Last week I revealed our basement clutter and I really appreciated the supportive feedback from readers. I was not planning on writing about the basement so soon, but my husband was ready to tackle it – he had decluttering momentum, and as anyone knows who is decluttering, you go with decluttering momentum.
Know your “why”
When decluttering, it is often advised to figure out your “why”. Why are you downsizing? What are you hoping for after you declutter? It can jumpstart your decluttering and give it purpose.
My husband has always wanted our basement to be a family space – space to paint or build things with the kids; space to talk and relax. At various times in the past it has been a place that we have used for making things. But the eventual clutter would creep in and we didn’t maintain the uncluttered spaces we had created down there.
Our current “why” regarding our basement is to have a space for exercising, making and recording music, creating smaller things, and organized storage.
A few months ago I said to my husband that it would be nice to use the basement for exercising instead of our dining room area. I said it in passing, thinking out loud mostly. It must have resonated with him though. Without any prompting, he started decluttering with intention on his birthday. Yes, his birthday.
Where do we start?
When my husband went down into the basement on his birthday and didn’t come back up, we knew he was serious about cleaning up – so we made it a family affair.
Here is how we made it through the first big push of decluttering in our basement:
- We started making piles of trash and recycling. We went through the main area of the basement and looked for obvious trash to fill our large trash bags. We also went through and looked for obvious papers for recycling. My husband at one point wanted to save all of our children’s artwork. He has come to realize that the papers are damaged and most are not worth saving.
- We worked in tandem. Most of the stuff down there he has to make decisions about. I held things up for him to see and asked, “Trash or Keep?” and he would tell me which one. The Keep items were set aside for him to look through later.
- We were not addressing sentimental items, but neutral things that a decision just needed to be made on. We worked quickly without much pausing.
- Our children helped too. We piled recycling in boxes and the trash bags at the bottom of the stairs and had the children move the boxes and bags out to the porch for trash day.
We spent several hours together in the basement for that first strike of decluttering momentum. My husband continued on his own for a few hours the next day. Here are the results:
There is definitely progress being made in our basement. It was really wonderful to work together with my husband and children and see such a drastic change in the space.
You may not have several hours to work on your “area of shame” but I encourage you to spend at least 5 minutes on it. 5 minute increments add up, and you too might gather decluttering momentum.
Where have you started when you were overwhelmed by an area that needed decluttering?