For decades the humble basement was thought of as being little more than a leftover space under the house that was created by the foundation. In some parts of the United States homes don’t even have basements and are merely held up by footings and piers.

Then in the 1980s, the concept of turning the basement into a functional living or storage space truly started to take off. Today an increasing number of homeowners are even finishing their basements with drywall and proper lighting as an easy way to add value to their home.

Of course, with all that space underfoot, both finished and unfinished basements serve as a convenient place to store a wide range of items. Not to mention the temperature is usually easier to control than the garage or the attic.

Free Standing Shelving For An Unfinished Basement

Unfinished basements tend to have poured concrete or cinderblock walls, which can be a major challenge for installing shelves. While you can theoretically use special heavy-duty concrete anchors, it’s not advisable to alter what is essentially your home’s foundation. At least not without having the job done by a licensed and insured contractor.

You might be surprised by just how much weight you can store per shelf on a heavy-duty freestanding shelving unit. The combination of steel and industrial-grade plywood can sometimes exceed 200-pounds per shelf. Just make sure that when you load the shelves that you are keeping the majority of the weight on the lower shelf. This will keep it from being top-heavy.

Stackable Tote Bin Systems In An Unfinished Basement

Stackable tote bins are another way to store a lot of things in a relatively small footprint. They’re great for storing away seasonal items that might not need to use or even want to see for months.

Heavy-duty plastics and polymers give tote bine a lot more structural integrity than in years past. Some can even be sealed to be nearly airtight, which is handy if you have humidity issues in your basement during the summer. Just make sure to give them clear external labels so you can find what you need quickly.

Storage Options For A Finished Basement

A finished basement sometimes rides the line between being a functional living space and being a lesser-used part of the house. A lot of finished basements end up having man caves, craft rooms, workshops or a place for teenagers to get away and do a little gaming. Most of the time a finished basement is going to have a lot of disused space.

Though you still might not want to have storage in sight of the living space. You can remedy the eyesore of open storage by hanging a tasteful curtain, putting up a tall privacy screen, or perhaps installing a non-structural wall.

Wall Shelves For A Finished Basement

With the finished basement, you often have the luxury of studs and other heavy-duty wood to attach shelves. Track-mounted adjustable shelving is really handy in a finished basement like this. The weight per shelf isn’t going to be the same as a free-standing shelving unit, but it’s still respectable enough to hold boxes of holiday decorations and books. The adjustable tracks let you maximize the vertical space, as well as adding additional shelves when needed.

Peg Hook Systems For Convenient Wall Storage

Twenty years ago, pegboard and peg hooks were largely thought of as something that belonged in the garage workshop. Today modern improvements have transformed peg board and peg hook systems into highly versatile and arguably tasteful storage solutions.

The pegboard itself has evolved out of the classic dark brown plywood to embrace other materials. Though even if you are on a budget, the classic plywood can still be painted to match the existing basement décor.

There are all different types of hooks that can be used to hold specialty tools. They even have clips to securely hold brooms, mops, and long-handled dusters. If you happen to get a new tool or two, you can simply move the pegs around to maximize the space.

Under Shelf Basket Systems

Basket system is increasingly popular these days. They do a great job of holding lightweight items like holiday decorations or even stuffed animals your child has outgrown but still doesn’t want to get rid of. They can be installed with runners to fit snuggly under shelves. This lets you pull them out at a moment’s notice, yet spares them from dust settling on them.

The Basement As A Bulk Pantry

These days more and more families are buying non-perishable food items as a great way to save money. Of course, a 25-pound bag of flour can take up a lot of room in the kitchen pantry. Being able to convert as section of your basement into additional pantry storage is a great way to keep bags, cans, and bins out of the way in the kitchen, yet still available when you need it.

Stair Well Shelving

The basement stairwell is one of the lesser-thought of spaces that can be utilized to store small items like canned goods. A shallow wire shelf is tasteful and easy enough to install. Though simple wood shelves will also suffice.

Installing adjustable shelves allows you maximize the vertical space, as well as adding new shelves. You can then designate one shelf for taller items like condiments and bottles of salad dressing, then use shorter shelves to hold things like cans of beans and vegetables.

When you need to grab something a stairwell shelving system spares you having to go all the way down into the basement. Just make a point of clearly noting the dates and rotating your stocks so that you don’t end up wasting foods that might accidentally go beyond their expiration date.

Storing Frozen Foods In The Basement

The basement is one of the best places to put a chest freezer. The problem is not every chest freezer will fit down a basement access door. Not to mention the challenges presented by a stairwell with a landing that turns.

If you are going to take the plunge and invest in a chest freezer for your basement, make sure you measure twice before trying to fit it down the steps. It might be a better idea to buy two 3.5 cubic foot chest freezers rather than one single 7 cubic food unit.