February has been the time to tackle my clients’ basements. Many people use their basements for different purposes, from family rooms with playrooms, to unfinished spaces used for storage, to finished areas used for inventory storage. Keep in mind, though, that no matter what the basement is used for, it often turns into a dumping ground.
Here are my tips to make sure you get the most out of your basement and other storage space without letting clutter build up and heirloom items get neglected.
The general rule of organizing is to have a purpose for each space and stick to it.
Basements, attics, or garages tend to be a dumping ground. Before you know it, the space is filled and unusable, taking weeks to clean up.
So how do you manage items you need to store?
Yes, free boxes are appealing but are not good for long-term storage. Preserve your memories—do not destroy them. You can’t imagine what I have seen being done to family heirlooms. Think rodent destruction, standing water, and moisture from damp basements.
My husband and I learned the hard way when a three-generation photo was destroyed by leaving it in the frame too long. The picture stuck to the glass, and we had to pay to get this photo restored. Things like this can be avoided by removing these pictures from frames and storing in proper photo boxes. If these frames are no longer needed, just donate them.
Plastic storage is for long-term memories, pictures, family heirlooms, seasonal décor, and extra party supplies. Cardboard boxes allow dust and sometimes critters to get into these them. Make sure you label each container so it’s easily identified.
Before anything goes into storage, ask yourself, why is it going to storage?
Are you storing it so you can “deal with it later”? If this is the case, set an appointment on your calendar to deal with these items. Otherwise, you’ll forget the box.
Are you redecorating but don’t want to throw out those expensive décor items? Ask yourself, will you use the items again? If the answer is NO, then sell online to Facebook selling sites or find a local home décor consignment shop or local donation place.
Mapping out basement space
A room can have multiple purposes, especially the basement. My basement has a TV section, which includes my son’s Xbox. Another part of the basement is an area for my daughter’s make-believe classroom where she can teach her dolls. We store games and puzzles on the other side of the room. Another section in the basement is used for darts and other in-the-house games.
The important part of having multiple functions in a space is to stick with the sections and not junk up the area with unnecessary things. If you have a workout area, keep workout equipment in an organized space. Do you have a lot of weights, and do you have a weight stand? If the answer is NO, then use an empty bookshelf or shoe container. You can use a canvas bin or empty plastic tub for all the other loose equipment.
What about a toy area? Don’t let the toys creep into the other sections of the basement. Rotate toys to allow the new and exciting feeling to come out every three to six months. Create toy organizing systems like the child’s school for simple following through with clean up. Have toy storage that works for the type of toys that your child plays with. Remember, if there is an overabundance of toys, the child will feel overwhelmed and not play with all the toys.
Help your family have an amazing day by having a clutter-free home where they can play, focus and feel stress free!
Don’t know where to start? Call us for a consultation where we can help you create an organizing plan! 215-908-2869
Are you ready for a five-minute challenge that could transform your home?
Yep, you read that correctly. In just five minutes, you can take one huge step in decluttering your home. Wanna know the best part? You can get the kids involved too!
You should be able to enjoy the items in your home without feeling bogged down by the clutter. And in five minutes you can create habits that will tidy your space and ease your mind!
Your home should be your sanctuary, a safe space where you can relax and get away from it all. But if you live in a space with no order, it can be difficult to actually unwind, even when you’re within the walls of your own home.
You should be able to enjoy the items in your home without feeling tense when you spot clutter. It’s about time to make space for the things you love!
Quickly glance at the surface areas in your home. Are there items that you like but don’t love? Do you have a beautiful picture of your family with no place to put it? Are all your surface areas covered with things?
Congratulations, you just conquered phase one of decluttering!
Now it’s time to put on some music, grab a box or a bag, and set your timer for five minutes.
Pick a room, look at the surfaces, and ask yourself this:
If you answered no, it’s time to donate these items and let them go to someone who will make better use of them!
It’s not always easy to comb through your belongings, but when you have a common goal in mind, it makes it a lot simpler.
If you have a gift from someone you love, take a picture of the item and cherish the memory, not the item! Before you buy more ‘stuff,’ ask yourself, "will I use this?” And before you buy multiples of something, consider if you have a place to store them? Can you maintain them, and do you really need two?
The key to success is finding a home for the items that you love!
- Schedule 5-10 organizing days on your calendar.
- Have an accountability partner.
- Work when you have the most energy.
- Don’t tackle the whole space. Tackle one pile or shelf at a time.
Having a tween or teenager can be very stressful on many levels. This is especially the case when trying to keep them (and you) organized at home. What was once toys taking over all the space is now electronics and sporting equipment. What can you do to keep your house under control while raising tweens and teens?
Strategies to Use With Your Teen
I asked my sister, mother of two teens, for advice. She had two valuable insights:
My son, now almost a teenager, is used to the regular decluttering sessions we do in his room, which includes the open communication of what works and what doesn’t. One struggle we deal relates to the laundry. He forgets to put away the clean clothes in the wash basket and then dirty clothes get thrown on top, making extra work for us. Many times, this results in him having no clean clothes to wear to school.
I don’t want to be overly involved in putting his clothes away, so I’ve learned to not worry about how he puts the clean clothes in his drawers. If he can’t find something, it’s on him. He is now realizing it’s better to roll the clothes so they fit better in the drawers. Finally, if he doesn’t put the clothes away when I ask him, then he loses his phone.
Speaking of losing his phone, this consequence also occurs for other organizing matters. You would think that the home for his school bag and sporting equipment is right by the front door—but there is actually a place where he is supposed to put it. Instead, he comes home and just drops everything in front of the door. We’ve told him that we’ll only remind him once about putting them in the proper place. If he doesn’t do it, he loses his phone. This has worked for us most of the time, and he now has started to put these things in their proper place.
Proper storage solutionsIt sounds crazy, but more storage is key! You would think little kids need more storage and less when they get older, but that’s not the case. Older kids have books, slime, arts and crafts, electronics, make-up, hair products, and tons of clothes, shoes, hats, and purses that all need homes.
Think through what your tween or teen needs to keep their stuff organized and come up with systems that can keep your home tidy and clutter-free.
Why Is This Important?
Organizing is important to teach teens:
10 Tips for Keeping Your Teen or Tween Organized
What Not to Do With Your Teen or Tween
Make getting organized and staying on top of things a positive experience. Here are five things to avoid when working with your teen.
What is your word for 2020
My word for the year is Growth
I am welcoming 2020 with open mind
I want to help more people, teach others, provide more resources and to have my blog reach many more people who struggle with clutter
Growth is not only for my business but for me personally! One can never stop learning and growing especially when you have a soon to be teenager!
What is your word? My Goal for you in 2020 is Simplify
No more resolutions:
Start the year fresh
Hope this is a year where you accomplish all the goals that you genuinely care about. And if not, I hope you have the tools to step back and adjust accordingly!
Don't Struggle we can help you out
It's beginning to look a lot like… one of the most stressful times of the year.
Who doesn't love Christmas? It's a time of good tidings and joy, but with those come a whole lot of clutter! That's the reason why so many people make their New Year's Resolution: "Get organized."
But here is the problem; by the time the new year comes, it's already too late. Your already disorganized home is now literally overstuffed with new decorations, presents, clothes, and everything else that comes with the winter holidays. By January 1st, the vast majority of homes in the United States are beyond bursting!
It's almost the spookiest time of year, and I couldn't be happier!
While some people complain about the cooler temperatures of the fall, I kind of love them. Why? Because Halloween is one of my favorite holidays! I love dressing up and going trick or treating with the kids! I also love decorating the home with cobwebs, spiders, and tombstones! And I love/hate all of the candy that they bring home!
Can you believe that fall is finally here? Boy, summer moved quickly this year!
I've always loved the fall. One of my greatest joys of the year is watching the trees turn all shades of wonderful colors. Fall brings up so many happy memories from my childhood, from jumping in leaf piles, carving jack o' lanterns, and picking apples to hayrides, bonfires and watching the local football teams. It's a tradition that, around the start of fall, my family begins to plan out all of the DIY Halloween projects we will tackle this season too (I can't wait to break out this crafts bag!) It's a fantastic time of year!
What happens when you love to shop BUT hate to organize? Or you don't have the time or the energy to deal with what you buy?
Nowadays, the internet is packed with "great deals." Every few months, there is a Prime Day, or Black Friday, or Boxing Day… These never-ending sales offer a parade of fantastic and enticing products with prices that can't be beat. And, of course, our instinct is to snap them all up before the sale is over, or they sell out.
Who feels like a sitting duck right now? All this rain is great for the yard, but it sure can make you feel tired and depressed! If it was April and not September, I might be a bit more tolerant.
Even though September often brings chaos, it also brings fall—one of my family’s favorite seasons! I love autumn, especially watching the trees turn all shades of wonderful colors. Fall brings so many memories every year. From jumping in leaf piles and apple picking to hayrides, bonfires, and watching the local football team...it’s all a blast!
Got 30 minutes? It’s time to stop, drop, and finally organize the junk drawer!
Every house has got at least one (or four) junk drawers that are stuffed to the brim with miscellaneous cords, unnecessary nuts, nails, and bolts, dried out pens, and bills, old and new.
These drawers might seem innocent enough, but after a while, don’t you just want some order in even the tiniest spaces in your home? Whether your drawer is home to expired coupons, old Christmas cards, or an ancient VHS manual, it’s time to clear the clutter.
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business. Visit www.lifesimplifiedpo.com for more information.