We’re in the process of doing some much needed renovations on our house, which include redoing the flooring in our basement (which is one of our main living areas). It’s had very cheap carpeting for almost 12 years, and it’s damaged and stained and we’re finally putting in a non-carpet option, which will be much easier to keep clean. But to do the flooring, that means that we have to clear everything out of the basement. Our basement is also our storage area – and let’s just say it’s pretty darn cluttered with things we’ve accumulated over the past decade. So now we have to go through everything and we’re deciding what to keep and what we should discard.
Things that Have Use
One big problem we have in deciding what to keep and what to get rid of is that we have a lot of things that still have use – kitchen items we ended up with duplicates of, items that we use infrequently, things along those lines. These items have use, even if we’re not using them now. So it’s hard to just get rid of them because we might need them, right?
Since we’ve had to move everything out of the space, we’re trying to be a bit ruthless about what we keep and what we get rid of. One tip I heard recently was if you don’t use it often, can’t remember the last time you used it, and it is going to cost you less than $20 to re-buy it, get rid of it. You don’t need it that much. I think this is an excellent tip. For example, I have a springform pan sitting in my basement. It’s still in the original packaging. I can buy one new for $10. I can’t tell you when I bought it and clearly I’ve never used it. I have no plans to bake anything that requires a springform pan. Should I need one in the future (which is unlikely), I can just buy a new one. Yes, that is planning to spend money, but I will be freeing up space in the house. And this is just one small example.
I will be honest – we are going to end up hanging on to way more than we need to. But every thing we get rid of is a positive change.
Things with Sentimental Value
One of the biggest things taking up space in our storage is holiday decorations. We love holidays in this house, and we have a lot of holiday decorations. This past Christmas, I took the time to go through some of what we owned and tried to pare down, but there is so much sentimental value attached to so many things that it was difficult to decide to get rid of things. I’m sure as time goes on, I will be able to part with more, but right now, so much just holds so much value in my heart.
One piece of advice that I follow regarding sentimental items is to go through them somewhat regularly. Something that I really value today might be something that I’m willing to be rid of two years from now.
Stuff You Just Need
Another big section of our storage is things we just need for household use. We don’t have a garage or a shed, so part of our storage is taken up with all of those things that often end up in those types of storage spaces. These are general things that we need for household maintenance, tools and other sorts of things, as well as spare light bulbs and things like that. We try to not have too much and still can absolutely pare down the amount that we have in the space, but there are some things that are just going to need to stay in the house.
We’ve certainly known the need to clear out was coming, and we began to clear out a few things, but then we sort of stalled out. And now it looks like the rest of the work is going to happen very soon – so we need to get moving. Here’s hoping that the time crunch encourages us to get rid of more than we might otherwise have.
- Decluttering With Mercari
- Five Signs You Are Overly Frugal
- Expensive Tools You Can Just Rent From Home Depot
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.