At their best, basements offer families the extra square footage they need to spread out and live more comfortably. But, at their worst, basements can quickly become a messy dumping ground where old clothes, sports equipment and other household knick knacks go to be forgotten. If that sounds like what’s happened on the lower level of your home, here are three pro tips to help you turn things around and get your basement organized. Step 1: Declutter No matter what size your basement is, clutter will undoubtedly make it feel smaller. But, to get the most out of the space, you want to maximize it. That’s why the first step in this process is to clear away the clutter. What exactly qualifies as clutter? Well, Clutterers Anonymous offers a helpful definition. They say it’s “anything we don’t need, want, or use that takes our time, energy or space, and destroys our serenity.” If you haven’t used it in a year, chances are good, you don’t need it. Grab a large trash bag (or two) and fill it up with all the items you don’t need, want, or use. Either give the items away or throw them out. Step 2: Assess Your Basement Environment Now that you’ve thrown out all the clutter, it’s time to organize the essential items that remain. But, before we organize and store them, we have to assess the environment in your basement to ensure we use the right storage solutions to properly protect your valuables. Remember, because it’s below ground, your basement may be cold and damp at certain times of the year. It may also be more susceptible to growing mildew and mold. To avoid unnecessary damage to your storage items, you should invest in airtight plastic storage containers instead of cardboard boxes if your basement tends to be cold and damp. Step 3: Organize One of the best ways to keep your basement tidy is to organize your storage items in zones. To accomplish this, we recommend installing Fleximounts tiered wall shelving where each shelf acts as a zone. For example, in a three-tiered wall shelving system, all sports equipment would be stored on the lower shelf in one zone. On the middle shelf, all clothing would be stored in a second zone. On the top shelf, all photos and keepsakes would be stored in another zone. Each shelf should be clearly labeled so you can tell at a glance which items are stored in that particular zone. Storage Tip: Wall Shelves offers an additional layer of protection for your valuables by keeping them from coming in contact with the basement floor—this is especially helpful in areas where flooding is a concern. Once you’ve organized your basement and successfully set up all your storage zones, your work isn’t entirely done! Remember, organization is an ongoing process. As you accumulate new items, be sure to get rid of things you are no longer using.