Basement Entertainment Area | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Basement Entertainment Area

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Basement Entertainment Area

Ever started a project in one area of your house and it turned into multiple projects in various parts of your home?  Our entertainment area in the basement was one of those!

Here's what we used to have in the basement.

That's an old corner desk that we were using as an entertainment area.  At one point it was nicely organized but as you can see, it had become a big mess! 

{Note: The TV in this picture is actually not the one we normally had there.  We moved the 20" one that was usually there up to our bedroom and I didn't have the heart to ask my hubby to move it back down 2 floors just for a picture.  TV's are heavy!  So I put this 13" one here for this picture so you could get the idea.}

We had some of the kids' movies stored here and some upstairs in the living room, which often meant having to look in both places to find what they wanted to watch.  In figuring out a more organized system, one of my goals was to find a way to keep everything in one place.

OK, back to how one project turned into multiple projects...

A few months back, we were given our in-laws' old television when they got a newer one. Gotta love hand-me-down electronics!  

It was bigger than any of our other televisions and was too big for the entertainment centre in our living room.  It was also much too big for the corner desk in the basement.  Not a bad problem to have :)  So, we temporarily stored the TV on a lateral filing cabinet in our basement, while we kept our eyes open for a more permanent (affordable) solution. 

About a month later, I came across an entertainment centre on Freecycle.   Can't beat that price (FREE!) so we picked it up.  Two problems though.  First, it was HEAVY!  No way were we going to get it down the stairs to the basement.  Second, the "new" TV didn't fit in it.  The Freecycler said it would fit a 27" TV but it turns out the actual dimensions of our TV were wider than some because of the speakers.  I realized what we really needed was a TV stand that was open at the top so that the TV could fit.  So, back to Freecycle to search for one...

In the meantime, we didn't want the beautiful "new" entertainment centre to go to waste, so we tried it in our living room with the TV there.  That one fit perfectly so we decided to replace our old unit with this one.  Not a project we were counting on, but it made sense.  Our old entertainment unit was probably at least 25 years old.  The new one was also bigger and had much better storage space.  {Sorry, this all happened quickly so I didn't take pictures along the way!}

Now, I need to say that our old entertainment centre was jam packed full of videos, DVD's, CD's and CDroms.  It was a disaster!  Things were not organized at all and had just been accumulating over the years, especially the kids' items.  They were even spilling over onto the floor.  {I'm not really a slob...I had been working full time for years and chose spending time with my hubby and kids over completing all the organizing projects I wanted to do back then - or even maintain the ones I had started.  That's why I'm on this organizational journey now!}. 

Anyway, after emptying everything out of the old unit, I wanted to find a more organized system for all the various media items and set up the new unit in a way that it would never get as bad as it was again.  Another project! 

We purged, sold, and gave away quite a few things.  I also decided to move most of the kids' entertainment to the basement so it was all together with the movies that were already down there.  Now the entertainment unit in the living room contains mainly our things and does not look as cluttered.

See what I mean about one project (the basement entertainment area) turning into multiple projects?

So back to our basement TV situation.  We still needed something to put the TV on and now I also needed something to store all the kids' media in.  Around this time I found a media storage unit and a TV stand on Freecycle.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Freecycle?!  These were perfect for the basement!  I organized all the kids' Wii games, DVD's, CD's, CDroms, and a few remaining videos on this media storage unit and set up the Wii on top of it.

It looks great now!  And it's easy for them to put their own things back so hopefully we'll avoid some of the mess we had before. 

The TV stand was just the right size for the TV.  The only thing was, it was missing the shelf that was supposed to go in the storage area underneath.  Can't complain when I got it for free!  So we took a shelf from the old living room entertainment centre and cut it to fit the TV stand.  I loaded the electronics on the shelf and figured out what kinds of containers I needed for storing things.  I had a few white plastic baskets and a wicker basket available so I used them to keep Wii remotes, exercise things for me (since I'd be using that TV when I exercise), and a few video games that didn't fit in the media unit.

Beside the TV, I stored the Wii Fit board and on top of that I put a basket with Wii accessories. 

Much better than what we had in that old corner desk!

This new system has worked really well for the last two months or so.  However, as part of my attempt to have a balanced summer I've been working on getting the basement organized into a more usable space than it has been so we can spend lots of time together down there.  So, I took another look at the TV area and modified a few things (actually they were mostly cosmetic - I really just wanted it to look prettier since I'll be spending more time down there this summer LOL!)

The shelf we had put in was white and the TV stand was black.  It was a bit more of a contrast than I wanted so I wrapped some black shelf liner around it and taped it on the bottom.  It's not beautiful but it looks better than the white shelf and only cost $1 at the dollar store.

Now the white plastic baskets looked too white, so I bought some black woven baskets at the dollar store. 

Also, my son complained about having the Wii remotes in a basket because sometimes they would turn themselves on when they were stacked on top of each other.  As a result, he wasn't using the basket and often just left the remotes out.  So, I made sure I got a taller basket for his remotes so that they could stand up instead of laying down.  Perfect!

Lastly, I made labels so everything can go back where it belongs.  I really like how the whole things looks now! 

Total cost for ALL the changes we made to our TV & entertainment areas (in both the basement and in the living room)?  $7 for the shelf paper and baskets. I love that part! Plus we have the corner desk available for something else (I plan to use it for a craft/activity area - stay tuned for a post on that).

The kids like having everything all in one place and have been pretty good about putting things back where they belong. 

Whew! What started out as a simple project in the basement to accomodate our free TV turned into a whole house entertainment switcheroo :)  Everything is much better now though so I'm glad we did it. 

Have you ever had a project turn into a bigger project than you'd planned?  How do you store your media?  Do you store your kids' movies and games and music separately or all together as a family?  I'd love to hear your organizational stories!

Happy organizing!

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