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Please Help My Mom Get Her Basement Organized!

MomBasementCloset

The last time I went home to Virginia, my mom invited me to join her in the basement.

  She led me to a corner that had a ton of decorative flowerpots, home decor items, and party serving dishes.  Then she said to me,"Take a look if you want anything…I don't need all this stuff. I don't have any more room in the house for it."


Let's back up. In many ways, I am very similar to my mother.  My mom is really organized – see an example of her closet on the right that she and my stepfather designed and built.  They combed through magazines to find the perfect combination, then he built it from scratch in his workshop.  She selected neat organizers that matched from Tuesday morning.  Overall, it is quite impressive.

The Basement Problem

However, while I am a "purger" and like to get rid of anything in my home I don't actively use (except all my art supplies!!), my mom is more of a "keeper".  Her basement has become a collection place for so many items from their combined households when they got married.  The issue is that they don't have room in the house to put the decorations, extra chairs, etc. anymore – see below:

The decor area:

MomBasement1

The graveyard of rocking chairs and dining room chairs from combined households:

MomBasement3

The overflow area for household supplies that she does not use everyday (this needs to stay in the basement but I want to organize it better for them):

MomBasement2

My mom is feeling a bit stressed
from the clutter in the basement.  She feels guilty that she bought
some things for use in the house, but ran out of room.  Many of the
decorative items are not returnable.

I am thinking a yard sale might
be best to sell a lot of the things they don't need, and then they
could do something fun and spontaneous with the money.  That could
allow her to feel like the purchases were not a waste.

Progress Thus Far:

I mailed her some tags that I bought at Target to start tagging things that she knows she doesn't need, things she wants to keep, and things she is not sure about. When I go home over Thanksgiving, we are going to go through it all together.   I will likely return in the Spring to help them have the yard sale.

Help me!

I would love your help.  Do you think the process is right so far?   Any tips or pointers for the process, or do you have any advice on having a yard sale?  This is my first time, so welcome your expert input!  I look forward to keeping you updated on the progress!

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5 Responses to Please Help My Mom Get Her Basement Organized!

  1. Toni-Lynn October 2, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    Dear Mom,
    Don’t worry, my stuff looks like that too! :) lol
    Toni-Lynn

  2. lauren October 2, 2009 at 12:58 pm #

    Nerissa, great ideas! She lives far away from a post office (one disadvantage of rural Virginia), but I like the idea. Maybe I can volunteer to help her with some of that from Charlotte since I could ship it easier.
    I have heard of freecycle.org but haven’t tried it yet – this would be a good opportunity!

  3. Nerissa Marbury October 2, 2009 at 12:41 pm #

    The process sounds right. If you’re going to hold on to everything until the spring, I recommend photographing the items. This way you can post on Craigslist items you wish to get rid of sooner and people come to you. You could use eBay if you don’t mind being responsible for shipping even if the buyer is paying for it.
    Another option for the items you just want to get rid of is http://www.freecycle.org . This is a website the offers only items that are free. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills.
    You post and the people come and pick up from you unless you are kind enough to offer help with delivery.
    I hope this helps

  4. lauren October 2, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    Thanks Desiree. I am excited to see how it progresses too! I am going to visit in a week (just for a day), but I plan to do the big sorting work over Thanksgiving when I have more time.

  5. Mommy Reporter October 2, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    That seems to be an overwhelming job, but it looks like you have a good plan so far. I am not a professional organizer, but I am also curious to see how this all progresses. Good luck and please keep us posted!!

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