Organize Basement Shelves

Organize basement shelves so that you can find and get to the stored items easily when you need them. Whether wall and ceiling mount or free standing shelving units, basement shelves solve a multitude of problems. They help contain the clutter. They elevate contents off the floor when moisture is an issue, protecting them.

Basement shelves maximize the available storage by utilizing the vertical space by using the walls and ceiling. Another benefit is that you don’t have to lift the boxes at the top to get to the ones at the bottom (unlike stacking).

Begin to organize basement shelves by taking everything from the shelves.

Categorize the contents into seasonal items (holiday decorations, out-of-season clothes, inflatable pools etc.), luggage, furniture items (like beach chairs and folding tables), keepsakes, paperwork (old tax documents, statements, receipts etc.), and so on. Utility shelves are also great to store pantry items, wine, paper towels and bath tissues.

It is a good idea to use sturdy plastic boxes (clear or colored ones) with lids to group like items from each category when you organize basement shelves. Even though they cost a little more than cardboard boxes, their tight lids help keep moisture, bugs and dust from damaging or destroying contents. When using colored boxes, designate one color for each category.

Always label these boxes on all sides even if they are clear. Be specific when labeling. Label “christmas ornaments and lights” instead of “holiday decorations”. Similarly, when labeling clothes, write the type of clothing and who they belong to.

You can also use boxes that are specifically designed for holiday decorations like ornaments, lights and trees. These are available at supermarkets.

The best way to organize basement shelves is to designate shelves for like items from each category, like one set of shelves for holiday decorations, one for out-of-season clothes, another one for paperwork and so on. This will provide specific places for everything and make it easier to find things when you need them, saving you time.

Always store heavier items on the lower shelves, and lighter items on the top shelves. Put lighter items you need frequent access to (like pantry items, bath tissue and paper towels) on the middle shelves, where they're easy to see and reach, and rarely used items like holiday decorations and keepsakes on the top shelves.

If moisture is an issue, store items like plastic folding tables, beach chairs and inflatable pools on the bottom shelves. Even if they get wet, they can be easily wiped clean or can be air dried outside.

Move the shelves up or down, if you can, so that all heavier items fit on the bottom shelves.

Do not put more weight than the shelf’s weight limit. Make sure you have heavy duty shelf brackets for the shelves that store heavier items.

If you have deep shelves, keep smaller boxes in the front and larger/taller ones in the back so that items are easy to spot at a glance.

Leave enough space between storage containers and shelves to enable easy retrieval.

A space saving option to store out-of-season clothes, rarely used and bulky items like sleeping bags, comforters, blankets, quilts, pillows etc. are vacuum sealable storage bags. These reusable bags compress the contents when you take the air out using a vacuum cleaner. They are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Manufactures of these bags claim that they are airtight, watertight, mold, mildew, bug and odor proof. You can reuse cardboard shipping boxes to store these compressed bags. Storing them sideways inside the box instead of stacking will provide easy access.

Paperwork like statement binders and receipt magazines (explained in the home office article) can be stored sideways in plastic boxes with the year label facing up. You can find fire safe or fire resistant boxes at supermarkets to store important paper work like tax documents.

When storing suitcases and other luggage, put smaller ones inside larger ones to save space. You can label “small one(s) inside” and also take photos of the ones inside and stick them on the outside one.

If your utility room also serves as a laundry room, assign a middle shelf (preferably one closer to the washer and dryer) for laundry supplies like laundry detergent, fabric softener, bleach, stain remover and dryer sheets.

Label the shelves so everybody knows what goes where.

Maintaining the results is very important. If you need to add a few more items, put them in the appropriate boxes and shelves.

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