root cellar progress

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last two weeks in the basement, working on cleaning out the space to be used more efficiently. The primary goal is to create a space for a root cellar. (See creating a root cellar in a city basement for more details on the “roots” of this project.)

Mark ordered me a hygrometer, which reads temperature and humidity, so when it arrived I knew I needed to get moving on the basement project so I could put it to use.

Here’s an idea of what the basement looked like before. (Yikes.)

See how far back that goes? This area has the previous owner’s cabinets (filled with leftover paint and tiles) plus all the garbage you see on the floor, tubs of canning jars, Christmas decorations, a canning cabinet, shelf for alcohol, and piles of pet and garden stuff. And the top of those cabinets? That’s been my “root cellar.” Yeah.

Laundry side. Not as bad, but with a giant pile of cleaning stuff on the floor that hasn’t moved in about a year.

This is the other side, from the far wall. On the left we have more patio cushions, and piles of junk lined up on the entire wall. The other side is Mark’s “workshop.” Which let’s be honest, wasn’t anything like a workshop. To my right in this photo is our chest freezer. To the left is this – the other work surfaces Mark has.

The treasure chest does not contain treasure. 

And last but not least, the shower space.

Two Saturdays, 8 lawn and leaf bags of garbage, 4 boxes of flattened cardboard, and a giant yard sale pile later, we have this. I’m calling it Stage 2.

(Sadly this second round of photos was taken with my phone with low light at 5 a.m., because my Canon seems to have bit the dust. While I try to bring it back to life, my phone must suffice.)

The speck on the floor is one of Stormy’s toys. You can see things are stacked, there’s no garbage on the floor, and the cabinets are gone.

More cat toys. And a laundry organizer, so that towels and yard clothes don’t have to go in piles on the floor.

Probably the biggest change is on “Mark’s side” in his work area. We repurposed the cabinets and moved them over to his side so he has another work surface, and got some utility shelving to house a lot of his tools and pieces that previously lived on the floor. (And I sorted through all the mounds of this and that which had accumulated for years.)

He’s still working on the other side, but you can see that it’s definitely a huge step up from before. (Can you find Stormy? He was my sidekick.)

Last but not least, the hygrometer is set up, and some styrofoam coolers are waiting in the shower. (Probably one of the most bizarre phrases I have ever typed.)

So cold, and so enlightening. The humidity is way too low for most vegetables to keep well. You’d think that wouldn’t be true, but in the absence of mold, veggies at 26% humidity would shrivel up. 

I’ve got more work to do on the root cellar part, and a few other general basement things, like a kitchen reorganization, but this is huge progress. Makes me feel like I’ll be ready for my makeshift root cellar this year after all!

  • Jeffrey Taylor

    Seriously….this is great!