It's easy to forget how much utility a basement provides. Many families move into a new home with a plan for every part of the house except the basement. They carefully place the furniture, decorate the walls, unload their belongings, and inevitably end up with more clutter than intended. Often, they relegate this "clutter" to the basement, where it is out of sight and out of mind. This is unfortunate because the purpose of storing items in a basement is to keep them accessible. That's why you need these inexpensive and effective basement storage ideas.
Why You Need a Smart Strategy for Basement Storage
Have you ever been in a pack rat's basement? If not, then you may envision a scene from the television show "Hoarders." For those of us who have been in a pack rat's basement, we know the stress and frustration that an overfilled, disorganized basement creates. Important items go missing. When you need the kids' pool toys, you have go through a mountain of winter gear. When you are ready to pack for that fall camping trip, the tent poles disappear. Often, when people with disorganized basements move, they discover a treasure trove of items that they already assumed were lost and replaced.
Without smart basement storage ideas, you defeat the purpose of a basement. Basements are ideal for storing many items because they are more accessible than an attic or garage. By practicing good space utilization, you maximize the basement's storage capacity. Through creative organization, you can make accessing these items quick and painless. That means no more stress from rummaging around in the basement searching for that book, fishing pole or tax paperwork.
In addition, you need smart basement storage ideas to protect the items stored in your basement. The last thing you want is sentimental family photos or collector's items damaged or destroyed by mildew or a basement flood. For this reason, it's important to look beyond corrugated moving boxes for long-term storage. They provide no protection from the damp conditions of an unfinished basement. Even if you have a finished basement, there are much more efficient storage methods than stacking corrugated boxes filled with loosely categorized stuff.
Before deciding on creative basement storage ideas, containers and shelving, it's important to first consider several basics of a successful basement storage strategy. Whether you want to store a few items or use your basement space as a wine cellar, office, rec room, library, or all of the above and more, good basement storage ideas make it happen.
1. Don't Become a Candidate for a "Hoarders Episode
Better yet, don't even come close to being a pack rat. Though this sounds simple, many people find it difficult to throw away unnecessary items. This may come from a human instinct to save for the future. Many items may also have emotional significance. Losing these important sentimental items causes grief. Because it is psychologically difficult to decide what they really need, many people avoid making tough decisions by keeping just about everything.
To make the most out of your basement storage space, start by prioritizing the items that you need and want to keep. Sentimental items top the list for many people, as do items with financial value. Then, there are those items that you have to keep, such as business records. Once you know your top priority items, it's easier to pare down the rest. Moving presents a natural opportunity to consolidate. Those who are staying put should plan a time to reevaluate their basement storage, such as during spring cleaning.
2. Shelves Are Your Friends
Never store items on the basement floor. Instead, use shelves that keep all items at least one inch off of the floor. Any basement is prone to flooding, even those in normally dry areas. Besides providing water protection, shelves save space. Shelving can reach the ceiling and allow easy access to boxes and bins. That's a lot better than stacking corrugated boxes on top of each other, which will make you dread the day that you have to search for an item.
3. Use Hard Plastic Containers
Imagine your basement shelving filled with easy-to-open, hard-plastic containers. Plastic containers look great, and your items stay dry and free of mold, mildew, and bugs. You can opt for transparent lids and containers that allow you to see items without having to rummage through them. Alternatively, you can mark containers or get different colors for different categories of items. Air-tight containers are best for long-term storage. Consider storing perishable items in air-tight plastic bags.
4. Climate Control
If your basement has no climate control, consider what items could suffer damage or ruin if stored there, such as electronics. Also, remember to run a humidifier or dehumidifier when needed.
HOW TO USE THE STAIRS
You can't have a basement without a stairwell, so you might as well take advantage of the space-saving opportunity that it offers. It's easy to overlook under- stairwell shelving as a space-saving measure. Wood shelves can be easily installed on the bottom of the stairs. These are perfect for small, miscellaneous items. Also consider installing shelves along the side of the stairs. If space permits, this can be a great place to store that items you'll need more frequently.
Are you a reader with a library of cherished books? Under-stairwell bookshelves can provide a great place to store your favorite volumes, and visitors to your basement will see that you're both book smart and handy. If you have a finished basement and a cozy little spot under the stairs, consider creating a reading nook in the space.
The area under the stairway also provides great closet space. Another option is installing pull-out shelves. These shelves function like drawers, allowing you to pull them open and pick items. The shelves beneath the taller stairs can be for larger items, while small items can easily fit beneath the shorter steps. Not only does this create storage space, but it also provides an elegant look to the basement. Rather than seeing an empty or cluttered under-stair area, you see the attractive shelf tops, which you can color match to create an appealing aesthetic.
ALTERNATIVE BASEMENT STORAGE IDEAS
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If your shelving and under-stairwell storage isn't enough, don't despair. There are plenty of additional ways to increase storage space, though you may have to open your mind to using space in less conventional ways. Here are some alternative ideas for any basement.
1. Use Wall Systems
Many families with finished basements opt for wall storage systems with retractable baskets. This is a fantastic way to store kids toys and games. When it's playtime, kids love the easy access to their favorite activities, and parents love how easily the kids can put their toys away.
A pegboard is a great option for tools, lawn-care equipment, sewing equipment, and other items you need frequently. No one wants to hunt through boxes or disorganized shelves searching for a rake or drill. Why not use a pegboard system? Also, wire racks can be attached to the pegboard, allowing for storage of small, miscellaneous items. If you have a lot of garden equipment, such as shovels, axes and hedge trimmers, you might consider a wall garden tool rack.
2. Ceiling Racks
When we think of storage, most of us don't look to the ceiling. However, if you have a solid ceiling surface, then you can install wooden ceiling racks. You can then insert plastic bins between the racks. The bin flange slides into the tracks at the bottom of the racks to support the container. Ceiling-mounted metal shelves are great basement storage ideas for larger items.
3. Pipe Wall Shelving
Pipes are good for more than transporting water. Installing shelves with piping as supports is a great way to avoid wasted space. By using attractive shelving and lighting, you can give a sophisticated look to what otherwise would be a bare, utilitarian area. This increases your basement storage capacity and the value of your home. Buyers like homes with well-utilized space and style enhancements.
The last thing families need is a basement full of disorganized stuff. When basement organization is lacking, useful items get lost and, through disuse, become junk. To make the most of your basement, create a storage plan that optimizes space and accessibility to items. To gain motivation for enhancing your basement, think about how much easier life will be when you know the location of everything in the basement. When you need paperwork, a book, or to pack for a trip, you can grab your items and go.
An organized, clean basement also becomes an enjoyable place to spend time, whether you use the basement for a workshop, office or playroom. Because the basement is so organized, you have room to work and play while storing valuable and useful items. It's important to have a place for the things we need and cherish and to know they are safe. By using these basement storage ideas to store what you need effectively, you'll decrease stress, save time, and make your home more functional and valuable.