A Clutter Free Basement or Attic

by Maria Gracia

A friend called me the other day and said, "I really have to organize my basement and attic, one of these days.

There's that old "one of these days" phrase once again, rearing its ugly head. I'll be honest with you. The only way that one of these days ever comes is if you schedule it on your calendar, and keep that appointment with yourself when the day rolls around.

Here's some of the advice I gave to my friend. Perhaps it will help you tackle the basement or attic organizing project.

Establish Mini-Goals. If the basement/attic is just too big of a job for one day, break it up into a few days. Day 1: Toss out anything outdated, old, broken, things you never use, etc. Day 2: Pick up some storage containers and put up some shelving and/or hooks. Day 3: Organize everything you are keeping in closets, on hooks, on shelves, etc.

Handling Sentimentals. If you haven't organized the basement or attic in awhile, be prepared to take a trip down Memory Lane--old photographs, games that haven't been touched in years, ice skates, granny's silverware, and so on. Try to put these items to one side until you've reached your organizing goal for the day. Then, reminisce with your family later on that night after dinner, rather than right now. This way, you'll finish what you set out to accomplish.

Allow for Family Fun. Get the family to chip in. Make it a game, with responsibilities assigned to everyone. You can even time the tasks with an alarm clock, and give small prizes for getting the task done ahead of time. Play music--fast music--to get everyone in the organizing mood. You can plan a fun, family pizza-party afterwards as your reward for a job well done!

Use Your Space Wisely. Don't forget all that wall space. Hang hooks and pegboards. Add shelving. Have a big, empty closet? Put a utility shelf unit inside. Turn an old, unused bar stool upside down and put all of your tall items (baseball bats, curtain rods, etc.) inside. Pick up some translucent, plastic Rubbermaid containers and store out-of-season clothing, holiday decorations and other things you're not using right now inside.

Avoid Keeping Widgets. Resist the urge to save every little thing-a-ma-jig and what-cha-ma-call-it you come across. If you (and your family) don't know what it is, or what it belongs to, it should probably be trashed.

Set Up a Donation Box. Set up a large donation box. As you're organizing, when you find things you no longer have a use for, simply put it in this box. Then, bring the box to the Salvation army the next day. Some Goodwill and Salvation Army headquarters will pick up your donation at your doorstep if you call them. And there will be a lot of people happy and grateful for your gifts.

Don't Forget Winter Storage. Squirrels store goods for the winter. You might want to do the same. Basements are great for storing canned goods. If you live in a cold climate, you'll be happy it's there--especially on those icy, cold days when you'd rather stay home than venture out to a supermarket. Keep it all organized with can organizers (available at most home stores). Some hold up to 50 cans that simply roll forward each time you remove one.

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Maria Gracia hosts the Get Organized Now! website www.getorganizednow.com Get your free Idea-Pak and E-zine filled with tips, ideas, articles and more to help you organize your home, your office and your life at the Get Organized Now! web site!

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