My basement is a nightmare.
I went down today with my timer and spent 15 minutes in one area at the foot of the stairs and emptied a box then threw it off to the side. Found a small box that was empty and kind of dirty and threw it in the box as well.
As I find empty boxes I am not going to wipe them down or clean them out. If they are easily accessible and ready to go I might be tempted to use them to store more junk in. I also took a bag that was in my basement and has been down there for years full of papers. I spent 15 minutes sorting and shredding til the shredder overheated so I took the remainder of the 15 and sorted into a shred and keep pile and everything else has gone into the garbage.
There is still some of the mess in the front room in front of the desk but I don't care.