Cellar / Basement Cleaning Tips

One of the rooms that most easily gathers clutter in your home is your basement or cellar. By its very nature, it's where you stick stuff that you rarely need. It's where you keep your old bowling trophies, your not-used-in-10-years fishing gear, your childhood ice skates just in case you run across a child that needs cracked, rusted blades for a project.

Basements are usually not as well maintained as other rooms of your home. They can often be VERY humid and go through wild temperature swings. This can cause huge damage to whatever is stored down there. If you're going to store things there, make the effort to help those items survive the storage. If you're just going to destroy things by putting them into the "nasty environment area" you might as well donate them to charity immediately instead, where they might be useful.

Get yourself a humidity checker - they're pretty cheap in any home or hardware store. Many thermometers you find will also detect humidity. Your aim is for about 50% humidity. That makes sure that the area is dry enough that mold does not form - but moist enough that items do not dry out and crack. Try to keep the temperature within a normal human-comfort range for the same reasons.

Don't let your items sit right on the floor of the cellar. Cellars are notorious for having bugs, mice, spiders, etc. You give your possessions a fighting chance by keeping them 4" or more up off the floor. Plastic shelving units are great because they never rot or rust, and let you organize your gear.

Do a sweep at least once a year and determine what you actually use and need in your cellar. We all have hobbies that we love for a period of time, and then move on. If you loved ice skating when you were 10 - but are now 30 and have never ice skated since - accept that as a change in your life. Donate the used items to charity, or sell them on eBay. Take pictures of the item if you wish to treasure their memories, but give the actual items away. They can do far more good for some happy child somewhere by being in use. If you really, really decide at some point in the future to get back into ice skating, it would be far safer for you to buy a fresh set of skates.

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