Organize Your Basement (or Garage) Storage

When you're building shelving, you start with a stack of wood 2 x 4s What’s in your basement? Your garage? Are you using this bonus space in your home to make things easier or more difficult?  Are there enough shelves so everyone in the family knows where to store things and find them when needed?

It’s so quick and easy to pile the clutter you’ve accumulated in the basement or garage when you’re cleaning up for company.  You close the door and, like magic, the clutter disappears.

Unfortunately magic tricks don’t work in real life.  How often do you go back and sort out all that stuff that conveniently disappeared?  The piles get bigger and bigger. To make matters worse,when you can’t find the widget you need,  you go out and buy another … so the piles keep growing!

There’s a solution to  clutter – simple shelving to help you organize what you store in your basement and garage so you can find it when you need it.

Basic Shelving You or Your Handyman Can Build

Here’s the story of a handyman customer who bought a condo. After the closing, he made a list of handyman projects he wanted done – new wood flooring, tile and bathroom fixtures, etc. Before starting all that, it made sense to start by building shelving in the basement. As flooring and other materials arrived, the new basement shelving would provide convenient and organized storage. When the projects were done, the shelving would provide organized storage for the new condo and stop clutter before it started piling up.

The condo owner wanted 2-foot deep shelves, but shelving that you buy and assemble is usually only 18″ deep. So custom shelving was needed. Since there could be water issues in the future, pressure treated wood was used to build the bottom. The shelves were left open for easy access and for over sized items. Building custom shelving allowed sizing for maximize storage while leaving enough space for hot water heater access.

Filling Empty Space with Storage Shelves

Here are the steps for building these shelves. Of course, you will need the appropriate tools and basic materials like nails (what a handyman keeps in the truck).

  • Decide where to build the shelves, writing down the width and  height of space available for shelving.
  • Shop for materials at your local lumber yard or a box store.
  • Have the 4 x 8 plywood sheets cut to size for the shelving where you buy it, to save time and reduce the amount of sawdust you will have to cleanup.
  • Make sure you get pressure treated wood for the bottom framing to avoid possible water damage in the future.
  • Assemble materials and tools in the basement.
  • Measure, cut and assemble shelving in place, and
  • … Leave top shelves open for easier access by homeowner.

From an empty basement, to a stack of lumber and then before you know it, shelves for storageBasement shelving has to take into account things like the electrical panel and hot water heater

For other ideas on getting organized, read Inspiration to Get Organized or to make sure you address any moisture problems first, read Bob Vila’s article on Basement Storage

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