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.
Annie Kilbride is the CEO of Life Simplified, LLC a professional organizing business.