The basement is a popular part of a home, particularly if you need a lot of extra storage. The hard part is that you actually have to use the basement properly to enjoy all that additional space. Do not fall into the trap of relying on the basement to store your clutter, worrying all the time that it might get damaged at any moment. Take charge of your basement storage with these six tips, and you will make an excellent addition to your home, stay organized and enjoy your entire home a little more.
1. Clear Clutter and Clean
Many people use their basements as a place to keep clutter that would otherwise mess up the rest of the house. However, this practice may leave you stuck without a useful basement, especially as the boxes and bags keep coming and never going. It can also be unsafe for you to be foraging around in piles in the basement, unsure of what might fall over. Take a deep breath, and acknowledge that you deserve to have a beautiful home in which every inch is free of clutter. Clear a space in the basement so that you can get down to organizing. If you cannot remove everything from the area, put everything into boxes or baskets and quickly put similar items together. Keep stairways and doorways clear, and add lighting as needed so that you can see what you are doing. If you have appliances in the basement, such as a washer, dryer or chest freezer, take the time to clean them inside and out.
2. Sort Items
It may seem best to sort all of your items at once, but this can really be a waste of your time. Making several passes is a more efficient way to make a lot of progress at the beginning. Start with a very loose sort of your basement possessions. In this stage, you simply make quick decisions about the things you can see. Take any boxes, toys and other items that belong in other parts of the home to those individual rooms. Anything you do not want to keep can immediately go outside or into a vehicle to take it to trash or donation. With this step complete, you can dig into boxes and really start getting things in order. Separate important files, heirlooms and other items you cannot replace. Put everything else into similar piles, such as tools, holiday decorations, seasonal equipment, materials for hobbies and projects. List what you want to store in the basement, so that you can determine how much storage you will need.
3. Evaluate the Space
Basements can be a little tricky in terms of storage, because the environment is a bit different than the rest of the house. Investigate the rooms and get a sense for what might be problematic. For example, if the basement is damp or musty, you may need to tailor your storage options to work. Some people like to keep a portion of their basements unfinished to serve as cold storage for off-season produce or a wine collection. If this is part of your plan, confirm that the storage you select is suited for a colder average temperature. Consider plastic bins to keep out moisture, and add a dehumidifier to decrease the humidity and minimize the likelihood of mildew or mold.
4. Utilize the Ceiling
Unless your basement has a particularly low ceiling, this could be an excellent spot to add extra storage without having to clutter up the floor or sacrifice important wall space. Overhead storage hangs from the floor joists in the ceiling, providing you with sturdy storage that will support your lightweight, bulky possessions. The basement provides a good alternative for storage outside of the garage, especially for items that you do not want to get damaged by moisture. The concept is actually quite simple. You take items that you only need to reach on occasion, like out-of-season equipment or holiday decorations. Put them into bins with lids and labels, so you know what they are. Set them into the overhead storage, and you are done. Switch out the storage a few times a year to cycle out the things you need.
5. Wall Storage Options
Do you lament a garage that is simply not big enough for your projects? Now you can consider your basement storage an extension of the space you so desperately need. Practically anything that you could store in a garage will also work in your basement, so you can get creative. Designate zones in your basement to accommodate projects and storage needs for the whole family. Add a magnetic system for your tools or a pegboard to go with your workbench. Install wall-mounted racks to support your cans and jars of preserves for winter. You could even build that wine rack that you have been longing to put in.
6. Consult a Design Professional for Basement Storage
There really are so many options available to you, that the idea of basement storage might be a little dizzying. How do you know which storage options will work best for your needs? Which products are the best quality, designed to last for many years in basement conditions? What if you want custom cabinets built? These are all questions to ask a design professional. With professional basement organization, you do not have to worry about whether or not your idea can come to fruition. A home organization professional can take note of your expectations and your basement and come up with a plan that exactly what you need.
Your basement could become everything you want and more, with a little cleaning, organization and some great storage options. As home organization specialists, we are delighted to help you get your basement storage in order. Contact us today for a free free consultation.