Proper Storage

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Proper Storage


Get Organized this Spring!

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In this series

Fight Disorganized Crime
Feather Your Nest
Save Energy

The Purge
Proper Storage

Proper Storage - 2

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Brace for Fall

Fall Cleanup

Garden Furniture

Decorating on a Shoestring


Storage Solutions for Your Clutter

So now you've got all your clutter sorted out and your "keepers" are in boxes, bins and piles.    Ideally, you've put things away in their proper places, where those places exist! But where the heck is it all going to go?

This is where you need to invest in or create proper storage solutions that avoid wasted space and lead to easy retrieval of needed items.  We'll tackle the solutions by the type of storage the provide:

Organizers discussed here are affordable and easy solutions to clutter. Often, you can make your own from left over wood or plastic. They are available online at reputable sites like

 Order Online 

Closet and Cupboard Organization

pulldownrod.jpg (150x142 -- 4136 bytes)Clothes closets, linen closets, pantries and cupboards all benefit from organizing solutions.  Often, there is a lot of wasted space in them that can be put to much better use.  It's important to be able to see where things are, so here are some tips to achieve visible and handy storage.

Clothes Closets aren't very useful if children (or short adults or wheelchair bound people) can't reach items.  Try mixing various types of closet organizing solutions.  Pull-down or swing-down clothes racks for example, allow full-length clothing to be hung up high, and yet be accessible when needed.  The space below can be used to hang a lower rod for shorter items like shirts and skirts, or to hold shelving for accessories, or a chest of drawers.

Closet organizing systems are affordable and you'll find them a God-send when getting your family dressed in the Added shelvingmorning!  Sturdy metal systems are excellent, and are available in many mixtures with racks for clothing of different lengths, as well as shelving, hooks and pockets for accessories like belts, scarves, shoes and more, like the one at left - just click on the picture or the link here.  Many smaller systems will work well inside a free-standing wardrobe too. If you don't have a closet or wardrobe, try using existing tall bookcases to support a clothes rod, ideally with a shelf above it.  Or, invest in a free-standing system.  Place these against a wall, and they can be neatly concealed behind curtains.

Linen closets can often benefit from added shelving.  Store smaller items on an added shelves that are not the full depth of the closet.  This works nicely for things like washcloths, small hand towels, pillow cases, placemats, cloth napkins, etc.  Use hooks on the inside of the linen closet door to hold aprons and other items that don't fold up neatly for stacking.  For matched bedding sets, fold the top and bottom sheets plus pillowcases together, so you just have to reach for ONE package.  Keep bedding arranged by the bed size (e.g. twin, double, queen, etc.).  That way, the folded items will be the same size, and will stack more neatly on the shelves.

Cup hooks allow 2 sets of mugs in the same spacePantries and cupboards can use the same added-shelf approach to hold shorter items above taller ones.  Use them to hold smaller plates above dinner plates.  Or, use them inside your bathroom vanity to hold things like hair dryers and curling irons.  Use cup hooks on the undersides of upper shelves to hold additional cups and mugs suspended above others on the shelf surface below. 

dishshelf2.jpg (150x150 -- 5547 bytes)Utilize space under your upper kitchen cupboards to suspend additional shelving where there is enough clearance over your counters.  Use these to hold your pretty stacking bowls, cookbooks, and other attractive items that don't need to be hidden away.  

Use vertical dividers in upper kitchen cabinets to hold large flat objects like baking pans, cutting or pastry boards, and serving trays.  If you have a narrow spot of wasted space beside your stove or refrigerator, that may be a perfect place to create this kind of slide-in storage area.  

For drawers, use dividers.  These can be homemade or purchased devices. Use them to keep tools, small items of clothing, jewelry, etc. organized for easy retrieval. For deeper drawers that hold silverware and various kitchen tools, try sliding layered tool organizers.

Boxes, Bins and Baskets

Since the first cave-woman wove a basket, storage containers with lids have been the best thing for general storage.  Plastic, transparent bins with lids are great since you can see what's inside, you can stack them on top of each other, and they keep dust and dirt out.  Color code them to store seasonal items in red ones, sentimental things in green, blue for garden hand tools, etc.  Remember, if you are storing heavy items, use smaller containers so you'll be able to lift them!

bed raiser Use plastic bins or drawers under the bed or a table to store additional blankets, shoes, toys, off-season clothing, or linens. You can get bed raisers to raise the height to allow storage boxes or under-bed drawers to fit below a bed that is too low to the floor.

Cardboard records boxes are perfect for storing tax return information and other important papers (even your kids' lovely artwork).  Label them and stack by year, owner, or type of contents.  These are very inexpensive and readily available at any office supply store or the stationery section in department stores.

Decorative metal boxes are good for storing small items in your home office area, as well as things like photographs and recipe cards.

Open topped baskets are available in wicker, plastic, wood, or metal.  Washable cloth Basket Linersshow (1x1 -- 43 bytes) are available too. Baskets are great in the coat closet or entry areas to hold mittens, scarves, backpacks and other items you have to grab (and ideally put away again) by the door.  Label one for each family member, and keep it in the entrance area. 

Use wood or plastic ones to hold toys on low shelving for youngsters - so it's easy for them to see what's inside and to put things away. Label them with the child's name or with pictures of the items inside. Wood or plastic bins are also good in your kitchen cupboard or pantry for storing potatoes, onions, and other foods that do not require refrigeration, or for organizing items on cupboard shelves. They are excellent for storing workshop or garden tools, as well as chemicals, fertilizers and paints.

The wicker types work beautifully to provide additional attractive looking storage under end tables, coffee tables or other furniture, shelves or dresser/desk tops to hold collections of smaller items, or on open kitchen shelving.  

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