Jun 12 2012

Dealing with Storage Problems in Your Home

Many people, especially city dwellers, suffer from storage problems in their home. But the truth is that even living in a large home can pose storage problems if you and your family are not organized and have a tendency to over-shop or to hoard.

A typical American family of two adults and two children can soon fill the average home with toys, games, DVDS, computer equipment, school gear, work papers, clothes, books and more.

It may seem like an impossible dream to get it all under control, but it is actually easier than you think. The first thing is to pare down the items that you have and stop shopping. You can sell or donate any items that the children have outgrown, and then resist the temptation to buy any more things.

It can be difficult because children grow quickly and burn through their clothes and shoes very quickly, but in terms of books and DVDS, you can use the library rather than buy. You can also sort through their toys to get rid of anything they don’t use. You can even have the children hold a garage sale to get rid of their items.

One thing that this recession has taught us is that money in the bank can be the only security, so putting money in an emergency fund is far better than buying even more material things to clutter your home.

Going to the warehouse club can seem like great savings, but if you use a credit card and do not pay off your balance at the end of the month, any savings will soon be eaten away. In addition, you will usually have to buy three of everything. With storage space at a premium in most homes, this can soon add up to clutter and disorganization.

Get rid of old newspapers and magazines and dust collectors. Then see what you have left to store, and find a place for everything. In some cases, you might find that you need more storage items. If you have to buy a new piece of furniture for any room in the house, be sure to buy one that does double duty.

For example, you can get a child’s bed that has storage drawers in the bottom. Bunk beds can sometimes come with drawers, hanging space for clothes, a bookshelf and desk, and more.
A large cushioned ottoman may be stuffed with fluff, or it may have a hinged lid that opens to reveal a storage cube inside.

Some sofas offer similar dual functionality, providing drawers underneath the actual seating section. If you have a sofa with long legs on it, you can get the same effect with the help of a long flat plastic box with a lid. These will also work well under a bed.

These storage containers can be used for anything, from shoes to photo albums and DVDs. You can color-code them, or you can buy the clear plastic ones, in which case you will be able to see easily exactly what is inside.

These boxes are also great for packing away Christmas decorations until next year.

When you visit a furniture store, look for other ideas by browsing around and noting any unique compartments or storage ideas.

Plastic bins, or laundry baskets, can help if you live in a house with more than one floor. If things have to go up or down the stairs, just put the items in the bin and then anyone can take it up or down the next time they use the stairs.

These bins also work well for storing wet or dirty shoes and wet umbrellas by the door. Training your children to use them might be a lot easier than expecting them to hang up everything when they get home.

Plastic storage bins are not much use, however, if you keep buying more items or cram them full and then put them in the garage. They should be an easy way to access what everyone in the family needs and then be able to put away after they are finished with it. If you see plastic bins stacking up all over your house, then you do not have a storage problem, but a shopping problem and will need to look at your spending habits.

Otherwise, start weeding out any items you no longer want or need, or have not used in a year, and start enjoying a cleaner, more clutter-free home.


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The Smart Woman’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to a Greener Home

The New Green Family Guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Going Green As a Family