As many of you know, I am participating in a challenge this month called 40 Bags in 40 Days. I have been spending as much time as I can organizing, decluttering and purging items in my home. As I mentioned in my first decluttering post, one of my main cluttered areas is my basement. We have an unfinished basement where I store many, MANY things.
Almost 10 years ago, I taught Kindergarten. As a teacher, and specifically, a Kindergarten teacher, I always kept things for my classrooms. When I had my daughter, I left my teaching career in order to be with my family, and over the past ten years, I have slowly decreased my teaching resources, but I still have quite a few boxes left. I think it is the teacher in me that makes me think “what if…” or “I could use this when…” and so many items get sent down to our basement to be stored for those occasions.
You see, I am also frugal! I am almost as frugal as they come. While I LOVE to shop, I also do have a hard time spending money when I don’t have to, SO if I have something that I might need at a later date, I will keep it, because I would never want to have to go out and purchase something if I already had it in my home.
My goal this YEAR (not just in the next 40 days) is to dramatically reduce the amount of “stuff” that we have in our home. While it may end up costing me in the long run (if I have to purchase something that I got rid of), I feel that we will all feel happier and healthier if I reduce the amount of things we have lying around.
Now, let me just be clear. My basement is not simply a dumping ground. We have shelves and designated areas for different categories of items. The issue is we just have TOO much of it and I am the only person who knows where everything is. I am also the only person who can find it all and I would love to be able to send any member of my family down in the basement to fetch something without me worrying that they will knock over a pile of things OR have difficulty locating the item.
Last week, I mentioned that my hubby expressed a desire to be able to actually reach our basement pantry shelves (yes, our basement was that bad) so I started to sort through the piles of Norwex bins that I had been storing in front of our food shelves.
This week, I emptied our cupboards and purged a lot of items that I was keeping for those “what if” occasions.
Believe it or not, this is an after photo (oops, I forgot to take before photos), but trust me – these cupboards and shelves are more organized now! We have two of the white cupboards and they were overflowing. Now, they are more managable AND we can actually easily access what is in them.
5 Tips for How to Declutter Your Basement
- Sort into 3 Piles: Keep, Donate, Throw Out – Obviously you will use a garbage bag or pail for the “throw out” pile. You should also have a bag or box for the items to donate. Be sure to clearly label your boxes or bags.
- Completely Empty a Space Before You Refill – Whatever you are organizing, whether it be a shelf, a bin, a box, a closet or a cupboard, be sure to completely empty it before you refill it!
- Eliminate the Large Items FIRST – If you have any furniture or larger items that you no longer need, get them out of your basement right at the beginning. This will give you more space to work in while you organize and declutter.
- Don’t Get Distracted – When you are tackling a large Decluttering Challenge, it is easy to become distracted, especially in a basement, as there are often many different items that you haven’t seen in a long time.
- Keep Emotions OUT – Try not to let your emotional attachements to memories and items lead you as you will likely find a reason or excuse to keep many items that you truly don’t need. Try taking a photo of items when your emotions are trying to lead the way. This works really well for when children are sorting through old toys and clothing.
organized your basement?