Basements are often treated like a giant junk box (hey, no judgment here). But many have also been developed to offer an underground hideaway for entertainment or playrooms, home offices and more.
No matter what you use your lower level for, remember that there are still some things you should avoid keeping down there. But when it’s unavoidable, a little preparation and thought (like having the right homeowner’s coverage) can go a long way in protecting your belongings and your home.
Check out our short list of what to avoid.
Things that are irreplaceable (or simply difficult to replace)
- Printed photos: Memories can last a lifetime, but printed photos are easily destroyed. Keeping them out of the basement is just a precaution to help you protect and preserve your family photos for posterity.
- Important documents: Wherever you keep them, make sure you have a safe place to safely store papers (think fire, flood and burglar proof) such as your birth certificate, passport, financial documents or will. Yes, these Can are replaced, but ask anyone who has to and they’ll probably tell you it’s worth protecting them as if they were printed in gold.
- Antiques or family heirlooms: If your family has passed down items through the generations, you understand how irreplaceable they are. And depending on the item, the years can add to its sentimentality and monetary value.
Highly flammable or dangerous items
- Firewood: Wood can equal a lot of extra fuel if you ever have a house fire. Or it can get damp in the basement, which is less than ideal – and ultra smoky – when you burn it. Plus, it’s basically a big wooden invitation for insects and rodents.
- Paint, chemicals or household liquids: If you have one, basements are usually where your furnace, water heater, and dryer are located. Pair these with flammable liquids in a space that isn’t usually well ventilated, and you could have a recipe for disaster.VIDEO: See how quickly a tumble dryer can spread
- Books and magazines: If they have some sentimental or monetary value—or you just don’t want to destroy them—storing books and magazines in the basement is usually a no-no. And just like firewood, they can accidentally end up alight.
- Electronics: Ideas for tricking out that extra basement space is limitless and often contains electronics. For finished basements, it’s less of a problem, since you’ve probably taken precautions like installing a sump pump, backwater valve, or moisture-proof floors. But climate and humidity control issues in most unfinished basements can be tough on electronics.
- Furniture or artwork: Artwork and furniture can come with quite the price tag, especially if you’re a collector. It can be tempting but basement storage is not worth the risk.
- Clothes, shoes and jewellery: If you’re no stranger to treating yourself (or your better half) to the finer things, just make sure the quality of your storage space matches the goods.
Remember that “basement” literally implies an area below ground level, so don’t underestimate the damage it can do to your belongings or your entire home. (Hint: there’s a reason horror movies always have a basement scene).
Protect the things that matter
If you have a basement, it only makes sense that you use it. But before you use it as your storage location, contact us today.