Just finished this week’s article for the Citizen. Enjoy!
As times have changed, so have our homes. The traditional floor plan of formal living room and dining room off the main entry has long since gone. Newer homes are adapting to our more informal lives and offering family rooms, bonus rooms, and even home theaters. Nevertheless the size attributed to our closets has not changed significantly. While master closets were revamped into walk in closets in the 90’s and guest rooms were given the entire length of a wall for their closets, the need for storage space has continued to increase exponentially.
Places like The Container Store exist because everyone is yearning for a way to organize their belongings. In an age fueled by unbridled consumerism and deficit spending, we are increasingly bringing home more ’stuff’ everyday, yet we have not prepared our homes to store it. Each room has dead zones just waiting to be tapped for organization duty. If you can discover those hidden gems and add the proper storage vehicle, order can triumph over clutter once and for all.
Back to Basics: It always amazes me how often people overlook the obvious. When I met my husband, he kept his few ties crumpled in a drawer and hung his two belts on the towel rack in the bathroom. No need to elaborate on what humidity does to leather belts, but when I purchased him a combination tie-belt rack our first Christmas together, he looked at me as if I had just demonstrated cold fusion. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that these items were invented for a reason. Use them.
Inches to Spare: Shoe racks can both create and save space. Whether you have an empty wall or small floor area available, shoe racks can do the trick. Mount a shoe rack to the wall behind a door to create some extra storage and/or hang another on the back of the door to maximize the space you have. The door may now only open 90% of the way but you’ll have a home for 2 dozen more shoes. You can also use clear shoe racks to hold small and easy to lose items like jewelry, hair clips, and more.
Think Outside the Box: Acrylic shoe boxes allow you to see all your shoes, from ballet flats to platform wedges, and still stack them with ease. However don’t be misled by its name. These same boxes are great for storing everything from winter scarves and gloves to socks and tights. If you choose opaque boxes, make sure you take a moment to label them, saving you precious time later when you are in a rush. Be resourceful and commandeer that wasted space under your hanging clothes by adding shallow storage containers for everything from out-of-season clothes to special occasion dress shoes.
Hooks, Hangers, & Knobs, Oh My: Hit songs are all about the hook. Add stylish hooks almost everywhere, including cabinets, doors, and walls. Think of uses beyond just hats or coats and hang purses, bags for laundry, or pajamas. Decorative cabinet knobs mounted onto the wall make excellent storage for necklaces and scarves. Also discard all the flimsy dry cleaner hangers and purchase a cohesive set. Believe it or not, the new uniformity will make the entire space feel larger and more accessible.
Shelves: Examine your closet carefully to see where you can add an extra shelf or two. Most ceilings are 8 to 10 feet tall these days which allows room for storage boxes, pillows, and blankets. A bookcase along the back wall can be the perfect location for folded sweaters, jeans, or boots and the adjustable shelves come in quite handy. Also consider utilizing additional items in your home for purposes other than they were intended (i.e. Adjustable steel shelving, typically used in commercial kitchens, can transform an unused guest bedroom into an instant closet. See photo)
In a perfect home there would be a place for everything and everything in its place. If you invest the time and energy necessary to organize your storage areas now, you will discover more space for next year’s stuff.