Starting when you walk down the basement stairs, there is a whole section of decor items that I am not currently using, but really like and hope to use in the future. It's actually a bit ridiculous...
And the only reason I keep all these items is because we have an entire empty basement. But, I do make a habit of going through these items every few months, and getting rid of those things that I finally determine that I won't use again.
Any of those items would, along with other things in the house that we don't need anymore, go into the garage sale section of the basement. Our neighborhood has a big community garage sale every year, so I'm getting everything together for next summer's sale.
I actually might re-cover those chairs before then, but I am making myself a rule that if I still have them down here by then, and fabric has not been purchased yet, they are going to be sold!
I have these items sorted by type as well. A whole bin for kitchen-related items, a box for clothing, a box for children's items, etc. That way, if I do ever realize I need something that's in there, it will be simple to find. I suggest having a garage sale at least annually if you have a pile like this. Or, if you're not into garage sales, hold onto these items for a few months just in case, and then either donate, or craigslist them.
Then, we have the portion of our basement that is our "real" storage. This includes our luggage, childhood mementos, seasonal decorations, a chair shaped like a giant high heel,etc. This will (hopefully!) eventually be a closed off storage room in the future.
See all those black/white containers on the right? Those are all my childhood things that I need to get into better containers asap! I plan to label those "Erin Childhood", along with a box that Matthew has, labeled "Matt Childhood." If you have kids' things at your house, I suggest labeling them like this when they go into the storage area, so when they come 'a knockin for those things, they are already sorted! This was what my parents and I did at their house, and it was really helpful!
Keep items in plastic containers up off the floor in case of flooding; I still need to work on this, as you can tell. We actually plan to build shelving like this to help with that, and to make it easier to access bins, instead of stacking them.
I also suggest organizing your seasonal decorations with the colored tubs that they have at the store every year. They come in those colors for a reason! You can very clearly tell that I have one tub for Halloween, and one tub for Christmas, so they are easy to find! What you can't tell is that those two tubs in between the red/green tub, and the tree stand are also Christmas decorations. I plan to buy at least two more of the red/green tubs this year to fix that!
For luggage storage (even though I'm not doing this right now...) I always suggest keeping these items off the ground in case of water. And store as many luggage items inside each other to cut down space. I probably have 6-7 bags inside this one suitcase.
One last section of storage is fixtures from the house that I have taken down, but will probably leave here if/when we move.
That's the door I removed from the laundry room, the cabinet doors from the kitchen, and the light fixture that used to be in our bedroom. Be sure to put any hardware that goes with these items in a bag, and taped to the item itself. Keeping these items together will make the moving process easier.
The basement is also home for the extra paint cans and spray paint we have. I would love if they could live in the garage, but that space can freeze, so we just keep them down here.
I hope that the amount of things in our basement will be cut down dramatically in the coming year, and especially after our garage sale. With this new thought process of simplifying, it will keep us from having so many extra things, that we don't have anything to do with.
Here are some other awesome storage solutions:
Read the Other Posts in this Series: