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Tips on Cleaning Out your Basement

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The dreaded basement. There is a reason why, for many, this is the tarmac of the house, where items wait in taxi, sometimes for years, before they finally reach their final destination. Whether that is a couch that needs donating, or a cracked TV that needs to be thrown in the dumpster, there is no shortage of things that can be inconveniently stashed in this often forgotten space.

However, you may want to turn that basement into something more useful, like a recreation room, or a grandmother apartment. Therefore, it may be time to rent a dumpster, inventory everything that you may want to keep, sell, donate, or trash, and get to hauling. Here are some steps to make this process easier.

  1. Figure Out Where to Put Everything

The first thing you want to do when removing the garbage, and trash from your basement, is to figure out where to put it. A good idea is to rent a dumpster, rather than hauling it all to the dump load by load. Many times dumpster companies have arrangements with the dumps, therefore, it may not be much of a difference in cost between hauling things yourself, or having a dumpster rental company do it for you. Plus, it will save you time, headaches, and a dirty car that you may have to clean after the fact.

  1. Take Inventory

The second thing you want to do is take inventory of everything. A decrepit box may actually contain some important items that you forgot that were down there. It could contain old memories, such as photos, or old children’s toys. It also may contain something more important, like land deed information, or other important documents. Therefore, it’s a smart idea to take your time when going through things – you never know what you may throw out.

  1. Color Code

An easy way to know what to discard, and what not to, is to color code the items. This can be done either with post-it notes, colored sharpies, or stickers. Green can mean good, and red can mean trash. Yellow can mean questionable. You can also have other designations for actions like donate, or sell.

  1. Ask Questions

A good question to ask yourself is when was the last time you used this. If you can’t remember, it’s at least a yellow “maybe” sticker. 
Another good question to ask is, “Has this item been replaced?” Sometimes you lose things, and buy new ones. Other other times you upgrade. No need to have an inferior version of something. Sometimes it’s also good to ask yourself if someone else could benefit from the item more than you if you’re on the fence.

  1. Discard Trash

Even though this is obvious, it needs to be said – remove all your trash. If you see a moldy couch, or boob tube TV with a cracked screen, give it a toss in the dumpster. A bag of water damaged stuffed animals? In the trash it goes! That lamp with a twisted neck, or tattered lamp cover? Sayonara! It’s amazing how we as humans just hold onto things we should have got rid of ages ago. But there is no better time than now.
By renting a dumpster, it becomes way easier to haul away some of these larger, more inconveniently shaped items. Most dumpster companies deliver the dumpster right where you want it, so disposing becomes simply as easy as moving something from A to B. However, remember to take inventory of everything first. Something that looks like trash, may not be!

  1. Contact Donation Places

You’re going to want to figure out where to drop off the stuff you want to donate. Not all donation places are made equal, and have different policies for what they will, and will not take. Some places specialize in clothes, while others in furniture and accessories. Additionally, they may take what you have, but they are stocked up on it already.
Therefore, it’s smart to contact these places beforehand to see if they will accept the thing you just spent the time, and effort deciding you wanted to donate. There is nothing more fun than transporting a 100 pound couch, only to realize you have to transport it back because the place won’t take it.

Hopefully these tips make your basement cleaning process go more smoothly, so you can stop thinking, and start acting.

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