Hey all! How was your weekend? We played quite a bit on Saturday and then yesterday I worked my tail off. I’m still nursing a sore back from all the hard labor. :)

You may have noticed that I stalled out on the house purge I started a few months ago. I was on a roll for a while and then I just couldn’t go through one. more. drawer. There’s only so much of it I enjoy and then I need do other stuff for awhile.

But I’m BACK! I finished the kitchen (including the pantry, scary!) and then moved on to the basement. This space is going to be cake compared to years past when it was unfinished. Shudder. But so far I’ve only worked on spaces you can’t even see – closet and storage spaces.

I’m SO EXCITED about a change I made to the area behind this door:

black interior doors

So. This is the storage space under the stairs. When we started finishing the basement early last year one of the first steps was to move all of the Christmas stuff into this spot. Early this year I majorly purged my holiday decor and made it so we had even more floor space for vacuums and such.

I have a LOT of Christmas decor. I love it but sometimes just want to get rid of half of it. But I do write this thing called a blog, and my son is still young and very much into holiday decorating. I figure in just a few years I’ll be begging him to help with decor so for now I deal with the bins and don’t sweat it. In no time at all we won’t use half of it and I’ll be wanting these days back. :)

Well, I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like till about March I’ll find little bits of Christmas around the house. And because I’m lazy busy I just throw them on top of the bins instead of putting them away. So the Christmas closet became this:

Christmas storage

Earlier this year I took some advice from my friend Carmen and took some of the items out of the bins and hung them instead. (Check out her awesome holiday closet here!) It did help – I hung some of the bulky greenery up on hooks and ended up getting rid of a ton of bins between this and purging.

But it wasn’t enough. It still became a mess because of my laziness being busy and all:

So fast forward to some progress in the basement that happened last week – we had the cabinets for the kitchenette installed:

basement kitchenette

More glorious storage! Whoot! I’m still not sure if we’ll do small uppers or not. Next up I need to buy and install the countertop and sink and then trim out and paint the cabinets. Even with all that still left to do I’ve already started filling them. ;)

And not even two minutes after they were installed I stood there and realized I had completely spaced it – my plan for years (YEARS!) has been very specific for this space – I had planned on a regular cabinet (for the sink) and then an under cabinet fridge with a smaller cabinet on the side.

Well I totally, completely, just plain forgot, about the fridge. I’m getting old remember? Argh. There wasn’t much we could do about it either – we couldn’t return the cabinet that had already been installed.

So, I had to come up with a new solution. Our dream has always been to have a fridge down here, for snacks and drinks during movies, or for hubs to grab while he’s working (his office is down there). So I got to thinking about that messy closet – and came up with a new idea for the space.

And after hours of cleaning out the garage and moving stuff around and dragging a LOT of bins up and cleaning of the storage area, I ended up with this:

kitchenette under stairs

There’s a bonus to my mix up – to install a fridge under a counter you need to get a a specific one that vents out the front, and those are not cheap. The least expensive one I’ve found is $400-something at Home Depot. And the more I thought about it, I knew we’d want a fridge for more than just drinks (the version at HD was just for beverages). This one is just a standard mini fridge ($100-something instead) with space for food too. And a freezer!


Awwww yeah.

This closet is actually nearly 50 square feet of storage space – and I LOATHE wasted space, so I wanted to make it even more functional. I picked up a couple super cheap bookcases ($17 each) and put them inside as well:

using space under the stairs

Our built ins in the family room down there are awesome but not wide enough for games, so this is a perfect solution. Now all the games are in one spot and easier to find (I had them in a dresser before).

There’s still a few things I’d like to do – I still need to get an outlet installed in here (I have the fridge plugged into a heavy duty extension cord now but hope to have the outlet installed this week).

And I still feel like the vertical space is wasted – so my plan is to stack the bookcases (securing them to the wall of course) where the fridge is now, then placing that off to the left. I’ll have room for a little cart or something next to it to hold plates and such. I won’t be able to move stuff around till I get the outlet installed.

That way the fridge will have even more room to breathe in there – it’s got more than enough clearance around it now but it will have more moved over (with the open space behind it).

I did my research before moving the fridge in this space – make sure you do the same before doing something similar. It’s a large closet and we don’t keep clothes in here obviously (not a good idea near a fridge). You want to make sure there’s enough breathing room around it. (I asked numerous electrician friends/my dad and all said it was fine.)

Eventually the microwave will go out the kitchenette, but for now it will stay in here. This is like a new room in our house! The Bub and I were SO excited about it last night, we may have made some pizza rolls to celebrate. :)

Check out the before and after:

using space under stairs

See why my back hurts now? I think I moved about 12 bins up. We don’t have quite enough room for one more big one in the garage so it’s still back there in the closet. (We have a door in hubby’s office to access that side.)

I’ll show you the garage organization soon – that space is still a pit and next on my list after the house is decluttered. One step at a time.

Do you have a little storage space like this under your stairs? I always think of all the possibilities – a wine cellar, a hide out for the kids, bookcases – all of it sounds awesome to me. Now ours is a bit of Christmas/storage/game/kitchenette room. Love. What do you do with yours?