Have a basement that needs organizing? Is it rather large and you’d prefer to use it more as a room instead of storage space?
Regardless of your intention, this space should be organized so you can find the items you need and/or enjoy this extra space.
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Not everyone has a basement, however, most homes come with some sort of storage space such as an attic. While I will refer to the basement, many of the steps I list can also be applied to other storage spaces.
Assessing the Basement
If you have an unfinished basement and mainly use it as storage, I suggest removing everything as much as possible. Chances are this space has been accumulating years of boxes and other assorted memorabilia and needs decluttering.
Another reason to remove everything is to assess any possible structural damage and other problems like water leaks and pest control problems. No one wants to open something dear to them and find mice poop all over it.
If there is any structural damage, this is the time to fix that. If you are unsure if there is any damage that needs repair contact a home inspector. They can point out anything that needs fixing immediately and other things that can be improved upon.
Another thing you may want to note is air quality. Is the space damp? This is not good especially if you use it for storage. Photos and papers can become damaged and other items can eventually grow mold and which can lead to serious health hazards.
If you notice mice droppings or other signs of a pest problem, take care of that right away while you have an empty space. Call a pest control company if it is extensive. If not set up traps and check them occasionally as you continue organizing your basement.
Lastly, how is the lighting? Flooring? If you still intend to keep this as a storage space then lighting isn’t a big deal but if you want to turn this space into an extra room you may want to enhance any lighting. The same goes for the flooring and staircase.
Your Basement Vision
At this point, you should decide if you want to turn this space into a craft room, game room, den, play area,
Create a plan for this space. Include any structural work, flooring, electrical work, drywalling, painting, etc. Also, include a budget and timeline to get this done. Click here if you would like a free project planner printable to help you get started.
Decluttering the Basement
Now, while the above is going on this is a good time to go through everything you removed and make a decision as to what stays and what goes. Create a trash pile, donate pile, and keep pile. For any extensive paper clutter, click here to better deal with that specifically.
Once you have sorted through everything, get rid of the trash and donation pile immediately before you have second thoughts.
If trash pick-up is a few days away, consider taking it down to the dump yourself. Call your public works department to make sure you comply with their regulations and schedule.
As for the keep pile, begin making distinct piles. This will allow you to see the size of the organizer or amount of organizers you may need to keep them in.
If you have organizers on hand, make sure they are watertight even if you do not have a water problem in your basement.
That means, avoid using cardboard boxes if possible. I’ve seen the extensive damage done to items kept in a basement that just had bad air quality.
If you need to purchase plastic bins and other organizers, take pictures of each pile with a smartphone. That way, you don’t overspend or purchase the wrong-sized organizer.
Clean the Space/Small DIY
If you have decided that you only want to use the basement for storage and do not need any extensive DIY, then let’s clean the space before putting anything back.
A very inexpensive way to improve lighting, especially if there are no windows in this space, is to paint the walls white.
When it comes to shelving consider airflow around your stored items. You may want to get wire-shelving to maximize airflow around each bin. Also, try to keep items you don’t want to get damaged off the floor.
Other Basement Rooms
If your basement has a small bathroom and/or kitchen, you will want to keep these clean and organized as well. Below are some posts to help you do that.
At this point, it’s time to put all your ‘keep’ items back. Before you do so, make sure to label your bins properly.
Placing the word “Photos” is okay but if you have more than one bin of photos, you may want to be more specific. Something like “Photos from the 80’s” is better. Again, it will prevent you from having to sift through a number of bins instead of one.
With everything in its labeled bin, go ahead and place them on shelves and you are done!
If you do turn your basement into a particular room, here are some posts you can use to help you with this room. How to…
- Organize Toys and Games (if you are planning to turn this room into a play area.)
- Create and Organize a Home Office
- Organize your Living Room (this post is useful for a den or media room.)
- Get your Teen to Organize and Clean their Room (use this if turning it into a room for your teen.)
- Organize a Beverage Station (consider this if you want to add a coffee, tea, wine, beer, or cocktail bar)
- Declutter and Organize a
- Organize a Craft Room
- Organize your Fitness (useful if you want to turn your space into a home gym)
Let’s Get Started
If you are ready, let’s get organizing that basement!
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