Archives for category: Project

It’s taken a couple weeks but I’ve gotten through more than 50% of my storage space. While the first cuts were fairly easy, they got progressively harder. To move the process along, I asked myself one question:

If the basement went up in flames, what would I be upset to lose?

I couldn’t thing of anything except for one drawing from art school. I realized I keep a lot of things because I feel like I should, not because I want to. I should chuck it all right now! But release is a process and I’m tackling one Christmas colored storage bin at a time. Here’s what else I’ve learned:

1. Fast-forward through Craigslist: I had a light table I loved but haven’t used for more than ten years. I ran through the possible back and forth scenario with potential Craigslist buyers and realized, I’d rather not waste my breath haggling. This table will keep its dignity if I donate it. I carried it to the Brown Elephant and it was welcomed with open arms.

2. Use it or lose it:crystal It’s a stepped process- 1. Take object from plastic tub and bring upstairs. 2. Find a place or a use for it. 3. If it doesn’t have one, donate it.

3. Stare it cold:
stare it cold I have packed and repacked a glass jars and bottles, some with rocks and shells. One has a great story. The others are just decorative. They are now on display, staring, demanding a decision. It’s judgment day. Some will get repacked. Some will be asked to leave.

4. It’s just a thing
cosmetic trayWhen my parents died, I held on to every tiny thing as if it were a piece of them. But life happens and things go missing. Or worse, they break- like my mom’s glass cosmetic tray. It’s still intact, it’s just missing a glass bar from the front. I was sad when this happened in a move six years ago but I reminded myself, it’s not her. It’s just a thing. Letting go of the stuff is ok.

5. Space is freedom
I now have three huge empty plastic bins (need any?) and a spacious storage room. I have new momentum and an unexpected joy in the open space. It’s not over yet but I already feel lighter, less burdened and a little more in control.

My “Skeletons in the Basement” post kicked off the official dig out of my storage room. My next step is to basically keep it going by pulling things out every week or every few days, asking:

    Do I need/use this?
    Do I still want this?
    Could someone else use it? If so, should I sell it, give it away or donate it?

It’s pretty simple even though when I look at the mass of things, I feel overwhelmed.

This weekend, I focused on re-using the things I still want. I found a neat basket I got at Ikea a long time ago. It used to stick inside my kitchen cabinet and hold bags. Why isn’t it still there? I don’t collect plastic bags anymore. But I collect something else there now- dog food. So I found double stick tape (the special 3M hook kind which I already had plenty of in my upstairs storage room- let’s not even talk about this room yet). It took a whole 5 minutes to complete the project.

dog food

It’s not rocket science but it gave new life to an old thing.

And I put another item on Ebay – writable cds. Yes, 2000 called and wants its digital storage back. We’ll see how this one goes.

Over the past 20 years, I’ve done a pretty good job of keeping my belongings to a minimum. I’ve been limited by small apartments and by not having a spare parental garage or childhood room to store yearbooks, old costumes, pictures, etc. In these 20 years, I’ve moved 10 times. 10 complete disruptions. 10 sets of 100 reps of “do I really need this…?”

As much as I have pared down, I still have SO MUCH. Nearly every day, I battle the density of my closet to find clothes. And just last week, I bought something new only to find the exact item buried in storage.

This was my bottom.

I’m uncomfortable being lost in belongings. So I’m starting a new project. “Project 0”. Or maybe “Shame Storage” or…ok the name isn’t important. Here it is:

My basement storage unit is FULL. It’s impossible to get in it without having to unpack and repack. So I’m sharing my storage shame with the hope that it will be both a weight lifted from my shoulders and an exercise in accountability. Behold…

clutter

It could be worse. But why am I keeping items that have spent uninterrupted years in plastic tubs in this dungeon?

Do you have this issue? Want to tackle it together?

Step 1: What’s with the boxes?
On the right hand side, I find cardboard boxes from oversized purchases. Because when I move, won’t I reuse these boxes? NO. In fact, I forgot I had them. I remove these first and haul them down the alley to the recycling dumpster (it’s a purge AND A WORKOUT). With these items gone, I find Halloween decorations that belong in the garage (yes, my garage is a separate issue and I’ll deal with that later).

Step 2: Ebay that shit
I find water globes- the kind you put in plants. I used these when they were new and “revolutionary”. But these things are a pain to clean- a bigger pain than say, JUST WATERING THE PLANTS. I take a photo with my phone and list them on Ebay. In the end, it might only be $5 but it’s still money I wouldn’t have had by just hoarding them. And even better, someone in the world will be excited to receive them. It will give me more space. More success. More control. Less shame. Baby steps. water globes

I’ll be posting updates as I go. If you see anything you’re dying to have or just might like to own (with the exception of my cheerleading uniform) it’s yours.