Our Minimalist Family Home: Basement Before and After

When I heard about minimalism a few years ago I was relieved to have this permission to get rid of things.

I didn’t really have a plan when I started, I just started. A drawer here, a closet there, and all of it kind of pooled into piles at the door of stuff to pass on to new homes.

The basement was by far the most overwhelming space we had. Everything we didn’t want to deal with went into the basement. In fact, we were pretty proud of ourselves when we carved out a path through it so we could access the basement door.





This is a picture I took as we were decluttering it. I had these big bins and piles of things that were sorted by where they were going.

I don’t recall how long it took us to declutter but I do remember lots of ugly cries and laying on a clear spot on the floor asking myself whyyyyyyy do I have all this stuff?????

We spent a lot of time passing things onto the right homes. Whether it was to someone who could use it, thrift, selling, garbage, recycling or a semi-successful garage sale.

It was hard to keep going but NEVERTHELESS SHE PERSISTED! Yes! Slow progress and soon we had an empty space!

Empty spaces feel awesome. It was so worth it and I don’t miss one single thing we let go of.


When we first moved into this home we pulled up all the speckled shag in the basement and painted the flooring with concrete paint.

This was a good tie-over until we could get into renos. We knew this space would have the potential to be a gathering spot for our family but over time we forgot that. As we ended up using it as a glorified storage room with a bit of a home gym/boat motor holding/old kid clothes sorting zone it was hard to get the motivation to make this space usable.

BUT after the declutter, we were ready for renovations (with kids).

We put in new insulation, new walls (see ya wood panelling!),  more lighting, new carpet and new doors.

The kids were especially excited about this carpet and zipped around this empty space. Empty spaces feel like possibilities!


This reno was done right before Christmas because we had plans to make this a playroom for the kids as their Christmas present. They were big fans. And we were happy we didn’t have a Christmas filled with more and more toys to fill our home.




The following Christmas we built this Fort for them in the playroom.

We knew they would benefit from a place to imagine and be active (that didn’t include building castles out of my couch cushions, now I can tell them to take it downstairs!).

And now this place is where all the kids can hang out (like alllll the kids in the neighbourhood). It is a definite kid zone but sometimes (if it is empty) I pull up a chair and sit right in front of the woodstove.


If you ask my husband what the biggest benefit of minimalism has been to our family he will say the Playroom. It was once a space we all dreaded going into. Even if we did use it for projects or a workout, we would always feel that kind of heavy feeling being in the basement. It was the physical manifestation of so much indecision and procrastination. It felt burdensome to simply be around all this stuff.

Now we have a space for our family and friends to feel like they can be in. And, we wanted a space where people (under 11) felt like they could really play. There isn’t anything breakable or decorative in the basement.

plywood diy kids fort

At the end of the day, we have learned that our kids didn’t need more toys, they needed a place to play.


See more about SIMPLIFYING YOUR HOME right here. 

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