Even though the cities are getting bigger, our living spaces have been constantly shrinking. Such a crunch obviously demands that we as homeowners be creative about how we use the available space and make the most of it. A way to solve the issue can be to maximize storage by reducing how much space things occupy. Just think about it: Why have an almirah to store out-of-season clothes when you can turn your bed into a storage unit? Multi-level storage solutions, transforming furniture, etc. are a few innovative solutions people are using to aesthetically store things.
Let’s talk about another BIG issue these out-of-the-box storage solutions can solve: Clutter.
Even if you have ample space, storage units can be a way to beautify the place and declutter. Clutter can make even a decently sized room feel claustrophobic, and it is probably a worse problem to have than lack of space.
But before we start…
Undertake a thorough cleaning first. Go through what you have and discard anything you don’t need. Even better, have a garage sale for stuff you no longer use. You can use the money for buying yourself that expensive dress you have been eyeing on the way to work or even a short getaway. Donating old clothes, appliances or tools can also be a great way to go about it. This will help inventory everything you have so that you can look for storage solutions that fit your needs, while also helping you get rid of anything that has just been collecting dust over the years.
Confused about where to start and how to start? We are here to help. Here is how you can organize stuff in every part of the room in unique and easy ways:
Related: Updating Home Closet Systems
Adding Storage to Your Bedroom
The fortress of solitude — or as we call it, the bedroom, is supposed to be the most relaxing part of your house. Be it for waking up in the morning and getting ready for a hectic day, or going to sleep at night after a long haul — a bathroom HAS to be peaceful. And we all know how clutter is no friend to that. Here are a few storage solutions you can use to achieve that elusive peace of mind:
- Wall Bed: The easiest and the most obvious solution for a bedroom. A bed generally covers the majority of space in a bedroom, and a wall bed can help you free it up and make space for other things.
- Storage Chest: Although tables are almost an essential, more often than not they do not afford too much storage space. Consider investing in a chest instead. The chest can be placed anywhere in the bedroom and can be used to store everything from documents to books to gadgets and a whole lot more.
- Knee Wall Dressers: To increase the storage space, you can also build dressers into the wall of your bedroom. These can be of varying sizes and if built expertly, they can be quite inconspicuous as well. Because they are recessed into a wall, you don’t lose out on any floor space either. Win-win!
Tip: Apart from these, you can also try multiple wardrobes and free-standing dressers according to your needs and space constraints. Walk-in closets can be the ultimate style statement too if you can afford them.
Adding Storage to Your Bathroom
Bathrooms have a very specific storage requirement: the material you choose should be waterproof. But don’t worry, you can still be very creative with the storage if you use stones like Granite, Marble or Quartz. Wooden solutions can also be placed in a way that water doesn’t come into much contact with it too.
- Mounting Shelves: If you have a small bathroom, you should really consider placing mounting shelves above the door or the toilet. They can have different sections for different types of essentials for convenience. Having a mounting shelf over the toilet is a very smart idea even if you have a big bathroom since it hovers over the toilet and doesn’t occupy any floor space.
- Vanities: You might be tempted to go for classy pedestal sinks to match with the decor, but it is always more pragmatic to have a vanity with ample storage space. It can be used to store towels, toilet paper, and reserve products like soap, shampoo, etc. This ensures that you always have some stock even when you run out of that toilet paper roll.
- Laundry Hampers: Instead of having an open basket and displaying your laundry for everyone to see, go for a stylish wooden or even metallic laundry hamper. Not only can it be a style statement in itself, it will also help you keep your dirty laundry out of sight. (no pun intended).
- Towel Racks: A space to hang your towels with a shelf on top can be a life-saving addition to your bathroom. Instead of having simple hooks on the wall, it can be so much better to have a dedicated rack where you can keep the clean towels and some supplies. It is a perfect mixture of style and substance.
Tip: Bathroom storage is really about plenty of wall-mounted racks and bins & baskets. It is important to keep the stuff just out of sight, but also easily reachable whenever you need it. Subsequently, make sure that you do account for potential water damage before choosing any material/item.
Adding Storage to Your Living Room or Lobby
Just like the areas discussed before, you got plenty of options to upgrade the storage capacity of your living room or your entrance lobby. Here are some of them:
- Mudroom Bench: You can have an area right at the entrance where you can keep your shoes, umbrellas, raincoats, etc. This can help you maintain cleanliness around the rest of your house. Moreover, you can have drawers in the bench to store cleaning supplies and all the other cleaning tools too.
- Storage Ottoman: An ottoman is a truly diverse piece of furniture. You can use it as additional seating space, as a footrest, or even a makeshift table. But using an ottoman as a storage unit is not as common. If you choose to buy a hollowed-out ottoman, it can be a great place to store sheets and covers in a very unique way.
- Cubby Units: Cubby units near the sofa or aligning a wall can be really beneficial when it comes to relieving the coffee table of clutter. You can designate different sections for magazines, trophies, pictures, etc as well. A sofa wrapped in cubby units can be a unique style statement as well.
Tip: Coat racks at the entrance, magazine stands, wall niches, key holders, are a few other common options you might want to try for maximizing the storage space around the living room.
The kitchen is probably the place that benefits the best from smart storage solutions. There are so many options out there to store everything from perishables to spice to kitchenware — that it is hard to actually find what you need. Here are some of the options you can try to maximize your kitchen storage:
- Rotating Spice Rack: Spice racks are great for keeping your spice inventory organized and easily accessible. Instead of shoving the bottles into a cabinet out of reach, you can accommodate spice racks on the countertop itself. A rotating rack makes everything even more accessible.
- Kitchen Pegboards: Although mainly used in garages for tools, pegboards can be used in the kitchen to hang pots, utensils, and even cutlery. A well-designed pegboard can turn your kitchen a center of attraction, while simultaneously being extremely helpful as an open storage solution.
- Walk-in Pantry: Although a little expensive to build, a walk-in pantry is super useful for a heavy-duty kitchen. Besides storing groceries in there, why not add a small island in the middle of the pantry to be used as an alternate work station? You could even place appliances like grinders there so that your main kitchen remains mess-free. Talk about kitchen maintenance made easy!
Tip: You can add cubbies around your kitchen, add drawers and cabinets on the island if you have one, have multi-level storage racks on top of the countertop, add a nesting table to your cabinets, and plenty more to increase the storage space around your kitchen.
If you have a garage, chances are it is one of the most disorganized spaces in your house. While there are some people who have found the elusive secret of keeping well-organized garages, most of us just cannot get our garages decluttered. And it is indeed understandable; after all a garage can easily become the ‘storage’ for the unwanted things in your house. Here are some storage options you can use to stop this process from repeating itself:
- Pegboards: If you have tools in your garage and if you use them regularly, then having a pegboard is literally a no-brainer. A pegboard makes it look like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t), and is also simultaneously a great storage option to keep your tools safe and accessible. Add a light source on top of the board to make a statement with it.
- Garden Tool Shed: If you have a garden, you definitely need a place to keep those shovels and clippers. Rather than placing a shed in the middle of all that green in the garden, why not place it in the garage? It goes a long way in helping you preserve the beauty of your garden.
- Workshop Bench: Just like a kitchen countertop, a good quality workshop bench can be really important if you are into DIY projects. You can have a small pegboard at the side with a couple of open cabinets built into the bench for convenience. Make sure that the cabinets are big enough to hold your tools and materials, and life would be very easy!
Tip: You can go a step forward and have multiple cabinets to store things you no longer need if you have the space to do so. Make sure that if you are storing chemicals in your garage, they are secured out of reach of children.
Figure out where you need extra storage space in your home and proceed accordingly. For every room and every type of storage, there are hundreds of different products out there. The important thing is to not let the lack of space freak you out — instead, take the matter into your hands, be creative, and defeat the clutter demon to live forever in perfect peace and harmony!
Keeping your closet well organized is one of those lessons that you are taught early in life. It is similar to those“keep your shoes clean” and “do not waste food” lessons that are meant to stay with you for your life. Except as an adult, there are times when we stare at our closet and find that it resembles a landfill (albeit a pretty one) more than an organized space for all our wardrobe.
But worry not. We are here to tell you how to best organize your closet and the tricks you can try to increase the closet space in your home.
But first, let us remind you why it helps to have a clean, organized closet.
To find what you need
Sure, you have an LBD and/or a Tuxedo that you bought either recently or years ago. You love it, you want to wear it, but you cannot find it. Because it too got lost in the rubble that is your closet. The biggest reason for having an organized closet is to be able to find what you want when you need it without going through every piece of clothing you own.
There is a reason why parking spaces allot fixed and uniform area for each car. Imagine a parking space where everyone can park as they like! Chaos, it will be. The same logic applies to your closet. When you want to keep things organized, you allot a certain space to each piece of clothing and it stays there. This gives you the best idea of how much space you have and how many more clothes can you fit in your closet. Not that this will stop you from buying more clothes (because who can stop those stress-busting shopping sprees, right?) –instead it will be an incentive to add more clothes!
Easy to shift during seasons
A clean and organized closet will ensure that updating the wardrobe will be as enjoyable as the change in the weather. A clean, organized closet ensures that you know where, say, your winter clothes are. This way, you can simply flip the two sets of clothes to prioritize according to the season. For example, during winters, you can keep your jackets and other warm clothes in the front and simply store your other clothes where you stored the winter clothes before.
Storing dirty clothes becomes easier
Yes, technically, all dirty clothes should head straight to the washing machine. However, that may not always be the case. When closets are unkempt and unorganized, dirty and fresh clothes tend to mix and make the entire closet stink. Keeping a clean closet will make sure that you accord due space to clothes for laundry, whether in the closet itself or a separate bag dedicated to dirty clothes. Either way, clothes will not mix and you will have no hygiene issues.
Making a fine impression
This point may not be important to all, but it must be pointed out. A clean closet is a sign that you are a person who is on top of things. It shows that you like discipline and order. And most importantly, it conveys to other people that they must, under no circumstances, mess with your wardrobe.
Enough about the importance of a clean closet. You get it, right? Now let us look at how to organize your closets in the best possible way:
Take Time Off
You do not want to reorganize your messed up closet in a hurry. It took it months for it to start looking like your clothes fell from the sky directly into your closet — so dedicate at least a few hours to get the mess sorted. You do not want to do this at the end of a long and/or tiring day.
You will want to wrap it up fast and that will never help in the long run. Simply put, this will need a few hours so it is best to either take a day off or do it over the weekend. You can even invite a friend whose opinion and fashion sense you value to help you get through the next stages of organizing your closet.
Throw Out Old Clothes
The reason why your closet space has shrunk is probably that you only buy but never throw out clothes. A funky pair of denim that may have been cool in 2010 still takes up space in your closet because, well, why not?
Most people never de-clutter because they think they might need a certain piece of clothing one day. Truth be told, they never will. It is time you let go of those emotional attachments. An easy way to do this is by focusing on what you need, to begin with. On a scale of 1-10, rate all the clothes you have to have, and clothes you definitely will never need again. Remember, this is the first stage. It is meant to give you an idea of how much you don’t need. If the thought of throwing clothes makes you sad, remember, you can always fill the vacated space with new clothes!
Here is a simple way to complete this process:
Keep: Start with the clothes you need. These will be essentials that you simply cannot do without. This list might vary from person to person, but you know best what you have to keep for your day-to-day life.
Sell: Branded clothes in good condition that simply do not appeal to your taste anymore. Sell them. The financial incentive will ensure that parting with clothes is less painful.
Donate: Clothes that might be old but are in good shape and will help someone in need. Warm clothes are excellent for donating as they last long and have no substitutes. Plus, it is always nice to know that your old clothes can make someone’s winter a little more bearable.
Dump: Clothes that you just can’t imagine wearing and are too ghastly/out of the ordinary to even consider selling or worse, donating. If you cannot even imagine someone else wearing them — throw them out.
If you are having a hard time deciding, ask yourself these questions:
Have you worn these clothes in the last year?
Do you think about wearing them?
Do you think they add something that is otherwise missing to your wardrobe?
If the answer to all the three is “Yes”, they deserve space. On the contrary, if you find that the answer to all three is “No”, then there is nothing to do but sell/donate/throw. If the answer to at least two is a Yes or a No, then leave them for now and focus on how to improve and increase your closet space in other ways.
Organize with organizers: Once you have done the toughest part, the rest is simply evaluating and improving your storage solutions. Yes, the closet has enough space, but most closets divide space unequally. There are only so many clothes you can hang and fold while the space inside remains fixed.
Read also: Closet Remodeling Ideas
Here are some smart tips to increase storage space within the closet or setting up new and innovative storage solutions:
- Pegboards: Mount a pegboard inside the closet door. This will create a mini-dressing station inside your closet.
- Smart shoes: You can buy slim shoe boxes to store your shoes compactly. A hanging canvas shelf, easily available in stores and online can offer a simple and straightforward solution to storing shoes inside the closet without them occupying extra space too.
- Hang Things When You Can: Buy strong, metal hooks to keep your bags inside the closet. This will make sure they don’t lose shape and yet don’t take much space. Hang scarves, as well as one hanger, can easily hold more than one scarf at the same time.
- Add more shelves: Most people do this, but it never hurts to remind people. If you have 12 or more inches between shelves, there is ample shape for another shelf. Customized shelves allow you to store the way you want — very unlike standard shelves wherein you store depending on how much space you have. For example, you can make shelves more than 12 inches away from each other if you wish to store boots but you can add more shelves at less distance if you only wish to store just clothes.
- Prioritize the Position of Items in the Closet: Non-clothing items like mattresses, quilts, comforters which you may not use throughout the year should be stored in top shelves — away from regular clothes. Similarly, items you use most often should be kept within easy reach.
- Install Drawer Organizers: Keep jewelry, socks, innerwear, and other small items in small drawers which you can make at home. Label them with bright stickers and markers to make sure you always know where to look for each.
- Add Corner Shelves: This works especially well for non-wearable items like bags. Add shelves to the corners of your room where you can easily store bags, jewelry, belts, and scarves. They will not take much space in the room and will free valuable space inside the closet for your clothes.
- Adda standalone shelf: Think of it as a way to show your best items! In case the closet in your house is not big enough, pick out the best items from your closet (your best bag, your best stiletto, your favorite belt, your best sunglasses) and put them on display on a separate shelf like they do in big showrooms. For more efficient storage, you can put these items on the top while using the bottom half for more purposeful items like towels.
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