Living spaces quickly become overwhelmed with the paraphernalia we collect around us. Reclaiming the space doesn’t depend on constantly tidying up. It’s more about having adequate storage systems, being a bit organised, and making the most of what you have.
Tip One: Claim Hidden Areas
There is lots of space in every home that can be used for storage. The trick is in identifying it and putting it to best use. Ideas include:
- High up spaces: Look towards the ceiling in any room and chances are you’ll encounter blank areas of wall, while at floor level bookcases or display cabinets make a room feel closed in. By taking the contents of these and arranging them on floating shelves attached high on the wall you can reduce the amount of furniture needed, freeing up floor space and making the room seem bigger.
- Low down spaces: Low down spaces includes the areas beneath kitchen cabinets. If you replace standard kick boards with hinged doors (or sliding doors) you’ll free up several feet of unused space that can be used to store all kinds of items from baking trays and roasting tins to board games or children’s toys.
- Awkward spaces: Tiny, odd shaped cupboards such as those you often find under the stairs fall into this category. They often become a general dumping ground, but can be put to much better use if you install a few shelves. Alternatively, inexpensive plastic storage trolleys make finding bits and bobs such as hats and gloves or shoe cleaning materials much easier.
Tip Two: Use Storage Furniture
Storage furniture is incredibly useful for keeping to hand the many loose items we tend to have lying around, and which quickly make the space look cluttered. In living rooms, choose coffee or end tables with shelves beneath or drawers built-in, and in bedrooms choose storage beds with lift up mattresses. In kids bedrooms they’re useful as toy storage areas, and in other rooms they are handy for storing spare blankets and linens, especially in guest bedrooms.
If you don’t want to buy furniture that is specifically designed with storage built in, decorative, antique chests fill the same purpose and have an additional design appeal.
Tip Three: Don’t Store Things You Don’t Use At Home
We are all guilty of hanging on to things we no longer use, or keeping items at home all year round when they’re only used seasonally. Most of the time these items are kept in a 12×20 shed as the storage space within them is ideal, or of course the loft as well. If you were to go through these items properly, no doubt you would realise that actually a large percentage of them have no use anymore. For seasonal items, it’s often because we don’t know what else to do with them, so they take up house space that could be put to better use. An alternative solution is self storage, and most of us have a storage facility close by these days.
Contrary to popular belief, storage spaces available in self storage units fall into a wide variety of sizes so you never need rent more space than you actually need. The contracts are also short term, often running from week to week so they are ideal for either long or short term storage. Add on convenient opening hours and professional grade security, and it’s easy to see why this is the storage secret behind many a tidy home.
Tip Four: Create Activity Zones
Earmarking different areas of the house for different types of activity really helps to cut down on clutter as it makes it easier to keep all necessary items or gadgets in one location:
Dining areas: Whether you eat in the kitchen or have a dining room, always eating in the same location makes tidying up after meals easier, and prevents used crockery being left lying around in random areas.
Homework or art and craft zones: Keep paper, pencils or crayons and anything else needed for homework or crafts in the same place. Kids will be more motivated to settle down to work when they don’t have to clear space or go on the hunt for the needed materials.
For computer work: Have the printer close by, along with somewhere to store copier paper, ink cartridges or office bits and bobs such as pushpins or paperclips.
It takes a little thought and organisation to start with, but having sorted out storage headaches, life is suddenly so much easier – and the house so much more spacious.