Come on people, where is the basement love? If you are blessed with another room for storage, use it! Yes, it may be old (so is your house) and it may not be pretty but buck it up. Why are you crowding yourself on the main floor. If you don't have trouble getting up and down those stairs, you should use the space!
Yes, it may be ugly, have a little musty smell, or mold. But all these things can be fixed. A little paint, a little weather proofing, and some shelving- you can do it.
I have the "we don't want to store things in the basement war" with people all the time. I can understand not wanting to put certain items down there but use it!
I personally would not store items in cardboard boxes. They are not durable for long term storage. They are suspectible to water, critters, and bugs. I would use plastic bins.
I have had some clients that color code their storage. They use red or green bins for Christmas, pink for easter, ect.. Also make sure you have a label on each bin.
As for shelving, you can buy free standing shelves or have them built in and braced to your walls.
Zone your shelves. As with any other area of your home, put like with like. Some of the more popular categories include:
* Holiday storage
* Memory items
* Clothes you are waiting for your kids to grow into
* Hobby items- camping ect.
* Kitchen overflow/ entertaining items
* Outdoor dishes ect
* Gifts to be given
* Cosco items- overflow food
* Tool center if you don't keep them in the garage
Whatever your needs may be, create an area for it. Purchase bins that fit your items and on your shelves.
If your basement is really dusty, consider cabinets for storage. These work well for china or kitchen items.
Moral of the story- learn to love and use that basement!