What are the Different Options for Basement Shelving?

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  • Written By: Norma Jean Howland
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2019
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Properly installed shelving can help to organize a basement area, free up floor space and protect items from water damage. Since the basement tends to be a place where unused things end up, shelves are often a way to remove clutter and create more room. When installing this kind of shelving, it might be a good idea to use units that are raised off the floor and that allow wall ventilation to prevent mold and mildew. For storing an assortment of items, a sturdy, adjustable shelf not only supports heavy boxes, but can accommodate changing storage needs. Basement shelving may be made out of steel, wire, plywood, plastic or some sort of do-it-yourself combination.

Wire shelving mounted with masonry fasteners tends to be a popular option for basement storage. These shelves are usually pretty versatile, allowing homeowners to move shelves up or down, adding or subtracting a shelf as needed. This type of basement shelving is often a popular choice in damp areas because it allows air flow, which may prevent mold problems.

Plastic utility shelving is another type of storage that might be used in a basement area. This style of basement shelving is usually fairly easy to assemble and capable of holding quite a bit of weight. These shelves come in different sizes and combinations, offering a raised lip at the back of the shelf, which may come in handy to prevent items from slipping off.


If the basement is used as a workspace, heavy-duty, steel basement shelving, which is often used for tool storage, may be the best choice. This kind of shelving may be a bit bulky because of its size, but the units usually offer drawers or shelves separated by dividers to organize items. Since a unit of this kind tends to be cumbersome to move, it's a good idea to decide in advance where the unit will be located.

Homeowners often decide to build their own basement shelving using leftover wood or almost anything they can find around the home. An easy-to-assemble basement shelving unit can be constructed with plywood and cinderblocks or bricks. This kind of shelving is easy to expand if needed. A do-it-yourself shelving unit can be painted, stained or left unfinished, depending on what will be stored on the shelves. Basement styles do vary though, and aesthetics may not be the top priority. Some people find that they can create functional, inexpensive shelves out of things that were once cluttering up their basement.


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Post 4

@orangey03 – Generally, I would agree with you, but my friend built his basement shelves out of pressure-treated pine, and they are holding up fine. The wood was designed to keep moisture out, so mildew and mold cannot form on it.

He also incorporated stretchers into the design. These are a precautionary measure to keep the wood from sagging, though I kind of doubt that it would. If it isn't susceptible to moisture damage, it probably will never warp.

Pressure-treated wood is probably the only acceptable form of wood to use in basement shelving, though. You're right to say that most wood cannot withstand the environment.

Post 3

@seag47 – I would have used the same type of shelving as you, but my basement walls are made of solid concrete, and I couldn't figure out how to anchor any shelves to them. So, I settled for a freestanding wire shelf.

It's a big unit, but it isn't adjustable, so I had to plan accordingly. I wanted to store my off-season clothes down there, and I had to choose my container sizes based on the amount of shelf space available.

I first sealed my clothes in airtight space-saving bags. Then, to keep mice from eating them, I placed the bags of clothes inside plastic tubs. I put the tubs on the shelves, and this saved me so much closet space.

The wire shelf was a good option. It resists mildew and warping, and it was strong enough to hold up my clothes.

Post 2

My basement has adjustable shelving that runs along a track. Since I store a lot of stuff down there, it is nice to have the option to customize my shelf space.

I keep the Christmas decorations on the shelves, and since they are stored in large boxes, I have to increase the space between the shelves to accommodate them. While the decorations are in use, I can readjust the shelves and store other items on them.

These shelves are very supportive, and I can store up to 75 pounds of weight on them. So, I can use every inch of available space without worrying about the shelves collapsing.

Post 1

I have some advice for anyone with basement shelving plans in their future. Don't use wood!

I live in an area that receives a good bit of yearly rainfall, and the basement stays moist during most of the year. I installed some wooden shelves down there not long after moving in, because I didn't know any better.

Before long, they had begun to warp. They also developed mildew, making the basement smell old and stale.

I wound up replacing them with metal shelving. It would have been a lot less expensive to use this in the first place.

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