Organizing The Basement

In previous blogs we discussed the importance of organizing the home and garage. In this blog we will look at improving storage space in the basement for the Weekend Warrior. A well organized basement to store household supplies, paper products, infrequently used items such as camping gear, holiday ornaments and the like, will keep things neat, clean, and easily retrievable. By using ordinary Construction Supplies such as plywood and 2-by-4’s, along with general construction tools including hammers, saws, and sanders to make shelving or other storage units, your basement will be ship-shape in no time.

Throw Out What You Don’t Need

shelves organizing a closetThe first order of business in organizing the basement is to ditch any item you no longer use. The best rule to follow is “if it hasn’t been used in one to two years, get rid of it.” The exceptions to this are family heirlooms, items of historical significance, and/or things you are likely to use or keep over extended periods of time such as carpet remnants, baskets, and the like. An additional element to consider when organizing the basement is to only store items that can be stored safely in a cool, sometimes moist, dark environment. If an item is not “basement appropriate” find another location or make sure it can be stored safely in an airtight plastic bin or bag. If you live in a part of the U.S. that is humid, we strongly recommend getting a dehumidifier to provide a dryer environment.

Building and Setting Up Shelves

Decide and measure ahead of time which items will fit best in which location in the basement before you build any shelves. Also, it may be advantageous to install shelves under a stairwell to keep infrequently used things out of harms’ way. Also, if you are planning to use your construction equipment to build floor to ceiling shelves, make sure to reinforce any tiers that will hold heavier items. Heavy items should only be stored on units that have been reinforced with metal brackets in corners and sides. Furthermore, never store heavy items over five feet high even if they are infrequently used. The last thing you want is to put too much weight on shelves that could collapse or to risk an injury when trying to retrieve something.

Metal Shelving Units

You may decide to purchase metal shelving units for some parts of the basement. If so, make sure they are heavy gauge metal. While most plywood and 2-by-4 stud built systems offer the strongest shelving, metal units can still be a great solution for storing things like excess paper products, seasonal clothing, and lightweight family memorabilia.

Finally, always store items in sturdy boxes, plastic tubs, and/or airtight containers to preserve your important possessions. We strongly recommend labeling each box or container as well. That way the next time you need to find an item, it can be easily located and retrieved.