Many people think of the basement as a dank, dark place where boxes of holiday decorations and old furniture tend to accumulate. But with some organization, your basement can become a functional part of your home instead of a catchall for clutter.
Inventory – Knowing what you have in your basement is the first step in getting its contents organized. There are sure to be things in your basement that you forgot were down there in the first place! Deciding what you need to hold onto and what you can toss or donate is a simple process. Grab some trash bags and a few storage bins and dive in.
Sorting – Try sorting your items into a few different piles or bins. Put everything you want to donate in one pile — old clothes, toys and sports equipment can be donated to your local thrift store. You can also donate clothes and toys that are in fair condition to a local shelter. In some cases, you can arrange to have an organization like the Salvation Army pick up larger items. Such service is usually free. In another pile, collect the items you’ve decided to throw out. Broken toys or tools can be trashed, and so can any miscellaneous clutter. Your largest pile will most likely be the one that contains those things you want to keep. If you can find a way of storing these items that keeps them out of the way, then holding onto them shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you find that your basement is still overflowing with stuff, you may want to go back and re-sort the pile to see if there’s any way to further narrow down what you’ve decided to keep.
Organize – When you’re storing items in the basement, you’ll need a few tools to help keep things organized:
a) Shelves- Floor-to-ceiling shelving is a good idea. Depending on the look and feel of your basement, you can use wood or metal units to hold everything from file boxes to toilet paper to bottles of wine. Don’t forget to use all available space including the ceiling — hooks or ceiling storage units can be a great place to hang bikes and other seasonal equipment.
b) Storage Bins – You may opt to store your holiday decorations or winter coats in clearly labeled storage bins. When selecting bins, try to find ones that are stackable and transparent — this will optimize efficiency and ease of access.
c) Pegboard – Pegboard is an underrated necessity in the basement, especially if Dad wants to store his tools down there. Pegboard has many drawbacks, not the least of which is that it’s not very attractive, but you can purchase plastic pegboard that makes up for some of its shortcomings.