Before I moved to Austria I don’t think I’d ever been in a cellar. In Australia you build a shed. And when you run out of room you build a bigger shed. Or you store stuff in the roof space. When we started looking at houses in Austria I pointed out a nice, cute, one-story place to hubby. He was unimpressed – apparently the rule was no-cellar-no-buy.
I couldn’t understand it. But because everyone here grew up with a cellar, they class it as essential. In the same way that I had to have a hills hoist in the back garden, hubby had to have a cellar. And I must say, I have adapted to having a cellar. I couldn’t imagine life without it now. Why, you ask? Read on!
I can keep things ‘just in case’
I’m not a hoarder, but having room does mean it is possible to keep some of those things that you might not actually need right now. I probably don’t need all those empty boxes, but you never really know, and anyway, we’ve got space! I probably don’t need to keep old pairs of shoes, sheets and clothes, but you never know when these things might come in handy.
I created the perfect laundry
Without a cellar we wouldn’t have anywhere to put the washing machine. When we moved in, the washing machine lived in a tiled alcove in a dingy room. But because I’m Australian, and I must have a dedicated laundry, we converted this room into a bright, neatly tiled cellar laundry, with a few cupboards and a delightful laundry sink. It’s the little things that make it home.
Where else would I store all those pumpkins?
Since I’m mad about growing way too many pumpkins, the cool, but not freezing cellar floor is the perfect place to keep these guys fresh over the winter, when leaving them outside would be too cold.
Food, glorious food… and wine
The cellar is the ideal place to store all the food we don’t use on a regular basis, or just the excess. So when something is on special, we can stock up without cluttering up the house. I can also keep spares of all my favourite things, so that I never have to worry about suddenly having no pickles in the house on a Sunday when the shops are closed. And did I mention all the storage space for wine?
No clothes drying around the house
We don’t have a dryer, but one of the rooms in our cellar is strung with a clothes line, so come winter, I simply hang the washing down there, open a window and let it be. Once it’s dry I usually relocate it upstairs into the warm for an hour or so to make sure it really is dry, but it saves the clutter of clothes drying all over the house, and also saves the moist air from generating mould.
But it’s not all good news…
Because it encourages clutter
The flip side to having space to store random things you might one day need is that realistically you probably won’t. And unless you keep a handle on everything down there, actually remember that it’s there (and can find it when you want it), it can result in buying duplicates of things.
And you have to clean it
Even though we don’t spend much time down there, you can’t just ignore it. It gets dirty and dusty and spider-infested, which means that at some point it has to be cleaned. And it’s not really a fun job, firstly because it’s dark and dingy and there’s bucket-loads of spiders, and secondly, because it doesn’t get cleaned often, it tends to be a bigger job.
So there’s the once a year de-clutter and deep clean
Once a year I make a point of going down there and giving it a proper clean. I’m not sure if once a year is a norm for the cellar, but it’s really all ours needs. I spray it for spiders, I find homes for all the random ‘things’ that have just been place down there, I make a pile to throw out, and I give it a good vacuum and mop. And it’s not that bad. It’s actually quite satisfying, and though I often find myself promising to do it more often… I don’t actually think that’s going to happen.
How do you sit? Love your cellar? Can’t understand why anyone needs one? Wish you had one? I’d love to hear.