Declutter Your Basement With These 7 Tips

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Updated January 6, 2022
Basement rec room with home office desk underneath the stairs
Photo: PC Photography / iStock / Getty Images

Parting is such sweet sorrow—unless you’re saying goodbye to clutter

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Over time, your basement can become a graveyard of old electronics that you’ve been meaning to get rid of, broken toys you never got around to fixing, and cardboard boxes that you tossed downstairs when it was too cold to tote them out to the garbage can. 

Instead of avoiding your basement, you can declutter it with a few simple tips and take advantage of this valuable room once more.

1. Make a Plan of Action

Decluttering your basement can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve used it to “dispose” of your junk for the last several years. Make a plan of action before getting to work on this project. Dedicate a set time to get to work and know what you want to get out of it. Break the process into smaller chunks if you need to, and plan to take a break every so often to avoid getting overwhelmed.

Declutter your whole home weekly if you can to keep things from piling up. But don’t toss your junk in the basement, giving you more work later. Donate, resell, or trash it (more on that in a second).

2. Purge and Declutter

Reclaim your space by getting rid of the things you no longer need. Start with the larger items first and ride that momentum until you’ve assessed everything there. 

Consider donating items that you don’t need to thrift stores and nonprofits that could use them. Recycle old electronics like your dead college laptop—some thrift stores will even recycle them for you. Bag up any trash and remove it so that you’re only left with the things you truly need. If you find an item you no longer need but think is still valuable, sell it online to make some extra cash.

Take inventory of your basement at least once a year to prevent clutter from building up.

3. Clean Your Basement

Once you’re done purging your things, it’s time to clean. If possible, empty the space to give you more room to clean without having to shuffle furniture around every five minutes. Consider cleaning on a bright and sunny day so you can move everything outside for a few hours without getting damaged.

Vacuum, dust, and mop your entire basement. Clean from left to right and top to bottom to stay on track and ensure you get every nook and cranny. Cleaning your basement will make it look even neater when you’re done with it.

4. Hire a Junk Removal Service

If you have lots of things to get rid of, including bulky items like furniture, hire a junk removal service near you to help. Hiring these pros will save you a trip to the dump, and you won’t have to worry about borrowing your neighbor’s truck to haul everything away. 

Junk removal can be back-breaking and time-consuming work. Pros will have the time, energy, and equipment to take care of it for you.

5. Organize With Airtight Bins

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

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the items you no longer need or use, you can organize everything. Not only will organizing your basement make the space look nicer, but it can also help you find what you’re looking for easily. 

Place items like photo albums, off-season clothing, and spare appliances in airtight bins to keep things tidy. You’ll never have to rifle through various boxes to find the holiday decorations again.

6. Label Everything

Label your airtight bins with exactly what’s inside them to enhance your organization system. Accurate labels will help in the future when you’re searching for a specific item. You can walk over to your stacks of airtight bins, scan the labels, and find the bin you’re looking for quickly.

7. Take Advantage of Vertical Space

Have a lot of bins to store? No judgment here! Stacking them on the basement floor can make the space look cluttered. Instead, install a tall shelf or two to hold them. Use a shelf that’s as tall as you can fit in your basement in order to take advantage of all that available vertical space. 

This step will also free up some valuable floor space for more than just storage. Use all that room as a home gym, a craft space, or turn it into a movie area.

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