Have you ever stored something that you “absolutely couldn’t live without” only to find it months, if not years later to wonder why you’re still holding onto it?
I cleaned my basement recently and afterwards decided to make a personal mission of purging my inner packrat.
It’s hard, in the moment, to look at something that you use fairly frequently and judge whether or not it will come in handy in the future. It is even harder to take things that you’ve paid good money for, or are in decent condition, that could be useful to others (but not so much to you) and justify tossing them.
So how do you make better decisions “in the moment” and not months later after grueling hours in musty basement hell? Well, that image helps. Here are some other things that I have found particularly useful asking myself?
- Is the item replaceable? How much will it cost to replace it if I decide I need it later? By the time I’ll likely want use it again, will I even desire this old one that I have lying around with the work it’ll take to dig it out and clean it up? Will I even remember that it’s down here? If it can be replaced for relatively little money and/or effort, it’s a good sign it can be tossed.
- Can I give it away/donate it? If think someone could get reasonable use out of your items, sort them into boxes/bags marked “Give Away” and “Donate”. It’s ok to keep these stored as long as once they get full, you act on them. Because charitable donations may qualify for a tax deduction, label the “Donate” container with its contents and the estimated value of each. If you take these to a local facility such as The Salvation Army, ask for a receipt and file with your tax documents.
- Should I put it somewhere else? Let’s face it. Sometimes the items you save really should be saved- we’re thinking here photos, random “keep” documents, etc.. The point is, if they’re in a pile in your basement, they’re doing no good. If you don’t already have a “place” for them in the house, make one! Go out and get a container and label it and now everything of that nature is centralized.
- Speaking of containers… Are you a box hoarder? It’s true, those nice boxes MAY come in handy around the holidays to pack oddly shaped gifts, but chances are you won’t need every single one you keep. Rule of thumb? Box the boxes. Narrow them down to a nice selection of shapes and sizes, fill a large box and toss the rest.
Keeping these things in mind in the moment have made it easier for me to keep my basement (or any other “hidden” area for that matter) more organized for the long term. Cut the clutter by saving and storing with a purpose!