Most people need a lot of declutter help in the basement. The basement is an area where we somehow give ourselves permission to create clutter, although we may hate clutter in every other room in our house, If you live in an older home, you basement may not be finished. I’ve lived in a couple of older homes where the floors of the basement themselves were nothing but dirt – yes, dirt. Another home actually did have a basement with a cement floor, but there was nothing “finished” about it. While I did the laundry down there, I even hesitated about storing non-perishable foods, it looked very bad and felt really damp.
Today though, if you have a basement, you’ve probably had at least a portion of it finished. You may even have a rec room or other livable space in your basement. So you need to treat it like any other area of your home. Don’t use it as a dumping ground for boxes of items you don’t know what to do with. Now, I totally understand that the basement can cover a lot of space. So while you stand there with trash bag in hand, eyes glazed over with fear, let’s lead you in the proper direction.
Take one box at a time and break down your goals. See that corner right there? Start there. The point is to pick a corner, then work sections at a time. Do you have an abundance of boxes? Check them out as quickly as possible. If you discover one box is entirely Christmas decorations, then using a permanent marker, mark it as such. You can always come back later to sort through that (and perhaps place it in a nice plastic storage bin). At least for now, you know what’s in there.
Decluttering a large space like the basement appears overwhelming unless you break the task into smaller more manageable tasks. Today’s goal may be to just discover what’s lurking in each of these boxes and toss the worst of this junk. And that’s great. Just keep in mind that once this first step is completed, you’ll still have several more steps to go. This is your initial clean up. When you find a box or bin with items you can tell you aren’t going to want to keep, then dig into it. However, for the time being – and to conserve your time and help you to stay on track – don’t try to transform the basement all at once.
When you have one corner completed, move on – clockwise – to the next area of clutter. Do the same thing here. If it’s a box with needed supplies, mark it and set it aside. If however it’s storing that 1970s outfit that you are never going to wear again then toss it. If you really believe that an item is salvageable, but you don’t want it, consider giving it to a thrift store or church sale. Otherwise, consider this all past-prime material and toss!
If you don’t own a dehumidifier and use one in the basement, or have already waterproofed your cellar, then you may be disappointed by condition of some of your “treasures.” You may discover that the damp basement has claimed some of the life of certain collectible pieces. You may even realize that some of your items are damaged beyond repair due to the damp, dank conditions of your basement. If that’s the case, it’s best to cut your losses and toss the items out. There’s no use crying over items that are already damaged.