Bulging Basement Needs A Purge by Lori Firsdon

05 Feb 2014 7:19 AM | Julie Riber, CPO®

How many times have you said, “Just put it down in the basement?” It’s so easy to put things into the basement and forget about them. But sooner or later even the basement gets filled up and must be dealt with.

So what are you storing down there? In my work as a professional organizer some of the most common things I find are:

  • Home décor from previous homes. Often times you are holding on to these items because they were expensive. Except that your tastes has changed and donate or sell these items.

  • Items from your children who have their own homes now. It’s time you get to enjoy your home the way you want it. Give these children a deadline to pick up their items. Many times when you make these belongings their responsibility they no longer want them.

  • Out-dated electronics. The likelihood of you ever going back and using these is very slim. Start donating electronics the minute you upgrade to the latest technology.

  • Exercise equipment. If it’s collecting dust in the basement chances are you’re choosing other ways to stay fit that doesn’t require this type of equipment.

  • Holidaydecorations no longer used. The next time you decorate for a holiday, take a look at the items you did not use this time around. You probably no longer like them or have the time for them so donate them.

  • Toys your kids have outgrown. If you must keep some, narrow them down to the few that have the most sentimental value and donate the others to a child who will enjoy them.

  • Equipment from past hobbies and sports. Your life changes and so does your interests. If you no longer use this equipment part with these items while they can still be used by others. I know it can be hard to let go of the past. To help you part with them, ask yourself, “Did this item serve its purpose?”

  • School papers and textbooks. How many times have you revisited these boxes?

  • Past greeting cards. I have organized many homes and with very few exceptions does anyone ever go back and reread these cards. Enjoy them for awhile after you receive them and then part with them before you’re tempted to box them up.

  • Books. Books take up a lot of space and are heavy to move. Boxed up books rarely get looked at again. Books that are important to you are displayed on a bookcase and taken care of. If they are boxed and thrown in the basement they probably were important, but no longer are.

The list goes on; clothes that no longer fit, instruments long forgotten, flower vases overflowing shelves, past collections, VHS tapes, outdated luggage collecting dust, trophies piled up in boxes.

If you’re tired of spending time organizing the basement, figure out whom you are today and then take a look at what you are storing. Unused items cost you space, time, money, and keep you from using the space more efficiently. Let them go. You will help yourself and someone else who may need these items.