Organizing basements is a lot like organizing any other room. It doesn’t have to take weeks to do. Maybe just a few days even with the most cluttered of basements. Using my simple separation and weeding technique will get you there in a day or two and well on your way to an organizing the basement.
Remember my Changing Your Mindset post a while back on developing the mindset and motivation to organizing your home? Basements are usually our “catch-all” storage room, they are full of stuff. Lots of stuff-old and new stuff. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Ok, let’s move on….
I have a client who wants to organize her entire home. That’s her basement in the featured picture. I’m very excited to see someone who is psyched to organize their entire house. She had a house fire a few weeks ago. Her home was full of lots of stuff and she has not organized or weeded it. When the fire was put out, the insurance company sent a crew in to box up all of her stuff and store her things in a special storage unit for a few months while her home was being renovated. It should take about 6 months to complete the home repairs so that she can move back in. And when she does, all of her stuff will come with her and all of it needs weeding and organizing.
My client has come to a point in her life where she now wants to and has the perfect opportunity to declutter and reorganize her home, She is actually excited to organize it. She has gone through some events in her life where she no longer wants nor needs a lot of her stuff.
Her basement was not damaged at all in the fire. So she has a cluttered basement full of her stuff to weed and organize-20 years worth! Here is our plan of attack:
A Checklist for Organizing Basements
1. First, assess motivation and mindset. Are you willing and excited about doing it?
2. Journal (see post here) about your passion and use for the basement. This will help greatly in organizing what you keep there.
3. Before you start weeding, survey the items and toss what is obviously junk NOW!.
4. Separate the stuff into four quadrants or into the four corners of the basement by the following areas:
keep, sell, donate and toss.
Once you separate your stuff by these four areas, go through each quadrant again and get real about the items. Ask an objective, logical, impartial person to help you decide which quadrant your items belong in. See the article on How to Decide if your Parents Stuff is Valuable here . It applies to any items, not just your parents.
5. Toss all of the items in the Toss corner of the basement.
6. Donate all of the items in the Donate corner of the basement. Consider donating to those most in need, like Domestic Violence Shelters or services or nursing homes, etc.
Don’t wait and go through the room again for a third time and start moving things over to the Keep corner. You will regret it later on.
Take a break for a day or two to recoup and congratulate yourself on a job well done. What a big project! You deserve the recognition for a job well done.
Now it is time for the big task. What to keep and what to sell. For the items that you want to keep, take a moment to evaluate why and what purpose will it serve and if you wont use it, donate it, sell it or give it away. If you do sell it, consider online sites like EBay, Amazon or consider Estate Sale Companies. Appraise anything you think is valuable with a reputable appraiser.
Our next post will focus on what you kept. I will introduce a technique for further weeding out what you think you must physically keep-Storytelling. Storytelling is a method where you take a picture of an item and place it in a journal and write a short story about it, rather than keep it you can donate it. See you next time!