Monday, January 17, 2011

You'll Help Me, Won't You?

I am bucking a long-standing tradition of making no New Year's resolutions for two reasons: the sewer backed up into our basement just before Christmas and I've seen several episodes of Hoarders. 

Consequently, reduce, reuse and recycle is going to be Naperville Now's basement theme for 2011. But I need your help in the form of comments, reminders, and encouragement. Also directions to an electronics drop-off site.

I have been captivated by a most excellent article by Martha Beck since it appeared in O Magazine in 1999:

"There are two ways of going through life: Gather everything in sight, just in case you need it. Or, trust that you'll find exactly what you need, just in time. Guess which one lets you really stop and smell the roses?"

This may be the most liberating essay I've ever read. Too bad it took me two years, the sewer and the A&E Channel to tip me into action.

By New Year's Day 2012, my goal is to have a basement that looks like this:

Or as close to this as possible. Bear in mind there are things I cannot change about the basement, like the HVAC stuff and, possibly, the quantity of Christmas decorations. (And then there's that stupid crawlspace, which should be stricken from the home engineering handbook. If you're digging a basement, dig the whole goshdarned thing. Don't leave a huge square of dirt just for grins. It's gross. And damp. And gross.)

My accomplished son-in-law, bless him, built 8 feet of freestanding shelves over the weekend. These will hold a few strategic items off the floor, and as for the rest, I hope to be able to reallocate all of this stuff from my house to someone else's via the online Naperville Yard Or to Goodwill, which just opened south of us. Or I will recycle it. Or repurpose it. Somehow.

Then I shall paint the floor a lovely shade of grey and close the door.

I think this is doable.

Anyone have any thoughts on mold eradication?

P. S. My pal Nancy informs me that the Naperville Park District is recycling broken Christmas lights. You can read about it here. Too late for me, but perhaps it's not for you. You have until Feb. 1st .


Nancy said...

If you live in Will Co. you an drop off electronics in Bolingbrook by their City Hall. We have taken computers, monitors, televisions etc there and have never had a problem. It is an open shed on the property in the parking lot. You need to have ID to prove you are a Will CO resident in case anyone asks, but we have never seen anyone manning the facility when we have been there. Hope that helps!

Good luck with your challenge. It is never-ending, but worth it to whittle down all that excess stuff!

Carol said...

I'm with you on the crawlspace loathing. I never understood the point of them.

Good luck with the basement declutter project. I have yet to even begin to do our basement, though at least our closets have gotten a bit of a once-over. I am discovering that before I was able to part with stuff, I had to come to terms with irrational emotional attachments that I had with the memories that the objects evoked. I was having a hard time letting go of objects that have outlived their usefulness to me, merely because of the memories that the objects held.

I have a box of items that I might try selling on eBay. Parting with stuff might be a bit easier if profit is involved.

Johanna said...

I agree with Carol. I must learn to use E Bay. Retiring is becoming a higher priority than owning the most Herend in the neighborhood! As for the crawl space. If we dig deeper than 3 feet here on the island, we hit water. Everybody has a problem area and ours is our attics. I have decided to die and allow my sons to clean out mine!!!! Love your blog and don't forget to leave me some basement bedroom space.

BFL said...

When you finish the de-cluttering, I could use some help in Rhode Island. Every time part of the basement gets close to looking cleaned and organized, the clutter starts anew. Usually begins with shipping boxes that just have to be saved. And shipping peanuts. And then some small appliance that still works but has been replaced. All good intentions to give away seem to take years to fulfill. I think the answer is eliminating all flat surfaces. Built shelves and closed in under the stairs, for more storage space. When what is called for is LESS storage space. Anyway, good luck!

Sharon said...

What BFL said. We cleaned and almost emptied the basement a few years ago only to find it needs to be done again. It's on my to do list for 2011, wonder if it will get done!

Kathy and Freddy said...

Mildew machine reviews to follow in 2 days time!