Have you ever seen a movie, like a thriller or a horror film where you KNOW that person shouldn't go in the basement? They kind of write the scene that way to get your adrenaline pumping. Going into that basement just means they will never come back out of it. I have one of these basements. In my dark, damp, ugly basement Things Get Lost. We call it Storing Stuff, but really, if we are honest, we just Loose Stuff in our basement. Down the rickety Needs Paint stairs are mildewed walls and a cold bare floor. Is it just cold, or is it wet too? I often idly wonder, but not for long. My horror story basement stands guard over all our sentimental crap and extra house decorations. I suppose one could also do laundry in it. If one was into that kind of thing.
I've tried to reclaim the basement. I lured some gal pals down with cheap wine to sit like high school girls and brainstorm options. We didn't do anything, just talked. And drank wine. We priced waterproofing the whole damp thing. We have shop vacced water out many times. My husband may have cleaned out...umm, not water from the sewer drain. Once. We know where to put things (dry floor) and where not to wet floor wet floor wet floor put them.
In the act of storing a downsized dinner table in the basement, I now have a craft area. The table is covered with a plastic tablecloth to protect it from paint and glue. It is usually covered with boxes and bins of craft debris. If all the lights are turned on and my girls and I are working together, it feels almost safe to be down there. But if I am alone...well, that is why the laundry is always not done. Because I am scared to be in the basement. Right? I'm not lazy, it's self preservation!
One time I fought some mildew on one basement wall so the kids could have one sacred place to play Down There. This is for when I am doing my semi annual ironing pile purge. I put an area rug down and painted the wall with killz paint. It looked inviting enough for them to spend a little time, but not alone. Never Alone! We leave some toys down there and since they see them so rarely it is like getting new toys!
There is one thing about my basement that does lure me, on occasion. Besides the deep freezer and the chocolate I hide by John's workbench. It is cool down there. As our summer days heat up and get muggier and muggier, the basement lures me with it's cool damp floors and chilly air. When it is 80 degrees upstairs, just standing on the landing the temperature will drop at least ten degrees. Free air-conditioning! If you make it back out alive.
Recently I went down there to move the laundry along. It felt so cool and wonderful I lingered. The girls wandered down. I straightened some piles. I folded the laundry there on the craft table. I looked around for more work to do, more reasons to stay in the cool air. My eyes fell on the drawers I kept random crafts in. My gaze travelled to the cast off baker's rack we now use to store dog towels and Costco toilet paper. I began to form a plan. I knew what to do to stay in the basement a little longer.
I went quickly upstairs and grabbed the label maker from the office cabinet. Back down to the basement again. Friends, I labeled everything in sight! I brainstormed, organized and punched more letters in to label something else. I labeled like a madwoman. I may have laughed in delight as I put things where they should go instead of wherever they had landed. I moved things I needed to use more often to easier places. I knew labeling areas, bins and drawers would help me to have a place for everything and everything in it's place. I was on fire. I was a crazed labeling lunatic.
I was so excited about the labeling and organizing, I realized I was the only scary thing in my horror story basement. Seriously: who gets that jazzed about labels? Who gets high on organizing a basement?
We get a lot of hot, humid days in Indiana. After the impact I saw in just an hour with the label maker, I may keep going. I may find some lost things Down There. I may reclaim another wall for my children to play near. I may even think about painting those basement stairs. Heck if I use enough labels, the basement may waterproof itself! Do you want to come down into my basement? C'mon...it is so nice and cool and organized down there....c'mon it's ok...don't forget to bring your labels.