Ah, the basement! The place where you store your holiday décor and toss things you're not sure what else to do with. You'll get to sorting through that box of random stuff someday, right? Right after those five other boxes that got piled on top of it. We all do it. Sometimes it’s easier to set those unused items in the dark corner of the basement and shut the door on them until later.
But what if you could get those basement boxes cleaned out and better organized? Here, Porta-Stor will go over some steps to help you declutter your basement once and for all. If you improve your basement organization, not only will you end up with more storage space, but you will also have a cleaner place to keep your stuff, perform hobbies, and more. It will also reduce the chance of getting a pest infestation or losing boxes to flooding if water gets in. So go ahead and add 'organize the basement' to that 2018 to-do list and get it done!
Go Through Everything
Initially, you might feel overwhelmed when you walk down into that basement and take a look around. But if you break it into small steps, it won’t feel so impossible. Start by making three piles: keep, donate, and toss. As you start going through each item, take the time to assess how you really feel about it and if you would really ever use it again. Then assign it to a category and set it in that pile. Keep in mind that if you rarely use the item you are holding in your hand, it's probably something you could toss or donate.
Donate and Toss
Once you’ve gone through everything in your basement, it’s time to clear it out a bit by getting those donation items out of your house and over to the charity organization of your choice. If you have bigger items to donate, some local charities will let you set up a time for them to come pick them up for you.
Before you think twice, take your trash pile right out to your garbage can or recycling bin, so it’s out of sight and out of mind. This way, you are only looking at what you actually want to organize and keep. There’s no reason to move trash items around once you start getting your basement back in order.
If you have a lot of stuff to trash, consider renting a dumpster. You can get it set up right next to your home and removed when you're done.
Categorize Your Keep Pile
Another set of piles? Yep, and here’s why: your keep pile is sure to have all types and sizes of things in it. It'll include everything from sports equipment to holiday decorations to family keepsakes, and there’s no way to put all of that away efficiently without separating it out first. Otherwise, you'll drive yourself crazy and end up with a mess!
Make piles with labels like sporting gear, books, and holiday décor. Once you've done this, think of the best way to store each type. Books should be in a plastic bin to avoid moisture. (Remember not to pack too many heavy items into one box, or it will become immovable!) Seasonal items like sporting gear and decorations should be put into organized bins and placed in areas that are out of the way but within reach when needed.
Pick the Right Storage Boxes
No matter how strong those cardboard boxes are, the more they are handled and moved around, the weaker they become. Not to mention the fact that they don’t offer much protection from dampness or pests that may be in your basement.
Your best option is to invest in plastic storage bins. Plastic bins seal the contents inside better, protect them from the elements, and are easier to move around and stack.
Before you start packing up all of your things to store, make sure you have a roll of painter’s tape and a permanent marker handy (or any other kind of labeling system you prefer). You'll want to label every storage bin, so you can clearly see what’s in them when you need something. This also helps you avoid adding things to the wrong boxes later.
Choose the Right Shelving
So you have your plastic bins and they are properly labeled with the right contents stored inside. Now, you need to make sure that you store them safely and as organized as possible. If you want to add shelving to help with your storage, consider using metal shelves. Shelves will help keep the bins up off the floor, should you have a flooding issue. They also keep you from stacking too many bins on top of each other, straining the bottom boxes and making it more difficult to get into them later.
Using metal shelving units instead of wood or plastic ones will help prevent them from getting damaged due to dampness and weight over time. It may be a bit more costly up front, but will save you money and headache over time. Many metal shelves are also very adjustable, so you can fit any size of boxes you want on them. Make sure your boxes of choice will fit before making the purchase and setting up the wrong kind of shelf!
Create More Space Where You Can
When you’re searching for more space in your basement, look up! If you have items that can be hung, add hooks to the rafters of your basement ceiling. This can work well for seasonal clothing such as winter coats, costumes, or evening gowns. Just make sure they are protected with clothing bags to prevent damage. The ceiling is also a great spot for long, unwieldy tools and sports equipment, such as skis.
If there are some items that need to be more readily available and outside of a box, hang a pegboard to hold things like tools and work gloves. This adds even more basement organization for items that easily create disorder over time.
Rent a Portable Storage Container
In the end, you might decide that you just have too much stuff you need to keep, but you still want more space in your basement. Have you considered renting a portable storage container? These work great to help get boxes of seasonal gear and decorations out of the way. They also help with bulkier items like furniture, boats, or other equipment.
A storage container will be especially helpful to you if you decide you want to make your basement into a more useable space. Maybe it’s the perfect area for doing your hobby or craft. You can even consider getting the basement finished to add more living space to your home. There are so many ways you can use a basement when it's not just being used as a storage space!
These are some basic ideas to help you get started with better basement organization. It’s important to declutter and keep only what you need and use. Check out Porta-Stor’s blog on decluttering for more tips on this organizational step. Everyone prefers to organize their belongings a little bit differently, so do what works best for you and your space!