Hint: This is not the best spot for cherished family photos.

By Caylin Harris
May 27, 2020

One of the most exciting prospects of owning a house is all of the storage space that comes with it. Gone are the days of stuffing an extra closet full of items that you’re looking to keep but just don’t have space to put out in plain sight. Now you’ve got an attic and a basement, rejoice! But before you get ready to carry all of your storage items down there, hold up, because not everything you might want to store belongs in a damp basement. Here are five things you should never store in the basement, along with five things that will be just fine in this storage spot.


Moisture is the enemy of paper. Keeping books in the basement makes them more susceptible to water damage, mold, or mildew. Plus, the binding can attract bugs and pests that can take up residence in your collection.


Humidity can also destroy photos. Moisture can cause them to stick together and creates mold. Any special clothing or keepsakes that aren’t stored properly also don’t belong in a basement; water damage is impossible to reverse.


Moisture from your basement can cause wood furniture to warp and crack, especially if it’s not properly finished. You don’t want to lose any priceless family heirlooms or antiques by having the wood rot or delicate details, like caning, decay.


Rolled up rugs can become a safe haven for mice and bugs—yuck! Plus, all of the humidity in the basement can also form mold or mildew inside, too. Laying them out flat on the floor also creates problems, as moisture can get trapped underneath, leading to, you guessed it, more mold.


Anyone who’s dropped their phone into water knows firsthand that electronics don’t do well with moisture. Humidity in the air can permanently damage TVs, phones, DVD players, and more. Keep these items somewhere drier.


Christmas, Halloween, or Fourth of July, there’s no reason why you can’t put your holiday decorations in the basement. Pack them with additional bubble wrap or paper and place them in airtight plastic containers to keep bugs, dirt, and moisture out of these accessories. Again, just avoid stashing any priceless family heirlooms here.


Extra rackets, basketballs, footballs, and helmets can all hang out in bins in your basement. Just make sure you’re not stuffing dirty or sweaty sports padding or helmets down there, which can lead to mold or mildew growth. Give them a good cleaning first.


Not every kitchen has ample storage space—so go ahead and place extra dishes on a shelf in the basement. Just keep them out of reach of kids and pets so nothing gets broken. If you don't plan to use this dishware often, wrap each item in paper so it won't get dusty.


While you definitely don’t want to put flammable spray paint or stains near the dryer or furnace, you can keep properly sealed wall paint in the basement, away from all sources of heat. In a finished basement, the cool but not freezing temps may actually help preserve the paint longer than a spot in the garage or an outdoor shed.


If you don’t have a broom closet upstairs, stashing brooms, cleaners, a cleaning caddy, and a vacuum in the basement will save valuable space. Since they get used often, there should be no issue with them collecting dirt or dust.