November 1, 2011

Taking Back My Basement

I guess the title is a little bit misleading.

There's a TV!
The idea that I have a basement all to myself is the stuff of dreams. When we decided to finish off our basement I, like a lot of men, had visions of a "Man Cave" where I could escape to watch endless hours of NFL football and College basketball. Well the TV is there, but the next time a basketball game is watched on it will be the first time.

I'm lucky. I do have a basement, and I know that a lot of people would kill for something like this, just for the simple fact they could they could get their kids toys out of the rest of there house. Well between generous family and friends and jolly old Saint Nick my basement has turned into a Toys 'R Us after a bomb went off.

There are shelves
I know this is such a first world problem and that I shouldn't complain, we should all be so fortunate right?  But, there will be a point where all of this stuff gets donated, a story for another blog, and these toys will enrich the lives of someone else. But right now, its my basement and my problem.

Sometimes I am scared to even go down there. You know how things get when they are so messy you don't know where to begin cleaning, so it stays and you learn to live with it. That's how I have become with my basement.

It's been hard to keep up.

I built some shelves through the years with the idea that the kids would just play with something, and put it on the shelf when they were done. Little did I know that kids don't like to clean up after themselves. Sure there are those perfect parents whose kids listen and clean up, but the next time I see one, outside of a TV commercial, will be the first.

There's a mess
I feel like I spend half of everyday cleaning the same damn thing, so if one other thing is out of place, I don't get to it. Slowly the piles of toys build up, and what I am left with is a child's dream playroom, but a parents worst nightmare.

This will certainly take more than one blog post to accomplish, and with college basketball season starting in a couple of weeks, I have to get this done. This caveman needs his space.  I want my basement back, at least my little part anyway.

John Willey - Daddy's in Charge?



  1. The biggest piece of advice I have? Come up with a number of bins/baskets/buckets of toys the kids are allowed to have. Let them choose the toys and donate the rest. Easier said than done though, I know. Our basement was like that before we moved and got down to brass tacks so speak on clearing out the "stuff".Good Luck, man caves are good for wives too. With you husbands out of the way, we get to watch what we want on the other television.

  2. Congratulations! I gave you a Liebster Award today. See it here at:

  3. Oh boy -- can I relate to this post! My den has often looked just like those pictures. Here are some tips I hope may be helpful:
    1. Accept that sometimes your man cave will be trashed. That's OK, as long as it's neat when you want it to be - usually after the kids go to sleep or on game days.
    2. Announce that all the toys must be put away by the time you need the room. Make something they want contingent on this. For example, "Sure you can have ice cream for dessert tonight -- as long as the floor of the den is completely clear of toys when it's time to serve it."
    My kids usually wait until the last second to do this, but then I go look in the den and say, "How sad, I guess we can't have ice cream tonight." Then, there's a lot of whining and fighting over who made what mess, but it does get cleaned up.
    3. When the kids are out of the house, go through their toys and get rid of loads of stuff. They almost never notice.
    4. Once or twice a year, make them dump everything out and reorganize it. This only works from ages 7 and up AND you have to help them, AND it takes HOURS. BUT it's only slightly worse than power-washing the deck and unclogging the gutters and has the benefit of reintroducing them to toys they haven't played with in ages. Plus, you get to quietly sneak stuff they don't use into plastic garbage bags to donate.
    Does this result in a room that always looks like the kind you see in magazines? Nope.
    But it does result in a room you can comfortably use - when you need it.

  4. I do need to get rid of some of their stuff... part of this problem probably is my fault to begin with. I have a problem with getting rid of their things. Too many memories are wrapped up in these toys. It is a difficult battle that I need to face.

  5. I'd like to take back my whole house.....

  6. That Valerie is precisely what I am working on. One project at a time. Then of course I will need to repeat it over an over and over.