Tackling The Clutter!!!

WARNING – this post is not pretty, but something I know most of us have to deal with every once in a while.  I decided to declutter my basement over the weekend and I can tell you that it is liberating now that it is behind me. I still have more to do, but this was one of the biggest problem areas in my house.

One of my readers Eileen, wrote to me after I posted about my resolution to “edit” more this year.  She simply stated that “clutter” is exhausting.  I could not agree with her more and had to start tackling some of the visual clutter in my house.   You may have noticed that I didn’t have a post last Friday. This is because I am sticking to my goal to edit, edit, edit.  It has taken me all weekend to get my basement back into shape.

Here are the “BEFORE” photos.


But wait – there’s more…Basement Clutter Zones 3, 4, and 5!

How to declutter your Basement

Yes – it is everywhere – the basement a.k.a… the dumping ground.  It was driving me crazy and I had to take the time to get it under control before I move onto anything else.  I had to make the decision to edit and keep at it to free my mind so I can concentrate on new projects. I edited – until I was left with this-

Basement organizing-After DIY Declutter

The furniture in the finished section of the basement is going to go to my daughters who will both be getting an apartment come Spring/Summer.  I plan on helping them paint the furniture to their liking and set them each up using lots of hand-me downs as well as some new stuff.  What they don’t want or use will then be donated. (Here are some links to those projects — Wooden Dresser, Corner Cabinet, Colorful Kitchen Chairs, Grandma’s Desk.)

Below is the unfinished section of the basement – for storage.  I still have lots of “stuff” as I am not sure if we will have to move or not and I may want some of these items.  Living in limbo is no fun.

Some of the stuff, I am sure my daughters will take – my youngest already has dibs on the big blue floor vase.  I know where everything is now and have separated it into departments so that when I go down to my basement now,  it will feel  like a shopping experience :)  All the florals and wreaths are hanging from the ceiling in marked bags – fall – spring, etc.  All my painting supplies are in the back corner and separated in baskets.  On the opposite side of this wall is a workbench and a wall of tools and a row of little cubbies of drawers for nails and stuff.  The fabric area – is hidden. It is under the steps in a little cubby area in the wall behind where the bags are hanging.

Basement organizing: How to Declutter

This metal shelf  (the leaning tower of craft) holds all crafty stuff that I use.  Each basket has a certain type of item in it.  I hate throwing any of this away, as it is the little bits and pieces that always come in handy when doing a project that save me a trip to Michaels or Lowes.  Since creating is my business – I need this stuff and hope to organize it better soon. I didn’t want to spend money to buy any new organizing totes – I just used what I had and still have a few empties on the top.

Basement organizing: DIY Declutter

Under all that clutter – there was a desk – a very pretty one that I found one afternoon while driving down a neighboring street.  It was placed at the curb in front of a house with a sign that said – FREE. I had to stop and take a look – it was perfect – except for the color – which I know some of you would like, but I have a new vision for it.

When the homeowner saw that I was interested, she came out of her house and helped me put it in my car. I told her I would give her some money for it, but she said, “No, please just take it – you are doing me a huge favor”.  As the saying goes – “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.


I love the shape and it has a big drawer in the front.  I plan on switching the big partner’s desk in my studioffice with this. (Check out the finished project here!)

Pretty Desk

I am sooooo excited about this project.  I plan on starting very soon.  If we have to move, I will have to stage my studioffice and the big desk would have to go anyway, so I am getting a head start.  If we stay, I will get to enjoy my newly designed space.

I have always wanted a pretty desk and am going to re-design my studioffice to try to get it closer to my vision of something like this.

Home Office - Domicile Interior Design  houzz

Or this-

Pretty home Office from House Beautiful

House Beautiful

All the unwanted clutter is bagged up and in my car. As soon as I press “POST” on my computer, I am off to the trash, consignment, and Goodwill to unload the bags and bags of stuff I cleaned out.

How are you doing on your resolution or word for the year?  If you would like to read about how others are trying to make their lives better you will find tons of inspiration over at The Lettered Cottage.  Layla is having a link up about “words” for the year.  Going through them makes you realize we are not alone in our quest to fulfill our goals and dreams so we can create better lives for ourselves.  I enjoyed reading them.

To see how I have decluttered elsewhere in the house check out here and here.

DIY: Declutter Your Basement


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  1. Declutttering is a major issue in my family. Especially where it comes to the point that at the end of the day you are just the step-mum. I tried having my step-kids get rid of stuff and I’m known as the bad guy. They have a bunch of stuff that just lies around the place and no one seems to be using them and I’m like “hey guys, would you like to donate this to an orphanage, kids there would really appreciate it” and the reply is “No!My mom gave me that, I can’t give it away” yea my bad. So we came to an agreement to have these stuff boxed and place in a storage. Thanks to A-1 Moving & Storage, the job was done and I can finally call my house a home.

  2. hi Diane!!!!
    oh my gosh..I think we’re long lost sisters! Right now I’m tackling my giant basement full of ten years of “stuff”, and let me say all really good stuff..of course noone else thinks so LOL. I recruited my two young teenage nieces the beginnng of the summer and we are still working on it. boy are they tough trying to get me to really get rid of some stuff. Funny how the word hoarding kept coming up!!!! We have had a lot of laughs this summer and are really making a dent in the organizing, it’s really starting to shape up. I had to laugh and really enjoyed your site when I stumbled upon it! I was starting to get weary and you have given me the final inspiration to finish up! Happy,happy crafting! XOXO denise

  3. Ah well at least I’m not alone : ) My garage and attic are so cluttered it makes me tired just to look at it! One day really soon I am just going to get up early, roll up my sleeves and tackle it. I know I will feel so much better once it is done.

  4. Hi Diane,

    Home Depot a while back used to cut glass, but you need the edges beveled and smoothed so they are not sharp to cut yourself. It is very expensive to have the glass made safe on the edges. I know, cause I wanted an expensive wall mirror I had for many years cut after it was broken by me barely falling into it while playing with my furry babies. Seems my walls have nothing behind them but the paneling….. grrrr.

    Well, I am so ashamed of my cluttered (more than cluttered) guest bedroom that I am really, really going to work on organizing it this week.

    I have a tiny concrete block house, on a concrete slab, in the shape of a rectangle. NO storage space at all. So, guess I will be making some hard decisions (for me anyway) of repurposing. I know I can clear some stuff in the linen closet, by making old towels into cleaning rags and such, but the kitchen……. I am sinking…….. forget the horrors of the guest room.

    Wish me luck and send me some spiritual energy?

  5. Oh that desk Diane, I loooove it! What a great find! I see it painted a glossy white with a glass piece cut to fit on top. I can’t wait to see what genius thing you do to it.

    You have inspired me to CLEAN OUT AND GET RID OF this weekend. I never thought your basement would look just like mine does but hey, you are human just like us.

    It really does feel so nice to clean out all the unwanted junk, it seem to clear the mind. The problem with me is that I drop my things off at Goodwill and then go inside to see if they have anything. Of course I leave with a bag full of goodies!

    1. Hi Denise-

      I am going to go to the glass place tomorrow to get an estimate for a piece of glass for the top. I think it is going to be expensive, but for what I want to do – I will have to splurge. I moved the desk up in my studioffice today and am sitting at it right now. Everything is moved around. It is a mess, but I am LOVING it – so much more room now that the partners desk is history. :( A little sad about that, it served me well. I will post a photo in tomorrows post. :)

  6. Oh boy…..you have now convinced me that it’s time for me to tackle the disaster lurking at the bottom of my basement stairs, Diane! lol! Hubby and I want to add a wall full of new shelves that we’re building ourselves (next month’s biggy project), so I need to get down there and start boxing things up and organizing. THEN I’ll have a nice section of shelves for the boxes to go on! Thanks for the nudge! :)

    xoxo laurie

  7. nice Diane!! I know it’s so hard to get started on these projects. Usually when I finally get in the mode to tackle something like this, I end up glossy eyed and overwhelmed. :) Good for you! That table was an amazing find, can’t believe you were able to nab it! It will be gorgeous, I’m sure.

  8. We have just moved at the beginning of the year and all my clutter is still in boxes :-) You can be assured that much of it will be given away and/or slated for a rummage sale as soon as the weather permits! Whoo hoo! Moving can be stressful (decisions about what to keep/what to throw) but it can be very liberating too! My husband and I are both in what I call “my season of wanting less” so we’re excited about de-cluttering big time :-)
    Love your post BTW!

    1. Hi Connie – I am so behind in getting back to everyone. You told me about a week ago how you painted a few pianos. Would love to know, but I think my hubs wants to keep it just the way it is. I like it so much better just with the color pop on the bench. I think some molding a new rug under it might make me happy.

      I agree with you about being in the season of wanting less. It feels rather good, doesn’t it? I have an attic full of stuff that is all boxed and labeled with items that my daughters had while growing up. If we move they will have to go up there and make some decisions. :)

  9. Diane, I am a huge fan of yours, and I can’t thank you enough for posting your basement pictures. It helps me to see that even you can have a cluttered basement, and you conquered it. I love the “departments.” I recently divided my purse into departments (office supplies, HBA, hardware, grocery, and one more I can’t think of right now) and I LOVE it! Hadn’t thought about it for the basement! Thank you, lovely lady!

    1. Hi Judy –
      Thanks XO I like that idea about organizing your purse into compartments. I am trying to find one I like with lots of pockets and zippered sections. When I find it I think I will do the same as you – divide and name each section. Smart!

  10. Doesn’t just make you feel so good when you get things back organized? Your basement are looks fabulous now and that desk is so pretty! Congratulations for accomplishing this task.

  11. Doesn’t just make you feel so good when you get things back organized? Your basement are looks fabulous now and that desk is so pretty! Congratulations for accomplishing this task.

  12. What a great job organizing your basement! I find the hardest part of any organizing job is staying focused on the task. I try to teach my clients to work on one area at a time so they do not feel overwhelmed and loose momentum. I am sure you feel fantastic each time you enter your basement to see it all in order!

    1. Hi Susan – It does feel good. The next step I need to do, is label the items on the craft shelf so I can reach in and find exactly what I need without any effort.

  13. Great job! I was planning to cleanup and declutter my basement this weekend, but everytime I walked down there I got so overwhelmed. You have just motivated me to get my booty down there and just get it done. I know I’ll feel so much better when it’s finished.

    1. Hi Lisa –

      It required a lot of effort on my part. I had to put aside other things that I wanted to do to get the basement de-cluttered. Once I started – then I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop until it was done. I now feel like I can move on and start fresh. My mind is free. I would like to organize things a little better on the shelves, but that will be for another day. :)

  14. I went through all that before we moved, Diane! Time consuming but it is definitely liberating. I did wind up donating quite a bit to Goodwill and my daughter, for her house. I love that desk! I can’t wait to see what you do to it. I can’t believe someone was just giving it away!

    1. Hi Kathy-

      I have been saving the furniture in my basement for my girls now for about 4 years. I will be happy to see it finally go to good use. I couldn’t believe the desk was on the curb either. Probably the best free find I have ever stumbled upon.

  15. I feel the same way about clutter and have been working on getting rid of it for awhile. I take everything to Goodwill or to my former school. Well, today I was looking for some baskets that I forgot I’d given away (back to school). While out shopping, I saw something else I could use in its place, but I resisted. I came home and found something I already had. No new stuff. Yay.

  16. I can certainly understand wanting to edit and get all of that cleaned up but I am so envious of all of you that have basements! That is something we don’t have in my area and so I am forever in need of storage! Love, love, love that table, I would of had to stop for that for sure!

  17. Wow, do you rent yourself out????? Our garage looks like all of your clutter zones and I feel so overwhelmed when I see everything. I need to go out there and just “do it” and then I can go out there and look at what I did with pride.

  18. Nice work. I find th at once decluttering is underway, it takes on a life of its own. The difficult part usually beginning! I took bags of stuff to Goodwill and the dump just last week when I cleaned out my craft/fabric closet.

    I like that you saved some crafty “little stuff.” Too often I read that “Everything must go!” if you haven’t used in in a year, and I don’t agree. For creative gals, a few buttons or a scrap of fabric can spark a new idea, or could save a trip to the Michaels, as you say.

    I don’t think you are far from the dream office space you are envisioning!

  19. I’m stuck. I have a pile of stuff to “sell” in the garage… but the fact is that I dread having a garage sale… because then I am reminded of how much $$ I wasted on all this stuff… and I can’t seem to decide to give it away to charity either… I’m stuck.

  20. Oh my! Your “before” pics of your basement looks similar to my “before” pics of my garage, lol. I haven’t been brave enough to post pics yet…but we have been working on creating “zones” in our garage, and have been making good (but slow) steps to get the space organized. I can’t wait till we are all finished! About a month ago, we took an entire trailer-full of “stuff” to Goodwill – so freeing!

  21. I am overwhelmed now with clutter. I get so overwhelmed that I will walk past it with anxiety when I really need to just dig in and take care of it. I plan to work on it this week. We have had a lot of health issues and deaths in the family in 2012 so life has been hectic. With things being cluttered at home, I am stressed with everything else. So I am kicking myself to get out of this chair and blogging to start working on the clutter! Thanks for the inspiration!