Beware the storage solution. Don’t buy another stack of containers to hide away things that should otherwise be discarded. There – it seemed right and appropriate that we put that out there first. Because – the objective of storage solutions, my friends, are to get you organized… to save you time finding things… and not to waste money buying things you already have.
That being said – there are storage solutions for every area of the house and for every item stored. We therefore recommend you do an audit (in your mind anyway) of your storage needs. Inventory what you store, discuss space issues and constraints, put together a wish list of solutions, and consider any of these solutions that have a “décor” aspect to their selection and have that as part of your shopping agenda.
A look at your storage needs by area of the house:
Whether storing leftovers or sorting trash, storage solutions for the kitchen can present real efficiencies.
Storing leftovers is a daily task. Large quantities of any leftover can mean multiple trips in and out of the refrigerator. So – having units that are either square or rectangular, stackable to minimize space, and transparent to easily identify what it contains will help assure these don’t go to waste and save you money. We suggest a combination of glass containers and semi-transparent plastic ones (for traveling with food!). Limit your brands and sizes as the biggest problem seems to be misplaced lids. 3 different sizes of each, preferably the nesting variety.
Trash and food waste storage
Depending on your locale, 2 or more in-kitchen garbage containers will be required to separate recyclables. There are roll out solutions that can be retrofitted into a full height cabinet or under a sink that provide 2 separate trash bins. Compact composting units can be set outside a back door for food waste that seal well and are pest proof.
To be clear, pantries are either of the walk-in variety that allow you to close off the clutter, narrow slide out units for maximum visibility, and in some instances – just large cabinets and/or open shelving that are a visual part of your kitchen and require a different degree of finish. There are entire pantry retrofits or there are more incremental storage solutions to improve the pantry’s utility.
The retrofit can yield outstanding results.
- Tall spaces for trays
- Slide out drawers for linens
- Wire baskets for dry food storage such as potatoes, onions, shallots, and garlic
- Wine storage
- Door mounted systems to capture maximum space
- Feeder systems for can storage
- recycling containers
Other kitchen ideas
Hanging pot racks – these don’t work everywhere, but where they fit, they can be handy and save a lot of cupboard room for other things.
Drawer organizers – if you’ve been frustrated with drawers that are simply a mess, this can be a great way to unclutter.
Canisters and bread boxes – a decorative way to stow the everyday items such as coffee, sugar, flour, tea, bread – right on the counter.
Wall rail systems – there are some very attractive stainless steel systems to handle matching sets of your most used kitchen utensils.
Cabinet and shelf organizers – particularly where you have unused height between shelves this can deliver further storage.
Roll out cabinet racks – where you have deep cabinets and don’t want to unload the entire shelf to find a pot or bowl, these bring everything to daylight!
Baskets, bins and boxes – a good way to isolate certain common items for easy access such as napkins, coasters, seasonal.
Under cabinet glass hangers – a nice way to display wine glasses and save room.
Whether you do it yourself, or hire a company that specializes in design and installation, custom closets will organize your home like nothing else. It all begins with assessing the storage needs for each and every closet. This process alone can identify unwanted items and establish priorities for storage. If you have the luxury of a walk-in master bedroom closet, defining the precise manner of features to store and make visible all your clothing and accessories will be a delight. Features can include:
- Adjustable shelves
- Shoe shelves
- Integrated drawers and drawer baskets
- Dress and shirt height hanging areas
- Center dresser island with seating area
- Fitted storage boxes and moth proof zip containers
- Locking jewelry storage drawers
- Convenience racks for ties and belts
- Integrated laundry hoppers
Custom walk-in closet systems can be finished in fine woods with doors, special trims and detailing, and mirrors to round out the custom-build appeal of the finished units.
The functionality of even a single door closet as found in many older homes can be greatly enhanced with a custom closet system.
The laundry is yet another room where you’re always looking for more space. Stacks of folded clothes, ironing board, cleaning products, drying racks, dirty laundry hampers – all screaming for a storage solution. Laundry rooms have moved out of the unfinished basement and into their own quarters. Needed counter space over storage cabinets, built-in ironing boards, broom closets, are now a must. A cleaning sink comes in handy as does folding space and “go-back” baskets for each room in the house. Don’t forget a hanging bar for freshly ironed clothes.
The garage has normally been the last place to get consideration in terms of effective storage. It may be piled with boxes, but you probably can’t find anything and, if you’re like many, chances are you haven’t parked your car in there for years.
A well designed garage storage system can greatly increase your storage capacity - and keep things organized and save you time on the occasional home project. And – keeping things off the floor can keep things safe and undamaged.
If you happen to be a car buff/mechanic, woodworker, electronics wiz, or just a tinker, special tool storage, work benches and space design can make your garage functional to your interests.
Wall system organizers
Use these systems to hang yard tools, golf bags, skis and snowboards, brooms, ladders, sporting equipment, car carriers and luggage racks. Think about placing these on walls where you can least afford to give up width. Many of these wall systems feature pvc panels that can completely cover a beat up or uncovered wall and provide multiple adjustments and accessories.
Where you have the height or open rafters, this area can be used for the rarely used items such as holiday decorations, luggage, and items too large to fit in cabinets such as kayaks and even bicycles.
Shelving and Cabinetry
Some very slick cabinet systems specifically designed for garages have become popular. Laminate covered with true plywood construction really make these durable for this all weather environment. There is much customization available with built-in work benches, tool hangers, tool chests, parts bins, and even mobile storage units to take the gear to the project.
The mudroom has also become an indispensible room or cubby to hang coats and bags, shelve hats and gloves, and offer a storage bench seat to keep rain boots and work shoes, and allow a seat for putting them on. Often located off the back door kitchen area, having these cabinets built with a kitchen remodel or to match an existing kitchen extends your finished look and counters the clutter!