Basement Transformation

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Nov 2, 2012

 

There is a dumping ground in every home.  It’s the place where all of the things that we don’t know what to do with end up.  Last week I worked with a client who had a dumping ground in her basement.  (It is weird for me to say basement because they are so rare in California).  It was filled with baby items that her children had outgrown, toys that were given to her kids that she was hiding from them (but then forgot to give to them), holiday decorations, linens, and much much more.

We started the organizing process with a consultation.  She and I talked about her concerns and she showed me the areas that she wanted to work on, the dumping ground in the basement, the living room, and her daughter’s rooms.  I suggested we start with the dumping ground so we could create as much extra storage for the items that we taking over the rest of the house.

I suggested that I bring my assistant Matt along to help me work on the project and that we would only need her involvement for the second stage of the organizing process – purging.  Matt and I started by sorting all of the items from the pile along the wall and the closet.  It only took us 45 minutes to develop the zones that we needed to go through.  At this point I asked my client to join us for the decision making piece and I went through all of the items with her and had Matt bag up everything she didn’t want and haul it upstairs to the truck.  She was very quick at making decisions and after 30 minutes we made it through all of the items, amazing!  It really helped that we presorted and that Matt did all of the leg work taking all 12 bags of items upstairs.

After she made her decisions I came up with a storage plan and created zones for the categories that needed to be stored: entertaining, gifts, kids toys, guest linens, holiday.   I hoped that everything could fit inside the large closet leaving the rest of the room free for family use and Matt and I began to find homes for everything.

Within a few quick hours the room was clear and the closet was neatly organized with all of the items that she wanted to keep.  I asked my client to come downstairs to see the finished project and she couldn’t believe we were already finished.  In total it took us 4.5 hours to complete the project, half the time she expected.  I don’t think the before and afters do the transformation justice but still need to check them out.

Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
Before
After
The closet is divided into zones making it easier for my client keep an inventory of what she has and easily find what she is looking for.  The zones also give her limitations on the amount of storage space she has for each category.  I reused bins and storage that she already had so the after photo doesn’t look as polished as it could but it works.  I always encourage reuse if it works for the client.
Before
After
You can’t see the entire room in the pictures but there is a pull out sofa on one wall and a workspace on the other end.  With all of the clutter no one ever used the work space and my client was embarrassed to ask guests to sleep on the pull out sofa.  Now that the space is decluttered and organized my client can start to think about ways that she can use this space more efficiently.  Her sort term goals are to give the gifts that we put in the gift zone in the closet and have a functional guest room this holiday season.  Her long term goals are to turn it into a playroom for her children with a nice wall unit with built in storage for toys, crafts, and media supplies.
I hope this quick makeover encourages you to attack your dumping zone!  I’m heading to an organizing conference this weekend so I’ll let you know how it goes next week.  Have a great weekend!

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