5 Storage Tips for Decluttering a Basement

Basements, both finished and unfinished, tend to be the catch-all storage area for all of the random items you forget you had. Using the space for what you need and use isn’t an issue, but when piles of boxes start disappearing behind other piles of boxes, it may be time to declutter. Fortunately, decluttering your basement doesn’t have to be a several-week process. With these tips below, we’ll show you how to organize and incorporate helpful storage ideas that will keep your space open and clean for good.


Basement storage


Make a Plan

Determine what you want to use your space for! After all, you can convert your basement into many things, giving you and your family the freedom to use it in whatever way you prefer. The trick is nailing down exactly how you want to use it; from there you’ll be able to get rid of everything that is not contributing to that end goal. Having a plan in place will not only help you visualize your end goal and keep you on track as you declutter, but it will also benefit you in the long run by offering motivation and understanding on how to maintain your basement over time.


Purge Items You Don’t Use

Once you have a plan in place, the first step towards organization is to get rid of the things you don’t need. Unfortunately, this means that you will have to make a mess to clean the mess. Setting aside a few days to remove unwanted or unnecessary items from the basement gives you the chance to start this project from a clean slate.



A tip that may help you get the decluttering process rolling is to sort your items into 3 different categories: items you’re keeping in the home, items you’re getting rid of, and items to pack away in storage. This method is beneficial as it forces you to make a decision item-by-item and helps you work through the greater pile in less overwhelming sections.  A good rule of thumb is if you haven’t used it within a year, you should donate it to someone who will, or toss it out.


Clean the Area



Once you’ve decluttered, it’s always a good idea to clean the space you’re trying to keep organized. Start from the top of the room and work your way down to the bottom. Clear out cobwebs from the corners, dust the light fixtures, and if needed, wash down the walls. If you have windows in the basement, give them a wash, along with the blinds. Use trash bags to get rid of any trash, dirt, or other debris that has accumulated on the floor throughout the years. Deep clean the carpets, or give any hard flooring surfaces a good cleaning. All in all, this helps you to refresh the space and prepare to bring the items you need into the basement for safekeeping.


Organize Your Belongings By Section

Now that the basement is cleaned and you have a bit more space to work with, it’s time to create a storage plan. Recall the items you decided to keep during the purging process and use these to determine categories or zones for the different types of stuff. For example, put all of the children’s toys into one corner of the basement. Move your workout equipment into a different area in the basement, and so on with each different category of items. Having these zones in your basement to store items will help keep the clutter and chaos under control. Not only will it make it easier to find everything when you need it, but it will also make it easier to put everything back where it came from. For an added bonus you can label each zone, and start organizing more and more items according to each label.

Next, think of all the items you have decided to put away in storage. Ask yourself, can these items be stored in a corner of your basement, or do they take up too much room? If there are a lot of items in your basement that you only use seasonally, such as extensive holiday decorations or summer gear, consider renting a climate-controlled storage unit. Packing these items away elsewhere can free up space in the home until you need them at the appropriate time of year. Storing your belongings in a storage unit not only frees up room in your basement but also keeps them safe and gives you the satisfaction of knowing exactly where these items are when you need them. At West Coast Self Storage, we’re here to help you keep your spaces clutter-free with storage units near you.

Install Shelving Units

If you want to keep your basement organized while maximizing space, install storage shelves along your walls. Generally, unfinished basements have poured concrete and cinder block walls which can be a huge challenge if you’re trying to install shelving. While you can try to use adhesive wall hooks or masonry screws, you’re better off getting a freestanding shelving unit. Not only are they able to adjust to which height you prefer, but they also are helpful with keeping your belongings off the ground, creating optimal vertical space, as well as saving your items from water damage. Since moisture can be an issue in the basement, use storage bins to store items so that you can easily identify your belongings. Typically, you can store up to 100 pounds on each shelf, but make sure to keep the majority of the weight on the lower shelves to avoid it from being top-heavy.



Unlike unfinished basements, a finished basement offers the luxury of studs and heavy-duty wood to attach wall shelving to. Track mounted shelving is perfect for finished basements. Durable enough to hold boxes of heavy, random items, but stylish enough to fit in with the rest of the space. Though, you may not want your storage on display for everyone to see. You can remedy the eyesore of open clutter by getting creative with under stair storage such as installing built-in cabinets. With decorative storage bins and hidden shelving, you can turn your under the stairs area into a trendy storage space, out of guests’ sight.

Decluttering and organizing don’t need to be daunting tasks! If you follow these tips, you can transform your basement from a cluttered catch-all space to one that is organized and versatile, ultimately satisfying your families’ organizational and functional needs.

About the Author: Derek Hines

About the Author: Derek Hines

Digital Marketing Specialist

Derek is originally from the great state of Wisconsin (go Badgers), but is slowly becoming a Pacific Northwesterner. As part of the Digital Marketing team, he writes extensively on storage, moving and life for West Coast Self-Storage, based in Everett, Washington.