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New York City Homeowner's Guide -
Basements

basements:
Some people rule out their basement as a place for storing things because they are concerned about moisture. Not all basement moisture is costly or difficult to remedy, however. Condensation (caused when the interior air, which may be warmed by hot water heaters, washers, dryer, etc., meets a cooler masonry wall) can be easily minimized by improving ventilation and decreasing the humidity. To determine whether the moisture in your basement is just condensation, dry an area of the wall and tape a hand size piece of aluminum foil to it using duct tape. Moisture on the foil the next day indicates condensation; if the tape has kept the moist air out, the wall surface under the patch should be dry. If you are satisfied your basement is dry enough, create functional storage centres by adding shelves, racks, rods, clothes hook and pegs. And if you only want to use some of the basement for storage, section it off, i.e., basically build a separate storage closet.

Maxizing Storage Space