“How did this happen? I don’t understand how the basement got so cluttered! ” I went into the basement the other day with a client to see how much was down there and what need to be done before they need to move and these were her comments to me.
Taking a few minutes to look around I quickly saw part of the reason the basement was so cluttered. There were three toaster ovens and other small appliances, multiple boxes of old children toys, and multiple racks with dusty hanging garment bags. There was also a tool bench with old lamps (waiting to be re-wired), tools that haven’t been used in years, along with scraps of wood piled high next to the bench. Since the laundry room is upstairs my clients have rarely gone down to the basement, and when they do it is to bring down something they no longer want or need upstairs.
So the quick answer is this did not happen overnight. Moving is already a stressful time so cleaning out and giving up items you have accumulated only adds to the stress. This is when tough love comes into the picture. I have to walk a fine line with people to tell them they cannot move these items. Since they are downsizing, they won’t have room and they are not worthwhile to keep. It is extremely difficult to tell people the items they lovingly placed in the basement for safe keeping are worthless and they need to let them go.
Three tips to avoid tough love;
- Start planning and organizing as soon as you decide when you will be moving. It is never too early!
- Start slowly and allow time to reminisce and relive the memories as you go through things.
- Think about how and where you are going to distribute all the stuff you cannot bring with you
If not, be prepared for tough love, whether from your family, friends, or a paid professional. Don’t feel guilty — you are not alone. Most of us are in the same situation — some are worse than others!