3 Things in Your Basement to Get Rid of Right Now, According to Real Estate Agents

published Jun 6, 2021
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old couch from the 70s, in a basement
Credit: MYP Studio

Depending on where you live, having a basement might be as commonplace as having a bathroom. These underground spaces are multipurpose and can be transformed into many things, such as laundry rooms, bedrooms, or additional living spaces. Regardless of its use, a basement can also attract a host of issues if not taken care of properly. Here are three things you shouldn’t have in your basement, according to real estate experts.  

Items That Attract Moisture

Since basements are below ground level, they are susceptible to harboring rainwater and warm air, making them hotbeds for moisture accumulation. High levels of moisture can lead to issues such as mold and mildew if left unchecked. Scott Bergmann, a real estate agent with Realty One Group Sterling in Omaha, Nebraska, warns homeowners against storing any items in the basement that attract or hold moisture “A lot of people like to keep pictures, teddy bears, clothes in the basement — but these hold moisture instead of resisting it,” he says. “The only things you should be storing in your basement are things that aren’t flammable and don’t hold water.”

In order to combat moisture, Bergmann suggests keeping items in vacuum storage bags.  Courtney Miller, a realtor for Highgarden Real Estate in Indianapolis stresses the importance of elevation. “If you haven’t waterproofed your basement, make sure some of your storage shelves are a couple inches up from the floor,” she says. 

Cardboard Storage 

While basements are commonly used as storage spaces, the items you choose to store and the way that they are stored can actually be the source of many problems. 

“I would say it’s less about what shouldn’t be kept and more about how it’s stored,” says Miller, adding that mice tend to find their way into the basement first before getting into the rest of the house. She warns against storing any type of textile, like blankets and throws, or pillows that will attract rodents looking for something to chew on. “If you’re going to store any of those down there during the summer for winter, they need to be in tubs,” she says. 

April Tucker, a realtor with Better Homes and Gardens in Omaha, Nebraska, offers the same advice and places an emphasis on making sure your containers are plastic. “Storing stuff in cardboard boxes can be a pain. Either you have some sort of water intrusion or mice get into them and the things in them get ruined,” she says. “Keeping them in plastic is better.”

Sentimental Items

As it turns out, the basement may not be the ideal place to keep prized possessions. Tucker recalls a client who stored her wedding dress in a box on the floor in her basement as an example. “If they ever had water or critters, that’d be bad,” she says.  Furniture may also be susceptible to hosting mice and bugs, so she warns against having valuable furniture down there. “Anything of sentimental value I’d keep out of the basement,” she says.