Exploring some else's basement was exciting. My friend across the street a basement lined with cabinets along one wall and no dividers. I could climb in the cabinet door at one end and crawl all the way through to the opposite wall and emerge eight cabinet doors later. I never questioned why the entire length of the cabinets was empty. His dad's World War 2 uniform was down there as well.
Exploring your OWN basement was the best! Our basement never ceased to be fascinating to me. It held the remnants of past decades of family history - objects that were ancient to me even then! Half of our basement was of normal height - but the rest was half-height, under which much of the older artifacts were shoved. It was a dark, mysterious place into which I rarely ventured - even as I spent endless hours with my train layout in the other side of the basement.
When we moved to California, we had no basement - but we did have a garage crammed to the rafters with boxes of mystery. Just ask my niece and nephew. As they grew up, they eargerly accompanied me on expeditions into the increasingly shuttered garage to see what we could find from the dark recesses of family history.
Today, much of what was in that basement in New York, and then the garage and house in Tarzana is now crammed into a rarely-visited space at a storage facility in Valencia - just about the side of a small garage. In a way, that storage facility is an entire complex of mystery garages...