The Basement Matters

Basements are odd places. Often a peculiar mix of livable and functional space, they house play rooms, odds and ends, that thing from Grandma we’re not ready to part with yet but don’t want to display, VHS players, and our Christmas tree (unless of course it’s Christmas and the tree is out and about). This hodge-podge and somewhat neglected space is actually quite foundational – literally.

With the plunge from apartment life in Poland to basement dwellers in Canada, we’ve got subterranean spaces on the brain – and we feel an analogy coming on!

The last few years have been challenging and we’ve come out of them feeling a little bruised. That old adage, “hitting bottom”, was tossed around and now we find ourselves living in the bottom of a house. If pathetic fallacy is assigning human emotion to nature, could there be such a thing as architectural fallacy?

Basements are neglected spaces until we need them. You’d think we’d invest more in the foundation of our homes, but out of sight is out of mind – until find yourself living in it. So why don’t we put more of ourselves into the basement? At some point in our lives most of us hit some kind of bottom. You know, our emotional, spiritual, situational, psychological, or physiological basement. Wouldn’t it be nice to hit bottom and find yourself surrounded by more than just the bowling ball you insist you’ll use again someday? Alas, we fill our basements with life-clutter because rather than dealing with it, we tuck it somewhere people won’t readily see it.

Perhaps we need to start keeping some prized possessions in our basements. Oh sure, they may not be as visible to others there, but we can haul them out if needed. Strengthening that foundation, filling our dark inner place with life-giving things could make hitting bottom less like a smack down and more like entering a vault.

We’ve been lazy or overwhelmed or rushed and many a thought, emotion, and circumstance has been tossed into the basement. It’s time to do some sorting. No, we don’t know what that looks like fully, but it’s time to tackle the clutter.

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