It's been awfully rainy in a lot of parts of the country these days, and while it's good news for our gardens and yards, it's bad news for a lot of basements.

Whatever size your home is or wherever it's located, cracks in the foundation or plumbing can begin to let water into your basement, leading to your stuff getting ruined, your basements getting damp and musty, and much bigger foundational problems if left unchecked.

If you need to get your basement a little more waterproofed, or if you've already dealt with some leaking this year and you want to make sure it doesn't happen anymore, here's a few tips we've pulled together to keep your basements nice and dry:

Clean out your gutters: Even if they're on top of your home, clogged gutters can send rain down the exterior walls of your home, allowing water to get into any cracks in the walls or foundation. Get your gutters cleaned out at the beginning of every season to prevent buildup and keep water flowing away from your house.

Check your windows and insulation: Windows are the most common source of leaks other than walls, and loose insulation or improperly-fitted window dressings can let water in at an alarming rate. Double-check your window fittings to make sure they don't let anything else in while they're closed, and prepare to seal the edges with foam as needed to prevent these leaks.

Protect your stuff: Even if you do everything you can to prevent leaks, it's always a good idea to take some preventative measures in the basement itself to keep your stuff safe. Elevate everything you can on rust-resistant wire shelving to keep it out of harm's way (and to keep the shelves themselves safe), and everything else you can't keep on shelves can go in weatherproof plastic storage totes to keep the elements out. Wall shelving can help too so long as it isn't mounted on a wall that's prone to leaking - otherwise you're putting your stuff right back in harm's way.

Install a sump pump: If all else fails, or if you live in an area very prone to flooding and need a more...intense solution, sump pumps are a fantastic way to handle water as it enters your basement. It's going to involve a lot of home renovations (as you'll have to dig a well and install the pump) but for particularly flood-prone or rain-heavy areas it might be the most effective solution to prevent long-term damage every time the rains come back around.