Dig Deep This Week, and Organize the Basement!

Basements are the hot organizing topic this week with my clients, how about you?

This phenomenon occurs this time every year.  We get a little stir crazy, perhaps with a touch of cabin fever.  We want to stretch out a little, but it’s still cold outside!  And so we look to those big spaces in our homes – the Basement!

Basements present great opportunities for family spaces, but we need to get them organized and functional before we can really enjoy our time down there!  So, how to organize that basement into fun and functional space?

The first step is my first step to every organizing project – grab a clipboard, start your lists and make a plan!

Ask the questions:  Who is using the space?  And for what purpose?  

Name Your Space.  When you call a room a junk room, guess what ends up in there?  Yes, junk. Every space needs a function or purpose, but not more than 2 or 3!  Imagine:  If you called your basement the Family / Toy  / Craft Space / Work Out Space  / Laundry Room, well, indeed, EVERYTHING would end up down there, and it would all be a hot mess!  Which leads me to…

Differentiate your spaces for separate functions.  If your basement is used to multi-tasking, make sure to set aside one corner for work out gear, and another corner for kid toys, instead of mixing the two.   You don’t have to build walls to separate spaces, either.  Imagine a couch set in the middle of room, with TV viewing / video game playing in front of the couch, and kid toy storage and play space behind the couch.  Something that simple can separate an overly large space into two more manageable and organized spaces.

Is there clutter that needs to leave?  Once you know who is using the space, and for what purposes, take a good hard look at what is already in the basement.  Are there items in the basement that do not match up with the newly decided purpose / functions?  Consider how to get rid of that crummy old couch, or plan a donation drop-off for those bags of clothes or books. Most basements I visit are in serious need of  de-furnishing!!

Plan a block of time, and enlist some aid!  If this basement space is going to be family space, it’s time to get the family involved!   Carve out a few hours on a Saturday morning, and make some big progress!

Decision making is still a stumbling block, I know.  We collect clutter from the rest of the house and let it pile up in the basement.  We delay the final decision of “Keep or Toss?” and just let it accumulate.  Then… the piles are just too overwhelming!  Therefore…

Make the Decisions, even when they’re hard.  Consider the piles in the basement.  Will the contents ever be brought up to the light of day again?  Come on… that old bedding, the wall art from 15 years ago, broken toys or dated holiday decorations?  Be honest, friend.  That stuff needs to go AWAY, and not into storage.  And you and I both know it.

One common function of basements is storage.  When it comes to long-term storage, please Remember your basement is a basement.  Protect items that you choose to store for a long time.  Basements may contain bugs, moisture, dirt, etc, so invest in sturdy plastic or Rubbermaid-type containers to store your stuff and treasures.  Soggy cardboard is not going to save those holiday treasures or family photos.

Spend a little time in your basement this week, and make fun and functional family space!

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