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Lifestyle Guide: Avoid Stashing These Items in Your Basement

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When homeowners want to keep their living room and other areas of their house looking clean and organized, they usually store clutter in their basement. This, however, isn’t always a clever move. You could be making a costly mistake if you keep a majority of your stuff in there.

Basements are prone to temperature swings, pest infestations, mold, dampness, and other problems that could damage your well-kept prized possessions. If you don’t want to accidentally damage your belongings, you’ll want to rethink your approach to storing stuff.

Here are nine items that you could store in your basement or crawlspace:

  1. Books

Storing your favorite childhood books in the basement isn’t a good idea. Silverfish love damp and dark environments. They also love eating paper, which is bad news for your books. Apart from silverfish, crawlspaces can attract critters that love to eat starchy substances, such as the glue that keeps your books intact.

Instead of keeping books in your basement, build a bookcase to safely and conveniently store these materials.

  1. Firewood

Storing extra firewood may be tempting, especially since you could retrieve it easily when you want to build a fire in your fireplace. This, however, won’t do you much good. The humidity in your basement can rot the wood and make it wet.

What’s more, damp or rotten firewood can become a haven for insects and mice. Once you have these critters in your basement, you’ll need to get rid of the firewood and call a pest control company to eliminate the infestation.

Rather than store ready-to-use and fully dried firewood in the basement, keep them in a shed or an area that’s 20 feet away from your house.

  1. Toys

Refrain from storing the toys of your little ones in the basement. They may serve as a breeding ground for mold. When you take them out of the basement, they could make your children sick if they play with the mold-infested toys.

  1. Electronics

Storing electronics in your basement isn’t a sound plan — even if they’re obsolete. Temperature swings and humidity can undermine the usefulness of these devices. If you don’t have plans on using your old TV sets, computers, cameras, DVD players, laptop cooling pads, and other tech gadgets, look for electronics recycling programs in your local area. You could also donate old but still working devices to a good cause.

Decluttering items

  1. Antiques

If you don’t want to part with the hope chest given to you by your grandmother, store it in a cozy spot in your house. Avoid storing antiques in your crawlspace. The moisture from the basement could warp the wood. Also, extreme temperatures could crack, swell, or shrink the grain.

  1. Photo Albums

The beloved pictures of you and your family won’t last long if you’re keeping them in your basement. The dry environment will make your photos brittle. If you want to preserve these wonderful memories, convert these photos to cloud-based formats and upload them on social media.

  1. Important Paperwork

Although you should store property titles, tax documents, passports, wills, and birth certificates in a safe location, the basement isn’t the right place. Humidity and pests can destroy delicate paper and cause irreversible damage. What’s more, you could easily lose or misplace crucial paperwork when they’re out of sight and out of mind.

The best place to store important documents is in a secure fireproof safe. Make sure that you provide the whereabouts of these vital papers only to trusted family members and friends. Also, remember to keep scanned backups of these documents on your computer or provide a copy of these files to your attorney.

  1. Old Clothes

Keep your old clothes, such as out-of-style winter coats and sweaters, in a location apart from your basement.  Clothes are prone to moth and pest infestations. What’s more, apparel made with leather and fur doesn’t hold up well in moist areas.

If you’re not going to donate these clothes, keep them inside a sealed plastic bag and put them away in another area of your house, such as your cabinets.

  1. Wine

The basement, with its changing temperatures, isn’t an excellent place to keep your wine drinkable and delicious. An article from Wine Spectator revealed that the ideal conditions for keeping wine are between 50 and 80 percent humidity, as well as 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll need to store your alcohol someplace else if they exceed these given parameters.

Avoid stashing these nine items in your basement. If you have too many things stored in this place, you’ll want to do some spring cleaning by getting rid of your junk.

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