Getting Your Basement in Order — And Keeping It That Way

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Since it’s away from high-traffic areas, a well-organized basement is ideal for storing a wide variety of items. Keeping it in order doesn’t have to be a major project, especially when you’ve just moved in. If you used a tool such as Mayflower’s 8-week move checklist, it’s likely that you’ve pared down much of the excess stuff already and only useful items will be finding their way downstairs.  

For this article, let’s assume it’s an unfinished basement and most of the space will be used for storage versus living quarters. Also, that the basement is dry, mildew and mold-free, and that any access points such as an outside cellar door, windows and stairs are in good condition. That said, here are a few tips for making sure your basement stays clean, neat and organized. 

Put The Walls to Work 

Sturdy shelving placed around the perimeter of your basement helps keep things off the floor, frees up space and makes items easier to access. If the walls are concrete cinderblocks or even stone masonry, freestanding shelving would probably work best. If your basement has interior walls, you could also install wall-mounted options. Just make sure they’ll be able to bear the weight of what you’re stacking onto them.  

Label Boxes and Bins 

Because dampness can be an issue, consider investing in a set of sturdy plastic storage bins. Unlike cardboard boxes, airtight plastic bins form a seal that can shield your stuff from moisture, bugs and rodents. As you pack items into them, label each bin with its contents and the date. This will make it easy to find what you need quickly and remind you of what’s inside so you can reorganize or toss as needed.  

Group Similar Items Together 

Create zones for different purposes, for example have a separate tool/workshop area, a play/recreation area, a laundry area, etc., and use moisture-resistant rugs, and dividers to define each space. Store things you use together close to each other. This will make everything easier to find and less likely to become lost or misplaced.  

Don’t Forget About Lighting 

Unfinished areas of a basement are notorious for having shadows, dark corners and low illumination that’s not only a bit scary but also a hindrance to keeping the space neat and well-organized. If your basement is dark and foreboding, brighten things up by adding overhead fixtures, task lighting over workshop tables and the laundry, and motion-activated lighting strips on shelving, in dark corners and even on the stairways. Also be sure to make the most of any natural lighting from windows or a basement egress window by keeping them clean and free from debris.  

Get It Down to A System 

Remember, the less stuff in your basement, the less there is to get disorganized. About every month or so, do a quick sweep, checking for anything out of place or areas needing attention. Go through boxes and bins, and get rid of or donate anything you no longer need. Look for: 

  • Items that belong upstairs  
  • Cobwebs and dust 
  • Anything broken  
  • Clothes, linens, etc., you no longer use  
  • Old/outdated decorations 
  • Toys, games, or other items your kids have outgrown 

Here’s another hint: Have donation and recycling bins on hand. It will make the whole process easier. You might even try making a game out of it with your partner, kids or other loved ones. 

We hope your journey to Finding Home is smooth and successful. And remember, no matter where you happen to be in the moving process, you can count on Mayflower to be with you Every Step of the Way®.  

Moving or about to move? Get a no-obligation quote from Mayflower.  

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