Like so many homeowners in Michigan, you have an incredible basement and some amazing plans for it. However, sometimes realizing those plans is challenging, in part due to trying to implement the best basement storage system.
There are as many options are there are types of people. Like many other projects, the key is in the planning and knowing what end you have in mind. Once you know that, the following can be a great guide to help you determine which way to proceed.
Storage Rack Systems
Racks are typically heavy wire or cast metal. They lock together, and especially the heavy-duty cast metal options can store a very heavy load. These are a great option if you are storing a lot of canned goods or heavy items. However, they are not always really aesthetically appealing, so not the best option for spaces where you plan to entertain.
Like racks, there is a lot of variety in cubbies. You can custom-build a cubby system, or use the prefabbed cubbies available at many retail stores. You can also use fabric cubes on standard shelves or inside the cubby shelf. These are great for separating things into much smaller increments. Some people really enjoy this option as a display for knickknacks or photos. You can also more easily expand this type of storage area compared to most other options.
When most people think of storage in living spaces, they think of the wall shelves. Just be careful to know what you are using. Most options you buy and assemble yourself have a very low load capacity. Also, be sure you anchor the shelf into your wall to keep it from falling over and injuring someone. Load your heavier items on the bottom and the lighter things on the top.
Built In Storage
Custom built-in options are becoming increasingly popular. These can still use fabric cubbies to help organize. However, they typically have a much higher load capacity than stand-alone shelves. They are securely anchored to the wall, so there is little concern about it tipping over. Just remember that if you choose this option, you will likely leave it behind when you sell your home.
There is no one right answer for everyone. In most cases, you may use a combination of the options above. For instance, you may have a corner with a cast metal rack for extra food. Then you may have a custom built-in unit with fabric cubbies on it, and maybe a shorter stand-alone bookshelf. The key to getting what you need and having it flow is to begin with the end in mind. Take the time to plan.
No Cardboard Please
No matter what basement storage system you use, be sure to avoid storing cardboard long-term in the basement. Basements in Michigan are notorious for having high humidity, which the cardboard will soak up. When that happens, the box will mold and will likely ruin the contents of the box. This risk is even higher if your sump pump fails and you have any kind of flooding in your basement. It is best to keep cardboard out and use plastic for anything you want to store without being on display.