Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Friday, October 17, 2008

Storage: Basement, Garage or Attic??

In New England, where we actually have all 3 places in our homes, it can be tough to figure out what items go to which space. Last year about this time I posted a bulleted list of items suggested for basement, garage and attic contents (from Real Simple*) and I wanted to share again as we get into the colder months:


  • Keep airtight bulk food items, batteries, and lightbulbs near the entrance for quick retrieval.
  • Hang tools on a pegboard, and put seasonal small appliances on shelves.
  • Label out-of-season clothing and holiday decorations clearly so they won't be forgotten.
  • [we use ours for pantry (food)/kitchen annex (dishes), work room/workshop/crafts]


  • Store sporting goods, gardening equipment, and lawn furniture here so you don't have to worry about bringing mud or bugs indoors.
  • Gasoline and anything else that's flammable (a kerosene space heater, a camping lantern, turpentine or other solvents) should go here, ideally in a metal storage unit.
  • Don't put these items in the basement, a dangerous location because it's near the furnace and the main living areas.
  • If your garage gets cold, keep cans of paint in the basement instead (at least 10 feet away from your hot-water heater and furnace).
  • [we don't have one, but do have 2 outdoor sheds that serve the same purpose]


  • Use this space for things that you probably won't need anytime soon and that don't need preserving — like those tax documents you have to keep for at least six years.
  • Stash away things your kids have outgrown — baby clothes, beanbag chairs — but will want back someday.
  • Luggage and the folding chairs and table you bring out once a year will be safe in the attic.
  • [while we have an attic, getting up there and moving around is not a pleasant experience, so I've outlawed it as a storage spot. There's plenty of other space.]

*written by Amanda Hinnant