STORAGE DONE RIGHT
See through the clutter to find great-looking options
Creators News Service
You don't have to have that just-moved-in look with cardboard boxes and bubble wrap lying around. Today's furniture manufacturers have made many attractive and often out-of-sight storage options for every room of your house.
But before you even consider adding more, begin by eliminating the clutter. If you haven't used something for a long time and it doesn't have serious sentimental or financial value, toss it.
Look to store items in places where that item would be used most often, such as bed linens in your bedroom and correspondence in your home office. Take a few pictures of the room before and after -- seeing it as a print or a manageable size on your computer screen will help show you areas of clutter and possibly places to use for storage.
Not all extras have to be hidden, though. You might want to store a few extra hand towels in a decorative basket on top of the toilet tank or hang coffee cups in plain sight in a corner of the kitchen.
Meanwhile, seek out unused or forgotten spaces such as a college dormitory trunk sitting in the corner of the attic or even space under beds. The trunk would make a delightful coffee table in a family room with lots of space inside. With a few under-bed storage units, your linens or other bedding will have a place all their own.
Make adaptations of other furniture for convenient and attractive storage. A wooden file cabinet makes a perfect accent table in the living room and can turn a room corner into a home office. Take that old piano bench with the lift-up storage seat and put it just inside your entryway door, put a doormat underneath for boots, a few hooks on the wall for jackets and you have a terrific niche to stow your outdoor gear. A rolling kitchen island cabinet can double as a bar or serving cart while storing liquor, glassware or more and be pushed into an unused corner when not needed.
When looking to invest in additional pieces, cedar storage chests are great ways to store blankets and bedding, while the cedar scent acts as a deterrent against insects. Placed at the foot of a bed and padded with a cushion, the chest also serves as bedroom seating while you dress. You can similarly utilize an inexpensive wooden toy chest (without lock or catch) -- painted and padded, it can serve as a child's reading corner.
Don't be afraid to use what you already have. If you are handy with carpentry tools and know where support joists are, look at your interior walls as possible built-in curio cabinets. Many interior walls have empty space between rooms without electrical wiring or pipes -- remove the plasterboard between two studs, put shelves in, paint and you have excellent in plain view storage for small figurines and vases. Take caution, though, and be sure you know what is in the wall before you attempt this.
For an easier storage option, you may find empty space above existing kitchen cabinets and can just lay down some shelving to have a place for your larger serving bowls or pitchers.
Look for pieces with hidden storage units the next time you are shopping for furnishings. Couches and sofas that have pull down armrests and compartments, recliners with side pockets, ottomans with flip tops and convertible chairs or sofas that turn into a hidden guest room are all space extenders.
A loft bed in a child's room frees up extra floor space and can be a wonderful study nook underneath. Even a rolling upright toolbox stores pool table balls and other game room items. You can also stretch your current storage cabinets by replacing stationary shelves with sliding drawers and placing hooks on the inside of closet doors.
With the right pieces and a touch of creativity, your home can be an organized assortment of treasures within your reach.