May 17: What Lives Below?
If you home has a basement or a cellar, what do you keep down there? Is the space usable, or is it prone to water, mold and mildew? Is it finished (walls, floors and ceilings) or unfinished? If you're lucky and have a basement that is usable, it is a great place for additional living space - and to store your things!
Is your basement decorated and ready for entertaining? Or are visitors banned from going down there? Sometimes paint, better lighting, rugs and pillows can make all the difference. Make the space welcoming and comfortable for you, your family and your guests. If the space is damp, wet or smells musty, that's a red flag that must be dealt with.
Wet basements can make the space unusable. The American Society of Home Inspectors estimate that about 60% of homes in the U.S. have, or will have, a wet basement. Have your home inspected before you buy it to find out if you have a wet basement. Companies, like Pro-Spex Home Inspection (www.pro-spex.com) are experienced in identifying "wet basement" signs - even during dry weather. Wet basements can cause mold, a very unhealthy environment to be in.
Wet basements are caused by several things: a water leak from a pipe, condensation or water seeping in from outside during a heavy rain or snow melt. There are companies out there that can water proof your basement and prices vary widely from $2,000 to $6,000 or more. There's also DIY solutions that you can try, like Drylok (www.drylok.com) waterproofer. Once the problem is resolved, you're ready to get your basement organized!
Whether your basement is finished or unfinished, store things in containers that are moisture proof. Plastic bins with securely fitting tops are great for this purpose. Using plastic shelving units is good too to keep things up off of the floor. You can color code your bins to indicate what's in each bin (i.e. seasonal decorations, paint supplies, yard toys, garden supplies, etc.).
If you do laundry in your basement, store your laundry supplies in an easy to reach location. Put up a table to fold clothes on. Put a rug on the floor and bring down a comfortable chair, a light and a blue tooth speaker. Make a comfortable space to read or exercise while you wait for your clothes to wash and dry. Basements also tend to be cool, so decide if you need to condition your space. Make your basement friendly, comfy and cozy so that you enjoy being there.
Basements are sometimes connected to a garage - another great place to store things like tools, bikes, paint, flower pots, etc. If you don't have a garage, basements are the next best thing.Garages need an entirely different type of organization system. More on that tomorrow!
One last note: some people also use their basements to store their wine collection. A cool environment is perfect for a wine cellar. Another enjoyable DIY project!
Take Away: If there's dampness or a musty smell, get the problem resolved immediately - mold can be present. Reclaim that basement as a usable, enjoyable space. Create "zones" - i.e. entertainment, relaxation, laundry, storage, exercise - if possible. Tomorrow we'll find out what most people keep in their garage!
About the Author: L. Sidney Irving is the owner of Sidco Properties, a real estate company dedicated to educating and assisting those that want to buy or sell a home, Sidney loves to organize herself and those around her because she believes that an organized space brings peace and fosters creativity. May the power of organization be with you!