Thursday, January 5, 2012

starting on the basement

In my decluttering project, one of the items was "deal with the basement."  Unfortunately, I'd say that the basement is probably five or six zones of clutter and is well beyond what I can deal with in the hour or two between the kids' bedtime and mine.

This weekend I had the Mister start by clearing out the old fridge that was downstairs.

We bought this fridge from the previous tenants when they moved out.  They offered it to us for a reasonable price, and we thought it would be nice to have an extra fridge in the basement for drinks and extra storage.  Of course, it died three weeks after we moved in.  Six months later, we are finally getting around to putting it out on the curb.

Its amazing how much bigger the space feels without that fridge. (Don't look at my laundry area. I said don't look! Why are you looking?!)

The second thing I tackled was the area between the stairs and the laundry.  It had become a drop zone for crap. Although the entire basement could be considered a drop zone for crap.  Here is the starting point, although there was EVEN MORE stuff there a few days ago that I sold on Craigslist.

Now, it looks like this.

Nearly everything sitting on the floor in that area was related to painting.  I started by moving all the cardboard boxes to the recycle area. Then I took all the painting supplies and sorted them into bins.   I also sorted the paint--spray paint up top, gallons in the middle, and supplies and samples (the cardboard box on the right) on the bottom. Most of the gallons in the middle were left by the previous tenant, and I will be leaving them there when I move out.  My landlord is particular about not throwing things away.

Somebody has a problem with hoarding Benjamin Moore sample pots.

Actually I had wayyyy more than this but I pared down when we moved six months ago.

I started with the easy area. I knew this wouldn't take that long if I just sat down and did it, plus, I used cardboard boxes and plastic bins I already owned to sort stuff, so the whole thing was free to me.  The workbench area (the area across from the fridge in the first picture above), on the other hand, is going to be an all day job.

The workbench area, honestly, will require some kind of sorting apparatus, like small bins and plastic hooks on a pegboard and I just don't want to spend any money on this rental.  I know that we suffer from the "fourteen hammers" syndrome, where you can't find one when you need so you go buy one, but if you just cleaned your basement and a few junk drawers you'd find that you already own fourteen hammers.  And a bunch of screwdrivers. And fourteen levels. And fourteen boxes of drill bits. And fourteen measuring tapes. And so on and so forth.

Then there is the "I don't have room for this stuff in this kitchen" area across from the workbench.  Plus the "where am I supposed to store decor stuff I'm not using but don't want to get rid of" area.  And the "87 boxes of crap from my old office that I won't throw out" area.  And the "oh, I might use that someday" area.

Its a slow process, folks.  But its a start

Edited to add: I am linking this post up to Pancakes and French Fries William Morris Project


  1. Way to go Girl- you are better than me- I cannot even start the basement job- ours is hot mess- and even the thought of starting it is almost too much to take...stages is a good approach! Keep up the hard work!

  2. Rita@thissortaoldlifeJanuary 6, 2012 at 3:00 PM

    Can't believe how much better that shelf looks! I have a garage like your basement. Wish I could link a picture from the summer, right after we moved. It was FILLED with crap. We gave away carloads and sold a bunch on craigslist. I was so excited last week because I got two walls organized and I'm just down the long work bench still filled with crap that needs to be gone through. One part at a time is the way to go.

  3. Oh, who can't relate to a space like that? My garage is itching for a good de-cluttering...not this month.Great job.

  4. have made some huge progress! I'm too scared (or maybe in denial?) to tackle my huge organizing projects. You are inspiring me to get going!

  5. Your paint area looks great! I find that starting small can help build good momentum. And yes, removing the fridge makes that space look twice as big now. Way to go!

  6. Dropping in from P&FF. Looks fantastic. You are braver than I am. I'm using the excuse that it is much too cold to do anything in the basement. Well done.

  7. Ugh, the basement. I won't even think about mine. Nicely done! It's crazy how much 'what if I need this someday' stuff we keep isn't it? Thanks for posting!

  8. Wow, you really made some progress! A project like that can be so daunting, it never gets done, but you are tackling it a little at a time and before you know it, it will look exactly the way you want it to! Congratulations on your progress!

  9. Way to go, that shelf was an awesome transformation. Getting the fridge out probably feels good to let that go and it gave you more space too. You are doing great! Keep on keeping on, I love your progress, thanks for sharing!

  10. Nice work! I love the titles for each area of your basement. I have several of the same!

  11. UH-MAZING! I am always jealous of homes with basements (we just don't have them here in CA) until I realize that I would be no good without one. Our garage is disaster enough as it is. Great job!!!

  12. Oh my goodness look at your beautiful basement! I'm so jealous. And I love the little blue desk/dresser, so sweet!
    Good job on cleaning and organizing. What a difference - even though it isn't finished yet, it already looks so much better!

  13. I've been looking for help in decluttering and your pictures are the first I have found that have inspired me to keep at it. I don't even have a basement, so my clutter is using up half of my co-op space. I've been thinking of moving to a bigger space (house), but now I'm thinking that would only allow me to accumulate more clutter! Thanks for the inspiration.


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