A to Z Theme 2016

For my 2016 A to Z theme I used a meme that I ran across on the blog of Bridget Straub who first saw it on the blog of Paula Acton. This meme is a natural for me to use on my memoir blog. It's an A to Z concept and it's about me. No research and nothing complicated. I'm given twenty six questions or topics to discuss that are about me.

In April I kept my posts short and uncomplicated. In the midst of it all you might learn a few things about me that you didn't previously know.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Getting to the Bottom of the Storage Story

basement (Photo credit: mobob)
      Over the past several weeks we've been all over the place in the story of where we keep our stuff.  Many of us in the United States and elsewhere can hardly contain everything we own under one roof.  In my series we've looked at closets, drawers, and attics.  One place we have not set foot in yet is the basement.

       Many houses do not have a basement.  Some have a sort of a bottom floor they might call their basement.  This sort of partially subterranean room is often another room in the house used as a family room, an extra bedroom, or even a garage.   In other cases the basement--or cellar as it might be called--is an underground dungeon-like place of darkness and dampness.  Some of these basements may have rough stone walls and concrete or even dirt floors.  These latter types of basements are more the type that might be used for storage.

       The more utilitarian basement is often the place where the homeowner will keep tools, garden equipment, and seasonal items.   It's not uncommon to find boxes and bins of stored items getting relegated to the confines of the space under the main living quarters.  If the basement is not typically seen by visitors to the home, the area may begin to look much like a warehouse with stacks of storage containers and old furniture.  Those basements are visited when something is needed, but left to gather dust in the darkness for most of the year.  If care is not taken, those basements also become the living quarters for unwanted creatures that can cause quite a scare when happened upon.

       Most of the houses I've lived in have not had basements.  A duplex in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where my family lived when I was in second grade had a sort of basement area that was actually a garage under the house.  My parents didn't have much stuff back then so not much was in the basement other than their car.  In some strange moment of inspiration, my father purchased a number of colors of paint and painted the individual cinder blocks of the walls with alternating colors, giving the basement garage a sort of patchwork quilt appearance.   It was all very festive and quite random.  We moved to San Diego after only living there for less than a year.   I have wondered if those walls are still painted as my father left them.

       The next house we lived in that had a basement was the one in Maryville, Tennessee where we moved when I was in high school.  That house had a half submerged basement that was essentially finished with a fireplace, wall heaters, and a laundry room that also had a toilet in it.  This basement made for a nice family room.  During my college years our family basement became a hangout for me and my friends.  Many of my records and books still have a musty basement smell.  After I moved from home my parents added a pool table and bar.  My mother has it fixed quite nicely now.  There are some items stored there, but they are mostly in closets or neatly set in places around the room.

        The most intriguing basement of my life was that in my maternal grandparents house in Morgantown, West Virginia.  They lived in a grand old house that had been built in 1909.   The basement of that house was a dark dingy place with one bulb to light the area.  I did not go down there much when I was a child so I do not recall what was stored in the dark recesses of their basement.  The one thing I do distinctly remember was the old white wringer washer that my grandmother had to use to do her laundry.  After the clothes were clean she'd haul them up the stairs to hang out to dry on a line in the small back yard.  Some things from back then are not missed.

       Do you have a basement?   Is it used for storage or has it been finished for other use?   What is the most memorable basement in your years?    Do you know anyone who has a bomb shelter?

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  1. Since Sweetman and I live in Florida, we store things in the garage or an un-used closet in the house. So we do yearly clean outs to keep it from getting over crowded.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  2. My parents' house just has a cellar for the oil burner and a crawl space that leads to another small area under the bulkhead which is outside. I've never lived in a house with a basement but I always wished I did. It'd make a really cool rec room. I'd have my Wurlitzer jukebox (another dream that will probably never come true), awesome sectional furniture, big screen TV, etc.

  3. I don't know much about house design, so when you said the basement was half submerged, I first thought it was flooded!

  4. I enjoyed your series, Lee ~ drawers, attics, closets, basement and STUFF to stuff into each.

    Except for a couple of apartments, this place is the smallest place we've lived. No basement. No usable attic space.

    That gives us an incentive to keep paring our possessions down.

  5. My maternal grandparents' house had a wonderful basement full of lots of old stuff. I remember stacks National Geographics and a coal bin. I remember sleeping down there once with my aunt -- i was too afraid to sleep there by myself.

    My great aunt had a basement in her house too. They had a laundry shoot that was lots of fun -- or so I remember.

    As an adult they just seem to be musty places that I'd rather not need to clean. I haven't had one in 15 years and that's just fine by me .. though I'd love to have the extra storage space now. Storage lockers are so outrageously expensive (don't have one now but my kids do).

    basements seem to be easier to organize than attics -- easier to move around and not so hot.

  6. I don't have a basement but all my "Junk" are in the spare bedroom.
    Great post to read Lee.


  7. No basement. Thank goodness. One less area for junk to accumulate.

  8. We've got a full basement under most of the house which is finished and mostly used as a home for my hubby's pool table. Then there's the crawl space. One small section is for the Christmas decorations that come out once a year. The rest remains filled with undisturbed boxes and who knows what else. Was Jimmy Hoffa's body ever found?

  9. Shelly -- Places like Florida do not do well with basements considering water table and moisture issues.

    JoJo - We had a very nice basement in my parents' house that was used for recreation. There is a pool table, dart board, bar--it's a nice place to have a party.

    Kelly -- I actually should have said something like subterranean. Many basements do at times become submerged with water.

    nrhatch-- An apartment can limit ones storage options.

    thea -- I don't think I'd want to sleep in a traditional storage type basement. I've gone the storage locker route and it makes little sense for most of us to use one.

    Yvonne -- We've got stuff in every bedroom now that no one is staying in them.

    Susanne-- A basement can give new meaning to the term "black hole".

    LD-- A crawlspace would be a good place to hide a body. I don't know if my mother still has anything in the crawlspace under her house. She used to have a water heater under there which was dumb house planning in my opinion. My late step-father eventually moved the water heater into the basement laundry room to make it more accessible.


  10. Dear Lee, the 1870 home i which I lived for 32 years in Stillwater, Minnesota, had an old basement lined with limestone. It flaked a lot and was rather dark. There was a crawl space beneath the kitchen/bathroom addition that had been added on in 1907.

    The home here in Missouri, where I've lived for four years was built in 2002. It didn't sell right away when the owner's son put it on the market because it had no basement. (Here in an area known as Tornado Tunnel basements are thought to be a life-saving necessity.)

    I bought it because it had no basement. Steps are hard for me because of my knees and because of Meniere's disease. So I'm glad there's no basement and I have wider-than-usual double garage in which I store Christmas paraphernalia, bins with blankets and other necessities and all the gardening tools and machines. Peace.


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