How to maximise your storage and space within the home

Space is an issue for everyone I work with as an Interior Designer and Stylist: Our busy lives and ever-evolving homes mean that we often feel overwhelmed by all our possessions and limited space. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is for me to help others reduce clutter, and making a happier and more effective home that benefits everyone within it.

Images courtesy of Pinterest

1. Keeping It Together

Always store like-with-like. Clear storage boxes are often a god-send in order to find things quickly. Uniformed labelling gives a prettier look. Perhaps the main advantage of this form of storage is that it gives other members of the household no excuse in. not putting things away properly! Obviously these good intentions of having everything in its place can be go askew over time: A few minutes spent keeping ontop of this saves so much time in the long-run, and also avoids overspending – buying because we forgot that we had it already.

Image courtesy of blog.makezine.com and Pinterest

2. Get Creative

Storage needn’t be expensive or mundane. A row of jam jars or adapted milk cartons can be just as satisfying as something you buy in the shops. Afterall, it’s your home for you to express your own personal style! Making it fun also encourages others within the home to keep things tidy… a win-win in my book.

Image courtesy of www.prettymaison.co.uk and Pinterest

3. Get Personal

Give each person in the household a storage basket or a personalised cloth-bag hung near the stairs: Any loose odds and ends belonging to that person can be deposited there. Make it a regular weekly habit for each person to take responsibility in clearing it out and putting it away.

Images courtesy of Pinterest

4. Accessing All Areas

Nothing benefits from being stuffed at the back of a cupboard only to be forgotten. Often we go out and buy something only to end up finding that we had it at home all along. Good storage should be easy to access. Using transparent open boxes as drawers in low, deep cupboards makes it easier to find those forgotten items at the back that are usually hard to see.

Smaller items are also often lost within standard cupboards and drawers. Hanging shoe organisers on the inside of cupboard doors for a multitude of small items makes clearing away a doddle. Useful for small bathrooms, kitchen cleaning products, bedrooms…actually, ANYWHERE in the house can benefit from this! The beauty of it is that it easily accessible, discreet and helps obtain clutter-free surfaces. Stick to lighter-weight items on the back of doors in order to minimise stress on the hinges. You may need to reduce the depth of the shelves slightly inside the cupboard to allow room.

Images courtesy of Pinterest

5. Optimise Your Shelves

Standard sized bookcases are a prime example of how space is sometimes under-utilised. There is usually much untapped storage space inside wardrobes and cupboards. I tend to prefer bookcases with adaptable shelving heights, so that this can be customised specifically for the objects being store.  This takse full advantage of every part of the vertical space. Most tall bookcases are around 1.8m high, but adding storage right up to the ceiling can often make a room feel larger.

Consider building shelves and/or cupboards right up to the ceiling. Painting the back of the shelf in a different colour or wallpapering it gives an added element of interest. (See above image on left). Flat-pack units can be easily customised, for example by adding a wood trim to the top and/or sides.

Image courtesy of wired.com

6. Bulldog Clips and Velcro

Is there anything these bad-boys can’t do! Here is an ingenious way of using bulldog clips to organise office wires. I have also used bulldog clips to hold vinyl record covers as art-work on a living room wall (see my website gallery). Velcro is a great way of keeping items/wires off the floor and maximizing storage space on the side/bottom of a piece of furniture. Most Hardware stores now sell velcro and hooks on a glue-free, removable backing.

7.  Use it, Mend it or Lose it

You know that old saying: “We wear 20% of our wardrobes 80% of the time”? Well, in my experience, this ratio can often be used throughout the home’s cupboards and dark corners.  An item that served a purpose in the past becomes clutter when it no longer serves a purpose in the present or future. Now don’t get me wrong: I don’t believe in wasting existing items and buying just for a quick thrill, but I do recognise that tastes change over time, as do our lifestyle needs. Mend, re-sell, organise a Swap Shop with friends, advertise it on Free-cycle.org or donate unwanted items to Charity.

Setting aside a short, pre-set amount of time with an alarm clock (and a trusted friend if required) is the best way to make a start. Even a few 1 hour stints over a few weeks can make a noticeable difference: You don’t have to do it all in one go!

The satisfaction of a de-cluttered, well organised space is so rewarding, and it works on so many levels in improving our lives. But letting go of our attachment to certain items that no longer serve a purpose in our lives, while also allowing someone else to benefit from it is, I think, the best incentive of all.

For more help in helping achieve affordable Interior Design and Decluttering in Bath and Bristol,  feel free to contact info@catrionaarcher.com and see my portfolio.