We can’t overemphasize the value of “moving light.” If your move involved a downsize — many people are trading in their McMansions for more manageable alternatives — having adequate storage space becomes increasingly important. In this article, we’re not focusing on major renovations, but rather a few simple little tips and tweaks you can easily do to create more storage in your new home.
We’ll assume you’ve already done some decluttering before your move — and that you already have some idea about the number of closets, cabinets and cubbies available in the new space. Now, let’s take it room by room.
If your entryway is wide enough, it can do double duty as a storage area if you line the walls with shallow cabinets or shelving. Short on coat closet space? A wall-mounted peg rack near the front door is a boon for bulky items, such as down coats and hard-to-store things like long scarves.
If you’re in a multi-story home, sometimes it’s possible to open up the space under the stairs and turn it into a closet for items like sports equipment, toys and games. Don’t want an oddly shaped, under-stair door? Keep the space open and instead install shelving or even transform it into a cozy mini-office. You could even turn the stairs themselves into pullout drawers.
There’s no law that says a large couch and upholstered side chairs have to be part of your décor. Why not switch things up and add more space with a loveseat and ottomans? Ottomans are particularly useful since many are also storage units themselves, making them an ideal place to stash blankets, pillows and other things you want to keep handy. Rather than a pullout sofa bed (and an almost guaranteed uncomfortable night’s sleep), look for a loveseat with under-seat storage.
Does your living room have tall ceilings? Ready-made shelves or bookcases can add warmth and interest, while storing everything from books to bar equipment, decorative items and collectibles. The trick here is not to overdo it by crowding the shelves with knick-knacks and dust collectors. Curate items carefully and try to create an overall “theme.” Depending on the style of your home, you could also turn a large window into a cozy nook by adding a built-in window seat.
There’s some valuable “real estate” hidden under a bed. Some beds even come with built-in storage drawers where you can stash your cache. But a word of caution: If you just stick a lot of random things under there, it can quickly become disorganized, dusty and a chore to keep clean. Investing in adjustable bed risers will add a few extra inches into the equation and you probably won’t even notice the difference in height (we recommend adding a bed skirt or dust ruffle to hide the risers).
Resist the impulse to use your bedroom closet as a catch-all or you’ll soon wind up with a Fibber McGee mess. Instead, increase your closet’s storage capacity by installing double poles. Just be sure your “double decker” system still allows all the items to hang freely. The back of a closet door can also be leveraged. Add a peg rack or hooks — or even a door-mounted ironing board. An over-the-door hanging shoe organizer can store a lot more than just your favorite footwear. In a child’s bedroom, they’re great for keeping toys, dolls and comparable items organized and out of the way.
Another simple storage fix comes courtesy of your local dry cleaner. Many provide free storage for seasonal items like heavy coats and sweaters. Store your dry-cleanable winter clothing with them over the summer and switch out your summer clothing when it starts getting cold again. Even better, they’ll all be dry cleaned and ready to wear at the start of each season.
Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes and maximizing storage space can be difficult, especially if it’s a galley-style layout. Depending on your floorplan (and let’s be honest, your cookware), a wall- or ceiling-mounted pot rack will not only add an interesting aesthetic element but also free up precious cabinet space. Plus, you can add more counter space by putting your microwave on a shelf and storing items like cutting boards and placemats vertically.
If you have tapered glassware (like martini or wine glasses) arrange every other glass upside down. And if your kitchen drawers are a bit overcrowded, put cooking utensils like wooden spoons and tongs into a nice container on the counter. Hang sharp knives inside the door of a high cabinet to keep them away from children.
Even a comparatively small bathroom can provide useful storage. Put up shelving or hang wicker baskets to store towels, bath toys and other necessary items. Attach hooks to your shower rod to hold brushes and loofas and a tension-mounted shower caddy for things like soap, razors and shampoo. If there’s sufficient clearance, put a shelf or cabinet above the toilet or door. And with the addition of a few hooks, the door itself can be a great place to hang your towels and bathrobes.
Looking for more helpful tips on everything from planning your move to information about cities and national parks, decorating ideas and more? Our blog is loaded with useful information; be sure to check it out.