Useful Tips for Conquering Clutter in the Basement

clean basement clutter

Basements seem to be magnets for clutter.

It’s the one place where you can stockpile junk and not think twice about it—out of sight, out of mind.

This way of doing things can lead to mountains of junk relatively quickly, so it’s important to keep your basement clean and organized, just as you do the rest of the house.

Decluttering the basement doesn’t have to be difficult or too time-consuming.

Make a weekend project out of it, and use these helpful tips:

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tips for decluttering basement infographic

Section Off the Room(s)

Dividing the basement into smaller sections and focusing on one section at a time can improve efficiency and keep you from getting overwhelmed.

Sectioning off the decluttering process makes the entire project a lot more manageable.

We recommend starting with the easiest sections first so that you can start seeing results right away.

Each section you complete, the more gratified and motivated you'll feel.

Separate Clutter Into Piles

It may sound redundant, but you should stay organized while organizing.

As you go through your items, organize them into categories:

  • Donate
  • Recycle
  • Trash
  • Sell
  • Keep

The “keep” pile should remain as small as possible.

After all, the point is to declutter, not simply rearrange the basement.

Donate items to a local charitable organization of your choice.

Drop off recyclable items—paper, cardboard, plastic, e-waste, and metals—at a local recycling center.

Have a garage/yard sale to get rid of any other items of value, or simply post them for sale on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, eBay, etc.

If your “trash” pile is quite large, we recommend renting a roll-off dumpster.

For an average-sized basement, a 10-yard dumpster or smaller will typically be adequate.

Your local dumpster rental provider will help you determine the optimal size for your particular cleanout.

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Recruit Helpers When Possible

Get the whole family involved, or recruit some of your friends to help purge the basement.

A small crew of helping hands will benefit the decluttering process in multiple ways.

First, you'll have more hands to get the job gets done faster.

Second, your friends and family help provide emotional support as you inevitably have to part ways with some items that you may have an emotional attachment to.

Finally, outside eyes can sometimes see clutter better than you can, since they don’t see it day in and day out.

An extra set of eyes comes in handy when decluttering any part of the home.


Some storage is a good thing and can help keep things neat and organized; however, too much storage can lead to excessive clutter.

Additionally, too much storage can lead to a more cramped and cluttered feeling in your basement.

There’s a delicate balance between too much storage and not enough.

This is another situation where your friends and family can help you determine how much storage you actually need.

Selling or donating larger items, like furniture, dressers, or unused gym equipment, that take up a lot of space in the basement can help create a sense of space and organization.

Remember: It's not just the floors you should be focusing on. The walls, closets, and shelves likely need to be decluttered too.

Take a minimalist approach to decluttering your basement. Think: Less is more.

Employ a Prevention Plan

Once the basement looks like new again, it’s important to put a clutter-prevention strategy in place to prevent it from coming back.

Here are a few useful tips to prevent clutter:

1. Avoid Adding New Storage

Try to limit any new storage systems you add to the basement, like file cabinets, bookshelves, or other storage areas, unless you’re replacing an existing system.

This will minimize the chances of letting junk accumulate again.

2. Remove Something If You Add Something

If you put a new box or bin of stored items in the basement, take an equally-sized box or bin out and donate/recycle/trash its contents.

3. Perform Regular Light Cleanings

Dedicate just 15-30 minutes per week decluttering the basement to prevent small messes from becoming another major decluttering job.

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