Organizing Basement Shelves-Adding Color to Storage Spaces

I’d love to show you how to make your basement shelves organized and colorful, too. If your idea of getting organized is stacking the biggest plastic bins you can find on top of each other, here’s an alternative approach.

Basement Shelves-Organized and Colorful


You’ve probably seen these wooden shelves before. These workhorses are the GORM shelves from IKEA. Fun fact: I didn’t even have to look that up. You are probably a professional organizer when you know the names of a good portion of the IKEA catalog items. Sometime around 2016, this product got replaced with the IKEA Henje, similar but with slightly different dimensions. If you want to re-create this look at your place, look for the Henje in stores these days. They are very customizable, and I personally think they look a bit nicer than metal shelves.

Basement Shelves-Organized and Colorful-IKEA Henje unit


It’s so peaceful in this storage area that I just wanted to focus on some things you can do in your storage space, so let’s just look at the AFTER pictures this time.

Make use of awkward corner spaces for things you don’t need to access often, like leftover paint. Smaller bins work, too. Follow my 2×2 rule. Adjust your shelves so you don’t have to stack things more than 2 items high or 2 items deep.

Basement Shelves-Organized and Colorful-corner storage


Group items together whenever possible. I love metal mesh bins like this to keep laundry soaps and such together. That way, they aren’t falling off the back of the shelving unit. Bonus points for labels. I use plain shipping tags like these all the time. (affiliate link) Basement Shelves-Organized and Colorful-laundry soap


Keep an eye on how many household chemicals you bring home. We eliminated two big boxes of hazardous chemicals in this basement, which opened a lot of shelf space. Unfortunately, we had to lose a Saturday by carting those chemicals to the county hazmat drop-off for proper disposal. We don’t use all or even much of what’s in those bottles and cans from the hardware store, and we buy multiples of the same chemicals over and over because we forget what we already have at home. Store chemicals together in sturdy bins. Avoid cardboard, which can attract mice and bugs.

Basement Shelves Organized and Colorful-household chemicals


If you give me just a few inches, I’m always going to mount a broom holder like this one (affiliate link) on the wall. There’s nothing better for getting cleaning supplies up off the floor. Alternate heads up and down to make the best use of the space. Get rid of broken tools the minute they don’t serve you anymore.


Basement Shelves Organized and Colorful-broom storage


The real stars of this show are the pretty woven baskets. Not everything stored in a basement needs to go in plastic bins. If you have pretty bins, you can move them to any part of your house as your needs change. But having a repeated color choice here on the shelves helps the room feel calmer.

Basement Shelves Organized and Colorful-blue baskets


You are more likely to put things away when the basement looks decorated, not like a storage room.

don't put it down put it away


If you are organizing your basement for the first time in years, it might take you a whole day just to get through the first couple of steps of SORT and Succeed. Leave time to organize things into groups and clear out the donations and trash, and dispose of the hazardous materials properly. My crew can spend a day or two in a really big basement job, or just a couple of hours organizing an existing shelving unit like this.

Basement Shelves Organized and Colorful-SORT and Succeed


There are several big payoffs when you organize your basement and make it colorful. You won’t repeatedly buy the same item, because you’ll know what you have. You won’t have a mouse problem, or if you do, you’ll find it sooner. Same with water damage; with everything stored up off the floor, a little leak won’t turn into a messy catastrophe.

Basements don’t always photograph well, and not all of my clients want to spend the money to make them beautiful, but they can be pretty, too.

Check out another organized basement with massive shelving space.

This basement storage room for for a young family stored toys, holiday decorations, and suitcases, like most basements.

Looking for more organizing project ideas? See all of my January 2021 organizing articles in one place.