Useful Tips for Conquering Clutter in the Basement

basement full of clutter

Updated May 15, 2023

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. Instead, use our helpful tips to get it done fast!

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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, you'll have to choose a disposal plan that makes the sense logistically and financially.

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Choose a Disposal Plan

After you've separated your basement items into piles, you'll have to choose the best disposal plan for you. There are three popular options for getting rid of unwanted items...

DIY Hauling

If you have the strength, time, and appropriate vehicle, you can haul your unwanted items to local charity facilities or the landfill yourself. This can be a good option if you live near a landfill and have a moderately small amount of garbage to get rid of. 

It's important to keep in mind the value of your time. Landfill lines can be long in busy metropolitan areas, and waiting in line for an hour or two next to a smelly landfill might not be the best use of your time.

Rent a Dumpster

For those with 7 cubic yards or more of waste to get rid of, renting a dumpster is one of the most efficient and affordable ways to get rid of your unwanted items.

The average cost to rent a 10 yard dumpster is between $250-$450 for a 5-7 day rental. Roll-off dumpsters have an open top and side swinging door(s) for easy and convenient loading, while trailer dumpsters sit on rubber wheels for easy maneuvering and added driveway protection.

Get the best price for a dumpster rental by getting multiple quotes from locally-owned and operated companies. Hometown makes it easy to get multiple quotes fast with our single quote request form. Answer a few short questions about your dumpster rental needs and get in touch with companies near you to compare pricing, customer service, and availability.

Hire a Junk Removal Crew

The easiest way to clear your basement of your unwanted items is to hire a junk removal company to do all the heavy lifting, loading, and hauling on your behalf. 

Not only can junk removal companies haul your garbage to the landfill, but they will also happily donate items for you on your behalf. This is a perfect option for those with a large amount of items to get rid of, those with limited free time, and those who don't have the proper vehicle or physical strength to do so themselves.

In addition to dumpster rental services, Hometown can also help you find locally-owned junk removal companies that clear your basement of unwanted items within a matter of minutes. You can request free junk removal quotes online, but the junk removal companies you speak with may need to come to your house and provide you with an on-site estimate in order to provide you with the most accurate quote. If you like the price they give you, they will often get to work right away to start removing your unwanted clutter.

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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. 

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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...

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.

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.

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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