Thursday, June 07, 2007

Dirty Little Secret

Ok, it's not so little.

I don't let people outside my immediate family in my basement. Ever. When we have company, I pretend that we don't even have a basement.

When they ask what the door leads to, I tell them it's decorative.

If the furnace needs service, I blindfold the repairmen and tell them I'm taking them on a treasure hunt. If they don't run screaming from the house, they're probably disappointed I didn't spank them with the big hairbrush down in my dungeon.

Do I have some kind of mutant child chained up down there? Bodies of brats who've tormented my kid over the years?


The basement is a massive pig sty, and has been since we moved in.

Do you have a room or even a drawer where you toss stuff to get out of your sight, and plan to deal with later?

I did that for 10 years in an entire section of a house! I just never got around to "dealing" with it.

So for this year's spring cleaning, I decided to tackle the basement. I couldn't stand it any more.

And let's just say hubby motivated me by his vow to clean out HIS crap-catching area, the garage.

For the last week, Little Guy and I have been plowing through piles and piles of stuff. Big Kid has been hiding under his bed, just in case we find any mice (this is the kid who left a room knee-high full of food garbage when he went to college and came home to a mouse nest in his underwear drawer which he didn't discover for WEEKS).

Little Guy is fearless. He's earning money for a bigger TV. He'd probably eat rocks for a bigger TV. The prospect of a couple of lil' meeses didn't phase him a bit.

Among the treasures we found?

An entire box of catalogs from about 7 years ago. WTF?

A pair of hubby's light blue satin disco roller shorts from the 70's. he he he

A mystery box full of rusty pots and pans from our previous house. What in the world were we thinking?

Some Time magazines from the Reagan Era.

A bunch of savings bonds my dad bought the boys about 11 years ago. I guess I had an attack of CRS, because I completely forgot about them.

2 mattresses and 3 box springs. How does that happen? Do they multiply in the dark like rabbits? And where's the 3rd matching mattress? Did the others attack it and eat it?

47 pillar candles I bought from Hobby Lobby after Xmas around 12 years ago when they were 25 cents each. Yeah, since we moved into a log house, we don't have much interest in open flames.

A complete bedroom set (even more actually, because there's twin headboards AND the canopy bed) of French Provincial furniture from Sears circa 1974 in lovely condition. What in the world am I going to do with that? It's good solid stuff, but it's not like it's Chippendale. Save it in case I have granddaughters? Eek.

The best find was in the bottom of a box of toys my mom sent over (probably the same time she sent the bedroom furniture). It was some vintage Barbie clothes and accessories---and one fairly hard-to-find dress---in pristine and crisp condition. I don't remember ever playing with them (prolly why they're in such great shape). I admit it! Even though I wear killer bunny slippers, I'm still a girly-girl at heart! I collect vintage Barbies!

We did find some ancient dog poo, but thankfully, no meeses or poops of meeses.

We ended up using 40---I'm serious!---18 gallon tubs to organize the mess. And it looks like we're going to have a huge garage sale sometime this summer. Whew!

Now on to the laundry area.....

Thanks so much for your encouragement during my breakdown. Got my assignments in on time and some of my equilibrium back. You guys are the best!


Beth said...

I was so thrilled to see your "before" pictures - and then what a downer to see the "after" ones. Maybe I'm inpsired. (Maybe.)
Our basement makes me want to weep - full of stuff from kids coming home from university and, yeah, even some boxes of old National Geographic magazines.
It would be worth tackling if I could find a Barbie treasure like you did!

golfwidow said...

Wait ... is that a WHALE?

Sven said...

Seriously!?! Two Barbie airplanes? I haven't seen one of those things in years.

My sister's shared one and played with it all the time. I imagine you could get big money for those.

Rootietoot said...

You are The QUEEN! The before and after photos are incredibly inspiring. You should be on HGTV.

Brenda said...

I don't have a basement, my office and my closet are my overflow areas. Makes me weep but my organizational skills are nonexistant.

Your basement looks GREAT! Wish I lived near enough to come to your garage sale.

KL said...

I agree with Brenda! I wish I was close enough for that garage sale too!! Maybe you should have an online garage sale! LOL

Pete said...

i'd have a sale too!!

Em said...

You made me feel so good!!! My basement looks just like your "before" photos....and I had given up hope. But you actually pulled it maybe we can too!

Jennifer McK said...

Um, I don't have a basement. Your before pictures pretty much resemble several rooms in my house.
*hangs head in shame*

Mike M said...

Great blog!! I will be back for more


Mamma said...

Hmmm. I just got the same comment from Mike M. on my blog...

But back to business.

There is so much here that has me laughing that I don't know where to begin.

A drawer? Try my room!

Eat rocks for a larger TV? BWAHHH!

All those good finds? Bonus!

You tackled your mess? Wanna come see my room?

Way to go! That takes major motivation.

Blogarita said...

This is so much like our basement. I don't know how many of those totes we have. At least 40. They're awesome as moving boxes as well as for storage.

Looks great!

Miss Litzi said...

Hi Attila,
Whoa! Your organizational skills really came into play in swamping out the basement. It’s amazing the things we keep, thinking “someday these might be useful” and then forget about them for eons.

This post is very timely; last week I declared a moratorium on any frivolous activities until I’ve cleared out and sorted through closets, cabinets, dressers, garage, and the attic. Your “before and after” pictures prove that with a lot elbow grease, the task is not only doable but well worth the effort. Maybe I’ll uncover a few hidden treasures along the way like you two did.

Your post was like a Revival Meeting for “packrats anonymous”. Thanks!

carmachu said...

Currently its our library is the dumping ground. But since its to be the newborn's room...time to get cracking.

You guys did a great job!

Anna Nemuz said...

I should get my mom to get her store (it's an extra room to dump all your packrat things --we don't hav basement or an attic --you'd b consider an alien if u have one where I come from) clean up since the last time I went there, I nearly got lost.

But knowing my mom, she'd hire her minions (neighbor's kids straying around her house --age 5-11 yrs old) and she'd just sit on her lounging chair with her feet on the table and smoking cigar with a lazy smile on her face --- kidding!

Heather said...

congrats on the basement AND your assignments! i am so damn impressed with you :]
have a good weekend!

Joe said...

You're not the only one facing the mess. I've got seven bags of clothes in the garage ready to go to charity. Box by box I'm going through stuff,as is the wife. Most all of its going in the dump. In a way, its liberating.

Eileen said...

This was too funny! I can so relate. The sad thing is our new house has 2 basements now and they are both filling up just as quick. I am very impressed and inspired my your organizational skills, it really looks good. Did you label the boxes? Hey, I had that Barbie Camper, back in the 70's, it was one of my favorites. I bought one for Hannah on E-Bay, she just didn't get it. She tried to act excited, but I could tell she did not love, love, love it like I did. Oh, well, guess you should not try to relive your childhood through your children, especially stubborn ones. Thanks for sharing, made me smile. XOXO

yerdoingitwrong said...

um, can you come over here?

Kim Ayres said...

I can see a small fortune to be made on eBay

Brenda said...

Whoa, I just read what Anna nemuz wrote,,,,hire kids,,sit back and watch,,,why haven't I thought of that?

Ashley's Mom said...

How far do you live from Virginia? Do you rent out your organizational services? I need you.....

Anonymous said...

Good job on the organizing. I hate to organize. My sister loves it and comes to my house once a year for a month and gets it all straightened out for me.

I look in my garage and sometimes feel like just moving out. Selling the house and include everything in the garage.

OneEar said...

Look on the bright side. No bodies.

Pendullum said...

WOW! you have the camper can!!!!

Krishanna Spencer said...

HEY! Is that where all the ancient Barbie accessories went? Didn't think anyone would notice the Malibu Barbie Dream Van or the airplane cabins, did you? Heh, heh.

mia said...

I am freaking out looking at the Barbie Camper. I drove mine to thousands of unknown destinations around the world in my backyard. Barbie and Ken would stop, roll out the orange plastic awning (taped together in a million places) and plop down in their lawn chairs to admire the view. Then Barbie would leave Ken(who was a major woos) behind for exciting adventures in the jungles of suburbia. Good times, good times.

phlegmfatale said...

OMG - well done, YOU! Sometimes I feel like my entire house is a catch-all area. I saw the Barbie Camper and oh, how the memories flooded back! It was my pride and joy, and my only big Barbie accessory ever. Cool stuff.

Gonzo said...

Ever considered opening a "Museum of the 20st Century" with all that? :)

Stinkypaw said...

Wow! Nice job you did! Must feel jsut great to go through it all and remember stuff along the way. You go you girly-girl!