Is this the year you’re going to tackle basement organization? Don’t go in without a plan. The hardest part of cleaning and organizing your basement is often just getting started. This is an out-of-sight, out-of-mind zone, which can easily turn into your personal warehouse stacked high with who knows what. Where do you start? With a plan, some elbow grease, and these top 5 basement spring cleaning tips.
Tip #1- Keep an eye on the prize
What would you like to do with all this space you’re reclaiming? Organized storage? A recreation area or craft room? (Wo)man cave? Creating an image of what you want this newly-cleaned space to become will be great a incentive to start cleaning and keep going. There are many go-to resources for storage and decorating ideas; scour the magazine racks and online sources such as Pinterest for inspiration. (Check out our Basement Possibilities page for ideas!)
Tip #2 – Plan a purging party
This part of your basement reclamation plan will go a lot faster if you can enlist family and friends. One word of warning: Family – especially children – might not be able to part with some of the “treasures” you’ve packed away, and you may end up keeping more than you’d planned.
Start by designating three zones as a temporary holding space: Keep, Donate, and Throw Away. If you have large pieces such as furniture that you plan to donate, connect with local charities to see if they’ll pick it up for you. Are you accumulating a massive throw-away pile? Contact a refuse company to see if they offer drop-off containers that they will pick up once they’re filled. Finally, organize what you’re going to keep. Group similar items together and clearly label them.
Tip #3 – Evaluate the environment
Clean your newly purged space top to bottom and look for any signs of foundation cracks or water damage. If you see or suspect any, contact us for a free inspection. Add a dehumidifier to control humidity levels. Next, measure your open areas to make sure they’ll accommodate your reorganized storage or furniture. Don’t forget that in the basement, you’ll most likely have to work around “mechanicals” such as electrical, HVAC, plumbing, etc. If you plan to add furniture or eventually remodel, test possible arrangements by mapping them out with tape on the floor. Place your storage items in your proposed area. Are your items accessible to the stairs? What size doorways will you need to move stored items in and out? Test out different layouts until you find one that works.
Tip #4 Think about safety
If you’re reworking your basement, sturdy shelving is a must for bin and box storage. Heavy-framed shelving built using 2×4 studs and ¾” plywood will create a stable shelving unit. Measure the items you plan to store for appropriate clearance and depth. Never place large or heavy storage items above 5 feet high; you risk injury when trying to get them down. Make sure you have adequate lighting and smoke detectors – add a fire extinguisher in this area for an extra measure of safety.
Tip #5 – Explore your storage options
Even if you plan to add living areas to your basement, chances are you’ll still designate some of it for storage. There is a myriad of options, from durable to decorative, but the mainstays of basement storage are:
- Shelving – Floor-to-ceiling shelving is a good idea, but it must be strong and sturdy enough to hold what you want to store. Don’t forget to use all available space including the ceiling – hooks or ceiling storage units can be a great place to hang bikes and other seasonal equipment.
- Storage Bins – Store holiday decorations or winter coats in clearly labeled storage bins. When selecting bins, try to find ones that are stackable and transparent — this will optimize efficiency and ease of access.
- Pegboard – Pegboard is an underrated necessity in the basement, especially if you want to store tools down there but still wish to keep them easy to locate.
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