18 Unfinished Basement Storage Ideas You Need To See

If your home has an unfinished basement, you may be overlooking an important storage opportunity. You don't need to add permanent walls or floors to make the most of your unfinished storage space. With these 18 storage ideas, you can keep your basement clutter-free and make the most of your existing space.

Organizing your unfinished basement can improve the aesthetic of your room and make it easy to find everything you need. But an unfinished basement can be unsightly and hard to keep organized. It can be hard to know where to start when trying to organize your unfinished basement with all the mess lying around.

But since you can’t leave it unattended, you still have to find some storage ideas that work for the space. How about you try organizing things in storage containers, using shelves, trolleys, or a pegboard. You must find something that works for your specific needs and space. 

Let’s have a look at some of the unfinished basement storage ideas below:

1. Label Everything

The first unfinished basement organizing idea is to label everything. This means labeling all of your boxes, your shelves, and everything in between. This will make it easy for you to find what you need when you need it, and it will also help keep your space tidy. If you’re storing your items in containers, make sure you label them as well.

2. Store Items in Plastic Storage Containers

With an unfinished basement, if you use cardboard boxes, they’ll warp, bend, and even break down over time. This will happen even if you have a climate-controlled basement. To avoid these problems, opt for clear, plastic storage containers as your storage option.

This will help keep your items dust-free, and it’ll make it easy for you to see what’s inside each container. These containers will also protect your gear from heat, humidity, moisture, and pests. Make sure you label on the outside of each storage container to know their contents.

3. Use Airtight Plastic Containers

If your kitchen pantry is running out of space in your kitchen, consider storing shelf-stable food items, cleaning products, and paper products in your unfinished basement. Food items attract pests, so make sure you put any edible products in airtight plastic containers.

Labeling the outside of each container will make it easier to identify your products without the original packaging. You can also store other items like coffee, unopened condiments, and sealed spices in your unfinished without worrying about anything. Also, ensure you categorize your items and assign them to a certain location within your storage system.

4. Choose Your Shelving Solution

Now that you know what you’re storing, it’s time to choose your shelving solution. If you have any empty wall space in your basement, installing shelves is a great way to maximize storage capacity. You can buy shelves or build them yourself using materials like wood or metal.

Setting up shelving units in your unfinished basement won’t just maximize your vertical space, it will also protect your gear from flooding and other types of damage. Measure your space to determine what size of shelving it can accommodate while considering the amount of gear your system needs to accommodate.

If your space isn’t climate controlled, avoid wood shelving and opt for metal or sturdy plastic shelving systems. Wood can break down over time, but metal and plastic can withstand heat, humidity, and water damage if you live in a flooded area.

5. Consider Adding Simple Clothing Rack

If you have gear that needs to be hung up, like winter coats or other season clothing, consider adding a simple clothing rack to your space. You can find these at most home improvement stores, and they’re relatively inexpensive. Just make sure they’re not too close to your gear, so they don’t get in the way or accidentally knock something over.

A woman choosing on her clothes hanging.
This simple rack will save you shelf space.

This simple rack will save you shelf space, maximize vertical space, and keep your clothes neat and wrinkle-free. You can also hang fire extinguishers, tools, aprons, and gloves by storing them on simple hooks or pegs.

6. Store Bulky Items in the Baskets

If you have bulky items that cannot fit in your boxes, opt for baskets to store them instead. It’s important to keep these items off the floor, so they don’t become a trip hazard, and baskets are an easy way to do that. You can find baskets at most home improvement stores or online retailers.

You can also stack wire storage baskets to create a complete storage unit. These baskets come in different sizes, and dividers are also available, so you can customize them based on what you are storing.

7. Use a Portable DIY Trolley for Easy Storage

A portable storage trolley is a great way to regularly store items that you need to access. This type of storage is perfect for small items like tools, cleaning supplies, and gardening supplies. You can build your DIY trolley using PVC pipe or buy one at a home improvement store.

8. Go for Built-In Storage

If you are renovating your home, consider adding built-in storage to your list of priorities. This can include a custom closet, cabinets, or shelving. Built-in storage is not only attractive but also helps to keep your home organized and clutter-free.

An empty basement.
Consider adding built-in storage to your list of priorities.

9. Create a Fold Away Workspace

If you’re an occasional DIYer and use your space as a workspace,a fold-down desk offers a great storage solution. When not in use, you can fold the desk away against the wall, freeing up valuable floor space. You can use the wall space or floor space to install shelves, pegboards, and hooks to store all the tools you need to keep accessible.

10. Make Use of the Pegboard

Speaking of pegboards, these are a great way to store and organize small items. You can install them in the laundry room, kitchen, garage, or any other space where you tend to accumulate a lot of small things. Pegboard is perfect for storing tools, gadgets, craft supplies, and even canned goods.

Pegboard with tools organized.
It is perfect for storing tools, gadgets, craft supplies, and even canned goods.

Instead of letting small items clutter your surfaces, opt for an IKEA pegboard as this comes with add ons such as pots and shelves to make everything more organized. You can pop one or five in your unfinished basement wall to keep everything easy to access.

11. Consider Ceiling Storage

If you are short on floor space, consider using the ceiling to store your items. There are a number of storage options that can be hung from the ceiling, such as racks, baskets, and shelves. This is a great way to store holiday decorations, seasonal clothes, or other items that you occasionally use.

Use heavy-duty hooks and overhead racks to make use of your ceiling space. Also, note that overhead storage is more suited towards lighter items, so use it to get those awkwardly shaped or longer things out of the way.

12. Create Space in Your Unfinished Basement

It can be tricky to know how to organize your unfinished basement. However, you can organize this space by using tote boxes, shoe bags, bins, shelves, and some creativity. Move everything away from the floor, reconfigure shelves to add boxes, and focus on making walking space. Make sure you put items in similar zones to make it easier to find things.

13. Make Your Basement Storage Pretty

You can also use your unfinished basement for storage by using decorative baskets, boxes, and bins. This will help make the space more visually appealing and give you some extra storage. You can find these items at home improvement stores or online. Using vertical solutions creates more space, while the colors also make it a more inspiring space for storing your crafts.

14. Build Cabinets and a Bar

If you want to use your unfinished basement as a recreation space, you can build your cabinets and bar. This will give you the perfect place to entertain friends and family.

A bottle of liquor with a glass of ice.
Consider adding built-in storage to your list of priorities.

If you’re also looking to transform your unfinished basement, adding a bar will not only bring fun but will also help with storage. This is because you can move a lot of items from your kitchen. By adding cabinets, you’ll also create a space where you can place items out of sight.

15. Build a Closet in Your Unfinished Basement

If you have a lot of clothes that you need to store, you can build a closet in your unfinished basement. This is a great way to use the space in your basement and to keep your clothes organized. You can either build the closet yourself or have a professional do it for you.

16. Create a Laundry Room in Your Unfinished Basement

If you don’t have a laundry room in your house, you can create one in your unfinished basement. This is a great way to use the space in your basement and to keep your laundry organized. You can either create the laundry room yourself or have a professional do it for you.

Basement laundry room.
This is a great way to use the space in your basement and to keep your laundry organized.

17. Cover Unsightly Walls With Curtains

To make your unfinished basement presentable, you can cover the unsightly walls with curtains. This will add color and personality to the space and make it feel more like a room. You can choose any curtain you want or even use blankets or sheets.

18. Add Some Furniture

If your unfinished basement is just a big space, you can add some furniture to make it feel more like a room. You can add a couch, chairs, a coffee table, or anything else that you think would make the space more comfortable.

Related Questions

How do you store things in an unfinished basement?

If you’re storing off-season gear, keep it in a sealed, airtight container to protect it from moisture. Stackable storage bins are great for this purpose, and they’ll help you keep your basement organized. For larger items, like furniture, try using plastic sheeting to keep them clean and dry.

What is the best way to organize an unfinished basement?

The best way to organize an unfinished basement is to use a combination of storage methods. Stackable storage bins are great for small items, while plastic sheeting can help protect larger items from moisture. If you have a lot of gear to store, consider using a shelving unit to keep everything organized and within reach.


Storing things in your unfinished basement and keeping them organized can be a challenge, but it’s doable with a little creativity. By using different storage methods, you can make the most of your space and keep your belongings safe from moisture. So don’t give up on your basement just yet, with the right approach, it can be a great place to store all your things.

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