Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Tips for Organizing a Large Basement

Organized storage area in a large basement
Our basements are one of those places in our homes that are inclined to become overwhelmingly cluttered. The basement is a room where we tend to store all of the junk we've accumulated that we think we might need one day or we put things there just to get them out of the way.

A large basement provides an even larger dumping ground for even more items. It can be next to impossible to find something you need in an unorganized basement. After years of treating your basement as a big storage facility it can seem daunting to even get started organizing it. Here are some tips to get the job done:

1. Eliminate Clutter

The first step to organize any room, including a basement, is getting rid of the clutter. Depending upon how much you have accumulated over time it can be a monumental task in itself and by far the most difficult part of getting organized. Not only can the sheer mass of items in your basement make de-cluttering difficult, but you also have to address sentimental possessions as well as the items you do actually use like sports gear and holiday decorations. Start by sorting and you can make this easier by using labelled boxes. You want boxes for items to donate, boxes for items to sell and boxes for the things you want to keep. Keep your recycling bin and trash bags on hand for the items that simply need to be thrown out.

When you are working in your basement you may want to have a clear space to put your sorting boxes. This way you don't have to keep carrying things up the stairs and coming back down. Instead you can just take up all of the boxes up when you've finished. Going up and down the stairs can make the process a lot more work than it needs to be and you are more likely to become discouraged and less likely to complete the task.

2. Make a Plan

Once you've downsized the clutter it's time to make a plan. Figure out what exactly you want to use your basement for. Do you actually want to use it for storage? Would you rather it just be a place for your utilities or do you maybe want to remodel it into additional living space? After you make this decision everything else you do in your basement should be working toward that goal. A large basement can easily become a multipurpose room that serves all of these different functions.

3. Create Zones

When planning you should designate zones. Your zones are going to be bigger areas of organization and each zone serves a purpose. A utility zone should logically be located near your hot water heater, furnace or other basement appliances and utilities. Keep your utility zone easily accessible in case of an emergency and resist the urge to pile storage boxes there.

Your storage zone should be separate and it's the place where it is acceptable to put all of those items you decided to save as you were de-cluttering. Break your storage zone down into smaller zones so that everything is easy to find. Have a certain place in the zone for your holiday decorations that is separate from your camping gear, for example. A living area zone would include furniture, electronics or maybe a pool table or other form of indoor recreation.

4. Appropriate Storage

In your storage zone in particular you need to decide exactly how you want to save and put away items. Invest in some of those affordable plastic bins or tubs as well as an organizer for them. Label your storage containers and then work to keep them accessible. If you play a lot of different sports year round then you will want your sports equipment to always be where you can find it and get to it.

You only need your holiday decorations during the holiday season so you may want to keep those bins in a less prominent location. To help avoid clutter be sure to put your items away according to your mini-zones and your labels.

Robert Mizrahi
Professional Home Organizer
Chaos Commandos