Archive of ‘Basement’ category

Room By Room vs. Category Organizing

I recently finished reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. One of the key things in her method for organizing is to focus on organizing and decluttering by category of item, rather than room by room.

She suggests gathering up all of one category of item, for example, books, no matter where the books are normally stored in your home. Then go through the books with an eye to purging and identifying those you will keep. Her argument is that if you go category by category, the rooms will end up organized anyway.

I really like this in theory. I used this method to go through my books and my clothes. However… for me at least, it seems that sometimes room by room is the only way to go.

Some rooms just demand to be focused on, rooms such as my basement, a.k.a., the Subterranean Pit of Doom. (And you have to say it all drawn out and dramatic: Doooooom!)

There are so many different types of things down there, that really, there’s nothing for it but to dive in and start decluttering. I just wish I had a backhoe in the basement.

messy basement photo

And this is just one small corner. Hold me.

Do you have a preference for either room by room or category for organizing?


Basement Update #3

Progress, sweet visible progress at last! I feel like a wanderer lost in the desert who has spotted an actual oasis. Only mine is an oasis of clean, uncluttered space, not water.

So far in my basement project, working in 15 to 30 minute increments and sometimes while watching TV in the background, I’ve emptied the basement of all the easy things such as: empty boxes, trash, recycling.

After that was done, I started pulling together the piles of items to be donated. One corner of my basement (photo below) was quite a dreadful mess. But is is now a clean space after I sorted and packed up various items for donation to local charities.

BEFORE (yipes!)

Messy corner of basement

AFTER (Ahhh!)

Clean corner of basement

There is still much more to do, but you can see that progress is being made.

Basement Update #2

I’ve started working on sorting the items in the basement that I’ll be keeping into broad categories, e.g., books, school supplies, craft supplies, camping gear, etc.

This way I’ll be able to count or measure what’s left when I’m done sorting and purging, and be able to select the proper amount and type of storage containers and shelves.

One category I’ve found that surprised me is the Ugly Vases category. They’ve built up over the years from every time some family members have sent a lovely bouquet. Each bouquet arrived in a big (sadly unattractive) glass vase. And I didn’t feel as if I could get rid of the vases, so I just stowed them in the basement. Even if they were beautiful, I don’t need this many.

So I’ll be donating or recycling them… probably donating, because hey, one woman’s ugly vase is another’s object d’art. I hope.

Basement Update #1

I’ve been working away in the basement, trying to tame the beast. And I made the deliberate decision to take it bit by bit, spending between 15 and 30 minutes on every work session, so that I won’t burn out.

I knew it would look worse before it looked better, and I haven’t had any surprises there!

I’ve made progress, but not much that would show in a photo, so I didn’t bother taking a new one. When the work involves lots of sifting and moving, the piles of stuff change around, but don’t necessarily show improvement at this stage.

However, I have managed to:

  • Break down and recycled a large number of empty and unneeded cardboard boxes
  • Gather up and ready for donation a lot of pet rabbit supplies. They’ll go to our local House Rabbit Society.
  • Go through and purge the girls’ camping clothing/gear and store the rest in a plastic bin
  • Purchased window film/covers to use to replace the flimsy, ugly curtains, which keep falling down

It doesn’t seem like a lot when writing it up for this post, but it’s progress!  And progress encourages me to keep at it.

The Monster in the Basement

OK, it’s true… my basement resembles a horror film. Or at least what constitutes horror for me… lots and lots of clutter and very little organization.

We’ve lived here for nine years. In the beginning, we set up the basement in a lovely, tidy fashion, and made a space for our bunnies to live in one room. The storage closet was neatly packed with things we didn’t use every day, but used enough to want to keep. We knew the shelving systems in both the storage closet and the utility room were rickety, but they sufficed and we were so busy with other projects that we let this one slide.

Cue to the present day… a foolish women walks down into the basement and eeeeeeek!


You see the problem, right? And this one corner of the basement is just the tip of the iceberg.

Over time, our basement has become (madly, impossibly) cluttered as we accumulated more stuff and did not take the time to create systems to deal with it, or take the time to decide if we really, really, really needed to keep the things we were tossing downstairs.

It was all too easy to just chuck things in the basement.

But that’s going to change, slowly and bit by bit, but nonetheless. I don’t want to carve out the days it would take to take care of this problem in one go, so I’m attacking it bit by bit… fifteen minutes or a half hour every day or so.

I’m starting with the easy stuff. Why not? Success breeds motivation and I’m not fussy… with a project this size, I’ll take the easy steps to motivation. I’ve been going through the basement and grabbing empty boxes and old papers that we do not need, cutting them down, and recycling them.

That’s my step one. Stay tuned for future updates.