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Most homeowners tend not to think too much about their crawl space these days.

Designed primarily for containing things like ductwork and plumbing, crawl spaces are typically seen in homes without a finished basement.

 

And as anyone without a basement can tell you, it can sometimes be hard to find storage space around the home. Things start to pile up in other rooms that may not have a place to go—and when that happens, that crawl space starts to look awfully tempting.

So by now you’ve probably started to ask yourself “is that crawl space usable for storage?” The answer is a big maybe.

 

Let’s say you already have a finished crawl space. A lot of crawl spaces can get insulated through various processes to keep out mold and insects, and for crawl spaces used for more sensitive projects like home wiring they may already be insulated. This is key—the insulation is going to help keep your goods safe in the long term and will make a big impact on what you can keep down there.

If this is the case, then you have plenty of options for storage in your crawl space. By using shelving that can resist the elements like wire shelves or heavy duty metal shelving you can store the sort of things that usually go down into basements like holiday decorations, tools, and the like. In certain climates, clothes can be an option as well for storage, although you’ll need to be very careful to avoid the growth of mold or mildew on them. While we wouldn’t recommend a crawl space as a replacement for a pantry or a closet, many harder goods can be stored down there so long as you have the safe storage to go with it.

 

Of course, if your crawl space isn’t insulated, it’s not recommended to use it for storage of…well, anything, really. An unfinished crawl space isn’t much different from an unfinished concrete basement, and can be host to a lot of mold, mildew, and other problems that don’t make it a viable option for long-term storage. Insulating an unfinished crawl space is an expensive undertaking, so while it might be the right investment for your house someday it isn’t a decision to take lightly.

Confused yet? Really, the answer can be boiled down to a big “maybe”. With the right protections in place, a crawl space can become a small replacement for a basement or attic, but if it’s not insulated (and you’re not using the right shelving) then you might want to reconsider throwing things down there for now. If that’s the case, you might want to think about clearing out that garage and trying your luck there instead.

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