Basement Reno Completed!

FINALLY! The day has come when I can say that our basement renovation is done!!! To say that I’m relieved is an understatement. In my last blog post about this project I mentioned that the painters had to come back to repaint the entire basement. Well, believe it or not, after I wrote that post they had to return on 3 more occasions to finish spots and whole sections that they missed or failed to follow the instructions provided by the contractor. In addition, the contractor has to send his foreman back a couple times to correct some pretty poor workmanship. I remain astounded by this but realize it’s time to move on and put this behind me. With all the other outstanding issues now taken care of, its time to put our basement back together and set up the spaces in a functional, efficient and organized manner.

First came the workout area with the placement of our equipment and accessories all on one side of the back room with everything easily retrievable. Second came the playroom/tv room. I gathered all the toys we have for our visiting little ones (all contained in clear bins for easy identification) and they are now situated in that section of the basement. We are still deciding on whether we will purchase a cubby type wall unit for storage of the toys or whether we will simply leave them in the bins for the time being. For now a simple arm chair serves as a comfortable seat for anyone who wishes to “chill” down there. The third area to tackle was my husbands computer area where he checks emails, downloads all sorts of things and syncs his various technology “toys”. We placed an “L” shaped desk unit that we previously had in an enclave area of the basement which is the perfect niche for him to work in. The final area to tackle (and the most challenging at this point) is the workroom where we keep tools, household maintenance items, gift wrap, etc. and which we determined was also going to contain my organizing tools and accessories for the business. If you could only see the size of this little space – it is definitely a challenge.

At the moment everything is on shelving, but not yet organized. When we have a few hours to spare we will begin to organize that final space, using the organizational principle of SPACE (sort, purge, assign, containerize and evaluate). I’m just itching to get that done but my clients come first at the moment and I know that there are a couple of days vacation I will be taking in a couple of weeks when we will definitely get this basement organized completely! For now we live with it and function as best we can. The reality is we can only do so much in the little time we have available. Prioritize, organize and saturate your space with the things that make you happy and enjoy life!

Children’s Books To Help Teach De-cluttering

With spring in the air it’s a good time to start working with your younger children to teach them how to let go of their unused and unwanted items.  In an earlier post I mentioned a book that is helpful when working with children in this regard.  There are a few other books that parents have told me have been helpful when they are talking to their children about editing some of their belongings. They are all from the Berenstain Bears collection.

The first one is The Berenstain Bears and The Messy Room.  In this book brother and sister bears’ room was a mess and they argue with each other quite a bit about who should tidy up instead of working together to get the job done.  This book is helpful in that it will teach children to do their fair share in keeping their spaces clean without arguing. It teaches children responsibility.

The second book is The Berenstain Bears Clean House.  In this book, during spring cleaning the bear family have difficultly letting go of things they no longer use (sound familiar to anyone?), so they decide to hold a yard sale.  I will admit that the ending of the book was surprising to me.  Rather than going through with the yard sale and let go of the items, they decide to keep the items and use the space in the attic for the storage of the items. Still is a good book to read with your children to help acknowledge their feelings about things.

The third book is The Berenstain Bears Think Of Those In Need.  As with all the books in this series, this teaches a timeless lesson and principles easy for little ones to learn. They also help parents in showing them a good way to handle sometimes difficult situations.

It’s never too young to begin to teach your children the basic principles of de-cluttering and organizing. In doing so, you are also instilling important values: one of which is that the important things in life are not things.

Principles of Storage

Often times we end up storing items in the most inefficient and non-functional places.  For instance, I have a client who stores her baking items in the pantry on the very top shelf where it is not only difficult for her 5 foot frame to reach, but also problematic as she is elderly and arthritic.  Another client cannot bear to get rid of paperwork “just in case”.  These two scenarios create obstacles to organized living.

So here’s a few basic principles for storage of a variety of items in your home.

Items that are used most often should be stored within easy reach. Items used infrequently should be stored below the waist.  Items seldom used and that are lightweight only, should be stored above the head. Do not store anything heavy above your head as this can lead to serious injury!

For paper, here are a few questions you can ask yourself if you are struggling with whether to keep it or toss it:

  • Are there any tax or legal reasons for keeping this?
  • Can I easily get a copy elsewhere if I need one?
  • Does someone else have the information? Is this available on the Internet?
  • Can I identify a situation in which I would ever refer to this information?
  • Is it still relevant to my life?
  • What are the implications if I don’t have this?

For clothing, ask yourself these questions

  • Is it out of style, wrong size, wrong colour
  • Does it feel good when I wear it?
  • When was the last time it was worn?
  • Do I use it enough to make it worth the cost of storing?
  • Do I have more than 1, and do I need more than 1?

You can also consider adjusting your buying habits.  Before making a purchase, decide what the new item will replace and where it will be stored to avoid duplicating items.  Don’t forget the “one in one out”  rule. Avoid bulk purchases if you are challenged for space. Mega sized items take up mega space. You may be saving money but you are spending vital space as mega purchases take up prime real estate.

I know I’ve also mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating.  Ask for gift receipts to avoid storing gift items that don’t suit or fit you, are not your style or you don’t care for.  Most important is to resist storing items for fear of offending the gift giver.  Re-gift new items or hold a swap party. It’s fun, a great reason for friends to get together and you may end up with something else you can really use and enjoy.