Q: I moved into my new house almost two years ago. Although it’s bigger with the same number of bedrooms as my old house, there seems to be less storage space in general. I got rid of a lot of stuff before I moved, but I can’t figure out what to do with all the leftover stuff! Please help!
A: Isn’t it funny how it seems that whatever space we have inside our homes, it is never enough? We’re not hermit crabs, so you can’t move every time you run out of space.
As you already know, less stuff means more space for you. Do you still have unpacked boxes and items you haven’t used since before you moved? Consider another decluttering purge before figuring out a new closet organizer system or building more shelves.
Then, expand the shelving you already have. In the kitchen, add space in between your existing shelves with expandable wire shelves or risers. Order new glass shelves from the manufacturer of your medicine cabinet or have new ones cut to size at a glass shop specializing in custom shower doors and mirrors. Take in an old shelf and brackets so they can cut to the right size.
If you don’t already have a closet organizing system, plan one for every closet and storage-oriented rooms like the garage, pantry and laundry. Depending on your budget, do it all at once or piecemeal. Custom-closet shops can plan an organizer system for you, or look for DIY solutions at a home improvement store or a shop that specializes in storage systems.
Organize your items according to purpose, and store equipment and gear for related activities near each other. For example, your camping supplies and hiking, biking or skiing gear, related hobbies and crafting supplies should be convenient to each other. Those duffels, daypacks, water bottles, outerwear, shoes, etc. probably get used for more than one of those sports, so why run back and forth throughout your house and garage when you need to find your backpacking tent?
Add attractive baskets to bookcases and cabinets for messy items such as extension cords, chargers, extra matches, candles, coasters, and for smaller items in your garage such as gardening supplies and tools. And assess your collection: Do you really need them all? Get rid of those oddball items like specialty lightbulbs that you’ve not found a good use for yet.
Maximize the space behind doors to closets and cabinets in bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens. Hooks and over-the-door racks or narrow shelves keep shoes and clothing off the floor, and jewelry, spices, and other small items handy. And use cascading hangers in your closet for skirts, scarves, pants and even blouses and shirts, or by outfit with your favorite pairings together from skirt, shirt and scarf.
Storage furniture in living rooms and bedrooms can hide out-of-season clothing and extra throw blankets. Benches and ottomans with drawers make it easier to access the storage without moving whatever is on top. Dressers make great accents in living rooms, entries, and dining rooms. In the bedroom, use only nightstands with storage space. And under-bed bins are perfect for extra bedding, or rolls of wrapping paper.
Address only one room or area at a time, and set a definitive schedule to prevent overwhelming yourself, even if it’s just a couple of hours. Good luck and let me know how it goes.