Basement Organization 101

basement home cleanoutThe basement can often be an unused or underused space within the house. Basements can add a lot of living space to your home, become home gyms, playrooms for children, theater rooms, guest spaces, craft rooms, or simply a good place to store and organize your belongings.

Unfortunately, though, too many people end up simply piling things up in the empty space, rather than putting it to a single, cohesive use. Even if the space is meant for storage, without organizing it and setting it up for this purpose ahead of time, it often ends up becoming a cluttered mess. The only way to deal with this is the periodic basement cleanout, which helps alleviate some of the problem, but doesn’t really address its root cause. Before you undertake another basement cleanout, make sure you’re prepared to organize the space as well, so you can help it stay cleaner and more useful for longer.

Plan the Space

Basements can be put to a wide variety of uses. Even if you aren’t going to finish the space, you can still make use of it in a range of ways. Take the time before you begin your basement cleanout to visualize how you’ll ultimately use the space, and how it can be put to best use.

This may mean cleaning out and organizing a section to become a workroom, children’s play area or home office. Or it may simply mean determining what it is you plan to store down there, taking stock of how many items and their size, then planning the best places and layout for them.

If you start by planning what you’ll do with the space when you’re done, you’ll have a goal to work toward. This can help keep you motivated to work to the end, rather than just dealing with the bulk of the mess and calling it good enough.

Start the Basement Cleanout

Before you can organize a space, you need to empty it. Begin by dividing everything down there into three categories – what you’ll keep, what you’ll donate, and what you need to throw away. Take the things you want to keep and place them in another room nearby, but make sure you remove them from the basement until you’re ready to put them back in an organized manner.

If you have a lot of items to dispose of, consider renting a dumpster so you can quickly remove them from your home. The idea is to get an empty basement so you can start the organizing process more easily. Schedule a pick up of your donated items, throw out the junk, and get the space clean so you can start the next phase.

Determine What You Need to Organize

Once the basement is empty, it will be easier to see how much space you have and how much space you’ll need for what’s going back in. Now is the time you can start planning on how you’ll organize your belongings and what organizational tools or materials that you’ll need to do this.

For example, if you have a lot of bins to store things in, consider investing in some wire stacked shelves to get them up off the ground and make them easier to access. If you have a lot of sports equipment, consider investing in lockers that you can keep it in. If you have a lot of tools, nails, and other odds and ends, consider putting up a pegboard so you can have everything hanging in reach.

Once you know what you’ll need, make sure that you invest in it and have it on hand before you start moving things back into the basement. You want to make sure that everything has a place to go, rather than just piling it back in and starting the process over again.

Get Organized

The most satisfying part of a basement cleanout is the final organization. Get your organizational tools and materials in place and start bringing things in. Make sure you label things clearly so that you can find them again when you need them, and to make the organizational process go more smoothly. This step should go quickly after all of the other prep work that you’ve put into it, so take the time to enjoy your newly renovated space when you’re done.

Get Your Basement in Order

It can take a few weeks or weekends to get your basement cleanout and organization complete. But once you’re done, it will be much easier to keep it clean and organized going forward. Start your cleanout today to look forward to a more usable basement tomorrow.

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