Don't let this valuable square footage go to waste.

Basements are a wealth of extra space in most homes. They can offer a bonus living area when they are finished or they can provide additional storage when they are not. Of course, they can come with some headaches, too—moisture, darkness, and hard-to-reach areas can turn your subterranean level into a less accessible or desirable area of your home. Fortunately, it doesn't have to stay that way. With the right storage plan, you can make the most out of any basement space. Here, Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer, the co-founders of NEAT Method, explain exactly how to do so.

white wall unfinished basement
Credit: Getty / © by Martin Deja

Go vertical.

Whether you have a little or a lot of storage space in your basement, shelving will help you achieve the highest level of efficiency possible, explains Murphy. "The alternative is unstacking and re-stacking every time you need to access something and that is no fun for anyone," she notes. Adding height and getting your belongings off the floor will also help with any moisture problems.

Choose matching containers.

Speaking of containers, Hagmeyer suggests splurging on a matching set of uniform bins that will stack nicely on your shelves. Look for a variety that is watertight in the unfortunate event that your basement takes on water. "If your basement is in an unfinished area, you may also want to consider weathertight storage bins and or dehumidifiers," she adds. 

Label everything.

In addition to having uniform bins, you should consider creating handmade labels for them. "As with every space in your home, it's important to keep the visual clutter to a minimum with neatly labeled bins and baskets," says Murphy. "The same should be true in the basement. A neat space is a functional and friendly space." Pro tip: Because of the moisture issues in most below-ground rooms, you may want to opt for non-paper-based labels.

Invest in some lighting.

It doesn't matter how neatly you stack your storage bins: If your basement is a dark and unfriendly space, going down there will be something you dread. To prevent this, replace burnt out bulbs and add a new light source where needed. If your basement is particularly foreboding, a fresh coat of white paint on the walls and the floor could brighten the area up, making it a place that you don't mind venturing into when you need to get something—and more importantly, a place that you don't mind standing in when it comes time to put things away.


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