Clutter. To some degree, we all have it around our house. Seasonal items, coats, extra pairs of shoes, toiletries and kitchenwares are all things that we want to store away, but also access at a moment’s notice. Your home, meanwhile, may not have been built to conveniently store all of that stuff, particularly if it is older. Assuming that moving to a large, newly constructed home with multiple walk-in closets and storage rooms on every floor is not a consideration, you’ll need to retrofit your home to maximise storage. Whether you are planning a major renovation or simply want to find space to stow away a few items, the opportunities to add storage are all around your home if you know where to look.
1. Look Under the Stairs
You’ve probably heard this before: the space under the stairs is an often overlooked storage opportunity. The fact is, however, that under-stair storage does not need to be a simple closet door that has been cut to mirror the angle of the stairs. Custom under-stair storage can be designed to meet your very specific needs. Pull-out storage bins, shoe-racks and drawers can all be incorporated into under-stair storage. Another option is to include a closet that, unlike the other closets in your house, can have an opening the full height of your ceiling, making it ideal for storing ladders or other tall items. Cleverly designed under-stair storage does not need to be unattractive. It can, in fact, become part of the décor by looking like wainscoting or paneling when closed.
Many of us stash things under our beds. Whether or not we make the most of that storage space, however, and how well-organized that space is, is another question. Your organization effort may start with a few low-profile bins purchased from the local discount store. To take it to another level, though, build a bed that has compartmentalized storage built into it. Drawers that pull out from under the bed can store a vast amount of clothes, shoes or whatever items you see fit. If you have high ceilings, consider putting your bed up on a high platform, with built-in steps to access it if necessary, to allow for even more storage space.
3. Go Over and Around the Bed
Storage opportunities in the bedroom go far beyond the space under your bed. Building cabinetry around your headboard not only adds storage, it can add a cozy, comfortable feel to your bed. Moving out from there, you can place storage behind a bed or even on the ceiling above it. Children’s beds are particularly suited to these storage solutions.
The rooms on your top floor, and possibly other floors or your home, are likely to have slanted ceilings. The space under the eaves that is less than a meter high cannot be considered living space, but it can certainly be utilised for storage. As with other storage solutions, under-eave storage can be built to suit your needs. Stash things out of site by building doors that lead to a vast closet, be a little more compartmentalised with a set of built-in drawers, or put books or other items on display with open shelving.
5. Build Out
We tend to think of closets and storage spaces as needing to be tucked into the corners or recesses of our home. That doesn’t always need to be the case. In spacious rooms, stealing a few square feet of space can allow you to create all the storage you need. Full-height and full-width built-ins can be added to blank walls, or you can construct them around a fireplace or even windows. These can take the shape of shelves to house display items or cabinets to stash away items that you want to place out of site. You can even add a built-in desk, bench or reading nook in the space under a window that can function as both storage and work space.
The space above your head is not functional. Of course, that space is what allows light and airiness to enter any space and you therefore don’t want to fill it with stuff. In certain cases, however, it can accommodate storage without being in the way. Above doors and windows is one place to look. In bathrooms, for example, a shelf placed over the entry door can hold towels and toiletries. In a small bedroom, a similar shelf can hold books. Get creative in the dining room and put shelving over a window to display plates, decorative glasses or other display items.
7. Go Mobile
If you’re challenged for space, you may not have room for a permanent, built-in storage structure. If that’s the case, you can, literally, put your storage on wheels. Simple casters mounted to a storage piece can do wonders. Kitchen islands are a desirable feature, for example, but if your kitchen can’t accommodate one, put an island on casters and you can enjoy the functionality of an island while you’re cooking and roll it out of the way when you’re done. In other rooms, a full-height closet can be mounted on casters and moved around in order to divide the space as needed. Mobile units provide not only storage, but flexibility.
Tucking away your clutter can be a challenge, but if you’re creative and resourceful, you can find solutions, even if you live in an older home that was not designed for maximum storage. If you’re considering renovating your home, take the time to design storage into your plan. If you’re working with a home renovation company, ask them to advise on how best to incorporate the storage that suits your needs. If you need to find storage without undergoing a major renovation project, look around your home for opportunities to add storage. With a little bit of ingenuity, you may very well find that your storage need can be met without having to move or take on a large project.
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