Whether you’re moving or just cleaning out your basement, it can be an overwhelming job. Here’s a plan for taking back your space.
Assess Your Situation
Before you delve into the basement too much, you’re going to want to take inventory and know what you need to do the job right. If areas of your basement got wet, you are going to need different cleaning materials or a professional team who deals with mold and mildew. You may want to rent a dumpster to deal with your trash. It can help to start thinking about what you’re keeping and what can be donated or stored. You may want to break your basement into zones and tackle one area at a time. You know your time frame and resources. This assessment can help you be better prepared when you start working.
Get Rid of Trash
Give yourself more space to work by taking out the trash first. With a dumpster rental, you can take out the trash to the dumpster that was delivered in your driveway, so you don’t have to keep moving the trash around. Be judicious with yourself. Will you really fix that blender you put in your basement two years ago? Is the broken chair worth repairing? Do you really want those knick-knacks from college? If you know something is trash, get rid of it.
Hopefully, you’ve gotten some of the clutter out of the basement by getting rid of the trash. Now, take what’s left and sort it into three categories:
Don’t try to donate or sell things that are past their expiration date. Trash them instead. Don’t store items that are broken or unusable that you mean to fix. If you haven’t done it by now, it’s likely not a priority.
Work in sections. This process can be emotional and physically draining. You may have to make many decisions about your belongings. If you’re trying to do it one sitting, take breaks to get fresh air and recharge. Set a timer and work for 30 minutes. Take a 15-minute break. Tag items with colored stickers to let friends or family members help.
Take Items to Storage or Donation
Don’t wait until you’re finished to take items out of your space. It may seem like a good idea to only make one or two trips, but taking a few boxes at the end of a sorting period is actually very freeing. When you take stuff to be donated or stored, you get it out of sight. It’s very freeing because you see your progress. Saving it until you’re done just keeps the clutter in a pile for you to deal with it.
Have a Sale
You’ve made a lot of progress if you got to this point. Now you’ll want to decide how to sell items. You can try Craiglist or eBay, have a yard sale, or even take your items to a consignment store. You will want to evaluate your time and resources in dealing with anything you want to sell. Keep in mind that you probably won’t sell everything you want, even if you’re willing to drop prices. You will still need to donate or get rid of what doesn’t sell. Have a plan for that, so it doesn’t end up back in your freshly cleaned basement.
Keep Your Basement Clutter Free
Use airtight containers to protect any items you want to keep and save. Label those containers clearly. As you store items in your basement, put the items you use least toward the back. Make a plan to go through your basement every six months or so, in order to keep it less cluttered.