Sadly, depending on the age of your home and/or where you live, you’ve likely had to contend with a musty basement once or twice.
Moisture can get in, seals can fail, the temperature can fluctuate, and it can get awfully hard to safely keep anything in there. If you’ve been battling moisture and mildew in your basement and need to figure out how to better organize anything already down there, here’s a few tips we’ve found to keep everything a little cleaner:
Leave space for air to move: Moisture and humidity collect most often in areas where items are tightly packed together and the air can’t move between them to dry it out. Wherever possible, leave space between items on shelves to help the air flow through and prevent moisture from accumulating. In cases where space is at a premium, you may need to provide shelves with open decking and backs such as wire shelving to help improve air flow.
Moisture removers everywhere: It’s no exaggeration when we suggest using as many moisture removers as you can throughout the basement to help capture moisture in the air and prevent it from building up and damaging your stuff. There’s plenty of DIY recipes to make them yourself using household items (such as cat litter, activated charcoal, and silica gel), or they’re easily purchased at supermarkets and hardware stores. You’ll be surprised at how much difference it makes.
Use the right materials for storage: As you probably already learned the hard way, a lot of materials can’t withstand the conditions of a basement as easily as some others. “Softer” materials such as cardboard and wood aren’t good choices for long-term basement use due to their ability to absorb a ton of moisture very quickly. Stick with more corrosion-resistant options like chrome shelves, epoxy coated shelving, and plastic bins to keep the dampness at bay (and try to remember to keep a lid on everything).
Keep it airtight: If your basement is home for a lot of your seasonal clothes when you don’t need a coat, vacuum sealing may be the way to go. By reducing the amount of air in a container you can more easily prevent the buildup of mildew, and vacuum packing at home might be the ideal solution for long-term storage of clothes you don’t wear that often or anything with sentimental value such as a wedding dress.
Remember to keep an eye out: Finally, no matter how many precautions you take, you’re going to have to keep checking on everything you store down there. Don’t leave anything unattended or sitting still for very long, and for particularly sensitive items (electronics, old fabrics) bring them upstairs into the sun to let them dry out and warm up a little.
For those among you with green thumbs, this is the perfect time of year to get out and do some yard work. Whether you’re replanting your prize rhododendrons, trying to figure out if you should start that herb garden, or simply looking to make the yard a little healthier, the time is right for getting your hands dirty with some outdoor chores.
The humble sweater: whether for fashion, business wear, comfort, or just plain warmth, the sweater is one of the most versatile garments around today.
This, of course, probably means you own more than a few and need somewhere to store them, especially this time of year when spring is trying its hardest to creep around the corner. Sweaters stand out among cold-weather clothes simply by being a little harder to put away than normal items—too bulky for many drawers and too heavy to hang up, they can turn into a pain before you know it.
When it comes time to put your sweaters away, avoid that yearly ritual of folding, stacking, and cramming sweaters into your already-overtaxed drawers with a few of our helpful Sweater Storage Strategies:
Tips for Drawers:
- Try rolling sweaters instead of folding them: fold the arms to the back, roll up from the bottom edge to the collar, and place the rolled edge up in the drawer (lined up single file) so you can tell each sweater apart. (Be careful not to let V-neck collars get snagged on anything!)
- Sort your rolled sweaters by whatever system works best for you: type, color, style, even when you wear them (winter sweaters vs lighter stuff) to keep them easier to access when the cold weather comes back around—or for those freak days we have every May where it drops back down to 50° again.
Tips for Closets
- One thing to avoid when storing sweaters in the closet is using hangers; these can lead to a horrible condition many experts refer to as “hanger burn” that leads to wrinkles, puckers, creases, and worst of all ruined collars. Don’t fall for hangers that try to claim they’re designed for knits.
- Instead, we suggest using a flatter storage system to avoid running the risk of damage. Take some sweater storage bins or garment bags and line the floor of your closet with them to provide an easy, flat storage solution for sweaters (that can be used to store other knicknacks when sweaters come back into season)
- Not enough space on the floor? Get some closet shelves lined against the back or side walls of your closet. This provides flat space to safely lay all of your sweaters where they can be easily accessed whenever needed.
Tips for Everywhere Else
- Already out of closet space? (We get it.) As long as your home is temperature controlled and pest-free, anywhere can be converted into a space for sweaters. Set some rust-proof wire shelves up in the attic to keep them nicely out of the way, or down in the basement so long as it doesn’t get too musty. (Some of those moisture traps would be perfect here.)
- Space under the stairs? Perfect place for some storage bins. Drawers in the stairs? Even better, just remember what we told you earlier about arranging them in that area.
Got any other out-of-the-ordinary tips for sweater storage? Drop a comment below!
Ah, that old holiday hangover. We’re not speaking totally literally (unless someone got a little into the spirit(s) of the season, if you catch our drift) but the few days after the winter holidays have concluded can be a little...draining. It can feel like there’s too much to do and nobody has the energy to do it - especially if you still have to get ready for New Year’s!
The big day is coming! Christmas is right around the corner, Santa Claus is loading up his sleigh and getting his reindeer all strapped in, and as soon as the kids calm down and go to sleep there will be visions of sugarplums dancing in everyone’s heads.