Thursday, January 20, 2011

the b-word

I really need to get down and dirty with my basement.

I usually feel like our home is moderately under control, but I also feel like it's a bit of a sham covering what lies beneath. We're lucky to have a fairly nice basement, or at least when we bought the house it was nice. Painted walls and floors, but not "finished" in any kind of way. Spacious, dry, even somewhat bright, and with an enviable bulkhead. But after the move one would hardly know the space's virtues. It's now the wasteland of half-rifled through boxes and furniture and kitchenware that we *may use someday*.

Now this is where I get really confused about what I'm trying to do with my lifestyle. I try to live by the Reduce/Reuse/Recycle motto, especially the "reuse" part. See, I have a hard time letting go of things that still appear to have a lot of life left in them. I even accept things like chairs and tables from purging relatives to the point where we now have several extra sets in the basement and garage. It's really a mess. I have odd plates and cups and kitchen stuff from before I got married that is cool and usable, but simply unused and unneeded now. I need to purge, but I don't like throwing useful things in the trash. Frankly, I find the idea revolting.

But I also find my basement revolting. Not maggoty-gross or anything, just disorganized, overwhelming, and although I hate to admit it, wasteful. Because even though I am not throwing useful things in a public dump, I'm kind of using my basement as my private resting place for old stuff. Old stuff, mind you, that someone else could be putting to good use. I have to remind myself that the act of not putting something out to the curb for "bulk waste" doesn't matter too much if I'm simply stashing it.

Then there is the sentimental stuff. Boxes of old photos and letters, clothes that I mean to "make into a quilt" (mind you the only sewing I've done in the past 10 years was a pair of curtains for my son's room and they were made on a nesting rampage in the weeks before his delivery). My husband's boxes and boxes of old tape recordings of him and his brother making up plays and paying music. Some of this junk is actually really cool. But it's bringing me down nonetheless.

I've been using my 2 year old as an excuse. Since our basement is not very toddler-proof, I cannot do anything down there while caring for him, thus I cannot work down there until.... until... until he is in school? Until he has moved out? Until I die and the poor kid has to do it all himself? It'll be dumpster time then, for sure.

So I resolve to not make that excuse anymore. I certainly can bring one box at a time up to our living level and tackle that particular box. That's doable, right? Then bit by bit we may be able to reduce/give away the junk and use our nice basement for studio space.

More art! Less junk!

More creating! Less stashing!

Any tips are welcome....

1 comment:

  1. I sooo know what you mean about hanging on to stuff because it's still perfectly good. That's one of my biggest problems. During my major purging I had a lot of trouble getting rid of all the baby clothes. We are definitely not planning to have a third, but a lot of unplanned things happen in the world... And would getting rid of all those perfectly good baby clothes somehow, in an ironic twist of justice, cause an "accident?" like not bringing an umbrella makes it rain? Chills.
    I bet you could do two or three boxes at a time. It would feel a lot more satisfying. My two year old looooooved (still does) opening up boxes of stored stuff and taking it all out. After it's out and spread in a manic heap all over your living room, you'll have to deal with it!