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Samaritan House Basement Makeover


We take this months’ adventure out of the home to Samaritan House. Samaritan House provides recuperative care to the homeless who are just out of the hospital. The home that was donated for the shelter is very old and with limited storage space. On a previous visit, we discovered that their basement has a lot of space potential for storing items such as clothing donations that the guests can take when they leave, as well as household items (holiday decorations) that are only used seasonally and don’t need to be accessed year-round. However, the current shelves are rotting and the design doesn’t allow for efficient storage.


A group of friends and I plan to give this basement a makeover. Let me know your thoughts on what we should do to organize this space. I am thinking plastic shelving with clear totes for seeing contents, but am open to ideas!

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7 Responses to Samaritan House Basement Makeover

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  5. Philippines properties January 13, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    This one really needs a renovation.
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  6. Julie Bestry January 16, 2009 at 2:40 pm #

    I’m no artiste or decorator, but I’d agree that “washing” and/or painting over the dusty brick is a good first start, letting you color code sections. Perhaps a quick powerwash would suffice. I can’t see the floor clearly, so a good washing might be enough, but it looks cold–the whole room looks cold, and combined with the lighting, sort of depressing. You need warm, multiple points of light. You might find a local teen artist who, once all the lighting and design work is done, to paint a floor mural in tune with the House’s mission.
    Jettison all of the wood shelving and go with your own wonderful Rubbermaid resin and/or steel-reinforced shelving as well as a few lock-able resin cabinets with hinged doors. Try to acquire mostly same-height shelving for one side of the narrow room, similarly same-height (as one another, not necessarily the same as the opposite wall) for the other. Then get a shorter shelving unit to go under the fuse box. You can put a piece of plexiglass over the to to make it an accessible surface for folding clothes, writing notes, piling up selections in transit, etc.
    You can use the lidded tubs to store clothing donations, labeled according to gender/size and just slide them off the shelves like drawers. Clear totes are great, but you could also color code the bins so it’s easy to see, at a glance, what shelving areas (by color) have what products.
    If clothing donations (and other items) are inventoried as they come in (just use a spreadsheet; if the House can’t buy Excel, they can use Google Docs), a printed inventory of what is kept in what #/color bins will allow quick access. A recent copy of the inventory can live in a notebook w/plastic sheet protectors or even on a hanging-clipboard. When items are taken, they can be crossed off the inventory sheet, and someone in admin can just update the inventory on a weekly or monthly basis, as needed.
    We can’t see all the walls, but if you’ve got a door or wall onto which you can put up a mirror and a bulletin board, you can give guests a chance to see how they look in the donated clothes they are selecting…the mirror will also help increase the light in the room by reflecting it back. Use the bulletin board to post rules, cheerful maxims, social service agency business cards, etc.
    Also see if you can use one shelf for small bins of office supplies, and see if a local office supply store (or network with other NAPO associate members or your Sharpie friends) so you can give guests mini-calendars, small notebooks and pens to take with them. They’ll need to make note of medical instructions and advice given to them, and they’ll have a greater sense of confidence that comes with the pride of ownership.
    Can’t wait to hear more about your progress!

  7. Robyns Online World January 16, 2009 at 1:57 pm #

    Use color to block off different sections. Blue for clothing, red for personal items, green for storage, etc. That way easy to point out what section a user should go to and be able to find needed items. Can still use clear, but use paint on walls, or colored lids, etc. to help define the areas.

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