Clearing Clutter is Hard

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It has been 38 days since we started our 30 day challenge to clear out the clutter in the basement. Since that day, we have opened every box and tub. It took longer than we thought, but it feels so good to be done. We can now use the room. We still have a few things that will be relocated, however, we have already decided we want what is there.

We found ‘missing’ items that we knew were in our home office in our last house. We moved some of them to our home office upstairs and have either donated, recycled or thrown out the rest.

We unpacked vases, candles and other decorations that we just knew we would want to display here. Not all of them made the cut this time around.

We donated the night stands from our bedroom set. The night stands that we tried to put in the master bedroom. The night stands that we placed in the living room until we admitted they really didn’t work there. The night stands that we moved downstairs, hoping that when we cleared out the basement, they would fit. The ones we talked about in a previous post, Making Room.

We had boxes and tubs of photo albums and snapshots in the basement. Some had been damaged years ago and were faded and stuck together. These were the boxes that had moved with us several times and had never been opened. Our last two homes had lots of storage space and we had gotten bad at moving some tubs and boxes without ever opening them. This house has changed all that. This time we don’t have the space. We needed that.

We had lots of greeting cards. Cards we had given each other. Cards our children and grandchildren had given to us. Cards we had received from now-deceased family members. We sorted through the majority of the cards and even pulled out those in drawers and boxes that were upstairs. We put the ones we could part with in a bag, took pictures of others that we wanted to remember before placing them in the bag and kept a much smaller amount. Last Saturday night around our blazing fire pit, we took a last look and tossed the ones in the bag into the flames. This just felt better to us than putting them in the recycle bin.

Cleaning out the basement was harder than we imagined. We could only work on it a few hours at a time. Many of the boxes contained mementos and souvenirs from long ago vacations. Some contained personal items that had belonged to our mothers. Letters and cards with strong sentimental attachments. Things we were still not ready to part with. We are allowing a much smaller amount of space on our limited storage shelves for these. We also realize we will have to go through them again.

The basement exercise helped us realize that we had weighed ourselves down with more stuff than we thought. We donated or gave away 208 items. This includes the two night stands, large coffee table, sewing table, sewing machine, exercise bike, bookcase and multi-drawer storage cart from the basement. We did not keep track of what was thrown away. Let’s just say that we filled a couple of large trash bags.

This is a picture taken the day we set our challenge. You can see a few more on the Getting Back to Basics post.basementbefore3

There are a few items that will be put away when we get shelving up. This challenge was to clear clutter and we are very happy with our results.basementafter2

A little different angle. We can fold up the elliptical to save some space when not in use. We are still deciding what to do with the area behind the support post.basementafter1

We are hosting a September family birthday gathering in a few weeks. We are happy that the grandkids will have a space downstairs to play. We are also excited that the patio will be completed and we will be able to sit outside. Our next blog post will be the patio story and pictures. So excited to finally be able to share them with you.

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