When we finished our basement, we created three rather large closets around the typical basement plumbing and "stuff". For the last five or so years that those closets have been finished I've struggled with an organization system for at least two of them. The third has a system but you wouldn't know it from looking at it.
I also have another confession to make, I'm a little bit of a paper hoarder. These basement closets are where I hoard my papers. This past week I needed to pull out our tax information from the last two years for the bank (we're refinancing). Should be relatively easy, right? It wasn't, took me a while to find the appropriate file. If anything happened to me my husband would have a dickens of a time laying his hands on what he would need.
Since my mom's incident last month, I've been trying to prepare ourselves for medical emergencies. On my list of items to accomplish was getting all of our paperwork in order. Of course to get our paperwork in order I first needed to go through the closet, make sure all the paperwork is together, get rid of what we don't need and then reorganize the closet. Whew, I'm tired just thinking about all the work!
As usual, when I start an organization project I sit down and ask myself what my fundamental problems are with the area. Here are the problems with the closet I tackled this week.
- To much stuff haphazardly stacked on top of each other
- Unnecessary paperwork mixed in with necessary paperwork not filed in any sort of order
- No sustainable process for keeping important papers appropriately filed
- Homeless items in the closet
I don't actually have a picture of the closet before due to the fact that I started pulling out everything when looking for my tax information but here is a picture of the stuff strewn all over the basement. Because everything is pulled out and scattered it looks a little worse than it really was.
After pulling everything out I started sorting it into piles. The basic piles were kitchen items/dishes, Christmas wrapping/boxes, paperwork, books. While I was going through I really debated whether I needed to keep the items or not. I kept the crystal from our wedding even though we don't use it (maybe we'll use it more since I can get at it easier) but I got rid of the lemonade maker that has sat in the closet for four years.
I went to Lowes and found a heavy duty shelving unit that my son put together for me. My plan is to get at least one, possible two more for the closet. Here is my halfway picture where I've started putting items back. This isn't a great picture but it gives you the general idea of what I plan to do. There's a drain in the middle of the floor so I can't move the shelf all the way to the wall, however my husband thinks we can squeeze another one in to make an L shape. I probably won't buy the other shelf until next week so we'll see about that.
Today I took a half day off work and I've been going through paperwork. I'm putting all the papers that I don't need in a box which I will take to work and shred one of these days. Sometimes banks or other local businesses have collection days where you can bring in papers to be shredded. Our bank just did that last weekend but I wasn't ready then. Papers that I want to keep I'm putting together to develop some kind of filing system.
Here is what I still need to do for stage one.
- Develop filing system for my paperwork, may include buying a filing cabinet
- Buy a heavy duty shredder
- Develop better wrapping paper/box system
- Finish putting items away
- Label boxes so I know what is inside (without opening the lid)
I'll be linking this up over at I'm an Organizing Junkie and A Slob Comes Clean
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