You’ve probably heard of “skeletons in the closet,” but what spaces are clients most ashamed of and afraid to organize? Here’s a hint: if you have one, you’re probably not sure what’s there, and when you find out, you may be surprised.
They’re often creepy — and full of items you have not seen or touched in years.
When we put together a PDF of services we offer for interior designers and their clients, I joked, “Should we mention basements?” When you were a kid, you were probably scared of them. They’re dusty, disorganized, and full of ambiguous boxes of old things. As an adult, you’re more afraid of the work involved with going through them all and decluttering. Not to mention, what you find is sometimes sentimental.
Believe me, I keep items from the past in basement storage. I hold on to artwork from my kids, old photos, memorabilia. When I go through these items, I am filled with joy and sometimes tears, laughs, and so many memories.
Here’s where a lot of people have room and know they can store things. . . Usually, with no organization. Sometimes the boxes are disorganized and left from old moves to new homes. The items were never sorted.
What are people saving? What if there was a fire, for example, what would you grab? Memories and sentimental items are often stored in basements next to cast-offs: the items you don’t need now and probably won’t need in the future, but you couldn’t get rid of, at a time, for some reason. Sometimes you find old artwork or furniture. Sometimes, you find piles meant for donation or to give away. It’s hard to sort through the cast-offs to get what’s really important.
Here’s my advice:
- Take time to look at the cast-offs before they are relegated to the basement.
- Organize the holiday decor into boxes or containers — with labels — before they are shoved into the basement corner. Do you really need 4 reindeers that look the same, and one is broken from last Christmas?
- Think visually. In basements, structure is so important. These spaces are so large, often, with ample storage, but no built in storage structures. Consider shelves, containers, and labels that are easy to scan visually to locate the items you need.
- If someone does not live with you, neither should their stuff. There are some exceptions. For instance, kids who are temporarily away at college. Otherwise, that person probably does not want or need it, and neither do you.
Here is the biggest benefit: you can find what you need, especially sentimental items, when you need them. Organizing and storing them properly will also keep them nice. If you have a storage structure and organizational system in your basement, this space will be easier to clean, which means less dust or damage. Also, with organization, structures, and systems, basements are not nearly as creepy and cluttered.
If you have questions about how to create systems or structures for basements, please comment below or email us. If you are about to move, or just moved into a new space with a basement, we have advice. Also, please share this post with friends.