I am truly passionate about storage and decluttering. I am not even sure where it comes from, whether it’s nature or nurture. As kids, we used to camp a lot, and I always loved packing my suitcase neatly to make sure everything fit. I even used to repack my friends’ suitcases before a school camping trip! It must be a genetic thing because no-one can pack a suitcase like my sister… but you don’t have to have serious OCD to have a neat home. There really are just a few practical guidelines you can follow to make sure that your home looks – and stays! – neat and tidy. Here are my 5 best storage tips to help you do just that!
1. A place for everything and everything in its place
I am a BIG proponent of this: you have to make sure that everything you own has a dedicated place. If you don’t have space for it, then either you have too much stuff, or you need to create additional storage. Especially in rooms that get messy easily, like kids bedrooms and playrooms, you need to make sure that there is a specific place for everything. Give each child a specific box, drawer or shelf to put their things on. That way when you ask them to pack things away, they can put THEIR stuff on THEIR shelf. Another great way to figure out WHO is not helping with the clean-up efforts!
2. Use storage baskets
Honey We’re Home
Seriously, storage baskets are something you can never have enough of. Put them in your drawers, linen closets, pantry cupboard, plastic container cupboard; even inside the freezer. Storage baskets in different sizes can be utilized in literally any space that you need to sort out. They can be plastic, wicker, fabric, metal, cardboard or anything else! Pick up a stack from your nearest plastics or budget store and start sorting!
3. Utilize under-utilized spaces
Your home offers various storage options that you don’t even know about. Have you ever considered that you have rafters in your garage and a whole roof space above your ceilings? This space is perfect for storing bulky items like luggage and cooler boxes, and all kinds of other things that are not used on a regular basis. You don’t even have to do a full loft conversion: just put a couple of pieces of plywood over the beams to assist in carrying the load, and store things on top of the platform. If your roof is prone to get the odd rodent or bird, then make sure that you place sensitive items in plastics totes to protect them.
There is a large space under your bed as well that could be used to store a multitude of items. Don’t just stuff things in there, though. Either get purpose-built storage drawers or use large plastic totes or baskets to store things neatly under your bed. If you want to display them, then make sure they are pretty and go with your decor like in the image above. Otherwise, you can tuck them away out of sight behind the bed’s valance.
5. Work seasonally
There is no need to keep out-of-season clothing hanging around in your closet, taking up unnecessary space. Now that you are storing your luggage in the roof of the garage, or have large baskets under your bed, pack your summer clothes in them during winter and swap them out with your winter clothes when things get warmer. High shelves in or above you closet are also great for storing out-of-season clothes. Make it a design feature by using pretty storage boxes and baskets.
You can also do the same thing with bulky winter blankets and feather duvets. Add a couple of sachets or dehumidifying granules to ensure they don’t get damp. Put fresh lavender into the container or suitcases before you close them, and that way you’ll have fresh smelling summer things in a few months’ time.
PRO TIP: vacuum pack clothes and blankets before you place them in the containers to be stored. Just pack everything in heavy-duty garbage bags and add the dehumidifying sachets and lavender. Then, stick the hose of your vacuum cleaner inside and tightly hold the bag around the hose to create an air seal. Switch on the vacuum cleaner and watch the package shrink. You’ll get all the air out by holding the hose firmly against the clothes and keeping it away from the plastic.
5. If you don’t have enough space, you probably have too much stuff.
Think about it. You didn’t always have too little space. At some point, your house or apartment was empty and you had more than enough closet space. So take a critical look at what you have and get rid of that which doesn’t serve you anymore. There is a multitude of people out there who would get far greater benefit out of that thing that’s been lying in the back of your closet for years!