This is a collaborative post
The one big change that I have noticed since going from one to two children (and particularly since Oscar has become a toddler), is that we have stuff everywhere. By stuff I mean toys. Quite often it looks like Toys R Us vomited in our front room! Although now that that store is no more, I probably need to start referring to a different toy shop!
We are surrounded by storage tubs, drawer towers, craft boxes and shelving units – and it doesn’t take long for them all to start looking messy, despite the fact that they are supposed to be the things that stop the place looking chaotic! Sometimes it seems like adding storage only results in adding clutter. Here are some simple ideas for storage that actually work:
Find underused areas in the house
Even if it’s just high up on the walls, all homes have some space they’re not using to capacity. We often overlook wall space as a storage area, but with the variety and styles of shelving available there’s plenty that could be done here. Having shelves instead of floor-standing storage furniture for anything from books to collectables or pans in the kitchen, makes for more floor space and a more airy, spacious atmosphere. Walls are definitely for more than hanging pictures.
Other underused areas are cupboards under stairs, airing cupboards or spaces under kitchen cabinets. Using space under cabinets would take a little DIY skill to remove the kickboards and put doors in their place, but fitting a few shelves in an awkward spot to make way for better storage of often-used items should be doable by most people.
Hiding things away
Storage furniture is brilliant for fast clean ups and for keeping tabs on things like chargers, remotes and games controllers. These little things litter up living rooms, and can make it so you have to clean up before you can start doing anything else. Or if you are like us, the TV remote is always missing down a sofa and we spend half hour time trying to find the damn thing!
Lift up coffee tables or end tables with drawers and shelves are real clutter busters, or you could invest in a storage footstool for hobby items or small toys and games. They double as little seats too when you have visitors.
In kids’ bedrooms, raised beds help clear some floor space while providing work or play areas below. And if children don’t like sleeping up high, ottoman or divan beds provide handy storage under the mattress.
For general storage in kids’ rooms, shelves and pegs fitted at an appropriate height (like in a primary school) make it easier to encourage children to tidy their rooms. Paint them in primary colours to make them seem more fun and game-like.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
When you see something everyday it becomes stale and boring. Toys are particularly prone to this syndrome. Storing them at home doesn’t help because they take up space you could use for something else, but you don’t want to get rid of them because they cost a fortune and are still perfectly good.
Clothes are another candidate, especially if you have bursting closets but nothing to wear. It’s more likely you have plenty to wear but you’re bored with it and want something fresh.
There’s an answer in storage units. It can solve a whole host of problems from boredom with possessions to storing things you’re not using. If you put something in self storage, carefully packaged up and cleaned beforehand to keep it fresh, it seems new again when you get it back after a few months.
Seasonal storage is a great idea for things like garden furnishings and toys. Why leave climbing frames and swings to fade and go mouldy in the garden all winter, when you can put them in storage and see them as good as new in spring? Do the same with lawn mowers or sports kit and bikes that don’t get used much in winter, and you could also pack away winter coats and boots during the summer. If the items still seem faded and boring when you retrieve them, then you know it’s time for a change and you won’t regret it later.
Where you store stuff can be as important as how you do it. Get both aspects of storage right and keeping the house tidier is a lot easier.