Slowly but surely, I’ve been working my way through the rooms of my house decluttering, purging, and organizing. This past weekend I tackled one area of the house that’s been causing me extreme grief: the basement laundry area.
The room is small — 4×6 — with a washer and dryer on one wall and a bookshelf on another where we store extra paint, cleaning products, and other home improvement supplies. A few months ago the shelf broke sending a wave of rollers, cans, and other loose items crashing onto the floor. It sat this way for months. Every time I went to do laundry, I looked at the pile with aggravation building inside but no motivation to make a change.
This picture doesn’t tell the whole story — there are more paint cans on either side of the bookcase and due to the tight quarters, I couldn’t get the entire shot of the floor into the frame. Oh and the room also has poor lighting.
I finally couldn’t take it anymore. Knowing we had a spare solid wood bookcase sitting vacant in the boys’ closet, I asked my husband to haul out the dilapidated bookcase and replace it with the larger wooden one. And then I got busy.
Just as I’ve done with other organizing projects, I created three piles: stuff to keep, stuff to give away, and stuff for the trash. Because we were dealing with paint and chemicals, the trash pile was actually split into two — stuff for the regular garbage and stuff to take to the city’s hazardous waste disposal site.
I couldn’t believe some of the stuff we were storing — multiple bottles of lighter fluid (unused in years since we switched to a chimney starter), manuals and spare parts to appliances we no longer own, gallons of leftover paint from walls we have since re-covered, and improperly washed paint brushes that are now crusted solid.
Last week Leslie asked me if I had any primer she could use. I answered no, but clearly misspoke as I found four quarts in the wreckage.
I took this opportunity to label all the paint that we are still using, such as the extra paint from the boys’ bedroom and the bathroom. This will make it much easier to grab a can if we need to do touch-up.
Once I sorted everything I wanted to keep, I started organizing the new shelf, with like items place near each other.
With plenty of room to spare, I gathered items scattered throughout the basement that seemed to make more sense stored here. Paint brushes, rollers, and tape went into this small bin.
I nestled two unkempt extension cords, formerly strewn along the top of the dryer, into another.
And about an hour later, the final result was a much more user-friendly and organized storage area.
Best of all, my blood pressure doesn’t rise when I do laundry and I can loan Leslie that quart of primer.
Though I’ve started to make a concerted effort to minimize what we bring into the house, I know the life cycle of accumulated stuff will continue and every few months I’ll go through this process again. But now that everything in this corner is neatly organized and labeled, it will be easier to check to see what supplies I need before making new purchases, saving storage space and money.