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Beating the Basement Blues

“Later is the best friend of clutter.”
– Peter Walsh

Sometimes our basements are filled with ‘later’ items… read ahead to learn tips and tricks for getting your basement decluttered.

Beating the Basement Blues

Do you ever go into your basement and think “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?” Or perhaps, you know exactly why it’s the way it is… but you can’t believe it’s been that way for so many weeks/months/years?
Are you thinking of moving but the thought of dealing with the basement is keeping you stuck?
Do you cringe at the thought of opening all those boxes and containers and not knowing what to do with any of the contents?

Could any of the items below be lurking in YOUR basement?

Do you have old mattresses, old cribs, rusty bikes, broken lawn mowers, and damaged furniture in your basement? The fastest way to make a dent in the clutter is to have the large pieces hauled out. Of course it’s more cost effective to have everything taken at once, but if you are paralyzed by overwhelm, start with the large pieces and at least you’ll have more room to move around for the next phase.

Chances are they’re moldy and smelly so hold your breath, close your eyes and recycle or donate. If you think you may have some valuable classics down there, look them up on eBay to see if they’re worth selling. No one is enjoying them hidden away in your basement. There are plenty of places to donate books that are in good condition, such as The Book Thing and Maryland Book Bank.


Many papers are old enough to shred or recycle. Ask your accountant but most agree that you only need to keep the last 6 years of taxes. You do not need to keep old car or home owners insurance policies, old phone bills, old gas and electric bills or clipped articles from dozens of years ago.

This is a tough one, but there are many options when it comes to downsizing photos. My quickest advice is to go through a little bit at a time and remove duplicates, blurries, group shots of people you don’t remember or scenery that doesn’t speak to you. You can then decide if photos are worth scanning or placing in albums.

This can sometimes be the collection of stuff in cars right before you get rid of them or it can be old items that were strewn about the house, and because company was coming over, someone suggested throwing it in a bag….most of that stuff can be tossed by now.

If the clothes have been in the basement a very long time, they are probably in the musty and moldy category. If you haven’t worn them, chances are you won’t be wearing them anytime soon. Most children’s outfits are featured in family photos so you technically don’t need to save the piece of clothing as a memory because they are captured in pictures.

Another tough category and this is where you want to be careful as you sort through the items. Do a little at a time but if you don’t know the history and it isn’t tugging at your heart strings, that’s a sign that it’ll be ok to sell or donate. And remember that glass vases from FTD are not family heirlooms.

This covers only a cross-section of what can be stowed in your basement. It is a daunting task for many and if you feel like you need support in getting the process started or completed, let me know! We stand ready and able to help make it all go away so you can enjoy your basement rather than avoid your basemen

“Helping Baby Boomers and their Parents Lighten their Loads.”

If you are feeling overwhelmed by the amount of stuff in your home, contact me. Together, we can transform your home into a happy, tidy place where you can feel at peace. We can also get you ready for your next move… more enjoyable, faster and easier!


Cindy Bernstein, Owner and Professional Organizer

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