10 clever storage hints

Don't despair about untidy possessions. There are many creative storage solutions either on the market or just waiting to be discovered in your own home. Here are 10 clever storage hints.

  1. You don't need to limit shelving installed between studs to places where the studs are exposed, such as an unfinished garage or workshop. If you cut into the plasterboard with a keyhole saw, you can create a space for recessed shelves inside an indoor finished wall or partition. Use shelves made of 2.5 by 10 centimetres (1 by 4 inch) pine boards supported with cleats nailed to the studs. If you like, you can even conceal shelving behind a painting that's hinged to the wall. However, don't create recessed shelves inside exterior walls or walls that have plumbing, ductwork or electrical cables running through them.
  2. Space-saving accessories for the kitchen can also bring order to your bathroom. Most kitchen shops stock turntable organizers (lazy Susans) in single and two-tiered models. Before buying, measure the space inside your bathroom cabinet carefully, making allowances for drainpipe clearance if necessary.
  3. Install floor-to-ceiling shelving in extra-wide halls. Leave at least 90 centimetres (3 feet) of the floor space clear so that people can move through easily. In narrower hallways, install a long high shelf for rarely used or decorative items about 30 centimetres (1 foot) below the ceiling. If a hall or room has high ceilings, install a partial 'false' ceiling accessible via hinged or retractable doors on the open side.
  4. Replace full-depth shelves in kitchen cabinets with sliding wire baskets of different sizes. These baskets make loading and retrieval easy, and are ideal for storing dry goods, tins, jars, fruit, vegetables and all kinds of kitchen utensils. Plus, you can store more things in baskets than on fixed shelves and organize them more easily. With baskets, things are also less likely to be pushed to the back and lost for years.
  5. Beds take up a vast amount of floor space and some of it can be easily used for storage. Slide shallow drawers fitted with casters underneath beds with legs. To create secure storage under a divan bed, build a sturdy platform with sliding doors in the sides on which to elevate the divan. Alternatively, replace your bed with divans that have ready-made storage drawers in the base.
  6. Pull out any empty suitcases you don't use very often and fill them with the clothes and shoes that you rarely wear or that are currently out of season. This will free up your wardrobe. Your luggage will take up no more space than it did before you filled it up.
  7. Transparent, plastic, stackable bins are ideal for storing sweaters, other foldable clothing and accessories such as handbags and shoes. When stacked, they take up little floor space, and the transparent sides help you to identify items quickly. Bins with drawer-type fronts make access easier.
  8. Use the space inside the bottom steps of a hall staircase to store boots, sports equipment and other paraphernalia. Hinge the tread to make a lid, and secure it with a sturdy latch to prevent clattering from passing feet.
  9. Don't discard old kitchen cabinets. They make great storage units for attics, workshops and garages. The combination of drawers, shelves and cupboard space provides a tidy home for hardware, tools and equipment that are otherwise so easy to misplace.
  10. Turn an unused fireplace into a handy storage space or a place for display. Cap the chimney to keep the rain out and close off the flue with a panel to minimize thermal loss. To control any dampness the fireplace might give off, include a ventilator grill in the panel, then re-plaster and repaint the walls around the fireplace with a vapour barrier.

Follow these 10 clever storage hints, and they'll help you clear away your clutter and feel more organized.

10 clever storage hints
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