Thursday, January 20, 2011

Five Fun Storage Solutions

I don't like clutter. 
I'm not a fan of nick-knacks.
I like for everything to have it's place & for everything to be in it's place.

This means that we need a lot of dedicated storage.  Storage for mail, bills, seasonal decoration, everyday decoration, linens, extra pillows, hats, gloves, scarves, board games, cleaning supplies.... the list goes on and on.

Living in a 90-year old house you don't tend to have the storage capacity that one might like built in, so you have to find ways of making-do on your own.  They clearly lived with a lot less back then, hence the 3' wide closets in every room, lack of a large pantry in the kitchen & very little bathroom storage.  We have had to learn to live with this & have come up with lots of little ways to store things in our home.  I'd like to share some of them with you, as well as introduce you to things that we haven't even gotten around to yet.  Here are five quick storage items that could save your house & your sanity!

Magic Storage Item #1:  The Storage Ottoman

This storage item doubles as a great piece of living room furniture
Photo: Real Simple
This item is extremely versatile, useful, and multifunctional.  We have a storage bench in our dining room.  It acts as extra seating when we have guests.  It is also filled with all of our extra living room blankets, table cloths, runners and other miscellaneous linens.  It allows us to store other things in our sideboard in the dining room, and not take up room in a closet with extra blankets.  We have a small storage foot stool.  Not only is it a foot stool, but it stores all of my husband's school work during the week.  We are in the market for yet another bench.  This one will be in our mud room, it will be separated into areas to contain winter outdoor gear, as well as extra purses, bags and grocery bags.  This will free up space on our coat rack and in our cabinets, which will be great.

Magic Storage Item #2: Baskets & Boxes 

I love using baskets for organizing things.  You can take one shelf of a bookcase, put three baskets on it and fill it with odds and ends - stuff that you don't have room for anywhere else and "poof" it's essentially hidden.  It also corrals things into one neat area so that you don't have stuff all over the room.  We have a basket on the shelf in our living room, packed full of extra computer equipment: extra USB drives, Software CDs, cords, extra mouse pads - whatever we need for the computer is stored in this one location, in plain sight, but it looks completely organized. 

Baskets, Bins & Glass Vases keep things organized on these shelves
Photo: Crate & Barrel

Boxes are also another great storage location.  We used this in our mud room makeover.  One box holds all  of our receipts, another holds makeup, cold medication, gauze, band aids - things that we use often, but don't want to have sitting out on a table.  You can get a thin box, set it next to your television and store all of the remotes that you use once in a blue moon.  Put a couple of great accessories on it, and it's essentially invisible.

Photo: Rolling Storage - Crate & Barrel

Both of these options are also very helpful in keeping kids toys organized.  You can get a cube-type storage device (like one similar to the one shown here).  You can get wicker baskets, canvas bins, even plastic bins, tuck them into the cubes and store a ton of kids toys.  This also makes it easier for kids to find things as well as put them away without much hassle.

Magic Storage Item #3:  Glass Vases

DIY Cork Covered Glass Vases
Check out this link for the easy "how-to"
These are also great for visual display or just for gathering things is a decorative way.  You can take a simple glass jar and spray it with a matte finish spray paint.  You can cover a glass vase with fabric, cork (as shown above), or wall paper and use them for a ton of storage solutions - gathering your remotes, collecting change, holding all of your bracelets, storing extra buttons.  You can put 2-3 glass vases of varying sizes on a desk to hold pens, paperclips, business cards - whatever you need.  Grouping a few of these together makes anything look more planned and organized.  Used coordinating colors, keep them clear or cover them with something unique - anyway you choose to use them, they are super useful.  Make sure to use vases that have very thick glass, so that they don't break or chip easily.

Magic Storage Item #4: Napkin Holder

We have two napkin holders in our house, and we don't use either one of them for napkins.  They are great for holding mail.  One of our napkin holders has several compartments, one compartment holds bills to be paid, another holds store coupons another holds current mail ads.  This sits on our entry way table and it's how we deal with the craziness that is our incoming mail.

Photo: Real Simple
Another one is in our kitchen.  It holds recipes waiting to be filed, an address book, directions we have printed and are waiting to use, and other miscellaneous paper that ends up in our kitchen area.  This prevents a pile on a table, and keeps everything in one place!

Magic Storage Item #5: Cork Board Lined Cupboard

This is something that I have just stumbled across recently & it's a great hidden storage place for your kitchen.  Maybe you have found a new recipe that you want to try, or you pull out all the recipes are you are set to make for the week.  You can keep coupons pinned up of things that you don't want to forget to pick up at the store.  You can pin up just about anything you would hang on the fridge & keep that area clutter free.  This is a quick project that I definitely plan on doing soon.  It's as easy as purchasing some cork board squares (which they sell at places like Target) and some sticky dots or double-sided tape.

If you are counting calories, it's a convenient place to hang up lists of how many calories are in your favorite items.  Also, if you like to put your food in air-tight containers and throw away the originally packaging (recycle it please!) This is also a great place to cut out and hang up the nutritional information for the food that is now in the storage bins.

We have things hidden in storage all over our house - a coffee table with a shelf on the bottom, bookcases, sideboard in the dining room - anything to give everything a home, so that you never have to wonder where something goes again!

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