I have a dirty little secret and you must promise not to judge me. It’s my basement. It was a very scary place until recently. It was the kind of mess that puts you in a bad mood. The type one acquires with 10 years of dropping off “stuff” that you aren’t sure what to do with. Maybe you know what I mean…
- The stuff you want to sell but don’t have time to list. 😩
- Boxes you never opened after your move… 10 years ago!
- Personal files from 100 years ago 😳
- Your grown kids’ craft projects from kindergarten 😢
- Accumulated craft supplies for project ideas that never became reality.
- Other people’s junk that even THEY don’t know what to do with! 😬
If you’re stressed out by out by now and thinking of similar places in your own home, then you know exactly how I felt! I was too overwhelmed to get started, let alone make any progress on cleaning and organizing my basement. But notice my use of past tense verbs! That disaster is a thing of the past. Let me tell you why!
Enter Suzanne, of Happily Decluttered
I met Suzanne in a business networking group. When she introduced her business in our facebook group, I thought, “What a great idea!” I said hello and we exchanged a few messages. A short time later we found ourselves seated at Panera Bread discussing life and entrepreneurship over coffee. I learned that Happily Decluttered began as a COVID project. What started as a blog offering advice online had grown into a start-up business serving clients with a variety of ways to declutter their homes and keep them that way.
Suzanne needed business photos to help tell the story of what she does at Happily Decluttered. I had a basement in desperate need of her decluttering and organizing skills. We had the perfect setup for an exchange of services.
Becky’s Decluttering Session
So Suzanne invited me to join her at an in person decluttering session. It gave me a chance to see and capture her in action. I listened as Becky and Suzanne discussed how the family uses different rooms in their home and what’s important to each of them.
I noticed that Suzanne didn’t weigh in on which items should stay and go. Instead, she made suggestions for approaching each area, then worked beside Becky to get it done. She kept the whole process moving quickly! They set some items aside for family members to weigh in on later, repurposed furniture and filled large boxes with donations. Suzanne would drop them off on her way home. Each room came together with surprising speed.
Function trumps beauty when decluttering
As nice as everything looked as they finished up each space, Suzanne explained that her job isn’t about making a spaces picture perfect, but instead she aims to make them truly functional. Before I left we looked at a few areas they’d be tackling in later sessions. A sun porch/office, a play room for her daughter, a shared bathroom… Becky and Suzanne had been working through the entire house a few rooms at a time.
Online Tips and Inspiration
At home I read through the Happily Decluttered Blog and it got me itching to clean out every corner of my house. I tackled some of my drawers and closets and started to think differently about adding “stuff” to my life and home. I found myself letting go of a lot of things. I’d tackle a dresser or a closet when I had 30 minutes to spare. I adopted the practice of getting rid of at least one item (shoes, a coffee mug…) when I added a new one.
But my basement was still a big problem. And it was just too overwhelming. I knew I needed Suzanne’s help, in person for this job, or it might never get done. So last Sunday Lisa and Suzanne combined forces and attacked the beast that
is WAS my basement.
Decluttering my own Basement
We descended my basement steps, and I showed Suzanne the ugliest part of my home. There was enough space to walk through, but not much more. Honestly, It was embarrassing, but Suzanne wasn’t phased. I told her how I’d like to see things organized, and she recommended we start with the area that would be easiest for me to sort and decide what was staying and going.
Working with Suzanne made things go really fast! You’d think that two people would would work twice as fast, but I feel like it would have taken me FOUR times as long to accomplish the same work Suzanne and I crushed together.
After four hours together, we packed up 1 full size truck bed, 1 full size SUV with the seats down, and another 1/4 load in the SUV for donation. We had 4 contractor bags of trash plus a few big boxes loaded up with things to throw away. With so much space cleared, I put up two new shelving units and organized everything on them with room to spare.
There’s plenty of floor space to walk around and we can easily see and reach everything we have. I can’t remember the last time it looked this nice. In fact it probably never did. Suzanne advised that I tackle the hardest stuff last, so soon I will work on going through my personal memorabilia and old files, then the many boxes of printed photos and negatives from my pre-digital days!
If you have a space that you dread even looking at, I urge you to give Suzanne a call. She will help you conquer your mess in no time at all! You will thank me for introducing her, and agree that your time and money were SO well spent! Suzanne offers her services through workshops, vision sessions and virtual sessions, and her most popular offer is her in-person decluttering sessions.
If you’re wondering about brand photography, I’d love to help you with that! 😊