Because basements are hidden from daily view and often act as storage space, it may be the area that gets the least attention when organizing. Before long, the basement gets overloaded with stuff you cherish and stuff you can easily do without. Basement organizing is hard because you need to identify the practical and the personal, the random and the revered. It is easy to delay, however clutter will accumulate and make the task harder in the future.
For example, one of my clients stored her collection of pressed plants in the basement along with boxes of her children’s’ school work, old linens, family albums, house tools, sports equipment, decorations and movie videos that no one watched any more. There were unlabeled boxes and she forgot what was in them. Items that she had inherited lined the shelves but were rarely, if ever, used.
Reclaim unused space
You probably understand her dilemma – what goes and what stays? The decisions can be wrenching but with some guidance she succeeded in organizing her basement and reclaiming space that was being wasted.
We brought everything out in the open. Items behind doors, in drawers, stored on shelves, and hidden in boxes were all exposed and categorized in a way that made sense for her. What we found was that much of what she had could go, without guilt or emotional struggle. The things that remained were stored in visible, appropriately sized, labeled containers. Rather than keeping boxes of her children’s’ artwork she took pictures of their paintings and crafts. She reduced the amount of items she had inherited by offering them to family members and several area antique stores.
Give yourself an incentive
By organizing her basement she reclaimed her workshop space. It had been overtaken by unused sports equipment, holiday decorations and other stuff. What was once abandoned is now a usable space. Being rewarded for basement organizing is an incentive. Think of what organizing this area will bring to you and stick with that thought. Don’t delay until the feat becomes insurmountable. While you are the only one who can make the necessary decisions, you don’t have to do it alone. If you need help, call a professional organizer. It will get done, faster and easier than you think.