9 Genius Tips to Organize Your Basement

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated March 8, 2022
 A play room in a white basement living room
Photo: Iriana Shiyan / Adobe Stock

Never lose your baseball gear in a pile of holiday decorations again

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You’ve finally done the hard part and decluttered your basement, but now it’s time to take the next step and organize it. Organizing your basement will help you find things in a pinch, so your days of rifling through storage bins and maneuvering around dangerously high stacks of boxes can be over. 

Use these simple basement organization tips to create a system that works for you.

1. Plan It Out

Before you set out to organize your basement, make a plan of action. Even if your drawing skills are lacking, consider drawing a basic sketch, including the number of bins you have to store, shelves, etc. 

It can also be helpful to create a general timeline of the project so that you can set achievable goals for yourself. You can also make helpful organization checklists to ensure you don’t forget any supplies or smaller tasks. As you’re working through the project, you can use this as a reference to help you stay on track.

2. Group Like Items Together

Basements are the ideal spaces to store things you seldom need. But when you do actually need something, it’s important that you can find it easily. That’s why it’s so vital to organize your basement in a way that makes sense for you. 

A solid organization tip for any space is to group similar items together. Put bins of winter clothes on one shelf and seasonal decorations on another. When it’s time to pull them out, everything you need will be in one general area.

3. Try Clear Bins

Most home goods stores sell clear plastic storage bins. These allow you to see clearly into the bin without opening it and quickly find what you need. But if you don’t like the look of clear bins (sometimes they can look cluttered), consider other organization tips, like labeling and color-coding your bins (more on that in a minute!).

4. Arrange Items by Use

Playing Jenga with full storage bins is annoying and, frankly, dangerous. Instead of shuffling everything around when you need to access one specific bin, arrange your storage bins in a way that makes sense for your family. 

Sort bins by how often you use what’s inside of them, placing the lesser-used ones on a high shelf or behind other bins. Now you can make room up front for the stuff you need to get to more frequently.

5. Color-Code Your Bins

In addition to grouping similar items together, you can also color-code them.  If you’re a visual person, color-coding your bins will make finding your things in storage that much easier. For example, you can put your holiday decorations in red bins, camping gear in blue bins, and sports memorabilia in yellow. Of course, you don’t have to use those exact colors—just find a system that works for you.

Pro tip: If you’re not confident you’ll remember your color system, making a key can be useful.

6. Label Items

Labeling is included on virtually every list of organization tips, and for a good reason. It’s the best way to streamline your organization system and make it simpler to find what you’re looking for. 

Use a label maker or make your own labels to mark each storage bin with what’s inside. If you have shelves, label those, too. In our opinion, there can never be too many labels when you’re getting organized.

7. Install Shelves

A man placing bin on shelf
Photo: DonNichols / E+ / Getty Images

Shelves are a great way to utilize your basement’s vertical storage space and keep your items neat and organized. You can stack bulky items directly on your shelving unit or use your shelves to hold several storage bins. 

Storing things on shelves instead of along the floor makes your things easier to access while also freeing up floor space in your basement. With that extra room, you can turn your basement into a playroom or rec room.

8. Use a Pegboard

Useful and versatile, pegboards are large boards with an array of evenly spaced holes. The holes can hold pegs that act as hooks to hold individual items or to hang things like shelves and containers. 

People often use pegboards to organize workbenches, garages, and closets, but they work in virtually every space, including your basement. Organize your space by hanging a pegboard and using it to store small items, like household tools and children's toys.

9. Hire a Pro

If you don’t have room in your busy schedule to organize your basement, it may be wise to outsource the job to someone who seriously knows what they’re doing. You can hire a professional organizer near you and work with them to create an organization system that works for you. When it comes time to dig out those photo albums or those spare blankets, you’ll have a pro to thank for making it so simple.

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