Started at the bottom…

And we’re still here.

As brand new owners of a fixer upper, my husband and I are getting a lot of (much needed) words of wisdom. One piece of that we promptly and partially disregarded was the idea of starting projects at the top of the house and making our way down.

The reasoning behind this makes perfect sense – why mess up your new floors and new walls in your first floor while moving equipment, supplies, and furniture to your second floor?

We, however, decided to start with the basement.

We did this for a few reasons – and you might consider the same.

  1. We’re not living in the house yet so it’s not like we’re compromising on not having a kitchen to fix the basement at the moment
  2. The basement smells – it seems damp/mildewy and there is a lingering smell of cigarettes. We want to get rid of this smell as soon as possible
  3. It seemed like the easiest project to undertake – not how I said seemed
  4. We want to do a slow move – so we want to create storage space for bins and boxes
  5. We’re delayed on other projects!
  • Starting to clean the basement has honestly been one of the most intimidating projects of my life. It’s just dirty, old, and unfinished. It’s hard to think about cleaning a rock wall the same way I’d consider prepping and repainting drywall!
  • We’ve had a few cool things happen though – starting with me kicking down my first wall. Very Chip Gaines of me.
  • What I thought would be an easy breakdown took over 3 hours to do. There were a few homemade workbenches that took forever to break apart.
  • Aftermath:
  • I did a lot of assisting during this and not a lot of front line work. The complicated part was that whoever pieced these together had a lot of electricity in the mix. Extra wiring and extra outlet boxes were strewn across the basement. My suggestion: contact an electrician.
  • Once everything was cleared out, we found “1943” carved into the cement. We also found an instruction sheet – severely worn and ripped in half – as to what citizens should do during an air raid. Having an old house is kind of cool.
  • Anyway, before we even tried to clean, we removed as much as possible. Since it’s a rough, concrete floor, the next step was a thorough sweep. After that, I used a shop vac to pick up as much as I could. Next steps are to repeat the cleaning process again.
  • We’re going to use moisture sealing paint for the floor and for the walls. We’ll eventually redo the basement, but for the next two or three years, we’re just going to seal it and use it for storage.
  • The moisture sealing paint only comes in white, and it was a big of an adventure trying to get it dyed to the grey we want for the floors. An all white basement seemed a bit aggressive. We finally got Home Depot to get the floor paint the right tone of grey.
  • Like I said, we have a lot more cleaning to do. We also need to get all of the storage hooks down – literally hundreds- and wait for the electrician and the plumber to work through. Then clean again. So, the basement battle continues.
  • I’ll let you know how it goes.

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