DO YOU have difficulty finding a place for all the items you wish to have in your home or apartment? You are not alone. Home storage is a growing problem. Why is this so?
One reason is that, in many countries, families now own more clothing and furnishings. Also, more and more families are living in cities or communities instead of on roomy farms. And many of such city dwellers live in small apartments where space is extremely limited.
Of course, the advantages of proper storage are obvious. It allows for the best use of space and also makes a home look better—less cluttered, less crowded. The ideal, as one home economics authority states, is to “store everything so that it is easy to see, easy to reach, and easy to grasp.”
But how can a person work toward this ideal? How can you save space and at the same time store things so that they will stay in good condition?
First, you will probably have to “make” space. That is, not just utilize present empty space in your home, but ask yourself, ‘What items can I dispense with to leave me more room?’ One expert urges those who have had a home or apartment for many years: ‘Start out by going through all your drawers, shelves and closets and throw away all the things you no longer use.’
‘I can’t afford to throw all those things away!’ some might object. But actually there may be some things that you cannot afford to keep. Why? Simply because, even if you own your home, the space in it is not free. If you heat that space, light it, insure it, or simply pay taxes on it, it costs you money. If seldom-used items fill the space, other things that might be more beneficial cannot be put there.
For example, in his garage a man may have a lawn mower and a canoe. It is true that he may use his lawn mower only during the summer, but he uses it a great deal then. However, what about that canoe? It may not have been used for years. If he really needs storage space, it could prove to be more practical and economical to sell the canoe. This will give him needed space, and on that rare occasion when he might use a canoe he can rent one. Owning things is not always the cheapest way of benefiting from them.
You might also take a fresh look at your clothing. If you never wear a certain garment, then why keep it in your closet? Why not make some changes in it so you will want to wear it, or give it to someone who will use it? Unused clothing simply takes up closet space and delays you in finding clothes you really want to wear. One housewife put it this way: “If during the past year I have not worn the garment at least once, then out it goes.” She also mentioned another factor to consider, adding: “I have found that clothes hang better if they can ‘breathe’—if there is a little air space around them.”
However, while it may please you to see what a difference “cleaning house” makes, discarding or selling unused articles may not solve all your home storage problems. You may need to consider making better use of existing storage areas or even building new ones.
Your Closets, Drawers, Shelves
Rearranging your closets (or, wardrobe cabinets) can make a big difference, both in gaining space and in easing the frustration of finding items.
For example, you can move the horizontal rod for clothes hangers high enough to allow for use of the floor space underneath. You might hang all your long garments at one end of the rod. Shorter garments, such as shirts, suits and blouses, could go at the other end. Underneath the short garments you now have considerable free space. One young married couple found this an excellent place to put a chest of drawers.
As for closet shelves, shallow ones hung on the back of a closet door (or, cupboard door) may prove to be practical. They allow for things to be out where you can easily find them. Similarly, a shoe rack on the back of the closet door can help to eliminate the crawl-around-the-closet-floor search for them. And you may find that narrow shelves around the walls of closets are more useful than deep shelves, as you can see things and get to them more easily.
Special consideration may be needed for your small child’s closet. If you put the clothes bar down low, he can hang up his own clothes. You may also find it practical to give him a colorful wooden box on wheels or casters, perhaps painted as a house or a garage—a “home” for his toys. Your little one can then be encouraged to pull it out, fill it and push it back into the closet.
It is good to make full use of any drawers you have or can add. They are usually better than shelves. In drawers, things are kept cleaner and usually you can more easily see and grasp the item you want. Sometimes deep shelves can be given “drawer convenience” by storing items in racks or trays that you can pull out. Also, if your shelves are deep, strive to put similar items behind one another. They will be easier to find. That is, try to place cans of beans behind cans of beans or the same kind of drinking
glasses or cups behind one another.