Storage space seems to be a never-ending problem these days and finding places to store food is just another puzzle. Many new homes are built with terrific vaulted ceilings, great views, and NO storage space!!! Older homes can also have a shortage of storage space. With a little creative thinking, and some planning, you can have space to store the important things in your life.
The first thing that must be done, (and this is the very hardest part) is that you must de-junk your home. We are all pack-rats to a certain extent. At an event I attended recently regarding the de-junking of our homes, the presenter asked how many people present had a watch at home that did not work. Every single person in the room held up his hand. Do YOU have one of these treasures in your home? (Be honest, now!) We all have things in our homes that were once priceless treasures, but have now become a nuisance. Get rid of them! There are probably a million suggestions of ways to de-junk. Choose one that fits with your life style.
Once you have gotten rid of some of the non-essentials, you must become creative. Stand in each room of your home and take a good look around.
- Is there storage space that is currently not being utilized?
- Is there space that is being used inefficiently?
- Are there shelves that could be built taller?
- Are there shelves that are deep that are only filled partially?
Making efficient use of the storage space you already have may net you enough new space to store quite a bit.
There are a lot of nice, new plastic storage containers on the market that may help you store things more easily, and stack them a bit deeper. Sturdy carboard boxes can also help. Grocery stores will generally give you fruit boxes if you ask.
Here are some ideas and successful storage stories:
A young mother of four living in a very small turn-of-the-century house has come up with some very creative storage space. She built her own couches using a basic toy-box type design. She purchased thick foam rubber, and made cushions to go on top of the boxes. Then she made coordinating pillows to add more comfort to the couch. The hollow bottoms have given her lots of extra space.
When she moved into the home, the cupboards had space above them. She modified them so that now her kitchen cupboards go all the way to the ceiling. No space has been wasted. She completely utilizes the space under her stairs. An upstairs bedroom built into the attic space still has some space (under the eaves) that she utilizes for additional storage.
Since she doesn’t care for crawling around in dark places, she built small doors into the wall approximately every four feet. When she needs to put something in the space or take something out, she simply reaches in the closest door.
She’s also not keen on moving things to vacuum, so she puts many shelves on the walls, and up off the floor. By building shelves in this manner, she’s moved miscellaneous family items out of prime food-storage space, allowing her to store more food. In many cases, our best food-storage space is full of things that could be stored elsewhere.
Another mother of six lives in a modular home has learned to be creative with her space as well. She stood in her rooms and looked around, and before long, she discovered that there was a hollow space between two walls. This was not a huge space, but it was enough to provide her some more storage space. She took the paneling off that portion of the wall, and put a cupboard door on. Cupboard doors are not expensive, nor are they difficult to install. Now she has a storage closet where non-existed originally.
The floor in a small bedroom has a trap door in it that allows her to go under her home. There she has found a lot of great space to store things that need to be kept cool. Even in the heat of summer, this space is cool. She uses it to store potatoes, and foods that are in air-tight containers. She has buckets of honey, buckets of wheat, and buckets of beans under this room. In years gone by this was referred to as a “root cellar” and everybody had one.
One good trick is to use garbage cans as bedside tables. This is done by purchasing regular garbage cans at a discount store. Buy new one’s people! No one wants funky smells or dirt around their food…or their beds! One sheet of plywood is then used to cut two circles four to five inches bigger in diameter than the top of the can. The lids to the garbage cans are not used. Let the kids use them as shields when they play. Place the plywood circles over the top of the garbage cans, and then cover your new bedside tables with nice round covers (called “table rounds”) that coordinate with your bedspread. Nobody will know that your lovely bedside tables are garbage cans! This provides wonderful food storage space for some of the items that you would want to store in bulk, such as beans or wheat.
Don’t forget the space under your beds! There are lots of food items that can be stored in the small spaces under your beds. Salt, peanut butter, cans of potato flakes, canned vegetables, and cans of shortening can all be stored easily under the beds. They are also easily accessible. They make all kinds of under the bed storage boxes that make this very easy.
Look at your closets. Is there room on the floor of the closet? There are many commercial closet storage systems on the market that can help you more efficiently use your space. But you can also build your own for less expense. Five gallon buckets can be stored on the floor of the closet, and a board put across the top of them to make a handy shelf for shoes and boots. Does the space in the top of the closet go all the way to the ceiling? Five gallon buckets could be stored up there as well, but it is not recommended to store heavy things in them. This may be a good place to store tissue, paper towels, or toilet paper. If you buy your laundry detergent in big buckets, these make terrific storage containers for such items.
One young couple who struggled with a tiny dining area solved two problems with one solution. They built their own benches with hollow bottoms (the toy box design again). They put colorful cushions on top, and then used dining room table purchased at a second-hand store. Benches generally seat more people than traditional chairs. Now their extended family can visit comfortably, and they have extra storage space as well.
Don’t let storage problems scare you! You are smarter than the things you own! A little creativity and elbow grease can go a long way toward providing more storage space in your home. Now roll up those sleeves and take a good look at YOUR home!