If you’re like me, the basement is where things that don’t have a home go to rest. I try to be organized about it but I seem to be failing miserably. A few things end up in totes or on shelves but for the most part they just get piled on top of each other in a jumbled up mess on the floor. Even though I don’t spend a lot of time down there and my guests never see it, the clutter in the basement is unsettling to me. I’ve decided that it is high time that I address the problem and get organized by adding some real storage solutions. It’s going to take more than a couple of hours, that’s for sure, but this is one home improvement project that I will be happy to tackle.
The approach you take for creating storage areas may be a bit different depending on whether or not your basement is finished or unfinished but for the most part, you’ll want to incorporate most of these elements. Who knows, you might decide that this is the first step to inspire you to talk to a basement finishing contractor.
Take stock: look at everything you have and make a list of general categories. In an unfinished basement, you’ll want to create clearly defined zones to keep similar items together and make them easy to find. In a finished basement, you’ll want to think about all of the purposes that your basement serves, there may be a laundry room, utility room, playroom, guest room or family room and you’ll want to be sure that the appropriate items are stored in each area.
Things you use regularly like cleaning products or extra paper towel should be the most easily accessible whereas seasonal items like Christmas ornaments could be tucked away in a little used area.
De-Clutter and organize: before you start shuffling everything around, think about whether or not you really need to keep it. Old items that will never be used again (I’m thinking of that treadmill I haven’t used in three years) can be donated or repurposed. According to Hellen Buttigieg of We Organize U, “de-cluttering and organizing a basement can feel overwhelming. It’s best to make decisions on the larger pieces first and remove them immediately. This will give you instant satisfaction and more space to sort what’s left.”
Vertical storage: set up shelving units to get items off the floor and to maximize on vertical space. You can use various sizes of totes and bins to keep items on the shelves organized. Don’t forget to label the totes or you’ll be stuck rummaging through them all next time you’re looking for your camping equipment. You can also hang large hooks on the walls for bicycles and other large pieces of sports equipment.
Built-ins: In a finished basement, the family room is an ideal place for built-in cabinets with large open shelves and drawers of several sizes to help contain the media center, books and DVDs. Woven baskets can be placed on the shelves to contain some of the smaller items.
Green tip: if you are also going through a kitchen remodeling project or know someone else who is, why not reuse the old kitchen cabinets in your basement or garage? Sometimes a coat of paint and some new hardware are all it takes to repurpose an item.
Writing this blog has inspired me to get started on organizing my basement I hope it motivates you too. I’ll let you know how it goes over here and if you have any basement storage ideas that you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a comment below.