Although basements can be extremely useful, in terms of providing storage space and work area, many homeowners don't take full advantage of it.
Sooner or later, the following statement applies to nearly everone: Unless an organizing system is put into place -- preferably within the first year of moving in -- your basement will begin to take on the appearance of a junk repository!
When your belongings are haphazardly heaped together, it not only becomes difficult to find things you want and need, but items you've cast aside gradually occupy more and more of your valuable space.
The ideal scenario -- from a storage standpoint -- is to buy a house that already comes with built-in shelving and cabinets in the basement. A feature that's almost as good is when the previous owner took the time to set up (and leave for you) enough metal shelving in the basement to meet your storage needs. Although metal shelving doesn't have a lot of eye appeal, it is extremely sturdy and functional.
Cost Effective Solutions
If aesthetics and functionality are what you're looking for, consider these ideas: 1) picking up bargains on shelving, cabinets, and other cheap furniture at garage sales. 2) hiring a reasonably priced carpenter to custom-build some nice shelving and cabinets in your basement.
Of course, if you happen to be handy with a hammer and saw, yourself, then building your own storage shelves might be a satisfying (and money saving) weekend project. However, if your carpentry skills are a bit on the "marginal" side, it would probably be worth it to find a reasonably priced and competent craftsman! Asking friends, relatives, and neighbors for recommendations can often yield the name of the perfect -- and often affordable -- person for the job.
Basement Organizing Tips
Once your shelving is in place, you might want to purchase some inexpensive bins, baskets, or boxes to neatly store you belongings, seasonal supplies, and items you're not exactly sure what to do with. Labeling all containers will improve efficiency and help you avoid frustration down the road.
Designating a section of your basement for hand-me-downs, future garage sale items, and/or charitable donations will make it easier to categorize and move things out when the time comes. Another aspect of keeping your basement organized and free of clutter is to consider throwing away items that are obsolete, irreparably broken, damaged, or incomplete. While "one man's junk is another man's treasure", some things are simply of no value to anyone! For items that fall into that category, the choice usually boils down to one of three options: restore it, recycle it, or have it professionally disposed of.
A well organized basement can potentially be a good place to store things you want to save, protect, and keep in good condition for future use. Preserving anything that's delicate, valuable, or easily damaged requires a lot of safeguards, including -- but not limited to -- keeping them adequately covered, sometimes in airtight containers, and maintaining a dry, climate-controlled environment. Relatively humidity should be carefully monitored and, in most cases, maintained between 30% and 50%. When moisture in the air approaches 60%, mold and mildew tend to thrive.
Ready to submit an offer on a house? Not so fast. First, you'll want to consider a few key questions, including:
1. Can I afford to buy a house?
If you find a house you like, make sure you can afford the monthly mortgage payments. By doing so, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming problems down the line.
Ultimately, getting pre-approved for a mortgage can make a world of difference, particularly for a homebuyer who is ready to submit an offer on a home.
With pre-approval for a mortgage, a homebuyer will understand exactly how much money is at his or her disposal. As a result, this homebuyer can avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.
2. Should I submit a "lowball" offer?
For many homebuyers, it may seem like a good idea to submit a "lowball" offer on a house. But doing so may be problematic for a number of reasons.
If you submit a lowball proposal, a home seller is unlikely to take your bid seriously. As such, this home seller may dismiss your offer and move on to other proposals quickly.
In addition, a lowball offer may cause you to miss out on the opportunity to acquire your dream residence.
When you locate the perfect residence, there is no need to leave anything to chance. If you submit a fair proposal that meets or exceeds a home seller's expectations, you can avoid the risk of losing your dream house to a rival homebuyer.
3. How much should I offer for a residence?
We've already established that a lowball offer is rarely, if ever, a good idea. Now, you'll just need to determine what differentiates a fair proposal from a lowball one.
A fair proposal accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller. It should be based on the current state of the housing market as well as the condition of a home.
For instance, if you're operating in a buyer's market, there is likely to be a broad assortment of homes available. This means a home seller may need to lower his or her expectations due to the sheer volume of quality residences currently on the market.
Don't forget to study the prices of recently sold homes in a particular city or town too. This housing market data will help you better understand how a residence you're considering stacks up against comparable houses so you can submit an appropriate offer.
4. Do I need a real estate agent?
A real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a home, and for good reason. This real estate professional can help you prepare an offer and will negotiate with a home seller on your behalf. That way, you can streamline the process of going from homebuyer to homeowner.
Hire a real estate agent before you submit an offer on a house Ė you'll be glad you did. A real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey and ensure you can secure a great house at a price that fits your budget.
Depending upon where your laundry room is in your home, it may be a breeding ground for plenty of stuff. People leave their shoes in there along with coats, an array of cleaning supplies and other ďjunkĒ piled up in one spot. However and wherever your laundry room is, you can organize it in a few easy steps.
If you place coats, boots, sandals, hats and gloves in the laundry room, you need bins to keep them organized. Either label bins and put items where they need to be, or get some baskets to sort everything out. Every member of your family can have their own bin for their off-season belongings.
For easy sorting, label hampers so that clothes are already sorted when you head to do laundry. This will cut down on your laundry time significantly. Each family member will have their own responsibility to bring his or her own clothes to the laundry room and sort them out.
Since space can be limited in the laundry room, itís hard to find places to hang clothes to dry that arenít able to go in the dryer. If you get a clothesline that will enable you to hang your clothes vertically, youíll save space.
If you have some counter space in the laundry room cleared way and reserved, youíll have more space to be able to fold your clothes. Getting the folding done on the spot is a great idea because then, youíll have less to do when you come out of the laundry room!
Itís inevitable that people will always leave something in their pockets. You donít want tissues and receipts to end up in the wash. As youíre doing laundry, youíll need a place to dispose of these items and a place to get rid of dryer lint and dryer sheets as well. Other items that are found in the laundry that donít belong there should be kept in a separate basket for people to pick up at a later time.
If the laundry room is near an entryway to the home, you need a shoe rack there. People will be taking their shoes off and on, and you donít want shoes strewn throughout the room. You may also want to get a good doormat, one that will pick up mud and dirt, to keep it from spreading throughout the room and the house.
With a few changes, your laundry room can be easily organized. Youíll just need to train your family on how to use the new systems in order to make life a bit easier for you!