Organization is the key to creating useful storage space throughout the house, be it for the bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen or the garage. Even the smallest corners of the home can be transformed into functional storage spaces that blend with the surrounding style and decor.
Begin the decluttering process by deciding which possessions belong in each room and what can be put into storage. Using a few tips from the decorating pros, the important items then can be incorporated into the room. The remainder can be stowed away until needed, for example sports gear and seasonal apparel.
Decorating boxes is an inexpensive way to add storage and at the same time complement the decor. You can use banker’s boxes, banana boxes or any other cardboard boxes of equal sizes, as long as they are not too large. One way to decorate them is to cover them with paper cut-outs of any design you choose, sticking these down with decoupage glue. When you have finished covering them, apply another thin coat of glue over the top. This technique also works with fabric. Try this with seasonal themes like fall, Halloween and Christmas.
Closets have come a long way from the days of the basic rod and clothes hangers. Nowadays, closet organization systems can reach right up to the ceiling and incorporate cubbies, shelves and spaces to keep a variety of items from overcoats to shoes and suitcases. Add hooks on the sides to hang belts or shoe organizers. Shallow plastic storage boxes can hold several pairs of shoes. You might also be able to insert extra shelves near the top of the closet where you can store items you no longer use but want to keep, such as mementoes and souvenirs.
Most kids’ beds have up to 12" of clearance underneath. Into this space you can slide storage boxes on casters, with handles for easy access. Put up colourful coat pegs that can be used to hold bags of toys or clothes. Use canvas or bamboo clothes hampers to hold larger toys. Install wall shelves, out of the way of kids’ activities, to hold books and other items.
Most kitchens include a corner cabinet; this usually takes up a lot of space which is difficult to access. Lazy Susan carousels are not that expensive and will turn even the darkest corner into an accessible storage haven. Install pull-out drawers or baskets in base cabinets, or racks such as utensil holders or spice racks under wall cabinets. Mini shelves can be attached to the backsplash under the range hood, or a pot rack installed over the range.
Bathrooms are usually smaller than we would like and do not have enough storage space. Hang a shower organizer over the showerhead or shower rod. Install hooks or shallow shelves on the back of the bathroom door and/or cabinet doors. For hand towels, buy an inexpensive wine rack and place rolled-up facecloths in the bottle spaces. Install a medicine cabinet with a mirrored door recessed between the wall studs. This means cutting out the drywall between the studs, but it cleverly uses the existing space inside the wall. Add shelves on the wall over the toilet. In a very small bathroom, put up a decorative shelf or ledge, high up at about 6' 6", for pretty containers or extra supplies.
In an apartment or small house, it's often hard to find space for the computer and office equipment. An unused armoire or cabinet can be turned into a computer stand by fitting it with drawer slides. Measure a piece of plywood or melamine board, cut a square to fit the armoire and attach the drawer slides. Both the monitor and keyboard can slide out or be put away as needed, but with the doors closed it looks like a regular piece of furniture. The bottom drawers can be used to keep paper and other office supplies. An old filing cabinet could be painted in a similar colour and placed alongside the armoire. Another solution is to build a desk into a small unused closet.
For many homeowners, garage storage means pegboard panels and wall hooks. While this is a good solution for small tools and other items, you can go a lot further. Build your own workbench by assembling two sawhorses with a smooth door or piece of plywood on top. This provides storage space below, which is a great spot for plastic storage containers to hold power tools or other equipment. Look for old metal shelving at garage sales and flea markets. Even shelves with bent legs can be used by installing wood strapping on the walls for support. If yard tools do not have their own separate storage area, hang hooks on a piece of wood strapping and attach this near the ceiling of the garage so that shovel and rake heads can hang free without scratching your vehicle.
One of the best ways to store small items that are needed on a regular basis is to use similar-sized glass jars. But these can be impractical or cumbersome if placed in drawers or on shelves. Nail or screw the jar lids to the underside of the surface where small parts and screws are needed, such as craft area or workbench, or to the bottom of a shelf or a beam nearby. Sort the contents, so as to place nuts and bolts in one jar, metal screws in another, nails in another, and so on. This jar trick can also be used in a small kitchen, for example to store spices.
Most homes have attics, but homeowners often refrain from using this space for storage because of the heat, cold and humidity, which could harm their possessions. Explore your attic space to see where you might be able to create a storage area easily. If there is good insulation, then you can install wooden strapping across the trusses to provide the base structure for a plywood platform. Take measurements and build the platform. Then sort out all the items you need to store that can withstand temperature extremes: Christmas decorations, suitcases, etc. Pack small items in airtight plastic containers and place on the platform. Check the attic every two months to monitor for pests.
It's not only convenient to be able to store large amounts of food, especially if you have a large family, but it also saves on food costs. The problem is how to keep staple items such as flour, spices and sugar, purchased in bulk, in dry, pest-free conditions. One solution is stackable plastic storage containers, which are convenient, dry, and come in different colours so that you can group different types of foodstuffs together.
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