9 Sure-Fire Tips to Create Storage and Workspace in your ‘Smaller-Than-You’d-Like’ Home
Your walk-in closet is more tightly packed than sardines in a can.
Your tiny spare bedroom has virtually NO ROOM to walk because the space is eaten up by the bed.
And the fixed wire shelves in your pantry are such an unmitigated disaster, you don’t know where to start to make sense of the mess.
If words like ‘tightly packed, zero room and unmitigated disaster’ describe your rooms and storage spaces, you may be at your wit’s end (even if you don’t know what a ‘wit’ is). And while you dream of moving to a big house with an abundance of storage, the stratospheric real-estate market isn’t a ‘sandbox’ you’re going to play in right now.
So, what can you do to create neater, cleaner, more useful and dare I say stylish storage in your smaller-than-you’d-like home without breaking the bank? Read these 9 tips to put an end to your space frustrations WITHOUT mortgaging yourself to the hilt buying a new home to do it.
Tip #1– Cut out gaps
The #1 problem with closets and pantries (to name two critical storage spaces) is your shelves are as ‘fixed’ as your Uncle Sam’s political preferences. They ain’t budging, no how, no way!
And when shelving systems won’t budge (‘er adjust) you’re left with ‘gaps and unfilled areas. And what’s crazy is you can see these gaps even in expensive model homes where builders put in painted shelves which are screwed in place. The problem is your storage is unique to you and your family – whether this is storage in your pantry or closets. So – you may be wondering what you can do to get rid of these gaps and have your shelves become perfectly spaced around your storage?
Well – the simple answer is to invest in adjustable shelving. With adjustable shelves you can use shorter spaces between shelves to store lots and lots of flats and casual shoes. Or you can create more space between shelves in your pantry for the kids tall (and way to sugary) cereal boxes.
The best way to get the right storage system is to make sure there are ‘holes’ on the side which adjust to fit what you want to store – WITHOUT HUGE GAPS!
Tip #2 – Think multipurpose with your furniture
You desperately need more storage but it’s neither practical, nor cost-efficient to blow out walls to substitute storage for square footage in your home which is already too small. So, what can you do if your rooms – and storage spaces – are both working against your desire to have stylish AND organized spaces?
Well – one giant step forward for mankind (or womankind) is to buy ‘multi-purpose furniture.’ Here’s a few examples of furniture which adds storage WHILE adding style.
- Example #1 – Add a Murphy wall bed with a desk – With more time spent working at home, don’t you think it’s time to STOP working on your sticky kitchen table? But you may be wondering where you’ll find a home office space in your already way-too-crowded home? Well – one place is to use more of your seldom-used guest bedroom. Instead of settling for a ‘guest bed which eats the room,’ why not get a more comfortable bed AND a workspace with a Murphy desk bed. When guests aren’t sleeping over (which is a rarity) you a have a work-at-home station. With this wall bed you can even have space to do your yoga.
- Example #2 – Get an ottoman with storage – You remember ‘nesting’ one container inside another as a kid. Well, a way to gain storage is to look for ‘double-duty’ pieces which can ‘nest’– like an ottoman with storage. You’ll ‘find’ storage where none existed before.
Image Source: www.homedepot.com
- Example #3 – Get a bed with extra drawers – Why not use the space under your bed for something other than being your cats favorite hiding place! Drawers under the bed are smart, space efficient AND make it easier to find the cat.
Tip #3 – Just get vertical, vertical
OK – I’m going to date myself AND need to apologize for this analogy to the Olivia Newton John song to just ‘get physical, physical’ in my advice to just get vertical, vertical with your storage spaces (and for laughs, watch this funny – blast-from-the-past – video).
You see an unsung opportunity in closets, garages and even your messy laundry rooms are to use more of your vertical wall space.
In closets the top shelf is often set too low. By moving this shelf up (‘er going vertical) you can go from one rod of hanging clothes and double your storage with 2 rods.
In garages you can add taller cabinets to use the 9’, 10’ or even 11’ ceilings for more of your seasonal storage, extra paper towels and waters for the kids.
And in the laundry room use taller upper cabinets. Then you’ll a place for little-used serving dishes for the holidays or the chocolate fountain the kids force you to take out a few times a year.
Tip #4 – Add mirrors
OK –mirrors don’t help you gain any space (unless you’re talking about a mirrored vanity cabinet which is built into the wall). However, mirrors create the ‘David-Copperfield-esque’ illusion of more space.
And if the room feels better, you’ll also feel better.
Tip #5 – Use shallow walls to their fullest
So, you have a small entryway and need more room for shoes and to hang coats, but you don’t want a butt-ugly set of hooks or a wobbly coat stand.
Or perhaps you have a wall behind your closet door you wish you could use for your robes, scarves, and ever-growing shoe collection. However, you don’t want a cheap ‘Dollar-Store-esque’ plastic hanging contraption.
Or you’ve got a messy make up and jewelry area in your bedroom. You’d love to have more flexible storage and a high-fashion look.
Well – all these challenges can be resolved with this uber-cool wall hanging unit. This system has the ultimate in size flexibility. The hooks can move within the system. Simply put…. you’ll get more storage AND style.
Tip #6 – Use more drawers
Most people don’t realize they can fit 2 to 2.5 times more clothes in drawers than hanging them up. And drawers look more stylish – and neater than looking at your holey t-shirts hanging up.
Have you considered adding drawers in your closet? They’ll not only make your closet look nicer AND add storage – they’ll also allow you to get ‘fully ready’ in your walk-in closet. Then you won’t need to turn on the light and wake up your partner while getting some socks and underwear out of the bedroom dresser drawers while getting ready in the morning.
Tip #7 – Think pull down
Are you ‘V.C.’ (Vertically Challenged…’er short)? Do you find there’s way too much space which isn’t of a lot of use to you because you haven’t ‘shot up’ as your parents promised you would when you were little? And by now (in your advanced age) you KNOW getting taller ain’t happen’.
However, being one of those ‘short people’ (as this amazingly insensitive song from the 70’s jokes about, and certainly WOULD NOT be P.C. today) doesn’t mean your upper storage spaces need to be off-limits to you.
You see there have been advancements to bring upper storage to you.
In a closet add pull down closet rods. Just grab the handle and they come to you.
In your kitchen use pull down cabinets. You never thought those plates and bowls would be so simple to reach.
Tip #8 – Start ‘flipping out’ – but in a good way
You need extra workspace so you and your ‘way too loud’ spouse can both be productive on work at home days. However, you simply don’t have room for another desk in your cramped house.
Well – a smart way to gain a workspace is to see how ‘flipping out’ (and no, I’m not referring to your reaction to your 15-year-old daughter’s new boyfriend) can be of value to you. The kind of ‘flipping out’ I’m talking about is using a flip down desk. It flips down when you need it and flips up when you don’t.
Image Source: www.homedit.com
Or how about gaining a flip-out ironing board for last-minute touch-ups in your closet.
You see – flipping out – CAN be a good thing!
Tip #9 – When all else fails, declutter
OK – I had to bring up the dreaded ‘D’ word – declutter. While many of the ideas above use products to gain storage, if we’re being honest a B-I-G problem in our homes is accumulating too much stuff along this journey we call life.
And I know decluttering can be harder for you to do than giving a presentation in front of 100 people (even though most people fear presenting more than death), but we all have too much stuff.
And if discarding or donating things is a struggle for you (even though you recognize you have a problem and have enrolled in Step 1 of the Declutter’ s Anonymous Program) you should know there is ‘help’ for you. This help can come in the form of a Professional Organizer (and yes – there is such a thing!).
Professional Organizers (who you’ll find through the National Association of Professional Organizers) are skilled in leading your through how to thin out your closets, pantry, or garage. And it’s great to know decluttering can make the other 8 tips above work better as well.
So, how can me or my team help you find more storage or workspaces in your smaller-than-you’d like home?
I know I’ve thrown several ideas at you to create space in your home. However, I recognize it’s hard to know not only how to put these ideas into a cohesive plan, but also how much money these ideas cost.
And since I’m guessing most of you aren’t professional organizers or storage space consultants (boy that sounds fancy), you need help – and pricing – to figure which ideas are best for an organized closet, a useful pantry or a spare bedroom which isn’t all bed – with no other value for you.
And if this sums up your situation (and you live in Columbus Ohio), me and my team would be honored to help. Invite us to your home for a Free 3D Design Consultation or if you just want to get a ‘ballpark’ idea of cost – ask about a virtual design consultation. Call 614-545-6888 or click for a Free 3D Closet Design.
And if you’re outside Columbus, write where you live and what you’re looking to do in the comments below. I’ll work to find one of my ‘buds in the business to assist you.
Thanks for reading …any putting up with my (sometimes) wacky humor (and references to funny old songs).
If you’d like more information on garage, pantry, entryway or custom closet design follow me on LinkedIn @MikeFotiLinkedIn.
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