How to Declutter a Basement

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Basements are convenient places to store things you don’t use every day, but they can become catch-alls for everything from broken tools to outdated electronic equipment. When it seems that nothing more can fit down there and the piles threaten to bury you, it's time to declutter. Making the hard choice between what to keep and what to get rid of can be a challenge, but the end result is an organized space that makes the things you have easy to find.

Things You'll Need

  • Shelves
  • Cupboards
  • Plastic bins
  • Trunk
  • Dresser
  • Armoire
  • Hooks
  • Clothes racks
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Set goals. Decide how many days you want to spend decluttering the basement, how long you will work each day and how much you want to get done each day. For example, devote two hours each day for four days and clean approximately a quarter of the basement per day.

  • Divide clutter. Sort things into four piles: things you will throw out, things you will keep, things you will donate and things you will sell. Put the trash pile in the garbage or take it to the dump each day so that you are not tempted to change your mind. If it is convenient, take the things you wish to donate to your local donation center each day or arrange for pick-up.

  • Define the space. Put all your tools together. Store your canning supplies and food related items in the same area. Keep holiday decorations in a part of the basement that is out of the way, such as under the stairs, because you will only have to take them out at the holidays. Stow toys and games together where they are easy to get when your children wish to use them.

  • Create storage. Take advantage of vertical space by installing shelves and cupboards to hold tools. Hang bicycles from hooks purchased for this purpose. Place items like toys, games and photograph albums in plastic bins and sturdy cardboard boxes. Purchase rolling clothes racks to hold seasonal clothing. Repurpose items like old trunks and pieces of furniture such as dressers and armoires for storage.

  • Remove the items you wish to sell from the basement. Have a garage sale. Take things to a consignment shop. List items on online auction sites. Post items for sale in the newspaper and online.

  • Scrutinize the things you have saved every now and then to see if, over time, there are more items you are ready to part with. This will help to keep your basement well organized and clutter-free.

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