Unfinished basement storage ideas
Do you know that one spot in your house that you can’t stand to declutter and organize like it really needs? Everyone has that spot and for me, it was my unfinished basement storage room. If you are like me, avoiding that room, stop putting it off and get some practical and cheap unfinished basement storage ideas that you can use now!
I hate to admit this, but we have lived in our townhome for close to 2 years now and I haven’t organized my basement. I have a partially finished basement with the laundry room and storage area being unfinished. This alone makes me not want to organize it, but I knew I could be using it to a fuller potential. So, I finally dug in and I am glad I did!
If you have a messy and cluttered unfinished basement storage, read on.
First step, declutter
Admit it, you are wondering how to clean and organize an unfinished basement, right? I mean, it is kinda ugly, kinda cold, and just screaming to be messy. But here’s the thing, a messy room will always make you want to be messy. If you set your area up for success by getting it clean and organized, it will be much easier to keep it clean.
As with any storage area though, it tends to collect junk…and a lot of it. The first step of this big project is to declutter. I want you to pull it all out and go through each piece. If you have a really massive space, do one section at a time. I have 2 shelves and floor junk so I did it all at once!
Related posts: How to declutter your home fast—perfect for the busy mama
Now, ask yourself if you truly need everything that you are keeping. Do you see yourself using it within the next few months? Have you used it within the past year? There are some exceptions to these questions, but overall if you don’t use something every 6 months or so, it could probably be given away or gotten rid of.
What are the exceptions to decluttering?
Mostly seasonal items, but could also be baby clothes and (if you are not done having babies), maternity clothes. Sentimental items can be tough to declutter all at once. Check out this post on decluttering sentimental items for tips and tricks for getting rid of the stuff that you “think” you should keep.
Second step, clean and organize your messy basement
Once everything is out of the far back spaces of your home and storage area, go ahead and clean it up. As you are putting stuff back onto the shelves, clean them off, dust them off, whatever you need to do. Then move on to organizing your unfinished basement.
Couple of things you will need will be storage shelves and storage containers. Keep reading for tips on shelving and storage ideas. So, how do you organize a messy basement? Lots of containers!
I like to have the frequently accessed items in storage containers near the bottom or eye level and the less accessed items (in my case, curtains and bathroom items for our next home since we are in a temporary place) in boxes up on the top shelf.
I also placed rags and cleaning tools in an open box on the shelf so that it would be nice and neat. You can put items like these in a basket if you choose, but I wanted to spend nothing on this organization project so I kept it cheap. Plus, I wanted to keep these unfinished basement storage ideas easy for you to implement without the need to make a run to the store.
Unfinished basement organization tips
While you are decluttering and cleaning your unfinished basement, you will want to determine what you want to keep in your basement storage area. Possibly some items that ended up there are not actually appropriate for the space. Get those items out and make a space for the items that need to stay.
Try to organize like items together. For example, I store all of my cleaning items in my basement on shelving. I decided that I wanted to dedicate that shelving unit just to cleaning items and toiletries. I also finally put all of my items that I am storing until our next home up on the top shelf.
If you have any items that you will frequently need access to, place those in an open container on the shelf or in a clear container so. This way, you can see what you need without making a huge mess while sifting through it all.
Store bought and DIY shelving
I was pretty lucky in that our condo had some shelving installed in the basement on one wall and there was also a store bought unit down there. If you do not have shelving, now is the time to figure out what will best suit your needs.
I love the idea of building some shelving specifically for those rubbermaid totes. If you are not in the least bit handy, this is probably not the project for you. If you are (or you are willing to pay someone to do it) check out this post from The Wood Grain Cottage .
We have some of those shelves in our garage and they are just amazing!
If you are like me and just need to store other items in your unfinished basement storage area, then these rubbermaid wire shelves may be a good fit. They are easy to install and work well especially with baskets or smaller boxes. (Here is a full picture of my cleaned up basement storage area. You can see I use both kinds of shelving, wire shelving and moveable shelving as well).
For the totally non-handy person, go with a store bought shelving unit. They are really easy to erect, you can move them around if needed, and they can be broken down and taken with you if you move. We have both the plastic and the metal ones, but totally prefer the metal ones.
Inexpensive basement storage ideas
There are so many organizational products on the market, but if you are looking to do this the less expensive route, then you can probably make do with what you already have at home. If you have caught onto the “Tidying Up” show craze, then you have seen Marie Kondo using boxes to organize items.
Using shipping boxes to store items for later is perfectly acceptable (no matter what Marie Kondo says). And if you are like me and trying to do this project on a low budget, you can even use opened boxes in lieu of baskets. They are not nearly as pretty, but certainly just as functional.
If you are really needing some baskets, I suggest hitting up Facebook marketplace or your local thrift stores. And for storage containers with lids, check out your nearest Big Lots or dollar stores as they have a variety at a good price.
So, how do you organize a messy, unfinished basement?
One step at a time!
After pulling out all of the items in my basement, decluttering what wasn’t needed, and cleaning everything up, I realized that I had far less stuff in there than originally thought. I also was not making good use of the space. I organized items into categories, placed them neatly all together, utilized boxes (and more boxes) and I really feel like the space is so much better.
What do you think? Here are my before and after pics.
Remember that this doesn’t have to take a long time, nor does it have to be perfect. You do want to get rid of what you don’t really need, but try to do this pretty quickly. Done is better than perfect!
How is your basement project coming along?