Get Organized Week: Part 2

What do you mean, part two? Wasn’t it enough to start purging the house of things that are expired, broken or no longer useful? Sure, it’s a start, but it’s only that, a start. After getting rid of the things from last week’s list, you might find you have room to spread out items or to replace what was old and expired. Or you might find you’ve hit the tip of the iceberg and there is a lot more under the surface.

As a review, the top 10 things to throw out are:

  1. Expired food or medicine.
  2. Anything from a fast food restaurant.
  3. Clothes that don’t fit or are in poor condition
  4. Newspapers, magazines, catalogs.
  5. Broken anything: small appliances, toys, furniture, computers
  6. Computer software cardboard boxes
  7. Stuff you don’t know where it came from
  8. Old luggage, cloth bags, plastic bags
  9. Garage items
  10. Old makeup and brushes

Speaking of under the surface, this week’s focus is the basement.

The suggests the following steps.

If your basement looks more like a place where items have gone to die, take heed. It’s not impossible to find a sense of peace and organization. Don’t expect to finish all the steps in one session.

Step One: Get rid of the clutter.

Before you begin any work, decide how much time you will spend each session. This task can seem overwhelming if you let it. For every hour you spend, set a timer to 45 minutes. Stay on task for the 45 minutes and in the remaining 15 minutes, clean up and put things back in place as much as possible. Use your phone’s timer to keep you honest.

Dedicate a clutter donation station. Cardboard boxes or plastic tubs will work nicely. Mark containers: keep, donate, sell, put away later. Gather large garbage bags for trash and recycling.

Step Two: Set up zones in the largest room in the basement. You can tackle the smaller rooms later.

Possible options for zones are the following:

  1. Utility. This includes the furnace, water heater, sump pump, water shut off valves, etc. The key to this area is to make sure you have a clear path to these important pieces of equipment for regular maintenance and possible emergencies.
  2. Storage. This area can include out of season decorations, sports equipment, tools, etc.
  3. Living area.

Step Three: Organize items you’re keeping.

Do not pile containers too high or too deep for easier accessibility. Store like items together.

Step Four: Consider basement storage solutions.

Some items do not store well in basements because of potential flooding or excess humidity. Items like paper, photographs, childrens’ artwork, metals that could rust, fabrics.

Consider using plastic tubs and not cardboard boxes for storage. Mark each box even if the plastic is transparent.

Keeping things off the floor by a couple of inches. You can use storage shelves, PVC pipe, or 2x4s. The lumber could rot or warp with too much humidity.

Step Five: Label and inventory your basement storage.

Don’t get overwhelmed with these steps or this task as a whole. Keep your work time to 45-minute segments. You’ll make it!

Now, get to work!


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