How to kill your monsters
Lately our major project has been the basement:
a huge, unfinished area full of all the stuff we didn't know what to do with. There's a floor-to-ceiling stack of servers and processors, a row of old computer monitors, multiple boxes of smaller computer parts, and stacks of computer books. That's just my husband's stuff. Then there's mine: two sets of dishes that I have no room for in my kitchen, fondue sets, vases, material scraps, old files and notebooks and papers, boxed-up baby clothes from 0-3 months to 3 years, my "before the first pregnancy" clothes, maternity clothes, and "in between the first and second pregnancy" clothes, and stacks of other, non-computer books. Then there is all the stuff we have accumulated for and from ongoing projects, such as countertop remnants, scrap lumber, unused 2x4s, dismantled shelving, a roll of insulation, a half-used bucket of drywall plaster, and many small drywall pieces.
I never pondered the idea of inanimate objects procreating until we had this basement. It - and all the stuff in it - has a life of its own. We've given away clothes and books, had a garage sale and donated the leftovers, sold furniture and household stuff online, and hauled away many loads of trash. Still the stuff just fills the space. Everytime I walked down the stairs to do laundry I just tried to overlook it. It has been so overwhelming to think about clearing out this space into something usable... until now.
I had to get frustrated enough with the mess and the waste before I was willing to take on the scary beast of a basement. It seemed such an enormous project that I felt like I needed to schedule hours and hours to it, and it is hard to find lots of excess hours just sitting around. Finally, driven by frustration to action of any kind, I just started tackling one small pile at a time. Joe set up some cabinets on one end of the largest room, and one by one I hauled out boxes, sorted through them, took out the nasty, worthless stuff, organized and arranged the good stuff, and put it all away in a cabinet or a nicely labeled box. Slowly I cleared out the storage space off the bedroom and returned my sorted and labeled boxes to it. Slowly I worked my way through the piles of stuff in the bedroom itself until I could see almost the entire floor again. Everyday a little more order appeared, a little more space, a little more progress.
Two days ago, with the help of a friend, I attacked the last of the bedroom to get it completely emptied and ready for use as an actual bedroom. It took us twenty minutes to clear out the rest of the clutter, remove the lumber remnants, hang a curtain over the storage area entrance, wipe down the walls, hang a curtain over the window, and sweep the floor. Twenty minutes!