Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Sneaky Storage

Some homes are made in storage heaven. They have big closets with nice shelving, generous pantries, built-in bookcases and china cabinets, attics, crawl spaces... And then there are the rest of us who maybe have two things on the list. At our house, we have a built-in bookshelf and a crawl space, but only things that fit through the teensy half-door can go down there. Our closets are okay, but only one of them has shelving and the rest are just hang-bars. What am I supposed to do with my things that don't hang?! (End up with piles, that's what.)

Now that we've lived here for a while and have purchased most of our furniture, I'm zeroing in on storage and organization. Most of us don't have dream palaces with extra rooms, so we need to put things "away" in plain sight. I've done a couple of things so far, which I'll tell you about, and I found some stuff I want to try:

Our house!

>> Put a bird basket on it! Baskets will hide a multitude of sins. We have two of them on our built-ins downstairs and they hold all sorts of weird cables and technology-related things that I don't understand. Baskets also make great hampers (make sure you get a cloth liner, lest you snag anything), craft storage, extra blanket receptacles, and a landing zone for the mail.

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>> Find a pretty box. If baskets aren't your style, try some boxes. IKEA has a lot of options for very little coin, and I like the bonus of instant organization that comes from buying multiple sizes. Plus, boxes have lids! Even if the insides are straight-up chaos, nobody will ever know and your room will still look put together. These aren't only for offices, either; try them anywhere you'd normally stick a basket.

Our house again. (And look, the other basket!)

>> Group it up. All of us have a collection of some kind. Maybe you're like me and hate saying goodbye to old issues of National Geographic (even though you never go back and read them again...). When you have a lot of something to store, a great alternative is to just display it as a group. As long as the items are similar, it won't look like clutter.

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>> Consider food displays. Okay, this picture is a really extreme example of beautiful food storage, but hear me out. Some people don't have a pantry to hide their granola bars and taco seasoning (we don't) and your food has to go somewhere. If you move some of your frequently-used dry goods into glass containers and put them on display, it frees up that precious cabinet space for more stuff.

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>> Think utilitarian. My favorite way to do this is by displaying pots and pans. Not only does it make them easier to grab (and it looks cool), but again, you free up that cabinet space for other things. Our kitchen is probably too small for this, but I'd love to make it work.

What's your storage situation like? Do you have a favorite way to wrangle clutter? If you could change one storage problem about your house, what would it be? (I would add closet systems. Preferably they would just appear one day.)

14 comments:

  1. We have very little storage--hello, tiny old house here--no basement or garage and an attic that is not ideal for storing stuff. We do have a tiny shed out back, but it's almost entirely full with yard stuff. But this has always been the case for us because before we bought the house, we spent 15 years living in super tiny apartments with maybe 1 or 2 closets. You get very good at displaying everything in plain sight or under beds, couches, behind dressers, on top of cabinets, anywhere and everywhere. The real problem for us is and has always been books. I give them away all the time and try not to buy them anymore, but we still have way too many. There were stacks of books everywhere in our last apt. Now they mostly live in one room, on bookcases. Actually, that's a lie because as I type this I see more in here too (the office/studio). Haha. We are hoarders.

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    1. Books used to be a big problem for us, too. When we first moved in together we downsized our books, and then we did it again when we bought the house. And now that we're in the middle of a bedroom furniture shuffle, we're donating even more. Now that I read on my Kindle and go to the library more, I don't feel the need to run out and buy as many (thank god, because we have nowhere else to put them...).

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  2. Houses over here don't have any kind of storage - everything needs to be either built or bought! I have plenty of those IKEA boxes :) I'd love to have a kitchen cabinet like the one in the pic!! Wow...

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  3. All your ideas are great! I use all of them to an extent but all in that awkward way--not enough to look cool or really solve the problem. Maybe you've inspired me . . .

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  4. I have a couple of built in closets, they do have doors, so they tend to get a bit cluttered... And I love those wire baskets, I've been trying to get my hands on one that's pretty AND affordable, which seems to be a bit of a mission impossible so far.

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  5. Our house has lots of storage space, but it becomes a problem because everything gets cluttered with way too much and way too fast. Your ideas are awesome!

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  6. Great tips! I'm working on hiding stuff "in plain sight" in my apartment right now actually. I'm on a constant mission to keep my boyfriend's various electronic/tv things out of the way of my vases and cute candle holders! Still trying to figure out the kitchen, though--no counter space OR pantry space. Love your shelf!

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  7. Hey paige, as a person who has never lived in anything but a small space, I am totally into hiding things in plain sight. Next to me on my office bookcase I have several things looking pretty and doing double duty- a folding canvas box that holds my shipping supplies, a pretty blue and white ceramic planter that holds a multitude of reading glasses (once you go there, you'll find you can never have too many), an old oatmeal tin th at holds my tins, a vintage etched wooden box that holds stamps....the list goes on! and btw, forget the damn storage.............I'm in LOVE with that plain pine desk. I may need to have G and our friend Tom make me one - tom cuts and mills his own pine and made me gorgeous rough cut shelves. but i'm digging on the smooth desk.

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    1. High-five for your fun storage ideas! Well done.

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  8. Love that island with all the drawers!!! And the baskets are great, too.

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  9. Great tips! I've also found ways to hide things in plain sight. I would be nice to have one of those homes that was built in storage heaven.

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  10. Looking at my new studio, one thing I wish I would have added was a closet. I plan on having lots of shelving for storage, but it would have been nice to have a place for all my boxes and bubble wrap so they're not out in the open. So now I'm looking for large tubs or totes to put it all in and still look pretty.
    Love your basket and box ideas :)

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  11. ugh! I'm drowning in clutter. I have too much stuff. I DO have a good amount of storage space, but I don't use it to it's full potential. :(

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  12. I love those photo boxes that you can buy in all kinds of shapes and sizes, oh, and colors and patterns too!! They are awesome. And I also love using jars for organizing. A great (no brainer) tip I learned with using glass jars for storage, is to try and find square jars, because they line up so much better on your shelves and might even give you the chance to squeeze more of them in, rather than the round ones... but the look is great either way though. Love your style Paige! xoxo

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