Thursday, January 7, 2016

January Spending Freeze, Day 6: Fixing our storage issues without spending a fortune

We've lived in this house eight years--and we have never felt like we had enough storage.  Some of it, of course, is an issue of too much stuff, and we're working on that too.  I'm about halfway through the KonMari method and love it!  But it really sucks not having a decent place to store the vacuum cleaner, or a few tubs of stuff.  Those things are the worst eyesores when out in our living space, but that's where they've had to be...  Until now.

Can you guess what we did the other day to help with this problem?

We'd love to someday have a house with a basement or a garage, but due to a variety of issues, moving is not a great option right now.  Neither is adding on to the house.  I cannot stand rental storage units.  BUT we had a pretty big chunk of empty space under our stairs!  We just couldn't get to it!

So, the other day we cut it open!  Jordan pulled a stair tread off, climbed in, cleaned up a bunch of garbage, dust, and dirt left by our lovely builders...  And finally, we worked together to be sure we were cutting in the right place.  We still need to go back to even things up and smooth them out, but this part of the project didn't cost us a dime. 

We couldn't put a door on it without doing some serious rearranging in our living room so that the door could swing open.  So, we bought a thin piece of oak plywood to use as a cover and hung it on two hooks.  Then we used a little E6000 to glue two magnets to the wall and two to the wood panel at the bottom to hold it shut (mostly so our cats can't pull it open and go on an adventure).  This all cost under $20, and we bought the supplies before the spending freeze.  Yes, we have quite the backlog of projects.  It feels good to check a few of them off!

We were able to fit four storage tubs, several large toys, a folding table, and the vacuum cleaner under there with room to spare!  This has already given us a little elbow room in several cramped areas of our house, and it looks so much nicer having them tucked away.  I may paint something on the plywood later when I have the time, but for now I'm just happy to have this area functional.

BONUS:  Our illustrious builders not only threw their garbage under our stairs (fast food wrappers and other junk!), they also left it very drafty under there on the exterior wall.  We've been paying more for heat every winter than we should have been because of the cold air that creeps up through the stairs.  As soon as we got it open and cleaned up, Jordan took a $3 tube of caulk and his caulk gun and sealed up the cracks.  We can feel a dramatic difference when walking up and down the stairs now!  I'm sure this effort will make a difference in our electric bill.