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The Land Down Under: Getting Organized in the Basement

Not everyone wants a rumpus room or a family entertainment center at the bottom of their bottommost stairs, but your basement doesn’t have to be just a bedroom for the boiler, either.

All that space down there is prime real estate, and with just a little bit of work — compared to refitting it for full-on family activities — you can open up a whole new realm at home for storage and organization.

Let’s take a look at basement storage solutions, from food to clothes, to home improvement tools — and what about all those seasonal decorations? We’ll focus on a few, select universally useful store-supplied and do-it-yourself strategies.

Shelving Your Troubles Away:

Perhaps the most basic approach to basement organization is to get fresh shelving into the situation. Depending on your available time, skill set, and inclination, you can approach this in two primary ways: out of the box units and the self-installed custom job.

Commercial Shelving/Cabinetry:

You can solve a lot of different kinds of basement storage problems in one swift stroke by implementing something like the Suncast or a Workforce Storage system. From base cabinets to wall-mounted units, your winter clothes are tucked away for the summertime, or a whole lot of canned and dry goods can go up and be kept neatly out of sight behind the simple façades of the units’ doors. You’re looking at some $60–$150 per unit, depending on size and shape.

Home depot basement storage
Workforce Storage from Home Depot

Do-It-Yourself Shelving:

On the other hand, with a bit of shelving and some minimal hardware, you can mount a less expensive front against disorganization by framing the shelving sites with two-by-fours and wood screws, employing a stud-finder to make certain that your weight-bearing platforms are perfectly secured to the walls and ceiling. One advantage to the DIY shelving is that you can then custom select storage bins to include color-coded lids. Green for holiday decorations, white for summer clothes, and so on. Check this how-to tutorial at

Having It Both Ways:

Try combining your DIY project with some store-bought rolling shelves. These can be tucked up against the space you’ve set aside for installed storage, and then rolled out of the way whenever you need to access what’s behind them.

Taking it to the Ceiling:

If your basement is blessed with exposed beams and rafters, you can use them to secure sleek high-capacity garment bags like this selection from

Damage Prevention:

As do-it-yourself organizing guru Nikki Simon cautions, don’t go through all this trouble just to watch your dream storage basement take a soaking. Buy a jug or three of basement-cement water-proofer and treat the walls and floors before undertaking your project.

Have you undertaken a basement-organizing campaign that turned out well? Better than you expected? Share your top tips with EiEiHome readers. Stop in at our Facebook page soon.

By James O’Brien

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