Make Optimal Use of Your Basement Storage Areas



Although basements can be extremely useful, in terms of providing storage space and work area, many homeowners don’t take full advantage of it.

Sooner or later, the following statement applies to nearly everone: Unless an organizing system is put into place — preferably within the first year of moving in — your basement will begin to take on the appearance of a junk repository!

When your belongings are haphazardly heaped together, it not only becomes difficult to find things you want and need, but items you’ve cast aside gradually occupy more and more of your valuable space.

The ideal scenario — from a storage standpoint — is to buy a house that already comes with built-in shelving and cabinets in the basement. A feature that’s almost as good is when the previous owner took the time to set up (and leave for you) enough metal shelving in the basement to meet your storage needs. Although metal shelving doesn’t have a lot of eye appeal, it is extremely sturdy and functional.

Cost Effective Solutions

If aesthetics and functionality are what you’re looking for, consider these ideas: 1) picking up bargains on shelving, cabinets, and other cheap furniture at garage sales. 2) hiring a reasonably priced carpenter to custom-build some nice shelving and cabinets in your basement.

Of course, if you happen to be handy with a hammer and saw, yourself, then building your own storage shelves might be a satisfying (and money saving) weekend project. However, if your carpentry skills are a bit on the “marginal” side, it would probably be worth it to find a reasonably priced and competent craftsman! Asking friends, relatives, and neighbors for recommendations can often yield the name of the perfect — and often affordable — person for the job.

Basement Organizing Tips

Once your shelving is in place, you might want to purchase some inexpensive bins, baskets, or boxes to neatly store you belongings, seasonal supplies, and items you’re not exactly sure what to do with. Labeling all containers will improve efficiency and help you avoid frustration down the road.

Designating a section of your basement for hand-me-downs, future garage sale items, and/or charitable donations will make it easier to categorize and move things out when the time comes. Another aspect of keeping your basement organized and free of clutter is to consider throwing away items that are obsolete, irreparably broken, damaged, or incomplete. While “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure”, some things are simply of no value to anyone! For items that fall into that category, the choice usually boils down to one of three options: restore it, recycle it, or have it professionally disposed of.

A well organized basement can potentially be a good place to store things you want to save, protect, and keep in good condition for future use. Preserving anything that’s delicate, valuable, or easily damaged requires a lot of safeguards, including — but not limited to — keeping them adequately covered, sometimes in airtight containers, and maintaining a dry, climate-controlled environment. Relatively humidity should be carefully monitored and, in most cases, maintained between 30% and 50%. When moisture in the air approaches 60%, mold and mildew tend to thrive.

How to: Organize a Child’s Toy Room



Playrooms are usually the bane of a parent’s existence. The neverending stream of toys from holidays and celebrations coupled with a child’s lack of natural orderliness do not an organized room make. If you’re determined to end the clean up time struggle and find a solution that works keep reading.

For starters, forget the typical toy box solution.

Toyboxes only force children into creating a mess as they dig through its contents pulling toys out as they go to find the one they are looking for. Instead, opt for bins and/or baskets to corral your children’s toys by category. This way legos have their own container and Barbie has hers.

Want to really keep a tidy playroom?

Put a cap on the amounts of toys your child owns to avoid overwhelm and minimal clean up time. Your child will be better able to manage their toys as well as enjoy them more. Don’t worry you don’t actually have to throw out all of their toys.

A great solution that also adds renewed interest in old toys is to keep most of your child’s belongings in storage. You can then swap out their available selection throughout the year to keep their interest piqued without cluttering up the playroom.

Avoid moving the madness to your attic or basement by also regularly cleaning out existing toys to make room for the influx of the new during the holidays and birthday seasons.

Give your child responsibility.

Teach your child responsibility for their toys by having them clean up their own messes. Create routines throughout the day to help them learn how to clean up before they move on to their next activity. This could mean cleaning up before lunch and bedtime or even before moving on to a different toy.

Make cleanup a breeze for your child.

Keep all storage within reach so your child can not only easily access their toys but also easily clean them up on their own. You can do this by keeping like items with like and storing items in clear containers that are well labeled. If your child isn’t old enough to read, create labels that have simple images that indicate what type of toy belongs inside each container.

Customize your storage solutions to your child. Review what works and what doesn’t often and make changes accordingly. By creating a process that evolves with your child as learn new habits and even grow older you can guarantee a solution that sticks throughout their childhood.

Hopefully, you’ve gained a few ideas on how you can improve your child’s playroom to not only be better organized but also stay better organized. With some patience and modeling good organization behavior, your child will be keeping their playroom neat and tidy without a fight. Happy organizing!

The Psychological Benefits of Reduced Household Clutter

Imagine an area of your home that’s particularly cluttered now, and then picture in your mind’s eye how nice it would look if it was cleaned and organized. If you take a few seconds to visualize this scenario, it will feel like a breath of fresh air! For many people, a cluttered, disorganized living space or working environment tends to create mental clutter — and that makes it nearly impossible to be at your best.

On the other hand, when you create a plan to organize your storage space and get rid of household clutter, you’re taking a major step toward enhancing your home and the way you feel about it. Although you may have a dozen or more areas that need to be organized, if you create a methodical plan to tackle one small area at a time, then the project is much more achievable and less overwhelming.

The Outcome Is Worth The Effort

If you’ve ever undertaken a task like this, you know how rewarding it can be to see the results. You’ll also enjoy the feeling of pride that accompanies improving the look and feel of your home. When you’ve transformed chaos into a semblance of order, it can have a positive effect on your attitude and your self esteem. Although taking charge of household clutter is not a panacea for stress, it can be one of several improvements that make a big difference.

Where to Begin

You can infuse a feeling of fresh energy into your home by organizing and cleaning the following ten areas:

  1. Closets: Most homes have a ton of them and they’re probably in a major state of disarray!
  2. Book shelves: If you have a library of books, then organizing them can dramatically improve the appearance of any room — from living rooms and family rooms to bedrooms and home offices.
  3. Kitchen cabinets (Check expiration dates while you’re organizing.)
  4. Bathroom cabinets and drawers (Refer to note in item #3.)
  5. Junk drawers: Virtually every home has them, and they usually consist of a combination of junk and treasures. In most cases, it’s obvious what should be thrown away and what’s worth saving.
  6. Garage and tool sheds: These areas are typically in desperate need of cleaning and organizing.
  7. Work bench: If tools, hardware, and supplies are haphazardly piled on top of each other or randomly strewn on your work bench, then finding what you need when you need it becomes increasingly frustrating and time consuming. Taking an hour or so to organize your work bench can make life a lot simpler and more productive.
  8. Spare bedrooms: In many people’s homes, that area tends to become a repository for things that either need to be put away, given away, or thrown away.
  9. File cabinets: Being able to find important documents, information, and receipts depends on well organized and clearly labeled files. Ideally, that takes place on an ongoing basis, but if that’s not happening, a semi-annual review of your filing system can help keep things in good order.
  10. Basements: Depending on how long you’ve lived in your house, this might be a project that needs to be spread out over a few days!

Involving members of your family in the cleanup plan can also make it move along faster and feel more like a team effort, rather than a solo undertaking. To avoid procrastination, start small and branch out from there. As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”