In Our Basements, We Are All Hoarders

Everybody needs a winter project.  This year, our project is underground.  Yes, that’s right:  We’re going to try to do something about our basement.

Our basement is unfinished.  It’s been used primarily for storage — lots of storage.  The problem with an unfinished basement is that it gives you the luxury of seemingly infinite space.  There are acres of concrete floor and cinder block walls down there that are just crying out to be cluttered with things.

It’s easy to go down there and put a box of unwanted stuff on the floor.  Rather than tossing out, selling, or giving away the VHS recorder that you haven’t used since the Clinton Administration or a computer monitor from the dawn of the PC age, you store it downstairs because, after all, somebody might have use for it some day.  The clutter doesn’t bother anybody because no one goes to the basement, anyway.

And then, one day, you walk downstairs, find the basement crammed to the rafters with random, cobwebbed boxes, bags, and junk, and say to yourself:  “What is all of this stuff?”  By then, the task of rational organizing seems overwhelming — but if you don’t do something, it’s just going to going to get worse and move you squarely into disturbing hoarder territory.  In fact, who are hoarders but people who have, unfortunately, applied the basement storage approach to their entire houses?

I took this picture when we started a few weeks ago. We’ve made good progress since then.  It’s liberating to get rid of stuff you don’t need — and sometimes you find interesting things that, perhaps, really didn’t belong in the basement in the first place.