With all of the things we own, we need a place to put them. Many clients that I work with don’t have a good sense of how to use their closet, garage and other storage spaces effectively. There often is a lot of wasted space, things piled atop each other, things randomly sorted together, excess packaging, boxes, bags and items that are outdated, outworn and no longer usable. So what are the 5 most common mistakes in storing things?
Number 1. What is the specific space–a cupboard, closet, garage, car trunk, plastic bin, filing drawer, clear bin? Too often I see items haphazardly placed in spaces with not a lot of thought or intention. I have one client that is taking up valuable kitchen cupboard space for electronics, which, in my opinion, don’t belong there. The kitchen is small and space is at a premium. That specific cupboard could be used for everyday kitchen items that are far better suited for the space. The electronics can be moved to the office or downstairs if not needed regularly. I see bins that have things thrown into them, closets with lots of unused space, and shelving with things placed in disorganized ways.
Number 2. Take it out. Take out everything from the closet, bin, cupboard and off shelving and reexamine its placement in the space. Does it really belong there? Is it serving the space and those who use it? Would back up towels be better in a guest bedroom or in cupboards in the garage if they are rarely used? Would a stack of CDs be better put onto the computer and the CDs sold or put into storage in the garage rather than taking up office or living room space? A shelf in the laundry room that is overflowing with camping gear can be replaced and grouped with like items together–tents and fold up chairs that are long can be laid atop each other and the top shelf can have square items stacked for more space usage.
Number 3. Eliminate the Excess. Too often I find boxes, bags, product packaging and garbage that can be eliminated. This saves a ton of space and gets you to keep just what you want. Product packaging, if you don’t need it, don’t keep it. We have items wrapped and boxed inside other packaging that takes up precious space.
Number 4. Replace what you keep. Put back the items you are keeping–this time with intention and purpose. For a closet, the top shelf can be for things rarely used or back up supplies, while the middle areas should be reserved for things used daily or more often. Bins and baskets, use the capacity of the container with either all the same item or like sized and shaped items together. Make sure things are easily seen and can be accessed as needed. Keep only the things you really need and place them where you can get to them easily. Things that you don’t need put away in the garage or high/low in a closet.
Number 5. Use the space to its maximum. Stack boxed items on shelves that can support one another and that fit together well. If there are less used items on wide shelves, put them behind more regularly used items and group them so you will remember where they are. Zones need to make sense to you. Use ALL the space in a bin not just some of it so you are maximizing the space of the container and then stack like sized containers together. With large spaced and deep shelves, purchase wire shelving inserts so you use the upper and lower spaces of the area. Use expandable shelves so you can get the most from the space and customize it. Get as much stuff off the floor. Shoes don’t need to be piled on top of each other with all the great shelving solutions available. You want to be able to see what you have and know what’s there, get to it when you need and put it back when done.
Storage needs to make sense so using it wisely is key. Think about specific closets in your home and place items that relate to the room or the usage of the areas nearby–hall closet for back up linens/towels and bathroom products; kitchen cupboards–put commonly used cooking items near where you use them as well as spices/herbs; garage–items you use a lot near the door so you can grab and go and seasonal things up high and to the back for rarely used items. Clearly mark everything and know where it is and so you can access it as needed.
If you need help with this, call Steve Adams at Creative Space Organizing at 510.501.1213 and we can maximize your storage spaces today!