Unless you live in a Tardis, chances are you could do with a bit more storage. Or a cleverer way of using existing space. Possessions, especially when kids come into the equation, have a way of overrunning the space allocated to them, but there are a few tricks to maximising available storage. Here are five of them:
#1 — Toy Rotation
Toys are expensive, and kids get tired of them quickly. But, put them away for a few months and suddenly they’re loved again when they reappear. Toy rotation is a way to keep the magic in toys that otherwise would hang unused around the house, taking up precious space.
The most effective way to get into toy rotation is via self storage. Units or lockers are inexpensive and usually conveniently located for easy access. You can store all kinds of things, from seasonal paddling pools, bikes and climbing frames to skateboards or train sets — anything that takes up space but isn’t being used. And while you’re at it, that rented space is also a great place for boxes of Christmas or other seasonal decorations, making way for more effective space use at home.
#2 — Magic Furniture
Inspired furniture design incorporates storage that helps you stay on top of TV remotes, game controllers, phone chargers and all the other paraphernalia that gathers in living rooms, cluttering up the surfaces.
Coffee tables with lift-up tops or built-in drawers, side tables with shelving space, or even vintage travel trunks all help maintain a clutter-free appearance in living spaces while keeping needed knick-knacks close to hand.
Extend the idea into bedrooms, with ottoman style beds. Especially good in kids rooms, the space beneath the mattress is a great place for stowing everything from out of season sports kit to little used games, whether they’re board games or video games. In adult’s rooms, the space is handy for spare duvets or other linens.
#3 — Tiny Home Inspiration
If you want to really be inspired by clever storage, investigate the tiny homes movement. Living in a small space forces individuals not to waste an inch.
You’ll spot outdoor storage areas accessed via trapdoors in decking, indoor storage areas built into the wasted space beneath or above kitchen cupboards, and sideways-sliding hideaway cupboards in nooks and crannies all over the house.
Bathrooms, kitchens and downstairs cloakrooms are prime candidates for built-in storage that stops often-used items becoming clutter. For instance, if you need a bit of extra worktop space in the kitchen, one clever idea is to build in a sliding butcher’s block at right angles under existing workspace. It’s there when you need it, and tucked away when you don’t.
#4 — Household Accounts
Back in the day, families kept rows of box files in order to maintain control of household accounts. From insurance to bank statements, business records and accounting, everything was paper-based. Thankfully, digital storage is now the way to go.
Free cloud accounts from Google or Dropbox are ideal to get started, and if you use Microsoft Office 365 you’ll have a goodly amount of cloud storage included in your OneDrive account. Make use of it by scanning old paper records and storing the digital forms. If ever you need a hard copy, it’s a relatively simple matter to print one out, and as digital storage becomes more accepted, printed copies also become more acceptable in many cases.
#5 — Hang It or Shelve It
Open shelving all over the house is fashionable and does double duty. Not only does it provide storage in every room, it also directs attention upwards so the room actually appears bigger. We waste a lot of vertical space, but by getting stuff up off the floor, we create more usable space at ground level. Open shelves are great in kitchens, and look wonderful lined with matching storage jars or size-ordered cooking pots, and in living rooms there is finally somewhere for books, ornaments, photos or the CD, DVD or even vinyl collection.
Shelving at child height in great in kid’s bedrooms. If they can reach their stuff on their own, it’s easier to get them to tidy up (maybe), and it’s certainly easier to start arts and crafts activities if they can instantly lay their hands on colouring or painting materials without having to hunt for what they need.
So, who needs a Tardis? Just a few clever storage ideas can make a world of difference to even the smallest living spaces.