It has finally arrived, Basement month. The #1 reason I decided to go on this journey. Our storage area is half of our basement. When we moved in it had a hand full of boxes full of old college papers and text books, old sports equipment, camping supplies, paint and lots of flower pots. Since moving in 2.5 years ago and having a baby it has exploded. I find it is really true that if you have the space you will fill it up. I’ve found in the past few days that what we have filled it with is a very large load of crap.
This month like all that have come before it we are working with Zones. This is really important for me this month, getting like items into groups so when I need to get to the Christmas decorations they are all in one place. My zones will be, Mike’s crap(!) baby, home maintenance and decor.
Here are Peters guidelines with my comments:
Quick Tips for Your Storerooms
Start slow. It’s taken months or years to build up the clutter. Organize one section at a time. – This is huge to my success this month. Everything is mixed up as we just sort of add to the pile rather than having a place for things. I just started in the front and am moving my way back- creating piles for each zone as I go.
Collections and mementos. Ask yourself if those items stored in a trash bag or old box in the garage are really that important to you. If they aren’t honored and respected, maybe they are really clutter that you do not need to hold on to. If you truly treasure items, display them proudly and properly in your home. I have been really good about keeping the special things protected:despite that I have been really honest with myself about what to let go of. i.e Dad gave me a dolphin water globe that I truly adore because A. I was in a “dolphin phase” (Shakes fist at resulting hateful tattoo) and B. he got it for me on a trip. Something that he just didn’t do anymore. That being said it is not something I want to “display proudly” in my home. But, Peter, I’m not getting rid of it. It’s in a special box and if I ever have a daughter I will proudly place it in her room. If I don’t I may let it go at some point but right now I am not ready. I don’t care if you call that clutter. While I am taking the rules seriously, I think most rules have exceptions and this water globe is mine.
Streamline. If you haven’t used it in a year, get rid of it- This feels a little like the “no junk drawer” rule. I am keeping it in mind while I sort. Lots of things are in the garage sale pile but I just cant make up my mind about the camping stuff- even though Mike and I have not camped since 1999. What if one night Nate wants to put up the tent and sleep in the backyard? I sort of want to keep it for that reason. If we have the room for it is that breaking a rule? This is HARD!
Get stuff off the floor. Once items start spreading across the floor, it’s almost impossible to keep them under control. Use vertical space and shelving units to increase your storage space- YES! Agree. We had a shelf unit that wasn’t assembled that came with the house so I put it up and with everything I have tossed/donated/garage sale pile it has made a huge difference in the amount of floor space and also in terms of seeing what you are keeping.
Make the most of your space. Basements and attics are sometimes used for many purposes at once—storage, crafting, a place to watch television, etc. Once you’ve cleared away some of the clutter, decide what you’re really going to be using your space for and organize accordingly- This goes back to cleaning up your family room space from a few months back so I have not included the living portion of our basement in this months challenge.
I’m not done yet. I will be honest I’m sort of at a paralyzed halt. I am at a point where I don’t want to finish and I am not enjoying it. The “sell” pile is daunting. Am I really going to have a sale? Will anyone buy any of this stuff? Should I just pack it all up today and donate it? AHHHHH! I thew away about 8 metric tons of actual garbage. We have some sort of illness where we keep boxes. All kinds, big ones like the box the excercauser came in, the microwave, the phone, the DVD player, shoes, my word all kinds of boxes. Plus, I had all of the light fixtures I have replaced since moving in. 4 of them just hanging out in a pile. I didn’t know what to do with them and hey, we have tons of room down there so in the hole they went. Just clearing out that kind of stuff made for a huge amount of floor space. I even found a box of hand me down clothes for Nate that I thought we had already emptied, just in time too. It was full of 18 month items.
A hiccup in this is Mike is not participating. This area is a lot of his stuff, stuff I think he should get rid of. Do you really need a workbook from a class you took your Freshman year of college? Or your old baseball uniform? (which does NOT smell good!) Or the entire contents of your desk from your post doc job? But, I’m just giving him his own zone and one day maybe he will be inspired to purge it a little. Maybe.
Progress has been made but I’m not there yet. I really have not enjoyed this task like I have the ones that came before it. I don’t know if its because its just “stuff” and not a space we live in and there for has no decor aspect involved, or if its because getting rid of all of this is a little hard. You look at the pile and it looks like $$ sings mocking you. Look at all this carp you spent real money on- HAHAHHAHAH!!! I don’t know but I can’t possibly share pictures of how it looks today. But I will when it is complete.