Basement storage is an efficient use of space, provided your basement is free of moisture problems. Storing seasonal items, rarely used articles and prized possessions in the basement frees up a lot of room in your family's living space. Unfortunately, the basement is an area that prone to water retention, moisture accumulation, and excessive humidity. All 3 contribute to mold and mildew growth. There much that can be done to prevent these problems and save your stored possessions from damage.
Use Plastic or Metal Cabinets for Storage
Wooden shelves are a poor choice for basement storage because of wood’s tendency to absorb and retain moisture. Similarly, cardboard containers are another bad option for long term basement storage. Use metal storage shelves or plastic bins with lids to store your belongings, as these materials are largely impervious to moisture.
Allow Stored Items Access to Air
Always ensure that your stored articles have access to air circulation. It is important for preventing musty odors and mildew from forming. Always ensure that your clothes are clean before you put them away for storage.
Check Stored Items Often
Never leave your stored items unattended for long periods of time. Make it a point to check your belongings once in a while. When the weather is favorable, leave the items outside in the sun for a while.
Use a Mildew Inhibitor
Mildew inhibitors are chemicals that prevent the formation of mildew. Some materials, such as leather, are more prone to mildew growth. They must be stored with a mildew inhibitor. Never store damp clothing or articles. Ensure that all the items you store are thoroughly dry. Also avoid starching any garments that are going into basement storage.
Repair Cracks in the Foundation
Basement leaks can be caused by water retention and cracks in the floors or walls. Look for signs of wetness on the walls and floor. Take prompt action to fix these issues. Look for cracks or holes in the foundation and repair them right away. Cover small cracks inside the basement with cement. Applying waterproof paint on the basement walls will also protect against moisture.
Clear Clogged Gutters and Downspouts
Check your gutters and downspouts regularly for signs of clogging or blockage. Clear all leaves, debris, and dirt to enable freely flowing water.
Insulate Water Pipes in the Basement
Insulate your water pipes to prevent condensation, which greatly increases humidity in the basement.
Whenever possible, open the windows in your basement to let in fresh air and sunlight. Doing so is a great way of airing out the basement and reducing the chances of mildew growth.
Use a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is a requirement in any basement that shows signs of moisture accumulation. Make sure that all doors and windows in the basement are closed when you operate the dehumidifier.