Basement Storage Opinions Needed

So we’re still working on finishing the basement, and progress has been slow but steady. I’ll post pictures when we’re ready for a more dramatic big reveal, but in the meantime, I’m soliciting advice on what to store where.

Our whole point in finishing the basement was to create some kid space downstairs – to stop using our dining room as a walk-in toy closet, and give the kids a more private (and contained) place to play with their friends. So for sure we’ll be putting all the LEGO, Playmobil, Hot Wheels, and Barbies downstairs.

(Even though I shudder at the thought of an ankle-deep layer of small sharp plastic objects coating the entire floor. Breathe, Lynn, breathe.)

Now we’re getting close to making the big move and there’s several other things that could or could maybe not go down there and I’m not sure what to do about them. Where do you keep the following items:

  1. Board Games. Our kids rarely bust out a board game on their own but we are avid gamers as a family. So should we store them all downstairs, and become downstairs game players? Or should we keep them upstairs so we can grab one and play on the (planned) dining room table after dinner? Should we put kiddie games like Snap and Snakes and Ladders downstairs, but keep the more grown up ones upstairs? Is there any chance of them all getting dumped out at once and adding every game piece ever to the ankle deep layer? SHUDDER.

    Related: puzzles. I like a good puzzle and I have a couple of bigger ones that are actually mine. Keep upstairs? Or all downstairs?

  2. Craft Supplies. My original plan was to put all the girls’ craft stuff downstairs – things like coloring books, beads for stringing, stamps, scrap paper. But now I’m afraid of what kind of damage they might do downstairs with no supervision. On the other hand, the craft stuff takes up a HUGE amount of space in our office, and we have lots of fresh new shelf space downstairs, so…trust them? Maybe? And what about stuff they use all the time for school, like basic pencil crayons, rulers, and erasers? Maybe keep some upstairs and some downstairs?


  3. Craft and Science Kits. Unlike general art supplies, craft and science kits usually create serious mess. I don’t want them exploding a volcano or creating glitter glue mosaics or sculpting bake-your-own charms or doing airbrush tattoos in the basement. But we have a shelf full of these kits and I really don’t want to give them primo real estate in my office. I thought of putting them downstairs on the highest possible shelf – but that probably means they will languish there unused for several years until I finally throw them out when the kids go to university. Hm, come to think of it…I could live with that. Sold!


  4. Costumes. In the toy closet/dining room, we have hooks on the wall for the most frequently used costumes; the others used to hang on hangers on a rack in the basement. Not sure I want to devote so much space to costumes downstairs though – the kids don’t use them as much as they used to, and the thought of putting hooks on our brand new walls hurts. How do you store your costume stuff so that kids can access it easily? Do you have a tickle trunk? Hooks? Shelves?


  5. Photo Albums. This isn’t really a kid thing, but I have decades worth of carefully curated photo albums and they also take up a ton of space in my office where they are in a closed cabinet, and no one ever looks at them. We have some nice new open shelving built into the under-stairs area and I was thinking of putting all the photo albums down there, where they might get pulled out and looked at (and at least, would be easier to access). But I’m nervous about putting photos in the basement – is it an okay environment for storage? Is it too humid? What if we ever got a flood? What if the kids treat them like colouring books? Is it too dangerous to keep adult stuff in the kid space?


Where do you keep your stuff?

9 thoughts on “Basement Storage Opinions Needed

  1. smothermother

    for us it’s all in the basement except the craft supplies/kits. those are in the bottom half of the liquor cabinet.

  2. Everything in the basement except my old photo albums upstairs in our back room. Anything that makes a mess is in the basement so I don’t have to look at it. Anything i care about and want to supervise is upstairs. Also, our dining room table is really small and tends to accumulate STUFF. I’m trying to train the family to a) use the dining room table only for eating and b) if you put stuff on the table, it must be put away in its proper spot before the next meal. I might be fighting an uphill battle here….

  3. We keep board games upstairs. Otherwise they’re completely forgotten. NEVER leave craft supplies unattended! Ours are upstairs (I converted the dining room china cabinet into a craft station with everything hidden in pretty boxes and baskets). As for dress-up: try a coat tree downstairs. It doesn’t take up much room and it’s super easy for the kids to hang the costumes back up when they’re done with them. Good luck!

  4. Just realized I am an unfit mother… I don’t have any of this stuff! 😆

    Mark’s toys are in his room, in an empty diaper box. I thought the box would last a week but these things are sturdier than they look, been around for a year now! In the living room, I bought a nice “pirate chest” where I throw in everything at the end of the day (because stepping on Duplo at midnight sucks).

    We don’t have photo albums. I display pictures on the fridge (okay, I covered the fridge…) and change them regularly. In his room, I made a huge display using vertical transparent frames.

  5. keep you photo albums where they are now……not in basement. trust me I have heard so many stories about people’s basements being flooded etc. and losing their photos!!!

    that’s the only advice I will offer 🙂

  6. Craft supplies used daily for school work . . . I bought an over the door shoe storage thing with pockets for shoes, hung it over our laundry room door which is off our kitchen, and filled it with markers, scissors, pencil crayons, crayons, glue sticks, etc. instead of shoes. Cost about $10 and one of the pockets tore so I fixed it with duct tape. Works like a charm. Incidentally, I did the same thing for the front hall closet and use it for mittens and hats in the winter and kids shoes in the summer.

  7. I’d probably keep the photo albums upstairs, I had a basement flood once and now I’m paranoid about sentimental things getting damaged. The craft supplies, I’d probably keep upstairs too, just to monitor what was going on with them and everything else – basement!!

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