Thursday, March 1, 2012

29 Organizational Challenge: Basement...MISSION COMPLETED!

Wow!  Has it already been 29 days?  There were times when I wasn't quite sure that I would actually complete this monstrous task, but my basement is finally organized! Let me show you my before and after pictures...

This is where I started with our main room in the basement:  

Over the past month I went through each and every tote and purged anything that was not necessary to keep.  I was able to reorganize everything to make my basement so much nicer!  Here are the results:

Remember?  I had that lovely closet in my basement also.

1. What space did you decide to organize and why? Although I could have picked any room in my house, I decided that my basement was needing the most attention. My basement doubles as a playroom for my young children (ages 4 1/2, 2 1/2, and 9 month old) and a storage space for the entire family. It also has a small closet which I like to use as my "home office" for my home business.  Unfortunately, my storage was overtaking the children's area and it was making it a dangerous spot to play. Also, I had a lot of open boxes and containers full of "stuff" that they were continually getting into and making a bigger mess.    

2.  What steps did you take to ensure you completed the space within the 29 day timeline?  My original plan was to spend an hour each night in my basement.  However, with a teething baby, I was in desperate need for sleep, so whenever I could find time I worked on it.  One thing that worked for me was setting the timer.  When I put the baby down, I would set the timer for 30 minutes and and take the boys downstairs to play while I worked.  Really, I am a bit shocked that I got 95% of it completed in time.  The only thing left to do is actually my husband's responsibility.  He has his hunting and winter work clothes to put away.  He doesn't like me touching his precious hunting stuff.

3.  What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and how did you overcome it?  My hardest part in this challenge was letting go of what I thought was "sentimental"  items.  I had seven totes and a huge chest full of "stuff" from my life before kids.  I knew that someday when I would pass my children would just throw half of it away so I wanted to condense it down to half.  It was very hard to let some things go, but I asked myself these questions:  Will my children want to deal with this when I am gone?  Do I want my children to see this? (this is referring to my college days and old love notes not from my hubby).  Will I even know that it is here a year from now?  By doing this, I was eventually able to part with three entire totes of stuff and I emptied the antique chest and placed my other antiques in there.  This way I was able to get rid of yet another tote!

(I got rid of 95% of this stuff!)

4. What did you do with the “stuff” you were able to purge out of your newly organized space?  I trashed a lot of the stuff.  In fact, I put three large boxes full and six bags in the dumpster.  I got rid of an old computer which was an awesome feeling.  I was able to donate 3 garbage bag fulls to Good Will.  The remaining items were either placed in my garage sale pile, Craiglist/Ebay bile, or placed in boxes to pass on to someone else.  My parents are nice enough to let me store the garage sale boxes in their cabin until the garage sale in April.  Then, anything that is left over will be donated!  My husband will not let me bring any of it back in the house!

(this was just the beginning of my pile)

5.  Tell me one of your proudest moments during this challenge?  I think my proudest moment was when my husband finally let me get rid of his 13 inch TV and his Playstation 2.   He has been holding on to his 13 inch since he got it when he was 13 years old!  I am finally getting him on board with the purging in this house.  Also, it was absolutely wonderful to see my little boys' faces light up when they saw their new play area.

6.  Explain any organizing “tools” you used to help you create additional space and to establish some limits and boundaries?  One of my goals was a separate storage and toy space.  Luckily, I found a leftover remnant from when we laid carpet last winter and I was able to find space to lay it down.  Now, the toy area is on the carpet and the storage is on the cement.

In the toy area, I organized all the farm, truck and tractor toys on the smaller carpet and then the kitchen area on the larger carpet.   My boys helped me go through the toys and were able to throw away any tractor or truck with missing tires.  That was a huge help!  We then found an empty tub to house all the truck or tractors that they were keeping.

I reorganized the totes that I was keeping in the storage area by keeping the totes that I would actually get into throughout the year in an easily accessible place.  Anything that wouldn't be touched, could be put towards the back or bottom.  I then labeled every tote/box so I would know what it contained.

Labeling was also a great tool for my closet.  In fact, I went a little crazy with the labels.

7.  What is ONE piece of advice you’d give to someone else to encourage them on their organizational journey?  "Rome wasn't built in a day."  You won't get organized over night, but start small and keep working at it!  Do a little each night and before you know it, you'll be done! 

Thank you Laura for doing this challenge! It is exactly what I needed to get my butt in gear!

***I am linking this up at Organizing Junkie's blog.

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