Of course, the self help books will tell you to de-clutter, to throw some of that stuff out. They'll persuade you that you don't need all your books, CDs, kids toys, clothes... and yes, you can concede, perhaps they might be right. But hang on, what happens if you actually need all the things you have? That parting with the first album you bought would be like losing a limb? Or maybe you've de-cluttered so much that you're already at the bare bones of minimalist, but still find you're running out of space? Our stuff is an extension of ourselves, it paints a picture of where we've come from and who we are. What we choose to keep can sum up what we value, be an indication of our personality, a culmination of our passions and pursuits. This shit is important, man.
Luckily it is possible to be neat, tidy and clutter free without having to chuck it all out.
And this utopian existence is all about the right kind of storage. Because there is a wrong and a right way to do storage. The former is the gung-ho approach, you buy first and think 'where am I going to put this?' later, when it's too late and you can't close the loft door any more. The later is what we're going to focus on, it's about evaluating each room and making use of the space you have in a clever way.
Here are some great storage solutions for when you seem to have more stuff than space:
1) Buy furniture with storage
It may sound obvious, but if you need a new coffee table, make sure it has a drawer (or 2) within it, or at least a shelf. Look for hidden storage in everything you buy:
If you need a new bed, get one with drawers underneath. Perfect spaces for towels, bed linen and other bits and bobs:
Or maximise the space behind a bed frame:
In the kitchen, a bench seat with drawers or which opens like a trunk would be great for storing items you don't need everyday:
In the bathroom, make sure your sink has a drawer unit underneath. Even the space underneath the bath can be utilised for storage:
2) Utilise those random 'extra' spaces throughout your home
Above wardrobes in bedrooms, underneath your stairs, to the side of bookcases, above door frames, alcoves.... All of these spaces are perfect for eking out extra storage. It's worth spending a bit of money too and getting any shelving or units custom fitted so that they look seamless and fit the space perfectly.
If you've already got freestanding wardrobes, why not add a shelf above them or a row of baskets to maximise the space:
Space underneath the stairs is crying out for fitted shelving or creative uses, why not think about one of these ideas:
The area above door frames is too often forgotten, why not put up some shelves for your books or music? In the bathroom you'll finally have a space for guest towels and in the kitchen for pots and crockery:
Alcoves are great for books, seating and storing all sorts of bits and pieces:
3) Look up
Too often we think our room isn't wide enough or big enough for a storage unit. But be sure to think vertically too. A tall, slim unit against a wall might serve your purposes as much as a wide unit on the floor. Maximise the wall units in the kitchen and think about adding some to hallways and the living room too. Vertical hooks can also be used for hanging up kitchen utensils, garden implements, bikes or other bulky items. Here are some ideas:
See, now you have more space! Just don't use this article as an excuse to buy more stuff... well, not too much more. Enjoy filling your storage areas!