Smart Storage Solutions for Your Basement | Reader's Digest

Smart Storage Solutions for Your Basement

Is clutter taking over your basement? These simple steps will help you create instant space.

Stud space. Use the empty spaces between wall studs in a basement to house narrow shelves for small items. Place the shelves on wooden cleats nailed to the studs. Since moisture can be a problem in many basements, don’t store things there that can be damaged by dampness.

For deeper, wider shelves between studs, notch out a piece of 3/4-inch plywood to fit around two or three studs; then support the plywood with brackets made from 2 x 4′s. Be sure to use drywall screws to secure the whole assembly.

Dampness protection. To protect a storage cabinet in the basement from moisture, elevate it on blocks of pressure-treated wood. In addition, attach 1 x 2 furring strips to the concrete wall, so the cabinet will not be nailed directly to the wall. Finally, place a sheet of polyethylene behind and under the cabinet before securing it in place.

Step-up storage. The under-the-stair area of the basement is often underutilized. Divide the space into bays; then equip each bay with organizers or drawers. Try to use the whole depth of the stairs.

Steps open at the back? Mount plastic bins or dishpans on wooden guides in the small spaces right underneath the stair treads. Use the bins to store small fasteners. Just make sure the front of the bin is set well back from the tread.

The long view. The space between basement ceiling joists is perfect for storing long lengths of leftover building materials. Nail racks, made from pieces of scrap lumber, to the joists.

Strip of tools. Organize tools in your workshop space on a magnetic knife holder. Press chisels and other small metal tools onto the holder to keep them out of the workbench shuffle.

Proper ID. A multidrawer organizer can hold all those nuts and bolts, but how do you know what is in each drawer? Just tape or glue one of the items to the outside front of the drawer, and the contents can be identified at a glance.

Staying put. If your perfboard hooks fall out of their holes easily, solve the annoying fallout with twopiece perfboard hangers. Constructed of a hook and an anchor, the improved hangers, available in home centers, stay put when the tools are pulled off.

Rules for tools. Those who do a lot of woodworking should forgo perfboard and open-rack storage systems and store those tools behind cabinet doors. Tools left out in the open pick up a coating of sawdust and need to be cleaned frequently.

Laundry logistics. If the washing machine is in the cellar, prevent loose buttons from becoming lost in the dungeon by storing them in a magnetic key box (available at auto supply stores). Stick the box on the side of the washer, and every time a stray shows up, pop it in.

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