At the beginning of each 2004, 2005 and 2006, I resolved to clean out my basement. At the end of each of those years, I had to acknowledge a failed resolution. Is there something about that black hole in my floor that frightens me? Could it be that the mess that cellar has become is beyond my organizing skills? Will I put it back on my resolution list for 2007 just the same?
I suspect the answer to all those questions is yes.
And so I turn to my new organizing book: How to Organize Just About Everything: More Than 500 Step-by-Step Instructions for Everything from Organizing Your Closets to Planning a Wedding to Creating a Flawless Filing System by Peter Walsh. Peter Walsh is the professional organizer on my favourite home improvement show, Clean Sweep. (Part of what I really like about watching him work is the strong feeling I get that keeping his own life on track is as much of a struggle for him as it is for any of us. In other words, his sock drawer might be tidy, but I bet his life is a mess.)
Because I am writing this blog posting, I will turn to “Organize the basement,” which is #89 out of the 501 sets of instructions. If I were not focussed on this posting and dealing with the basement, I would probably be reading #30 “Plan the perfect date” or #171 “Become a Cowboy”.
(Although someone with attention deficit issues needs the organizing help in this book, it is probably too distracting for the confirmed ADD person. And one less-than-well-organized friend of mine took one look at the book and told me it scared her.)
Where was I. Oh, yeah the basement. #89. Crap. It’s useless. 7 tips on keeping it dry. My basement is dry. Not an issue. 4 tips on keeping it orderly:
- Install shelving – there’s plenty of shelves
- Label boxes – okay, I’ll do that
- Install a smoke detector – done that, and it’s a good idea, but how does that help with the mess?
- Hang things from ceiling joists not pipes – well, d’uh.
But wait, maybe there’s something on dealing with a huge mess.
#8 Overcome Chronic Disorganization General tips
- Identify the reasons why you are terminally disorganized. Do you have ADD or ADHD? If so, this is a clinical disorder that can be treated. See also 268 Organize Home Systems for ADD. (As if someone with ADD is going to make it to #268 without stopping at #183 “Organize an archeological dig” or #221 “Defend against a hostile takeover”)
- Take it one step at a time. Before you can mop or vacuum the floor, you need to pick up the toys, clothes and shoes. Reward yourself for each tiny task, and you'll be inspired to keep going. (Ah, ha, I’ve found a reason to open that box of cookies in the kitchen.)
- Learn to let go of unrealistic expectations. Your home or office may not win any cleanliness awards, but having a system that works for you will make the difference. (No cleanliness awards? Perhaps not. But a cleaned out basement might count for something with the selection committee for the Most Improved Person Award.)
So. Now I am ready to tackle the basement. One step at a time. Get stuff off the floor so I can vacuum. Eat cookies in between. I'd start right now, but it's bedtime.