Tips for Cleaning Out that Winter Pile of Basement Clutter

Posted on Jul 12 2013 - 10:18pm by Jessica Johnson


Like closets, drawers and attics, basements are a convenient place to store items that we don’t often use, but can’t seem to part with. We put these things down in the basement with plans to eventually retrieve them, only to leave them there for years.

Unfortunately, basement clutter presents more than a few problems:

  • That pile of clutter might include items that you or someone else could use, but because it’s so disorganized, you have no way of knowing what’s available.
  • Clutter tends to grow, which means that when you decide to move or remodel your basement, you’ll have a really huge sorting/purging project on your hands.
  • If your basement floods, you’ll have to work fast to haul out and sort your clutter to prevent the development of rust, mold and mildew.
  • Piles of clutter can attract rodents and other vermin.

iStock_000000395450XSmallMake a point of sorting through your basement clutter at least once a year, with an emphasis on getting rid of most of it. Here are some suggestions for cleaning out basement clutter:

  • Working in a basement, particularly if it is unfinished, can be a miserable task. If you’ve been avoiding the task of sorting out basement clutter because you can’t stand it down there, you’ve got a couple of options. The first is to make it a family activity: Get everyone downstairs for an afternoon and just attack the clutter pile. The company and extra hands will make the job go faster.  You can also just haul the clutter upstairs into your kitchen or back patio and sort it there.
  • Develop a better way of storing your belongings. Shelving units keep items off the floor (where they are most vulnerable to damage) and make it easier for you to find things when you need them.
  • Have storage containers on hand for both the items that you plan to keep as well as those you plan to donate, store, or throw out. To make keeping track of things easier, use different containers for each category of items: Plastic bins for things that you plan to keep, boxes for garage sale items and garbage bags for junk that needs to be thrown out.
  • Schedule a garage sale. By setting a date and publicizing it, you’ll have an incentive to get that clutter pile sorted so that you have plenty of items to sell.

Extra Space Storage HoardingHow often do you clean out your basement? What are your best tips for others who want to get their basement clutter under control?