Oct 6, 2009

The Unfinished Part.

It has a cement floor.
It consists of piles.
The Baird children claim it scares them which is why they only have just enough time to dash in there, tear open boxes until they find what they are looking for, and then bolt out.
It is the room in the house with the most #10 cans in it.

Have you guessed that I am blogging about my basement today? Not the finished part of the basement..... the unfinished part. The part that has desperately been begging for my attention. The part that will definitely not be photographed in the Pottery Barn basement catalog any time soon. (no, don't get excited they do not have a basement catalog :)

So our poor basements 22 months of neglect is about to change. I can feel it. Last weekend the man of the house made shelves for my basement. It involved loads of cussing but it is done. I have 6 new shelves anxiously waiting for me to fill them. It is a little out of my character to not already have them filled but I have a small confession I am not sure how to start. I have taught close to 9 million organization classes throughout the years so I KNOW how to start I just can't.

I know what is in those boxes. Decisions. Loads of decisions. Things that are going to involve owning lots of page protectors and binders and Rubbermaid boxes. And then after the decisions are made I have to swear to the man who made the shelves that we will never need any of the stuff that he is going to have to cart to the dump.

I am not a saver. Any of you who have ever been to my house know that I do not save things. It is very unusual that at this very moment there are 4 empty baby food containers in the cupboard in the kitchen that do not have a purpose. That is how much I save things. But there are things in the basement that I have saved. Things that I feel like I am ready to admit I do not have a purpose for.

There are boxes of clothes. You know the kind, the ones someone in the house is going to grow into. But then you accidentally forgot they were going to grow into it. Or stuff they did grow into but don't like. It is time for it all to go. I started going through it all a couple months ago but company came to visit and it ended up piled in Brian's "man room" then it spent some quality time spread all over the basement play room. It was a painful time. Anytime I went to face it it involved finding a Baird child, making them try things on, listening to them complain, and trying to convince them that what I finally got them to try on was indeed the cutest thing I had ever seen only to have them declare they hated it. The aforementioned clothes ended up in enormous black trash bags that I have to use all my body weight to push across the floor. They just cause me trouble every time any Baird child acquires a new item of clothing because then I have to avoid eye contact with the husband who is thinking constantly about the 4 enormous black bags of clothes in the basement. They are definitely, "the elephant in the room"and they are going to make Goodwill extremely happy.

Then there is....read this in your whisper voice..... boxes of kids papers. My policy is to only save creative papers from school. GEESH do you know how many creative papers 7 kids can crank out? I need them to immediately stop being creative. Not only that I really need all creative papers to only be 8 1/2 by 11 so they can fit easily into page protectors. Is it wrong to beg the teachers to please stop sending home anything creative that I might want to save that is unusually sized?

There are other boxes of papers. Oh drat did I just tell you that? It is true. Oh so many more boxes of papers. I used to have a system. But I am not sure where that system has run off to. I do need to sort through boxes of instructions and bills and thank you notes and so much more. And I just can't imagine doing it without purchasing sharpies, file folders, stickers, 10 file cabinets and 3 new CD's to listen to while dealing with it.

There are unfinished craft projects. There I finally said it out loud. The truth is.....I am a wannabe craft queen. I am fascinated with all the parts of crafting. The colorful fabric, the ribbon, the colorful fabric, the patterns, the colorful fabric. I just can't seem to put it all together into a finished project. I thought I was a failure if I did not craft. So through out the years I have sewn my own curtains. I have sewn kid clothes. I have made quilts. But can I tell you it is hard for me. My brain is a rule oriented brain. If you give me a pattern or instructions by darn I have to do exactly what it says......every word...that is not a craft girl brain. So I have an unfinished table runner. I have unfinished cross stitch. I have unpainted wood. And I am throwing it all out. And I am acknowledging that I have different talents.....what they are I am not sure but I am sure they are here.

The last decisions in the basement are things people I care about have given me but I never use. I am so sorry about these things. I know it is hard to give gifts to people. I know you have something in your basement that I gave you that you are afraid I might ask about someday. Well just get rid of whatever it is because I am doing the same. I really like you and I understand that we never see each other so when you have my name for Christmas you send me something I don't understand but save because I feel bad.

So by next weekend what will be in my basement?

My food storage
My Christmas decorations
One box of Easter eggs
Boxes of fabric organized by color
Two Rubbermaid boxes per child of their personal papers...they can scrapbook their own stuff
when they grow up :)
One file cabinet with organized, labeled manila folders inside :)
One box of all notes I have ever received in the mail
One container of Halloween costumes
One box of winter clothes
and last but not least the 6 boxes full of my love letters :) HAHA


Marty Countryman said...

You should think about having a garage sale. It would be a great way to use yuor organizing skills and talent. Think of the fun you could have putting clothes and things on a table marked 25 cents each (or 2 for $1.00, make me an offer, etc). You can donate the money to a charity or save if for future school or team fund raisers.

Camie said...

Jen--do you have craigslist in your area?? You wouldn't believe the kinds of things people are looking for on craigslist! Or ebay or garage sales, or second hand kids clothes stores. You could definitely make some spending money for yourself in this project! At least enough to pay for all the bins you might be needing! By the way, I'm teaching a home organization class in a few weeks (YIKES!) Do you have any words of wisdom to share??

Kristy said...

When I am cleaning and organizing, I always think of you to motivate myself. In fact, sometimes I pretend that I actually AM Jenn Baird so I won't be afraid to take things to Goodwill.

Kristy said...

p.s. I like the new font size!

Anonymous said...


Thank you.. I don't have a basement and you have just described my last three weeks. It was supposed to take a week at most because we move so much it really couldn't be that much- but it is endless! AT least I know I am not alone, from the boxes of school keepsakes, to forgotten craft projects, to old clothes...it feels so good to be not alone.