How to Organize a Basement

Basement with rolling shelving units

Where should I put my hockey gear? Where should I store the Christmas decorations? Where are all of the tools? The answer to all of these questions and more is likely the basement! It’s amazing how much stuff a basement accumulates because it’s so easy to toss it aside with the intention of getting to it later but later never comes. So when it comes time to determine how to organize a basement, it can be a real chore. That’s why Improvements is here to help!

Basement Organization Ideas: Where to begin?

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It’s time to clean out and declutter the basement. Sure, it is a daunting task, but don’t be intimidated. Prepare yourself for the undertaking, relax and take it one step at a time. You will feel liberated when all is said and done!


Assess the Clutter and Zone Out!

Take a gander at what’s in store for you. Assess the full clutter situation in your basement and make a plan. If you can start with a clean slate by dumping or moving everything to a central location, then going through that pile, it makes things easier. This isn’t always possible depending on the usage of your basement but adapts to your needs. Create piles, bins or bags of items that are keepers, donation items, recyclables, and garbage.

After the items are sorted, get them out of the house as soon as possible. If the donation items, recyclables or trash sit around long enough, they creep back into the keeper pile, and that’s no good. Once they are out of the house, edit your keepers. Take a break for a day or two, then reassess everything you plan to keep. Do you really need it all? Get rid of as much as possible. Once you get through all of the clutter, start organizing. Don’t put away items you don’t intend to keep. A great tip I read is instead of keeping every piece of artwork your kid makes or every gift your grandma gave you, take a picture of them and put in an album labeled “Keepsakes.” You still have the memories but without all the clutter.

Now that clutter is gone, you are ready to organize the basement. Create zones for the different types of items that you have in your keeper pile. Children’s items can go to one corner. Tools get their designated location, cleaning supplies to another, etc. Map out where everything goes. Then sort away. Once everything is in its zone, then you can figure out the best way to store it.


How to Organize a Basement Zone

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Clear plastic bins are a basement’s best friend. They allow you to see what’s in them and you can easily label the outside. Plus, they protect against water if your basement floods. Avoid cardboard boxes for storage because they offer less protection against Mother Nature, her furry little friends (i.e. mice) and bugs.

Group like items together and place in storage bins. Put in shelving units or build cubbies for the bins or items that are left out for use wherever possible. The more you have off of the floor, the better and it will feel much less cluttered. Plus, it protects against pesky water damage.

Be sure to give every keeper item its own space because that way you will always know where it belongs. And make sure every person in the home knows where everything goes. Give kids and spouses a tour of the newly organized basement. That way, you can hold them (and you) accountable when items aren’t put back where they are supposed to go.


Put Underutilized Space to Work

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Under the stairs, crawl spaces and even the ceiling provide additional storage space that you may not always think about. Add shelving units under the stairs for easy storage or tuck away seasonal items in that hidden spot because they only need to be dug out once a year. Crawl spaces are great storage areas for durable items that you don’t use often. Don’t put anything susceptible to heat, humidity, bug or water damage in them just to be on the safe side. If you have open slats as your basement ceiling, use it for organizing. Hang lightweight items like holiday decorations or even bikes to keep them out of the way. Put pegboards on walls for tools or cleaning supply storage to keep items off the ground and easy to grab. If you see them, you will use them.


How to Organize a Basement and Keep it that Way!

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Organizing your basement is quite an undertaking, but believe it or not, that’s actually the easy part. Keeping it organized is the hard part, and often easier said than done.

By labeling storage bins and even shelves, there is no excuse not to put things back where they belong as soon as you are done using it or it’s brought home. If you are the type of person who likes to set things down by the door as soon as you get home, perhaps add some wicker baskets there to drop items into. Then when you head to the basement, don’t go empty-handed. Take a basket and stay organized! Use this method for children’s rooms and other areas where basement-dwelling items sometimes end up.

Hold each household member accountable for their items. Add “pick up after yourself” and “stay organized” to everyone’s chore chart. Do a quick review of the house every Saturday or Sunday morning and pick up the items that are out of place. It’s much easier to move a week’s worth of clutter than years’ worth.


Are You Ready to Implement These Basement Organization Ideas?

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We hope these tips have inspired you. Set a day to start on your calendar and don’t put it off. The effort is worth the outcome. If you have other hacks on how to organize a basement easily, please let us know in the comments.


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Posted in Organization & Storage Tips Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted by: Amandah Blackwell

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