Old homes have stunning character, tradition, history and quality construction rarely found these days. These are among many reasons we choose to live in an older home. Storage space is not one of them! Our gorgeous old houses often provide minimal closet space, inhospitable attics and a garage that is a tight squeeze for our over sized cars. Even those lucky enough to live in a remodeled or spacious home may struggle with keeping organized if they haven’t implemented systems to maximize the space they have.
Often families feel frustrated when the clutter prevents them from enjoying the serenity of returning home to a welcoming space. They find themselves fighting with loved ones or consistently searching for lost items. They may resort to off-site storage units costing hundreds of wasted dollars every year. However, you don’t have to waste time, space or money with a few tips on maximizing the space in your home.
1. Check for wasted space. The most common mistake is to neglect the full height of the closet. Perhaps there is a single rod that wastes the area below hanging clothes or there is a large gap from the top shelf to the ceiling where additional shelving could provide storage for lesser used items.
2. Remove the contents and sort into categories noting things you use daily, monthly, seasonally or never. Donate any items you don’t use and prioritize the most convenient storage areas for items you use often.
3. Now that you know where items need to be placed, is your closet efficient (as assessed in step 1)? If not, take action to find a system that will maximize storage. For example, add a second rod of hang space, install additional shelving, add drawers or use containers and bins.
4. Replace the contents within your system and enjoy ample space for your things that are now easier to find, access and keep organized.
1. Sort all items according to how often and where they are used. Items we use only for Thanksgiving dinner do not need to be kept within arm’s reach and can free up space for those items used daily. Items used on the stove should not be stored next to the fridge.
2. Starting with things used daily, determine the best location for each type of item based on your cooking style. Generally, plates, glasses and silverware should be easy to access from the dishwasher. Pots and pans, bowls, spices, oils, large spoons and assorted measuring tools stored near the stove. Bake ware may be placed further away if you bake rarely or more centrally if you bake often. Cleaning supplies fit best under the sink and small appliances near the counter space where they are used. If you don’t have a pantry, a space near the fridge is reserved for food items.
3. Once you have the location, determine what convenience products will help maximize the space and keep things organized. Everyone knows about silverware organizers but there are so many fantastic products that increase efficiency in the kitchen. (i.e. Cabinet drawers to easily access the items in the back, non-slip drawer liners to keep measuring cups and spoons in place, lid organizers and vertical rack).
1. Assess your garage space to determine where you can gain additional storage with creative systems that make use of the front of the garage, the ceiling and the side walls above the height of the car.
2. Sort the items by type and donate any items you no longer use.
3. Once you know what you need to store, determine the best storage system and appropriate containers and bins for that system. Color coding or labels that are big enough to read from anywhere in the garage will help you find your seasonal items easily.
While these projects require some work and decision making, they will leave you feeling proud of your efforts, make space, and save time and money. If you would rather spend time with work, family or just about anything else, hire a professional organizer to do it for you using our creative expertise to solve your storage and organizational issues.