Basement & Attic Decluttering & Organization Bonus

It’s here! The most exclusive, and most requested area to go through the Completely Organized & Clutter Free series! We’re organizing & making your entire basement and attic space clutter free today and it’s going to be the easiest place you’ve ever decluttered.

(Big, but so easy, you’ll think you’re cheating.)

One of the biggest mistakes that I see over and over is the clutter-hiding habit. I was guilty of letting myself pile everything in the basement, in the attic, anywhere that had a door and wasn’t in my way.

In fact, I still really resist this urge today of “just put it in the…” wherever I can’t see it! It takes practice, but it’s achievable.

Just like my closets, my basement and attic (well, crawl space attic) turned into massive ground-zero for clutter. Totes, boxes, papers, everything that I didn’t want to deal with got shuffled into a place where I didn’t frequently pass by.

These storage places can take on a life of their own and be really inhibiting if they just end up catching all of the clutter from more used spaces. Pretty soon, these spaces turn into their own problems and the cycle repeats of shuffle clutter, organization, rinse and repeat.

Once I finished my run on the Completely Organized & Clutter Free series, I went down to my basement to do laundry and bam. The truth hit me right upside the head.

Why was my upstairs the only thing allowed to go through this process? Why was I still dealing with clutter downstairs and why was I letting it?

I wanted to tackle this space with the same precision as I did for the rest of the house, so I went through these areas in the most effective way possible.

Without further ado, let’s get started!

Don’t forget your checklist!

Don’t forget to grab your quick reference checklist that goes with this exclusive post!

This checklist will help you to stay on track when you’re in the middle of going through your room. Along with keeping you focused, this checklist will also help to pin-point how you want this room to function and how it needs to work for your lifestyle.

Checklist Prep Work & Planning

When we moved house, we didn’t have an attic or basement, everything we owned was right with us in our space. Needless to say, everything went into the basement and attic that we could put there. No room in the closet? Put it downstairs!

It’s a lot of stuff, I know. But we’re going to take this bit by bit just like the rest of the series!

Take some time to write out your checklist before you dive into your basement/attic.

Each section has simple, easy to follow ways to get the most out of your time and your energy, so your organization and decluttering won’t be unnecessarily taxing.

These methods will help you to better understand where you need the most function and what can be taken out to clear for space.

Gathering Up Items

Any time you’re tackling a big decluttering project, take a walk around the rest of your house before you begin. Look for anything related to your basement or attic that may have snuck into another room.

If you’re not sure, take your checklist with you and refer to the top three functions you listed for your basement or attic.  

Psst - If you forget an item or there’s something hidden in a drawer, don’t worry, you can always move these back to it’s place later! Just focus on grabbing the plain sight ones.

The same “rehoming” goes for anything that made it’s way into your basement/attic that could be repurposed elsewhere. Set those items that aren’t listed on your checklist where they belong or set them out of the way for now.

Take a look at your top three functions to see what you want your basement/attic to store for you. It’s easy to overthink it, but just remember to keep it simple.

Once everything is gathered up and shuffled in or out of your basement/attic, it’s time to dive into some sorting!

Categorizing & Sorting

On your checklist, there are several lines to list out categories for your items. If you’re finding some things difficult to categorize, remember to keep it simple.

It’s so easy to overthink and list out all of these micro-categories of what’s in your basement/attic.

Don’t try to overthink it and it’s okay not to have everything in one category in your basement/attic. As long as you get the bulk of the category in a close-range in your basement/attic, you’re doing well!

Anytime you’re decluttering or about to clear some serious clutter, think of this time as a way to start big and begin working smaller and smaller once you’ve completed a big round.

If you’re pressed for time and still want to sort through clutter, my biggest tip is to take it category by category. When you categorize your items before you sort and declutter them, you give yourself “built-in” breaks to pause or pick up easily without a big mess.


Now it’s time to sit down and go through one category at a time. To keep it simple and time effective, stick with one category instead of trying to do all of it all at once. Give yourself some breathing room and no need to rush.

Whichever category you choose is up to you! Usually, I’ll start with my largest one so I can get it out of the way. Eat the frog, right? But you can start small and work up to your big categories!

On your first category, we’re going to use a two-bin sort for our decluttering method to begin. This method works well because it’s more effective then multiple sorting categories right off of the bat.

For your first major round of decluttering, two bin keeps it simple and doesn’t send you into decision overwhelm. Yuck.

If you are working on a category that is seasonal or just not used frequently, I always go back to the basics of “Do you use it?” and “Do you like it?”

For example, let’s say that you have a category of Fall Decorations. Once you’ve gathered up everything fall from every hiding space, take a look at everything in front of you.

Were there some items that you just haven’t used in forever? Is there a reason you’re not using it? Can you fix this reason?

If you’re on the fence, remember to be realistic and clear out that emotional clutter before throwing in the towel. Don’t get discouraged if you’re getting hit with a lot of baggage during this storage decluttering.

Take a breath, and work through the two questions while you’re in the moment: “Do you use it?” and “Do you like it?”

If you’re decluttering a clothes category, keep it simple with the two-bin sorting system of “Daily Use” and “Not Used” for your first round.

The best way to declutter clothes for me is to pick out what has been through the laundry. If you’re the sole launderer in your house, this is a memory game on top of your decluttering.

You’re looking for “what did I actually wear” in these clothes.

Laundry is an easy way to decipher what you wore! If you have a lot of clothes that you want to wear but haven’t, they will go into the other pile to be further sorted out.

Once you get these sorted out, look at what’s left.

Organizing your Basement/Attic

Organizing is my long time passion. It sounds a bit cheesy, but I’ve always been someone who really enjoys organizing.

I love when things are exactly where I need them to be and takes the frustration out of running all over trying to find it. When we talk organizing, that’s the feeling that I’m absolutely obsessed with. That feeling of never having to worry if I have to fight over twenty other things to get something that I use frequently.

Ah, what a goal, right?

That’s the type of organization that I want you to think of for this part. We’re going to deep dive into really going back to what you need and how you want your bedroom to function.

On your checklist, we’re going to look back at what you want this room’s functions to be as well as how you mapped out your basement/attic. Take some time to look over these two points to see where you need wiggle room to maneuver and where you need something to function and store.

First, let’s start with your bulky items, so you can get the major parts out of the way first.

I’m always a lot more successful when I get the main pieces in the room down first instead of working in the smaller pieces after I set down one big piece.

Always start with a category that’s not a daily use storage or daily use when it’s in season. The hard to reach places are your first places to put a category that isn’t used as frequently but is still wanted and needed.

These spots could hold a memorabilia category or a family category like family items, old photo-albums, the items that are special but are best left tucked away for now.

Once your hard to reach spots are organized the way that you like, now move on to a daily use category or onto the next storage spot, depending on how you wrote out your categories.

What can we organize & declutter next?

Don’t forget to grab your quick reference checklist that goes with this!

This checklist will help you to stay on track when you’re in the middle of going through your room. Along with keeping you focused, this checklist will also help to pin-point how you want this room to function and how it needs to work for your lifestyle.

When you’re ready to move onto your next room, don’t forget to check out the main page for The Completely Organized and Clutter Free Series here.

On this page, you’ll find each room and its corresponding article. Need some time to decompress from this project? Each room is independent, so it doesn’t rely on completing one room before or after another. When you’re ready, start your next decluttering and organization project here!

To help you after your initial declutter and organization, I’ve also compiled everything you need to keep your house clutter free and organized without having to do big projects like this often.

In the Completely Organized & Clutter Free Companion Guide, I’ve compiled everything you need to break bad habits that lead to disorganization and clutter, as well as the tools you’ll need to stay proactive in keeping your house sacred.

From customizable calendars, detailed checklists, to a beautiful organizational binder that will finally get your storage areas under control, the Completely Organized & Clutter Free Companion Guide is made to help you build up lifelong habits to keep your house functional and headache free.

Psst – This companion guide also has a whole section for keeping your basement and attic organized! Like seriously organized without any effort!

Patricia HancockComment