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Old 01-30-2013, 02:07 PM   #1
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The Basement of Shame...

So when we moved to this new, much bigger house last April, we had to move much more quickly than planned due to a mentally unstable landlord. Thus a LOT of stuff that should have never made it here wound up dumped in our basement. Mixed in with the stuff that is legitimately stored in the basement. And I have had a couple of passes through there and and purged five garbage bags of stuff, but have not really been able to dedicate any significant time to it.

Until now. Last night we had some minor flooding in our area, and I had to scramble to get everything off the floor in case our basement flooded. I found four boxes that already had gotten damp, and was cursing myself for not taking care of this sooner so there would be at least half if not a lot more less stuff to do this with. So now it is a priority, because we need to figure out where the tiny leak is and fix it. To do that requires ripping out some 50YO pegboard and other demolition, and it can't be done with that much stuff in there.

So this is my accountability thread for my Basement of Shame. It's pretty bad. The rest of my house looks really good, but probably due in large part because this looks so bad. Before pics to follow. And hopefully progress pix in the future.

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:29 PM   #2
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Re: The Basement of Shame...

The basement is HUGE. The unfinished part has three rooms. There is a 10x10 room you enter, that leads you to a 12x15 room that includes the furnace and hot water heater, that is attached to a 12x15 room with a giant workbench that is too big and heavy to move. I look at the stuff down here and wonder how the heck we ever stored it all in our former, much smaller homes.

So this is the first room you walk into. On the right is a wall full of industrial shelving filled with boxes and bins of our crap:

This part will be hard because it is things like wedding gifts we don't use now with small kids, old electronics and parts, lamps that we haven't found a home for yet, diapers the kids outgrew, etc. Stuff that could definitely be purged down but I want to give to others as opposed to donate, if that makes sense.

On the left is a closet I put the out of season and size up winter gear. I also had tubs of pictures/frames there before the flood, but I had to move them to higher ground in the other rooms:

This part is actually not so bad but needs to be organized better. And I need to make decisions on what frames/pics to use and purge the rest.

This is the second room, that has the furnace and water heater in it. The armoire was supposed to be DH's place to store things, and there is stuff in it, but he had boxes all around it before the flooding that got moved to the other side:


This is the other side of the room. There is a mini fridge and freezer, from DH's old office and before we bought a large upright freezer. The boxes on top were DH's that got moved to higher ground. The large box next to it is empty and hasn't been taken out to the trash. There are two rolled up rugs next to it I wanted to use in the basement when the stuff was cleared out. Then there are some boxes on top of empty plastic bins to be off the floor and IDK what's even in them.


This is the third corner of that room. It has an old dining table, and all those boxes are photos and photo albums. I need to finish putting the photos in albums and put them all somewhere upstairs. I know the basement is not a great place to store photos, LOL.


And this is the third and final room, the worst of it:


The left side looks worse than it is. It has two stacks of boxes in front of a ten foot long workbench that was cleared off before the flooding. I had to put a bunch of stuff on top in case the whole basement got wet. So the left side looks like 2x as much stuff that's really there because the workbench is hidden. The right side is a shelving unit and a desk full of mostly craft stuff. It was my goal to have the bench clear as a workspace and all the craft stuff on the shelving, so I had a place to work. The back wall has present-wrapping stuff and outgrown diapers. In the middle of the floor are the four boxes of fabric (most of the stash) that got wet already.

So now you know my dirty secret. Why the rest of my house looks so good, LOL. And obviously there is room to actually store it all neatly if I really wanted to, but I want at least half of it gone. I'm thinking maybe a garbage bag a day of either trash or donate until it's done? IDK. We shall see how it goes. I need it done ASAP to address the leak in the wall behind the monster work bench.
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Old 01-30-2013, 02:56 PM   #3
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Re: The Basement of Shame...

You might set a time limit or a set number of boxes. You might also consider doing a job as you come to it. For instance, you mentioned the photos and frames and albums. Do those so that job is actually completed and then move on to something else. Jobs that won't help you clear stuff out would, of course, wait until you've gone through everything.
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Old 01-30-2013, 04:39 PM   #4
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Re: The Basement of Shame...

Tallanvor, I was just thinking after I posted the pictures, I should go ahead and pull the albums that are finished and put them upstairs. I should throw away the boxes of fabric that got wet, because I don't know what the water quality is of the leak where it came from. It's not worth putting those kind of germs in my washer for fabric I might use *someday*. I probably need to do a corner/side of the room at a time. Thanks!
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Old 01-31-2013, 08:47 AM   #5
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Re: The Basement of Shame...

Cheryloo, I am right there with you. We have a basement that is just mortifying. One room has our stuff and the rest belongs to my SIL and FIL or is stuff from my husband's childhood. I have been working on ours a bit here and there, but you can't tell. If I ever get brave enough to post pics, you all will likely call the producers of harders on me.
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Old 01-31-2013, 10:57 AM   #6
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Thanks for posting photos because it makes me feel a little better about my basement of shame
I could use a basement cleaning accountability buddy, too!! I have been trying to make progress, but there is just lots of stuff, and some of the sentimental type things as well that we never use or look at, but "might" someday...
My husband also has boxes and boxes of things, mostly papers. I really want to attack those boxes, but know it might cause a quarrel. So, my best plan is to purge out the things that are specifically mine, then perhaps he will be more willing to jump in once he sees the progress I have made.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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Re: The Basement of Shame...

Thanks for the support!

Today I tackled the wall of the third room, the one with the big workbench. There is a small leak in that wall, and I need to clear it out to address it. This is the before:


And this is after:

Two bags of trash. One file box of yarn to donate to the school art teacher.
Six boxes relocated to other parts of the basement, mostly DH's. I put all of DH's boxes back by the armoire in the other room in the basement, on top of empty crates to keep them off the floor.
I also relocated the overhead projector and the large frames on that table to other parts of the basement.

Turns out that big workbench is not super heavy, but was nailed into the wall. So I pried it off the wall, and I can see the water damage is not that bad. However I also found out the workbench is not structurally sound without being nailed to the wall, so it will probably have to be chopped up and purged. I might keep the worktop but IDK yet.

That's all I can do today. I am still going to try to get a bag of trash and or donate out of there every day.
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Old 01-31-2013, 11:46 AM   #8
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Re: The Basement of Shame...

looks great so far!!
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:20 PM   #9
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Great! Post update pics when you get closer to finished.
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Old 01-31-2013, 12:46 PM   #10
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Wow, sounds like you have already made great progress! Your post inspired me to come down to my basement while my kids are napping this afternoon. I took photos of the state it's in, and the photos make it look much worse than I thought it was! Yikes, I need help down here!
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