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Basement Storage
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

Thanks to advances in construction technology, basements are becoming a wonderful place to store books, documents, furnishings, family memorabilia, clothes, and practically any other item. In fact, the cold, damp, dark basement is becoming one of the most popular areas of the home. These spaces are not only ideal for safe storage, but also for work shops, entertainment rooms, work out areas, and much more.

Several things should be taken into consideration before you decide to use your basement as a storage area. You must make sure that you have control over any moisture related problems. Damp basements, with high humidity, can make for a bad case of mold and mildew growth. Not to mention musty odors and upholstered furniture. If you know that your basement suffers from water related problems, you must first tackle these issues before using this space for storage.

Before you write the basement off as a safe place to use for storage, consider some of the simple ways to control moisture related problems. Using a dehumidifier, opening windows, wrapping pipes in insulation, sealing leaks in the foundation, and insulating walls are a few ways in which you can limit or eliminate moisture problems. In addition, you can eliminate external water damage by cleaning out your rain gutters and by making sure that your downspouts empty at least five feet away from your home's foundation.

Once you are sure that your basement's moisture problems are under control, you can begin utilizing its space. Basements offer many ways to create storage space. It is suggested that if you are going to install shelving for storage, that you should use metal shelving. Metal, as opposed to wood, is protected against moisture. Also, plastic bins or tubs work better than cardboard boxes for the same reasons.

Helpful Tips for Basement Storage:

• Store all chemicals and valuable items on shelves or tables above flood level.

• Refrain from storing anything near the space around the furnace, water heater, other major appliances, pipes, and drains.

• Label your boxes. Map out where you decide to store items for easy recovery.

• Check your basement regularly for signs of mold and mildew growth, musty odors, powdery deposits, crumbling mortar and water stains.

• Consider using basement rafters for shelving.

• Install enough lights to illuminate your storage area.

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