Getting organized to clean out a junk filled basement

Help! How can I get organized to sort through and clear out a junk-filled basement so that I can set up living space and a crafts room. I am totally overwhelmed about how to begin.
  12 answers
  • Just roll up your sleeves and head down there and start by dragging up anything you know you want to give away. Have a small trash bin handy, as I bet you will find some of this too. And every item you touch, it either goes into a keep section, donate section, or not usable at all and is trash. Even 15 minutes a day can make a dent in a short period of time. They key is just getting started. If you have a good friend or family member to help, even better. You can do this, just think of what you want the space to become, not what it is now.
  • Patricia Patricia on May 16, 2017
    Organizing something as small as a closet can be overwhelming, so an entire basement even more so! Naomie had good advice to get started. If there really is a lot of junk, then take out only what you want to keep and call a junk removal company. They'll get it done quickly and you can get on with your life.
  • Adc8041295 Adc8041295 on May 16, 2017
    Thank you for the suggestions and encouragement. I do visualize about how I want it to look especially my crafts room.
  • DIANA DIANA on May 16, 2017
    I just did this recently, and it isn't a job for the weak-hearted! Start with the area closest to your door. Separate what you want to keep from what can be donated or given to someone else and what can be thrown away. Be ruthless, you probably get rid of more than you think. Organize what you are keeping by groups (garden stuff, nails, etc.) After I had a large pile of junk I rented a dumpster for a week and purged. I would say that I got rid of 75% of the contents. If you have shelving, great. In any case, get a lot of different sized clear storage boxes from the dollar store and fill them.
  • SandyG SandyG on May 16, 2017
    Three piles, KEEP, DONATE, TRASH and then dig in. Decide on these 3 things and then organizing will be easier. An outside awning or pallets with tarps to cover will help in case bad weather catches you.
  • Louise miller Louise miller on May 16, 2017
    start with one box at a time and remember it didn't get that way over night so be patient. You can also call on someone to help throw away things you might not
  • Ginny Ginny on May 16, 2017
    If you haven't used it in the last several yrs., get rid of it. Call your local chapter of Habitat for Humanity and see if they could use some of your 'junk'. Don't forget charities like Salvation Army as well. Things you don't need or want are a godsend to others in need. There are many good suggestions under Organizing on Hometalk that will help you.
  • Zest it Up Zest it Up on May 16, 2017
    Hi there!! Here is a blog post we wrote a while back that have some tips and tricks on it:
  • Katherine Anne Katherine Anne on May 17, 2017
    Your question could have been written by me, oh my goodness... I'm not kidding! We moved into our house last fall, and just prior to moving, I fell down a couple stairs and tore my rotator cuff. Believe me when I'm saying this & I promise I'm not complaining... my husband ended up having to do all of the last minute packing and literally moving each and every box and bag over here. What ended up happening is that each grouping of items did not end up in the proper room or even in a box with other like items for that matter...And that really is okay, none of it would have gotten here if it wasn't for him. I truly am grateful. He never complained, not once. Someone with a lot more perspective than me (now almost seven months later from moving in) suggested that I carve out a period of time,several days a week & and look at it as a job... in a positive way! Whether it is 15 minutes or three hours... I commit my focus and attention to the basement and all its disarray, for that time frame. I have a chronic illness that causes fatigue and chronic pain, so what I'm able to do today is very different than what I was able to do years ago. Regardless of that, it can be daunting to anyone... even to a perfectly abled person. It really does sound so simple, but three hours is way too much for me to do in one grouping of time. I absolutely do try to choose a time frame that is realistic for me... for how I feel and what are the expectations I have for myself that day. It may not be as satisfying as it once was for me years get things done so quickly, but I am starting to bits of progress. I just started tending to the basement this week actually!!! And believe me it's going to take me a lonnnng time to pull it all together. The hardest part for me, still, is to actually remember that that chaos is down there. I've been "pretending" it did not exist because I don't see it each and every day. I, too, want to have a space to put my things in that I want to upcycle and redo. I wish you luck - perseverence and we should remember that doing little bit each day is better than nothing at all. That's the hardest part for me... staying in the moment vs. looking at how far I have to go. I should really looking look at how far I've come & stop beating myself up about how much there is left to do. Daily,I try to remind myself, as I'm tackling my basement, is 'some time' down in the basement is better than 'no time' at all. Ultimately,the end result will be nothing but amazing & make me happy too! I'm glad you asked this question obviously, and I am utilizing the suggestions you have been offered, as well! When I do get my basement put together, and everything has a place to call home... I will touch base with you & I can send you a picture of the new and improved area. If you are willing, would you do the same? Maybe it helps to know there's someone else out there that knows exactly how you feel, and her name is Katherine! šŸŒž
  • Adc8041295 Adc8041295 on May 17, 2017
    Thank you Katherine Anne for sharing your thoughts. You are right that a little time each day is better than nothing at all. We have lived in our house 10 years now and everything that I did not have a place for has been dumped in the basement and has stayed there - out of sight out of mind. My best work time is in the morning so I am going to start in the morning and see how long I last. I will send pictures as well.
  • Marcie Marcie on May 17, 2017
    oh I share your pain! I get overwhelmed easily with organizing projects (I am an artist). I find small steps are the best way (for me), and the most effective in the long run. I start with bins (labled , otherwise I forget which bin is for what). Then
    I start sorting - for whatever time I can do without getting overloaded! Pretty soon you'll see that you're making ground, and hopefully want to do more.
    It's also a good idea to find all the stuff that needs to be thrown away, and do that
    right off the bat. It simplifies the decision making process. Good luck!
  • Adc8041295 Adc8041295 on May 17, 2017
    Thanks, your blog post was very helpful. I will ask myself "Does it spark joy?" I like that! That will make it easier to give things away.
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