimes a little help is needed & your kids are happy to give you a hand anytime.
    My basement is partially finished and I’ve been working down there off and on this winter. It’s time to let some things go and I’ve found a great thrift shop run by a Christian School. OK, I must confess, I’ve bought a few things there too.

    Reply
  18. Sandra Shatp

    Cufos to you. I think it looks magnificent! What a great space.
    I think of you often and hope and pray you are continuing to feel better.

    PS: And thanks for the pattern book you sent to me. ❤️❤️❤️

    Reply
  19. JustGail

    I’m pondering where to put holiday decorations – it’s just getting too much to haul it all to/from the attic in one day. If they were in the basement, at least I could shuffle a box or two a day. Then again, Halloween/Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only holidays I decorate for. Some years, not even that.

    Anyway, the basement-garage shuffle is a great thing for you to have done. That work area will certainly be more useful (and safer) than as a decoration storage area. I’m surprised at the basement – with the age of your house, I was expecting cement block walls, maybe even stone. Wonderful that it’s all nice newer poured walls. And yes, you do deserve a treat after all that work, even if it does have a raccoon on it. Nothing against a not-girly bag, we’re having a raccoon problem here.

    Reply
    1. Jo Post author

      The part of the basement that you saw is the basement that is under the addition of the house. The other half of the basement is old and your typical old house basement.

      Reply

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