The Basement Project – Phase 1

I’m about to get pretty vulnerable right now. I’m about to show you that my life is not all organization, structure and butterflies. Under our the somewhat maintained and functional first floor is an unfinished basement that has shown what happens when I child enters the family. Do I blame Isaac? Of course. I would never let this chaos happen. OK that is not the truth. Everything in this room was brought in by me; it is totally my fault. I suppose that many families have “that spot”. The safe zone from kids, the “I cannot make a decision about that stuff” location or the “I will craft with that or repurpose that someday when I have more time”. So my hoarded junk room is a mixture of all that plus memories, baby cloths, seasonal decor, luggage, etc. No one goes in our basement but us, but that does not mean this scene is OK with me. It has needed attention for a very long time.

Back in May when I found out I was pregnant, I knew that this room was one that had to change before this little one was added to our lives. I craved simplification in our home, overall. I felt the urge to purge. But, as summer turned to fall… it still wasn’t under control. The responsibility hit me. I MUST do this before the holidays, before the baby!

So here is what it looked like back in late August. 
1 basement 1 Bad, right? Seriously this was such a hazard that Isaac was not allowed in. I had to squeeze and shimmy to get to anything in here, not that I even knew where anything actually was. See that pile in the middle, just behind the navy blue bin that sits on the non-visable floor? Yeah it is actually a long table with Christmas decor from LAST year still piled on it. How? Why? No! It was overwhelming and scary and sad (at least to me). I saw hours of work and and was itching to tackle it.

One thing holding me back (which I think is a pretty good excuse) is that I am working mom. When I am not at work I love to spend my time with my family. I have plenty of routine home stuff to do, but I can do it with Isaac alongside of me. I rarely can set aside a day or three to leave him to tackle a large project like this would be. I had tried to bite some off in chunks over the last 6 months but I never made much progress to keep myself motivated and going. I knew I needed a plan.

I started out writing down what I knew was in the basement. Though the stuff was not sorted, I tried to sort it out into groups in my mind. I squeezed around the items and tried to make sure that I captured every item in one of these groups:
1 basement 4I brought the list upstairs (away from the chaos) and sat with it for a bit. I knew this project would take days. Days I did not have. I had to be creative. How long did I think it would take? 3 days? 20 hours? I pulled out my calendar and started looking at life over the next month. I had planned to take two vacation days and since I still had to pay for childcare, I decided that would help. If I could get a start even before those days, I might be super-motivated to use really utilize those days to get it done!

Phase 1: Create The Plan! 
Leading up to my days off, I decided I would try to spend 2 hours in the basement for some evenings after Isaac went to bed. On the weekend I would go down during nap time. This is not ideal as I am usually super-tired and ready for MY rest, but it would give me such a head start. So below you can see my plan for TH, FRI, SAT, MON, and TUES before my first vacation day on WEDS:

1 basement 6Each section has the item groups I had listed. I just divided them up with what made sense into different days. It would be a way to feel like I had small wins in this massive project.

I even mapped out what I thought the basement could like like (in sections) when I was done. I did this all in pencil as I knew that it was too HUGE a project to be exactly how I had originally planned it. I would for sure need to be flexible. (Remember there was no telling what was hidden in the hoard). It was a great start. I was happy with my plan on paper.

1 basement 5

At the top of my list was to move that table in the middle of the room against the right wall. It would be my work station as I sorted and purge and packed. Here is how it looked once I got my table moved. I see floor!
1 basement 3“Phase 1: Create The Plan” was complete. Even though it was only the beginning… I was ready to get this done. SOoooo motivated!

One thought on “The Basement Project – Phase 1

  1. Glenda

    Very brave of you to put it out there but want you to know I have a basement that doesn’t look much different. Your plan is inspirational. For me, figuring out how to organize it all becomes so overwhelming I give up but I am going to base my plan on yours.
    It is my 2014 goal to clean and organize down there.
    Thank you!


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