If your basement has been neglected and has become the home for every little thing in your house that no longer has a proper ‘place’ for it, it can be exhausting just to think about organizing your basement. First realize that it has to be done. What if there was a flood of some sort? If everything is just strewn about down there you can bet most of it will be lost.
Start with Small Areas
To get started, focus on small areas. Pick a corner and just START. The very first thing to do is throw out trash. Once all the trash and things that are of no good to anyone are gone, then throw away things you no longer need, put them in a bag and take ‘em to Goodwill or sell ‘em on Ebay. Whatever. Just get rid of it.
Make Use of Good Storage Containers
You don’t have to spend a lot of money here. No one is saying you have to remodel your basement and install expensive shelving and such. You can easily get some simple shelves from Walmart, Menards, where ever for under $50. Check the thrift stores in your area. Pegboards are cheap and can easily be used for hanging tools, cords, etc…Even something as simple as a few plastic containers can get the job done.
What you don’t want to do is throw everything in cardboard boxes and call it a day. They’re not waterproof and offer no protection for your belongings. Worse, mice and rats are drawn to them. They just chew it all up and start calling it home.
For each of your containers, label them with a permanent marker. Mark them as “Joe’s winter clothes”, “Christmas tree ornaments”, “Halloween decorations”, etc… be specific. Also, when you’re marking them make sure you’re marking them on the side where the label is easily seen when you’re standing in the room.
Once you have everything marked, start grouping them together according to their labels. Put all your Christmas containers in one area and all the clothing containers in another area.
Important Papers and Documents
This is the exception to the storage container ‘rule’. Papers and documents that are not easily replaced should be cared for in containers made specifically to safeguard them. Fireproof and waterproof safe box containers should be used to store them. The last thing you want is birth certificates, marriage certificates and such to be destroyed.
Once you have your basement organized, make a plan to keep it that way. Mark the calendar and dedicate a certain weekend of a month, whether it’s every couple of months or every six months, to do another run-through. If you stick to the schedule then you won’t end up with your clutter taking over your basement ever again. When that date rolls around, go through everything again and make sure there aren’t things piling up that should be thrown out or put into their respective storage bins.