Winter is the Best Time for Basement Organization

Written by Richard Schulman of White Rabbit Garage Organizers
Updated June 15, 2021
pegboard and hanging tools
Taking advantage of vertical storage space on walls can help to organize your basement. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Sharon D. of Chicago)

Don't wait until spring to tidy up your basement. Winter's a fine time to get organized.

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Winter — not spring — is the best time to straighten out and clean cluttered basements.

After the holidays you need to make room upstairs for new toys, clothes and other gifts by moving older items to the basement. Christmas decorations need to be stored out of the way until next year.

Many homeowners routinely dump items in the basement, vowing to get things in order in the spring. However, they rarely follow through.

But especially if the washer and dryer are in the basement, and the kids play down there, it’s worth the effort to organize your basement before spring (and lawn and garden chores) arrive.

Homeowners who don’t know where to start can begin their basement organization with the following five steps:

1. Toss things

Walk through the basement and haul to the trash anything that is broken, not needed or unlikely to be used again. Set aside useful but unwanted items to give to friends, relatives or charity.

2. Categorize

Consolidate similar items, making separate piles for sports equipment, toys, books, tools and other items. If related items are stored upstairs or in the garage and are rarely used, add them to the appropriate piles in the basement.

3. Estimate your needs

Look at your piles and decide what should go in cabinets and what can go on shelves.

4. Make special places

Most basements have plenty of valuable wall space for storage. Keeping things off the floor will make the floor easier to clean. And cabinets attached to the walls, or on legs at least four inches from the floor, will reduce the chances of water damage if a basement has a seepage problem during heavy rains.

Once your cabinets and shelves are in place, find a logical spot for everything. Toys should go on lower shelves for the kids. Store paint on higher shelves. Clothes, linens, extra dishes and other things you want protected from dust should go in cabinets. Detergents should be on shelves close to the washer and dryer.

5. Stay organized

Make sure all family members know where each category of items belongs. Label the shelves, if necessary, but be flexible and change where things are stored if needed.

With some effort, basements can be organized, safe, efficient and attractive spaces that serve as an integral part of any home.

About this Experts Contributor

Richard Schulman, president of White Rabbit Garage Organizers, has been in the organizing business for more than 25 years, providing organizing services in Chicago.

As of January 2, 2015, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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