So, you’ve decided you really want to clear out your basement. How will you approach that enormous task? After all, wanting to clear a basement and actually getting it done are two very different things!
Following are some possible approaches to make it happen.
- Light a match . . . just kidding! That option might be appealing, but is not really a good idea! I don’t think insurance covers that approach to basement clutter clearing!
- Commit to 15 minutes of clearing one weekend day for as many weekends as it takes to finish the job. This method is comparable to the way you might approach eating an elephant. If you knew you had to eat an elephant, how would you get the job done? One bite at a time. You may find you want to work longer and that’s great, but make 15 minutes the minimum time you will work. Even though the size of the job is still overwhelming, with this approach you at least make the time commitment small enough per clearing session to be doable. The trick to this method is to find ways to keep committing to those small chunks of time week after week. Consider rewarding yourself after a successful clearing session (remember, just 15 minutes!) with an experience you’d really enjoy. For example, you might make a trip to Starbucks for a cup of coffee and allow time to enjoy reading the paper.
- Block off a weekend and tackle the job head on with or without the help of family member and/or friends. This approach is like diving into the deep end of the pool. It’s scary, but you just do it! It can work for people who have the ability to make themselves do things however abhorrent because they want the end result — an organized, functional basement. For this approach to work, you have to have the ability to keep your head down and not let yourself be distracted by the negative energies of the basement contents or the enormity of the task. You also have to be able to regroup from time to time when you feel overwhelmed or mentally fatigued from all the decision-making or exhausted physically from your efforts to move things around and out of the space.
- Ask a supportive family member or friend to help you clear your basement in exchange for helping them in some way. Spend at least 2 hours working together with your friend or family member assisting. Ask them to move things out of the space as you identify them for donation or trash. Schedule more sessions for this type of help until the job is done. Remember, the person assisting you is just that, an assistant. Make sure you stay in charge of the process. The presence of a supportive other makes it easier to stay focused on the task (if you don’t get distracted by chit chat and other activities), and makes this overwhelming task seem less daunting by becoming a social event instead of an onerous task.
- Hire a professional organizer and work with him/her in blocks of at least 2 hours until the project is done. Professional organizers know how to approach large projects like clearing a basement. Some can even bring in a team to clear the basement in one or two sessions. Organizers can work side by side with you, helping you make decisions about what to keep, what to toss or donate, and how to reorganize the space once it’s cleared. When you work with a professional organizer you’re likely to be able to get the job done two to four times faster than you could do it alone on a good day. Plus, the end result is likely to be organized in a way that with some effort on your part is easier to keep organized over time.
- Wait for a hurricane to flood your basement and force you to excavate its contents. Yes, I’m trying to add humor here, but clients have shared their stories of this type of clearing following major hurricanes like Fran, Gaston and Isabelle. I don’t recommend it because it’s pretty traumatic and a really nasty, dirty process.
How will you get your basement cleared? It might be helpful to know that the basement holds the energy of your unconscious. The reward for clearing it could be letting go of some old unconscious beliefs and memories that are barriers to making positive progress in your life. Clear out your basement and you’re likely to feel lighter and more grounded in the present!