Organization is my friend!
I have pretty much always loved having a place for everything. I went through those teenage years of having a bedroom that was a total disaster but my closet was color coded and it still is! I have since outgrown having a pile of clothes on my floor 2 ft high and I enjoy having a dish free sink.
I have slowly learned over the years that it’s easy to organize everything and make sure everything has a place in my home but keeping it that way is what takes work on a daily basis. If I continuously let stuff pile up then I am going to have to organize that space all over again and who has time to clean out the same cabinet every month? Not me! I have a bad habit of just setting stuff down stairs or stashing it in a cabinet and I tell myself I’ll put it away later. Out of site, out of mind! Eventually though, stuff starts getting in the way and I’m frustrated because everything is falling out of the cabinet.
FINDING THE PROBLEM
We have an unfinished basement and I am ashamed to say that it was a complete and total disaster! In one area the kids have a section to play with some toys and an area for our oldest to practice hockey. The rest of the basement was storage and it was a disheveled mess. I had all of these great ideas about an office or gym space down stairs but I kept telling myself I didn’t have time to work on it. It’ll be several years before we can completely finish our basement but in the mean time I want to utilize that space as much as possible! It may not be glamorous down there but it serves it’s purpose.
I finally got tired of worrying that someone might come over and need to go down stairs, I mean if we had a furnace issue I would have been scrambling trying to clean that place up!
I finally went down there this week to start a list of areas to work on since I thought that would be easier than tackling it all at once. I could work on a small section everyday and in a weeks time the basement would be awesome. In less than 24 hours I was done because I can’t stop myself once I start those kinds of projects and my 2 super cute little helpers made it a little more fun!
IF YOU’VE FORGOTTEN ABOUT IT, IT PROBABLY DOENS’T MEAN MUCH
I started by going through and making a pile of stuff to just throw away. It was a large pile but fortunately the next day was garbage day and that really kept me motivated since I didn’t want to look at a garbage pile for a week straight. We have plastic shelving units downstairs that I had a lot of extra décor or some toys that I don’t want the kids having unsupervised access to such as Legos. I think I threw away half of the stuff on that shelf but don’t worry the Lego’s are safe. I had candles and pictures that, at one time, I thought were pretty but no longer go with the colors and design of our living room. I didn’t want to get rid of them because I might change my mind and want them again. Well if I had forgotten about them them how important could they really be? In the garbage they went.
I had Christmas stuff in and out of tote bins as well and that was my next priority to get those packed a way nice and neat, and now there was room on the shelf for them! I cleaned out the boxes a bit and threw some random stuff away but it wasn’t a long project. I think it’s easier to have seasonal or holiday stuff separated and labeled so i can easily find what I’m looking for. I don’t like looking for spring stuff and pulling out Halloween signs!
I had previously gone through all the toys down stairs and gotten rid of a lot so that wasn’t really something I had to worry about this time. I just needed to pick up stuff and put it back in its spot. When my kids start just dumping toys out and leaving them it usually means they are bored with that stuff so that’s when I take those items and put them away in storage. For example, they have a play kitchen and food to go with it but they were just dumping all that stuff out and throwing it through the house so it was time to move it to the basement. The wooden train tracks made their way into a tote bin as well since Grayson would just pour them out and the dog would tear them up.
EVERY KID IS DIFFERENT!
My next HUGE task involved all of the clothes that I had saved from my kids. I like to be thrifty and saved basically all of the clothes from my oldest for my youngest son to wear. Well there’s a 6 year age difference and sitting in a damp, cold basement doesn’t really do clothes any good. Grayson has developed his own style as well and it involves feety pajama’s under his sweat pants, not the cute polo’s that I dressed Ethan in as a small kid. The 2 boys have very different tastes in clothes and I finally decided it was ridiculous to just keep all those clothes down there just because I was too sentimental to get rid of them. So I sucked it up and washed EVERYTHING since they had been in a damp basement for a really long time and put matching sets together. We have a place here called Once Upon a Child and they buy and sell gently used clothes, so I took everything to them this week and actually made a nice amount of money.
Of course it was nothing compared to what I had spent on all of those outfits and that was a nauseating thought! How much did I have invested in clothes and stuff that we couldn’t use anymore? A lot! It was definitely food for thought about my previous spending habits. It’s cute so I’ll buy it even though they don’t need another outfit?
PUTTING OUR OLD STUFF TO GOOD USE
I still have a ton of stuff sitting in my van so today’s task is taking it all to a donation center so hopefully they will get some more use!
I have tote bins for each of my kids and I saved some of my favorite outfits, baby blankets, and little odd and end items that maybe they will think is fun to show their kids one day plus it broke my momma heart to get rid of everything! Especially the little girl stuff! I probably hung on to too much of her clothes but she is the last little one and my only girl so I justified it 🙂 Maybe ill learn to sew one day and make her a quilt our of them!
My last task was hanging stuff up. There are random things down there like our luggage, a baby mat, a boogie board, and gift wrap and bags. Those things didn’t really have a place and I didn’t have space on the shelves so I put some nails up! My organization skills don’t always look super pretty but I know how to find a place for stuff that I need to keep. I separated the gift bags between Christmas and birthday’s and got them hung in a bag so it’ll be easier to find the stuff that I need.
I don’t like spending money on fancy organization item except for pretty baskets! You can never have enough baskets. I needed a way to separate my necklaces and bracelets so they wouldn’t keep getting tangled, I could have bought one of those expensive jewelry boxes but honestly I think I am just as happy with the nails I put up in the closet. No one see’s them except me and they were free!
FIND THE BEST WAY TO USE YOUR SPACE
The finished product looks awesome (for an unfinished basement). We won’t be hosting parties down there but I can find the stuff I need. I have space to work out, Ethan and friends can play down there without me worrying that they will get into stuff that I don’t want them too, and if someone does go down there I won’t be having a panic attack about how trashed it is. The next item on my to do list is making the hockey area a little nicer. We need a new net and maybe we’ll do a little painting!