20 Great Storage Ideas for your Home

The perfect use of dead space!

The perfect use of dead space!

I love hearing fresh ideas about home storage solutions. There are so many great ideas out there if you are willing to have an open mind. These 20 ideas came from the Home Improvement Pages website in Australia. See which ones work for you!

In many homes, it can seem like there’s never enough room to store all of your items.  But there’s no need to put up with clutter.  Check out our top 20 storage ideas to get your home looking organized.

  1. Build some window seats for extra storage space.  By padding the lid, you’ll also create extra seating and you’ll have the perfect spot to curl up with a book.
  2. Fill any wasted space near the fridge with a built-in wine rack.
  3. Install hooks or a hanging rack at the front and back doors – these can hold coats, umbrellas, keys, or bags.
  4. Use the dead space underneath the hanging racks in your wardrobe.  Install permanent or temporary drawers, trolleys, crates or boxes.
  5. Use the space underneath the bed to store items that can fit in plastic containers with wheels.  These are ideal for storing out of season clothing or bedding.
  6. Free up floor space by mounting your television to the wall.
  7. A simple wooden ladder in the bathroom (bathroom) is an excellent way to gain more hanging space for towels.
  8. Fit a shelving system over the toilet to hold small items.
  9. Use a lazy susan in kitchen or bathroom cupboards to help you access items more easily.
  10. If you have a staircase, install shelves or cupboards underneath for instant extra storage room.
  11. Any items that you will not need to use for a while can be stored within your home’s roof space.
  12. Small boxes are useful for all kinds of odds and ends and can be placed anywhere.
  13. In the living areas, ottomans or footstools with storage space inside can be used to hold cushions and also brighten up the space.
  14. Use coffee tables that have storage space underneath to hold magazines or consider a funky magazine rack.

Read the full story here.

Organize your house for back to school

All lined up in a row...

All lined up in a row…

Wherever you are in the world, there is one time of year parents dread: Back to school time. Here in the US summer is nearly over so it’s time to hit the shops to buy uniforms, sports equipment, stationary and text books. And its time to shake the sand out of their shoes and get the whole family organized and ready for the new school year.

Kathryn Weber from Red Lotus Letter recently wrote an article for LA Times that highlighted some great organizing ideas to keep the family in line:

 Paper shuffle

Without question, paper is one of the biggest sources of clutter around the house once school starts. Finding a way to tame the storm will keep the house looking neater and help keep your kids be better prepared. The first step is to determine which pieces of paper need to be available and at your disposal. This includes lunch menus, announcements and the school calendar. Those can be posted on the fridge or a bulletin board for easy access.

For other papers, create a storage file and an active file for each child. The file can be a simple folder where you keep important papers such as sign-up instructions for after school activities, or even artwork you want to save for a scrapbook or framing later. Stash the folder(s) in a file box or file drawer in a desk.

Next, set up a file holder that stays on a counter or at the desk. Label individual folders for each child for papers you need to look at or, sign, or that they need to work on.

Corral the kids

Designate a place to stash all those extra shoes, jackets and sporting equipment. If your kids need somewhere for balls, bats, gloves and helmets, why not take a cue from school and keep these items in a locker? Companies like ULine (uline.com) have closed and ventilated lockers perfect for athletic equipment and supplies. Place lockers in the laundry room or garage, and keep the odors out there, too.

Indoors, find a spot for backpacks, jackets, scarves and hats so they don’t end up scattered throughout the house. This also helps keep kids find their items quickly in the morning. An entryway organizer, such as a shelf with hooks or pegs, is the perfect answer for backpacks and jackets. Don’t have room? A simple hall tree saves space.

 Organize the desk

Now that parents are more involved with their children’s homework, it helps to create a work center spot where students have access a computer and can seek help from Mom and Dad. Parents can also easily check to see if their young scholars are studying or surfing the web, texting, talking on the phone, etc. Create an address book to store online passwords and make logging into online assignments easier.

Read the entire article from LA Times here and for more information, contact Kathryn Weber through her Web site Red Lotus Letter.

Image courtesy of CraftySouthernMama.blogspot.com

Double Duty Furniture Cuts Clutter

Is it an ottoman? Is it a storage chest? No it's both!

Is it an ottoman? Is it a storage chest? No it’s both!

Furniture. It plays an integral role in making your home a cozy, comfortable place where you want to spend time.  Whether you are in a tiny New York City apartment or have just chosen to simplify your life and downsize,  multipurpose furniture plays even a bigger role to combine form and function – especially when it is stylish.

Finding piece that serve more than one purpose saves money. A sofa bed solves three problems – seating during the day and a place to sleep at night and it cuts your costs in half! A sofa bed in a child’s room can transform it into a guest room when needed.

Multipurpose furniture comes in all shapes and sizes. Ottomans with storage compartments offer seating, a place to rest your feet and somewhere to hide the kid’s toys, books, blankets etc. Small stools can work as side tables and seats. Beds can have storage drawers built in underneath.

But before looking for multi-function furniture, define how your family plan to use the space. Do you need storage, function or both? A piece doesn’t have to be used for its intended purpose; use your creativity. I have an antique french dresser as my home office storage and filing system and it looks gorgeous – the mirror even makes the space look bigger. I also use an antique bottle crate I found at a flea market to hold all my smaller bits and pieces in the kitchen. It looks great and is functional storage to boot!

But the main tip – it doesn’t matter what storage you have; at the end of the day make sure every item in your home goes back to the place you have allocated. It is the only way you will keep clutter at bay.

Image courtesy of  http://www.rangkep.com/

Top Tips to Downsize your Wardrobe

All your shirts in a row...

All your shirts in a row…

Downsizing your wardrobe can be one of the most dreaded tasks – you can try and put if off for as long as you can, but reality hits you every morning when you can’t find anything to wear. But it needn’t be!

A recent blog post by Small Notebook highlighted some handy tips for tackling this task:

…I get the general idea that if you haven’t worn a garment within a certain amount of time, you most likely never will, and it’s just taking up space. What’s more important to me is not how long it’s been since I’ve worn it, but why I haven’t worn it.

So if something has remained on the hanger, I start questioning it: Is it the right color? Is it too long or too short? Does it make me look frumpy? Is it worn out? Or do I just have too many clothes?

Understanding why I’m not wearing something helps me make better choices on future shopping trips, and I think that’s smarter than simply tossing clothes just to replace them with more later.

Tips on keeping clothes in other sizes:

• Keep only the clothes that you’ll be happy to see again. Keep the best stuff, not everything.

• Don’t save any clothes that are worn out. The maternity pants that you wore every day during those last weeks because they were the only pair that still fit (and therefore have drops of chocolate ice cream stains on them, not that I’m speaking from experience or anything) can be thrown away.

• You want to keep them in a box in your storage space, not in useful closet space with your current size.

• Go through them every year or so to see if you can size down your collection. Even classic styles can change every five or seven years. (Think how different denim looks now from a few years ago.)

• If you think it’s not likely you will wear them again, don’t save them, but don’t be afraid to set clothes aside in case you can wear them in the future. That’s kind of the whole point of storage space: using it for good, not for clutter.

To read the entire article click here. 

The 5 benefits of a “docking station” in the home.

The perfect docking station

The perfect docking station

This is one of my favourite pieces of advice to give clients – make yourself a docking station! What do I mean by this? A docking station is a place where things land that come in the house – whether it is the mail, your hand bag, the kids school notes etc – to be dealt with so they don’t end up all over the house causing clutter.  It is a sorting place, a communications centre, the hub of the home basically. Unclutter.com wrote a post on the 5 benefits of what they call a “destination station” which sums it up quite nicely:

Here are five benefits of creating one for yourself:

  1. Stay in the know.  A destination station can be a place to stay in contact with family members and housemates even when you’re not all present. For example, you can post a calendar to keep track of joint appointments, parent-teacher meetings, vacation schedules, etc. You can also mount a chalkboard to leave important notes and messages.
  2. Find things quickly and easily in one central location. Skip the scavenger hunt for bills that need to be paid or items that you need to mail or return to the store. Instead, keep those items in the command center so you can quickly put your hands on them when you need to, and use baskets and containers to collect specific items in an organized way. By having them in one central spot, you won’t have to search your entire home to find what you’re looking for when you need it.
  3. Keep track of frequently used items. The command center can also be a place to keep things you use often. This can be a great spot for your keys, daily bag, mobile phone and charger, tablet, sunglasses, or any other items you need before heading out the door. You might even install a hook for your favorite jacket. Again, since the items are kept in one location, you’ll always find your things quickly and easily.
  4. Stop clutter from creeping into various spaces. When the things in your home don’t have permanent storage places, they can often bounce about various rooms and create clutter. It can be tricky to know where to put things that won’t be staying in your house, and the destination station will give you a location to organize and store your stuff until it’s time for the items to leave.

Read the entire article here.

The ABC (&D) of organizing your stuff

I recently read this little gem in an issue of Woman’s Day (in the US) and thought it put the art of organizing in a simple, easy to follow strategy that could suit most homes and people. What do you think?

The ultimate under stair storage solution

The ultimate under stair storage solution!

What to put where:

A items: You use these at least once a day, like your toothbrush so you will want to have them our on the counter, right there in front of you. An everyday piece of jewellery such as your watch would go in a dish on the dresser and your underwear should be in the top dresser drawer, easy to retrieve.

B items: These items are still used a lot, but more like weekly such as some kitchen utensils or your workout clothes. They would be kept inside an easy to reach cupboard rather than on the counter and a drawer down from the A items.

C items: These are used seasonally or rarely such as Christmas decorations or your luggage. Store these in a spot such as the top shelf of a wardrobe or under the stairs out of the way until needed. You could store the Christmas decorations inside the luggage – win win!

D items: This is the stuff you don’t use, but are keeping for a legitimate reason such as tax records or baby equipment waiting for the next child. Store them as out of the way as much as possible such as in a cupboard in the garage (or in the basement if you have one).

Easy peasy!

9 Steps to an Organised Garage

The perfect man-cave!

The perfect man-cave!

If your 2nd biggest asset (your car) is sitting out in the street while your garage is used as a storage shed it is time to set aside a weekend and get sorted!

1. Assess the clutter into three piles: Keep, Donate, and Toss.

2. Donate or Toss: either deliver or arrange for a pickup of items to be donated and put the toss items out with the garbage/recycling. Check out The Men’s Shed (link to http://www.mensshed.org/home/.aspx) for donating tools. They will love you!

3. Sort the Keep pile into their uses such as tools, car stuff, sports equipment, gardening etc.

4. Organise: assign each category an area in the garage and look at installing storage solutions such as cupboards or tubs for sports gear or a peg board system for tools.

5. Shelving: metal or plastic shelving is affordable, easy to assemble, able to withstand heat and humidity and will keep items off the ground safe from dampness.

6. Vertical space: Put up pegs or hooks for items like bikes, cords, hoses, gardening tools etc.

7. Storage: cardboard boxes will tend to bend and succumb to dampness. Plastic tubs protect contents and are easier to shift around on shelves.

8. Labelling: make sure you label plastic tubs for easier identification.

9. Move the car back in!

How to Organise Mementos and their Memories

6 methods of purging, storing and organising your memorabilia

A box of memories...

We all have them – bits and pieces of memorabilia piled high in corners or hidden in plastic bags. The thought of organising them seems completely overwhelming.

Here are six steps that will help you through the different methods of storing and organising your memorabilia to properly preserve them for years to come.

1. The Quick Sort
Gather your keepsakes in one place, preferably a table or other large, comfortable workspace. Next, group similar items together (like with like) using baskets or boxes you’ve labelled with the types of mementos you have. Some common categories include: photos, kid’s artwork, cards, certificates & other documents, crafts and projects.

2. The Purge
Letting go of personal memorabilia tends to be hard, especially if you are a sentimental soul. Yet, when you pare down your keepsakes, you will feel a sense of lightness, as though you’ve been released from a heavy burden.

The goal is to make room for what matters most. Let go of items that you no longer find meaningful or remind you of a time you’d rather forget. Keep only the things that stir your heart or capture important events. Save only what you have space for and keep in mind that things are always coming in so leave some room to grow.

Photos are probably the hardest item to throw away because of the sentimental value we attach to them. Weed out bad shots to make it easier to enjoy the good ones. Tossing doesn’t mean you’re throwing away the person in it. It’s okay to give away duplicates or toss photos that are blurry, bad angles or unbecoming. Save the best – toss the rest.

Kids Artwork: Work together with your child to choose a few of his favourite pieces of artwork each year. If you keep every single piece of artwork your child brings home for the next 15 years it will crowd you out of your home.

Take photos of large artwork, crafts or school project. Keep the photo – toss the bulk.

3. Safe Storage
When storing your items, use archival quality, acid free products. Acid is a chemical substance that can weaken paper and cloth, causing it to brown and become brittle. Never store photographs and other treasured items with newspaper, which contains acid that will eventually damage your mementos. Use tissue paper instead.

Continue to read the next 3 steps here:

7 top tips to organise your photographs

So many photos...so little time!

So many of my clients have this very problem – countless envelopes filled with photos that have never been sorted, filed, stored, looked at and are now getting way out of hand. “How on earth can we get on top of all these year’s worth of memories?” they cry!

A recent letter to Unclutterer.com handled this very problem so I have picked out the top 7 tips to organising your photo collection:

  1. Pick a Saturday on your calendar when you can sort through all of the photographs. Keep the day free of all other obligations. Wear comfortable clothes, have your favorite snacks on hand, and play your favorite music. Going through all of the pictures is going to take time and a lot of mental energy. Give yourself the day and don’t rush.
  2. You’re going to want to sort the pictures into two groups: Trash and Keep. Obviously, you’ll throw out and/or shred the Trash pictures at the end of the sorting process. Get rid of any blurry ground shots or ones where the flash didn’t go off and you can’t identify anything in the photo. Duplicates, photographs you can’t stand, and anything else you don’t want to keep because it’s associated with a negative experience can go into the Trash pile, too.
  3. The Keep pile will be the photographs you plan to store and look at from time-to-time. As you decide to keep them, lay them out onto a cleared floor or dining table. I suggest making piles by decade (1970s, 1980s) or life stage (elementary school, middle school, high school). When you put the photographs in albums, you can organize in more detail by months and years.
  4. Once all of the images you have chosen to keep have been sorted, you may choose to bundle and box the photographs and have them professionally scanned. If you have the images scanned, I also recommend uploading a copy to a private Flickr or Photobucket account. This way, you can easily share the images with your family and friends, and you have a back up copy in case a fire, flood, or other disaster destroys the originals.
  5. When you have the original images back from being scanned, you can sort them in more detail and put them into albums. You may decide that since you have digital copies of the photographs that you don’t want to keep the originals.
  6. Write information about the images next to the photographs in the album, or type the information into the Notes field of the digital file. This way, you’ll know who is in the picture, when it was taken, and why you chose to keep the picture. These can be great reminders when, years from now, you have forgotten some of this information.
  7. If you use photo albums, store them in a place where you can easily look at them and enjoy them whenever you want. Keeping them in a box in a closet or a basement makes it difficult to view these memories. Also, you may find a few favorites in the tote that you want to frame and enjoy every day.

Read more here: http://unclutterer.com/2011/02/04/ask-unclutterer-organizing-photographs/


4 quick tips on storing kid’s clutter

The perfect place for teddy & friends

Now that the kids are heading back to school, it is time to get organised with all their toys, especially all the new ones they may have received for Christmas that don’t have a proper place to be stored as yet.

Unclutterer.com had a question from a reader about how to store her grandchildren’s toys in her small house and came up with a few good tips on storing toys that could easily be used in most home:

  • Find a small bookshelf that you can put in a closet or a low-traffic area of your home. The lower shelves can contain toys appropriate for young children and the higher shelves can hold toys for the older kids.
  • Repurpose the lower shelf of a bookshelf you already have in your home. Label boxes with your grandchildren’s’ names, and then put the age-appropriate toys in the specific boxes. Your grandkids won’t ignore boxes with their names on them.
  • Get a traditional toy box and put it at the foot of a bed or near your main entrance. When your grandkids aren’t visiting, it can be a place to sit to put on your shoes. When the grandkids are visiting, they’ll know exactly where to find the toys. Separate toys in the box into smaller boxes and bins, with the older toys in boxes that require more dexterity to open.
  • Get another container that works with your home’s decor. Paint “Toys” or your grandchildren’s names on the container. Again, your grandkids will know exactly where to go to find the toys. You won’t have to remember a thing.

Check out some other great suggestions from the readers here: http://unclutterer.com/2011/01/21/ask-unclutterer-accessible-but-clutter-free-toy-storage/