Basements tend to be lesser used places in the home. This is especially true for unfinished basements that serve more as a foundation than a functional living space. All that empty space makes it an attractive place to store lesser-used items.
Yet, without effective storage solutions in place, a basement storeroom can quickly devolve into a mess that swallows cherished items whole. There are different ways to prevent this from happening. The following are some steps to use and options to consider for transforming your unused basement into an organized dream space.
Step One: Measure Twice And Make A Plan
The last thing you want to do is rush into a hardware store to buy some shelving units only to find that they don’t fit, or they simply aren’t strong enough to handle your storage items. This is a situation where you really want to take the time to be meticulous. A little bit of graph paper and drawing up the measurements of your basement space to scale will let you play around with what you want to do.
Step Two: Choosing The Right Type Of Shelves
It’s tempting to take budget shortcuts with basement storage. Many people who choose to forgo shelving find themselves moving an endless array of boxes and totes to try to find what they are looking for. Somehow it always seems that the thing you want is in the box at the bottom of a stack!
All these future hassles can be avoided by using some affordable shelving solutions. The job will be even harder if you decide to put shelves in after space has been filled.
Should I Use Wall Mounted Shelves Or A Free Standing Shelving Unit?
The answer to this question will be strongly influenced by the type of floor and walls you have in your basement. In some instances, you might need professional installation.
If your unfinished basement has a brick or poured concrete walls it can be really challenging to mount shelving brackets. It’s not impossible, but it calls for special tools and anchoring hardware. Not to mention there might be building codes that apply, which require you to go through a licensed contractor.
If your basement doesn’t have a hard floor, and it’s just exposed soil or sand, free-standing shelving units can start to sink or list as time goes on. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t use them. You will just need to put down some type of level footings to make sure the heavy-duty shelving unit is set firmly in place.
Let’s say that your basement has a solid hard floor and exposed studs or drywall, to accommodate either type of shelving. At this point, weight is also a major factor. Take a moment in your planning session to think about the things you plan to store down there.
Wall-mounted shelves need to have very heavy-duty brackets to be able to handle a serious amount of weight per shelf. Yet they can be mounted flush to the wall to spare you some extra square inches per shelf.
If you are thinking about storing heavy tools and seasonal items, you might want to tend away from wall mounted shelves and go for heavy-duty fee-standing shelving units. Most of these units have strong steel frames and robust wooden shelves. Some also have the ability to adjust shelf height or add additional shelves. This can give you additional vertical storage space to hold shallow items.
Freestanding shelving units don’t need to be mounted flush to the wall. If you have some space to work with, you might want to set it in the middle of the room. This allows you to walk around and easily access stored items from all sides, which is especially handy if you are going to be storing a lot of small or loose items.
Pegboard And Hook Systems
Over the years pegboard hook systems have evolved from the garage workshop to become highly versatile storage solutions. Hooks can be robust, yet easy to move, which makes pegboard systems very versatile.
They are a great way to hang up tools, and loose storage items. Clamps can also be placed on the pegboard, allowing you to store cleaning equipment and items with handles.
Overhead Storage Solutions
Some basements have high ceilings. This can be a great space to store items in baskets or totes. This might be static shelves or even containers that are installed into pull-down mechanisms. Most of these systems can be anchored directly to the underside of floor stringers, which gives them the ability to support a significant amount of weight.
Just keep in mind that wires and plumbing fixtures can be a factor when installing an overhead storage system. In some cases, there might building codes that apply. If there are any questionable components in your basement ceiling, you should consult with or secure the services of a licensed contractor to make sure everything is compliant. The last thing you want to do is store items in an overhead bin, only to have it become a water or fire hazard.
If you do have any questions or concerns, Closettec has professional technicians and designers who can help you at every step along the way.
Under Stairs Storage
Basement stairs can take up a lot of room, while still leaving you with a fair amount of unused square footage. Built-in storage systems can be a great way to make the most out of this space. This could come in the form of wall-mounted or free-standing shelves. If it’s a highly visible area, you could consider enclosing it and installing wall treatments to help it seamless match the area.
Which Is Better Plastic Totes Or Cardboard Boxes?
Cardboard boxes tend to be pretty cheap. If you are working with a little bit of a tight budget, you can buy heavy-duty boxes for a very reasonable price from a rental moving company. If you happen to know someone who works in retail, you might even be able to get second-hand cardboard freight boxes for free.
Yet cardboard doesn’t always fare too well in long-term basement storage, where humidity can gradually start to affect the cardboard. As time goes on, the boxes can soft. If you have moisture and humidity issues in your basement, cardboard could even host mold. At the same time, mice and other rodents that might find their way into your basement storeroom can potentially chew through the cardboard to set up a nasty little nest.
Plastic totes, on the other hand, are not as vulnerable to mold and rodents as cardboard. Most are designed to seal tight, to prevent moisture and humidity from infiltrating to affect the contents.