Even if you live in a big house, it can be hard to find places to stow your belongings. Homes built decades ago are not equipped for modern storage needs. Early 20th century closets, for example, were designed to hold a couple sets of work clothes and a “Sunday best” outfit – that’s it. Bathrooms were called “water closets”- aptly named, considering how small they are.
Living in a modern home, you’ll likely find features that increase your storage space, but shortages may still arise. Creative solutions address family storage needs by maximizing, even creating, spaces where things can be stowed.
Maximize Available Space
When you pack a box, do you fill the whole thing, or just the bottom layer? In order to maximize available space, you probably fill the whole box. If we think of the rooms in our homes as great big boxes, it begs the question: Why do we use only the bottom half?
Vertical space is one of the most overlooked storage areas. And it can be utilized in several ways. Floor-to-ceiling shelving, for instance, can be built-in for a variety of uses. Books, linens, and other stackable items are well-suited for storage on high shelves.
In the kitchen, vertical space is gained when we use the tops of cabinets to store small appliances and bulky serving pieces. And plate rails installed in kitchens provide display areas for your showy pieces, freeing up storage space for other things.
Vertical space is maximized from the top down too, using hanging baskets to expand overhead storage opportunities in bathrooms, closets and kitchens.
Using areas already carved out for storage is one thing, but converting unused spaces is like winning the storage lottery.
One of the best examples of “found space” is the giant void beneath your staircase. Clever designers turn these areas into storage units, using doors and drawers. But even open shelving looks good and holds a lot of gear.
Walls provide storage too. Magnetic strips designed to hold kitchen knives free up drawer space, but the magnets can also be used in other rooms, for toys and tools.
One thing to consider as you wrangle with home storage concerns is how each of your possessions fits-in to your lifestyle. By identifying items you use frequently, and creating easy access to them, you might be able to free-up storage space elsewhere. If you are struggling with overstuffed closets, for example, install a few hooks in the back hall for the coats you wear daily. That way, closet space is available for other clothes.
Similarly, if kitchen drawer space is at a premium, put your everyday silverware in a countertop caddy where you can get at it easily. The silverware drawer can then be used for other kitchen tools you don’t reach for as often.
Some of the most enchanting storage containers are repurposed from their original uses. File cabinets and library card catalogs are thrift sale items providing charming storage alternatives. And industrial shelving and cabinets are also at-home in domestic spaces. Add legs to a vintage suitcase, and you’ve made a side table with built-in storage capacity.
Clever storage solutions are limited only by your imagination. Think outside the box to supplement your household storage space, using inspiration wherever you find it.