Basements and/or attics are often the secret lair of clutter in our homes. They’re out of the way and unseen, so we feel like stashing our clutter there is the perfect hiding place. But what’s the point of storing all that stuff if it creates so much clutter that you can’t find anything to use it when you need it anyways? Clutter holds you back, even in storage spaces like the attic. And in rooms like the basement, it takes up space that you could be using for yourself. And when you walk into cluttered spaces, it creates anxiety and disorder, stealing away peace of mind.
Reclaim Your Space
Decluttering the these spaces is a little different than organizing a kitchen, bedroom, or closet. These are long term storage spaces, so not only do you need to sort out the clutter, you need to find a way to organize it so that you can keep the things that you really do need.
Get some trash bags and boxes ready, and prepare yourself to make some difficult decisions.
- Start in one corner and work your way around the space. Take breaks when you need to. You don’t have to do it all at once. Go through everything that is taking up space in the attic.
- Sort everything into three piles: keep, donate/sell, trash.
- Take out the trash as soon as you can. It will continue to clutter up your space as long as it sits in a bag by the door.
- Be active about dropping off your donation pile in a timely fashion as well. List items for sale right away, and ask your friends and family to spread the word
- Consider going through this process another time or two until you have a manageable amount of things.
Storing your Keepers
Now that you have the clutter removed, it’s time to tackle the survivors.
- Determine if your attic/basement is the best place to store each item. Is there somewhere else in the home where these items could be stored in a more efficient way or in a way to make sure they are remembered and used more often? Also keep in mind that attics and basements often keep more extreme temperatures than the rest of the house.
- Organize everything into categories. It will be easier to find what you need if there is some rhyme and reason to where they are stored. Put things together with other like them.
- Create zones in your attic or basement to store categories. Make sure to put the categories you will need to access the most frequently in the most accessible zones.
- Label all of your containers, boxes, shelves, and etcetera. It’ll take a few extra minutes now, but trust me, you’ll love yourself later for doing this while you still remember where everything is. If you label as you go along, it splits the task up, making it feel simpler as well.
Remember that decluttering isn’t just about getting rid of clutter; it’s about keeping it at bay as well! Keep up the habit of organization.