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Storage needs seem to grow exponentially as the family grows up or expands. Managing the house so it’s not in a constant muddle can end up being a full-time job by itself. What’s needed is a few alternative storage solutions.
Use the Awkward Spots
If you’ve got tricky areas in the house that you just don’t use properly, like under the stair cupboards or narrow alcoves, you can get more out of these areas with shelves.
Other odd areas include the blank space at the end of a cabinet run in the kitchen. A narrow shelf with a rail in front is a great place for recipe books, or how about a corkboard for children’s works of art instead of putting them on the fridge.
And what about underneath the cabinets? This is a novel idea, but why not? If it’s clean and dry down there, all you’ve got to do is swap the fixed boards for doors that slide or hinge. Then you’ve got bags of space for flat things. Think large baking trays you don’t use often, or mops and brooms, even board games and jigsaws.
Be Selective with Home Storage
You don’t need to keep every single item you own at home. Lots of storage problems crop up because we tend to have more possessions than space, but there’s nothing we want to part with.
So, cupboards are full of things that don’t get used for months on end, while things in daily use don’t have a place to live.
One way to be more selective about the items at home, while keeping hold of treasured possessions, is to rotate items in and out of self storage on a seasonal basis.
During summer, when you need space in the wardrobe for sandals and shorts, pack up the winter coats, wellies and gloves and move them to a self storage unit.
You can take a similar approach with furnishings. If you need a big dining table so you can host the family at Christmas or other celebrations, but find you don’t use it for family meals every day, open up the space it occupies by packing it away for most of the year.
During winter, put your garden furnishings and outdoor play equipment into storage. You’ll have a lovely clear garden for winter family fun, and your furnishings will stay pristine instead of taking a battering through rotten weather.
Toys too, can take up a lot of space in children’s rooms, especially the ones that have been cast aside for current favourites. Stow the ones not being played with in storage, and when you bring them out in a couple of months, they’ll get a whole new lease of life. It’s also a great way to save toys or bikes in good condition that you might want to hand down to younger children.
Make Your Furniture Work Harder
Storage furnishings are a boon for growing families.
You can corral all the cables and controllers, batteries, and chargers in the drawers of an end table or coffee table instead of leaving them lying on surfaces.
Hobby or craft equipment, from pencils and paints to wool or building bricks can be kept handy in chests or baskets which don’t look untidy in living areas. Use footstools that can also double as seats for little ones, or even soft laundry hampers which are great for soft toy collections (even dog toys if you have furry babes to look after).
Storage beds are brilliant for grownups and kids alike. Whether you choose divan or ottoman styles, the storage space under the mattress is a great hiding place for all kinds of things. From spare towels and linens to board games and sports kit, they make for quick and easy tidy-ups.
And don’t forget shelving. It’s a humble and often overlooked aspect of furnishing, but excellent for storage all round the house. Brightly painted in youngster’s rooms and hung low on the wall so they can reach, creates a cheerful decor that children will enjoy. Use them to house special toys and figures, boxes of games or as bookshelves in a reading corner.
A growing family’s storage needs change all the time, so a bit of flexibility and creative thinking lets you grow and adapt, finding new storage solutions when old ones don’t work anymore. Experimenting is good, with nothing cast in stone, whether you opt for self storage to help clear the decks or go for more creative solutions at home.
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