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RACK IT UP: Rubbermaid can help de-clutter your basement.
Organization Basics
Basement Benefits
This winter, make hibernation productive and smarten-up your cluttered basement.

You’ve been extremely productive this year, but now it’s time to tackle that one area of your home that’s managed to evade your clean sweep changes. And, since the winter weather outside is (probably) frightful, take this opportunity to transform your (possibly) frightful basement into something delightful.

What’s Down There?
Your basement has likely been a catchall for assorted household goods over the years. And, chances are, you may not even remember what’s down there any more. So the best way to start this overhaul is to move everything out of the basement. (If this is fundamentally impossible, consider “cornering” your gear, or shifting it to one side.) Yes, if you’ve got a lot of stuff stashed then this may take a while, but it’ll help you identify exactly what you have stored and give you a better chance to scrutinize the space, and decide how to use it more wisely.

Group your goods
The basement is the ideal place to store supplies, especially bulk grocery items, off-season clothes and sports gear, even archive tax records. The key though, is that the space needs to stay organized and not just be a dumping ground. Sorting bits and pieces into these categories will help you find whatever you need in a matter of moments, and keep them safe, tidy and out of your way, when you don’t.

Suggested categories:

  • Cleaning products: vacuum, mop, broom
  • Laundry items: detergent, fabric softener
  • Bulk grocery items: cases of water, paper products
  • Handyman essentials: tool box, extra light bulbs
  • Home decor materials: paint supplies, flooring extras
  • Pet Supplies: pet food, litter, grooming tools, towels
  • Holiday decorations
  • Off-season clothing and shoes
  • Seasonal sports equipment
  • Banker’s boxes of files

Select Shelving
Whether your basement is large or small, you’ll want to maximize the space. One of the best ways to do that is to think vertically. Shelving is a great for stacking and elevating items such as pet foods, paint cans and toolboxes. Stack loose items and labeled storage containers on the shelves to keep objects corralled and within reach.

Choose Containers
Although traditionally a popular choice, packing basement-bound items in cardboard boxes is a definite storage no-no. Avoid keeping valuables (photos, tax records, etc.) in cardboard boxes. If there’s any moisture in the basement it could compromise the boxes damaging what’s inside and leading to mold and mildew growth. Instead, file photos in securely lidded Clever Store™ containers and put smaller items like nails and screws in transparent Easy Find Lids™ containers. Off-season shoes and sandals would fit nicely in Roughneck® containers.

Beautify the Basement
Having garnered a bad rap as a dark, dank place, complete the transformation of your once cluttered cave into an inviting room, with some paint and lighting. If your basement’s unfinished, giving the floor, walls and stairs a coat of sealer or paint can help cut down on dust and make the room more cheerful. (Check your local hardware store for specifics on painting basement floors). And because unfinished basements are usually only fitted with bare incandescent bulbs, add flattering, functional light with floor lamps. A clever solution for those bare bulbs: attractive, easy-to-install clip-on shades.