Organizing Your Basement

Basement Purposes

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The basement has a lot of the same attractions as the garage; no matter how you specified to use it, your good intents are drowned by step-and-toss behavior. The basement's huge, open space beckons castoffs of all shapes and sizes. It normally has easy stair access, which tempts family members to deposit items on the stairs or stash them concealed in the dark corners of the basement.

Even when basements are being used for laundry rooms or home offices, they still draw in items that need to be stashed away. At least with garages, we recognize that we are supposed to park our car in there and keep certain classes of things. Yet we are not quite sure how we must use the basement. We tend to address it as a catchall space.

The primary factor that decides how best to use your basement is pure necessity: If you have run out of space in the rest of your household for important activities or storage, you must look to the basement as possible real estate. You might require a home office but have nowhere else in the home to turn. Nowadays, holding a command center of your home is a requisite. We all demand a place to pay bills, use the computer, manage household projects, juggle family agendas, and file our records.

If you have an idle or ill-used basement, figure out what sort of space you need but don't have (like a home office, playroom, or art studio) and look to the basement to see if it can fill that role. Naturally, you may have to clean out your basement to make way for its new role. Even though this would take an investment of your time and would likely involve you to get rid of some excess stuff, converting your basement to a purposeful use would be far better stewardship than moving or remodeling.

Another factor to think about as you evaluate your basement's potential is its condition. When you have a bare basement with dirt or concrete floor and stud walls, you probably don't want to make a playroom there! If you have a sump pump in the basement that must pump round the clock to keep the water level under control, you should not consider the basement as a workable home office space. Also, if you get frequent leaks or have a mold problem or another issue, delay converting the basement to active duty until you can solve these issues.


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