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How to Organize Your Home Room by Room, Part 5: The Basement

Take a Deep Dive to Declutter with Basement Organization Ideas 

Basements are often neglected when it comes to cleaning, decluttering and organizing a house since they are “out of sight, out of mind.” But all you need is a simple plan of attack and a few organizational ideas that you can put into practice. We’ve put together a guide to help you organize your finished basement in four steps, and keep it that way year-round.

“People often use their basements as a dumping ground. It collects clutter because people either don’t take the time to go through items and get rid of what they no longer need, or decide to hold onto it to sort through later.”
Jessica Litman | The Organized Mama

It’s time to make your basement a usable and organized space so you won’t have to spend hours searching for your extra Crock-Pot. 

Sort Through Your Basement One Section at a Time

“Most basements are too large and overwhelming to do all at once. Section off the basement into smaller areas to take on first. Tackle one area at a time and treat it the same as you would any other room in your home.”
Amber Kostelny | Amber's Organizing

If you are confident in your commitment to declutter, and want an organized space in one weekend, set a timer for 2 to 3 hours. Tackle one section during that time, weeding through items you don’t plan on keeping and organizing whatever is left over. 

How to Organize Your Basement, Step-by-Step

1. Designate an area to tackle first and sort through clutter.

Place all items into one of three categories: keep, donate or toss. “Maybe I’ll use this one day…” is procrastination. Don’t delay getting rid of something.

2. Organize any items in your keep pile.

Categorize items and assign them to a specific storage area, bin or basket. You might find some items, such as spare tools, that might be better suited for the garage or shed instead of your basement.

Organizing with Storage Bins3. Store items in labeled bins.

If you aren’t using clear plastic containers, use a sharpie to label your boxes and storage containers instead. Make sure your labels are short and descriptive, for example: Christmas Decorations – Outdoor Lights

4. Save space with smart storage.

Shelves and hooks are incredibly helpful ways to organize your basement. Keeping items off the floor protects them from potential water damage, and also makes it easier to maintain your new organization system.


Common Sources of Basement Clutter

Seasonal Decorations

Perhaps the biggest clutter culprit in your basement is the overgrown collection of holiday ornaments, window clings and decorative candle holders for each holiday. If you dread dragging out decorations, and always seem to be missing a few, it’s time to streamline your collection. 

“As you are putting away holiday decorations, look through everything you have and take time to declutter that one specific holiday. It won’t seem as overwhelming since you already have to put all of the items back in their place.”
Jessica Litman | The Organized Mama

School Work and Art Projects

Over the years, your children will bring home plenty of art and school projects. While these belongings are sentimental, they can quickly take over your basement. If you want to shrink your finger painting collection without losing those memories, try a clutter-free storage option. Artkive is an app that creates photobooks from pictures you take, or you can use a service like Shutterfly and create your own. 

Clothes That No Longer Fit

These might be sitting in storage bins and tubs already, but if you are storing clothing your children (or you) have outgrown it’s time to part ways. 

Old Toys

If you have containers full of Hot Wheels, Legos and Barbies that have seen better days, it may be time for them to leave the house for good. But this doesn’t just apply to children’s toys. If you have a collection of DVDs, records or even large items like a ping pong table that aren’t being used, they don’t belong in the basement. For items that are in good condition you can either donate or save them for a garage sale; if not, drop them at the curb. 

Create a Basement Organization System That Works for You

“Piling bins on top of bins is not a system,” explains Jessica Litman. Instead, she suggests installing shelves that keep storage bins off the ground and to make sure everything is visible and accessible. “Make sure you can reach items individually without taking other things down,” says Jessica. 

“It’s easy to stash items and not put them away where they belong,” says Amber. Commit to your organization system, and turn it into a habit.

With these simple basement organization ideas, you’ll be enjoying a clutter-free space in no time. Ready to move on from the basement? Read our tips on how to organize your kitchen, bathroom, garage and closet to tackle the next room in your house.