How Do You Get Rid of Clutter in a Basement?

If you’ve ended up with a mess in your basement, it can be hard to know where to start. This guide will give you some practical tips and ideas for how to get rid of clutter in the basement so that you can finally use the space again.

Last Updated on June 30, 2022 by Jude Robert Caratao

Basements always seem to be the magnets of clutter in our homes. Most probably, this is where you stockpile junk and never think twice about it. But did you know that a cluttered basement will do you no good? A clean and well-organized basement can be a fantastic area for you and your family. You can easily turn it into a playroom, home theatre, or organized area for storage.

So, how do you get rid of clutter in a basement? The most important thing you need to do is figure out what is lying idle in your basement, separate the clutter into different categories and decide what you will keep, donate, sell, or trash. Once you are through with the sorting, start decluttering in small segments. You can consider organizing toys into bins, adding shelves, sorting your basement into sections, designating zones for each season, labeling everything, and thinking vertically.

If you are struggling with decluttering your basement and keeping everything in order, you have come to the right place. Read on to learn more about getting rid of clutter in a basement.

How to Declutter Your Basement

A clean and organized basement is a great way to extend the storage capacity of your house, if not the only way. It adds a layer of protection against hazards like fire, mold growth, and pest infestation; while maintaining the resale value of your house.

If you are not sure how to get started with decluttering your basement, here are some tips that will help you get started.

1. Establish the Basis

When cleaning your basement, it is crucial to understand what you have in the basement. Have a quick inventory of everything down there, from household items to old clothes and bric-a-brac.

By getting a general idea about the stuff you have, you will be able to determine how much time and effort you need to invest in your project.

2. Categorize the Stuff

Once you establish what you have, it is essential to determine how best to group and store them based on size and shape.

This will help you maximize the use of space and prevent clutter from piling up again. Your categories could be as simple as clothing, kitchen appliances, electronic equipment, and gardening stuff.

color-coded packing cubes
The primary purpose is to figure out what is filling your basement.

You can also sort the stuff in different categories such as keep, trash, donate, or sell. The primary purpose is to figure out what is filling your basement and whether it is actually useful to you.

Anything that falls under the trash or donate category shouldn’t find its way back to your basement. Instead, it should be promptly disposed of.

3. Figure Out the Best Use of Space

Next, figure out whether there are any spots in your basement where you can make use of to store away stuff that you do not use or need.

For example, if you have a free spot between the studs on walls, it would be a great place to put some shelves to store some of your stuff out of the way.

Alternatively, you could also try clearing a path from one end of your basement to the other. In doing so, you will be able to get rid of old furniture and boxes that have been lying around for too long, which might be cluttering up space.

Removing these obstacles will help you have a clearer picture of what you have to work with.

4. Making a Plan and Estimate Time Frame

It is essential to know what you want out of your basement by getting an idea of how it should look like after the decluttering project.

Make sure that you have all your stuff sorted and placed in such a way that is conducive for storage. Take into consideration the amount of time needed to finish the job.

A woman thinking.
Take into consideration the amount of time needed to finish the job.

Ensure that you have everything in place before starting off with the actual decluttering and organization process for your basement. Buy some storage bins, boxes, and trays to help you get started, so you can move stuff around without too much effort.

5. Clean the Space

To prevent clutter from building up again, you have to clean out your basement before organizing it.

Have a thorough cleaning of the entire space so that you can clear out all dirt and grime as well as any damage, such as broken walls or dusty shelves. This will also enable your items to last longer.

6. Do Not Reinvent the Wheel

When it comes to organizing your basement, it is best to take clues from other well-organized basements.

Pinterest has hundreds of different storage ideas for your use based on the type of stuff that you need to store away in your basement. This will help you create a storage plan for your basement.

7. Utilize Plastic Bins

Plastic containers are one of the most effective ways of managing clutter because plastic doesn’t get affected by water damage or mold.

Using them as storage containers also ensures that the items stored are properly concealed and remain organized. You can make things even better by adding clear labels to your containers to facilitate easier retrieval when need be.

A person labeling the plastic bins.
It will also ensures that the items stored are properly concealed and remain organized.

All you need to do is ensure the containers are airtight and well arranged in one part of the basement. Avoid throwing them all over the floor because it won’t help your decluttering effort.

8. Install Shelves

If you stay in an area prone to rain damage, adding shelves to your basement walls can help keep valuable items such as books from potential damage that water leaks may cause.

Good shelves also add a certain level of functionality while making your entire basement layout appear organized.

Consider talking to an experienced carpenter to build you custom shelves instead of going for ready-made options. This way, you will be able to maximize the space available to the last inch.

9. Designate Different Zones for Each Season

Now that you are on the right track and have already sorted out most stuff in your basement, it is time to create a comprehensive storage plan.

Think of all the items you found in your basement during the sorting you conducted in step 2 above. Now, go ahead and create different zones or categories. These might include zones by type or season.

A woman organizing her clothes.
It will make it relatively easier to retrieve stored items when need be.

The primary purpose of creating zones or categories is to help keep the clutter under control and make it relatively easier to retrieve stored items when need be.

Make large, highly visible labels for each zone and start piling your items up by each label. For instance, make sure all your summer clothes go under the “Summer Clothes” label and so on.

10. Think Vertically

One of the easiest ways of keeping your stored items easily accessible without ever cluttering your basement is by maximizing your vertical storage space. Don’t be afraid to use most of your height because you need it to stay organized.

Use vertical shelving units, wall ceiling hooks, and wall hooks to get items off the floor. The most important thing you need to keep in mind is that only light items can be stored on ceiling hooks. Heavy items should remain on the floor.

11. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Decluttering your basement can be so involving and quite stressful. Therefore, it is always a good idea to get the whole family involved in the process and even some of your friends.

A small crew of helping hands will not only make your life easier, but they may also benefit from the decluttering process in different ways.

Family members and friends will provide more hands to get the job done fast and emotional support as you have to inevitably part ways with some items that you may have an emotional attachment to.

Furthermore, outside eyes can sometimes see clutter better than you since they don’t see these items daily. An extra set of eyes will always come in handy when decluttering any part of your home, not just the basement.

12.  Waterproof the Basement for More Versatility

Sometimes, you may be decluttering your basement with the aim of turning it into a livable space. If that is the case, you need to take extra steps to keep the water out.

Start by assessing where the water is coming in from and whether it is a structural problem or not. Once you have identified the culprit, you need to figure out a solution as soon as possible.

A person applying waterproof coating.
You need to take extra steps to keep the water out.

Depending on what you discover, you can choose to install a sump pump to help with pumping the water out, change landscaping and pitch, make sure all your gutters are clean, and have downspouts facing away from your house, or add drain tile if your yard is too wet.

Final Thought

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to getting rid of clutter in a basement. However, by following these general guidelines and tips, you can create a plan that works for your specific space and helps you achieve the organized and clutter-free basement you’ve always wanted.

Remember to be patient, take things one step at a time, and ask for help when needed – with enough time and effort, you will be able to transform your cluttered basement into a functional and organized space.

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