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Declutter and Organize Your Basement Family Room

The Vandenbergs aim to turn their basement into a warm, functional room.

Susan and Philip Vandenberg have a house full of people and a basement full of clutter. Their daughter, Laura, and granddaughter, Anna, have recently moved back into the home, so they need to make room for them. Part of the problem with the basement is that it serves many purposes without specific dividers or sections.

The entire basement area is inundated with stacks upon stacks and boxes upon boxes of photos, thanks to the photography hobby of both Susan and Philip. Most of the photos, they proudly admit, are of Anna.

Their mission: to turn their basement into a warm functional room for the whole family to enjoy. Enter professional organizer Susan Sabo of Organizers, Inc., who is charged with helping the Vandenberg family organize their clutter and make the family room more inviting.

She suggests getting rid of some of the furniture and turning the office/exercise room into just an office, for starters. Next, she wants to create sections in the large open area of the room by rearranging the remaining furniture and using different colors of paint to help designate the sections. It is decided that Philip will tackle the painting, while Susan weeds through and organizes the thousands of photos.

The Results

The once-messy basement is now a much more open and inviting space. By removing a few pieces of furniture and a lot of clutter, this family room has gained a functional basement.

A new conversation area/TV area was created, complete with a wicker trunk as a coffee table and slipcovers to give the sofas a new look.

Sabo decided to organize all those photos in a wardrobe, which will fit perfectly into the office area and hold everything in one place.

New lighting is added to get rid of the darkness that is seen at the bottom of their basement steps.

The office's cluttered desktops are now neat and orderly, and the bulky bookshelves have become more functional. Plus, granddaughter Anna has a special play area all her own called Anna's Alley. The Vandenbergs' organization process presents a warm, inviting and functional space.

Benjamin Moore paint colors used:

Semigloss OC130 Cloud White
Satin OC103 Antique Yellow
Satin 2109-60 Portland Grey

Sure Fit slipcover colors:

Sofa Cover--Sage 16983
Loveseat Cover--Sage 16982
Pillows--Sage 16959
Hobnail Chenille

Products from Ikea:

Expedit room divider shelves (four high, 72-7/8 x 15-3/8 x 72-7/8)
Branas basket
Pax 20" frame (beech), Pax 39" frame (beech)
Nexus doors (beech, 19.5 x 76 and 19 x 62)
Nexus drawer front & frame (2-pack)
hinge 3-pack
Komplement wire shelf (three 7x 22 and 18 x 22)
Komplement box (37 x 22)
Komplement guide rail (2-pack)
Komplement lid (37 x 22)
Plurr knobs (2-pack)
Bonde TV bench with casters (beech, 30 x 19 x 10)
Alunit lamp
Akro floor lamps
Bastant basket chest for coffee table (with leather strap, 29 x 18 x 18)
Egeby sisal area rug (6' 7" x 9' 10")
Indo Berber rug (wool, 6' 7" x 9' 10")
Gulliver table
Gulliver chair
Poang armchair and footstool (beech & black)
desk lamp

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