Clutter has a nasty habit of creeping up on us. It doesn’t take longer than a week or so for table surfaces to disappear, kids’ bedrooms to look like war zones and kitchens to become total disaster areas. During the school holidays it’s even worse, with homes turning themselves upside down in a flash.
It’s all very well trotting out the old phrase about everything having a place and being in it, but unless you’ve got a system to keep things organised it won’t work. Luckily, you don’t need anything complicated or expensive; just a little extra storage space makes tidying up quick and easy:
- Storage furniture – items like coffee tables that have lift-up tops or drawers and shelves underneath have multiple redeeming features. Use them for magazines, TV remotes, gaming joypads and mobile phone chargers. In bedrooms, consider investing in an ottoman bed with a lifting mattress base. The cavernous space inside is great for stowing away out-of-season sports stuff, little-used games or spare bedding and pillows. You can get single and double sizes.
- Basic Shelving – all over the house there’s space for a shelf or two. We don’t often think vertically, but installing shelves gives you room for extra play areas or seating by getting things off the floor. Look for under-used spaces like alcoves, use that awkward nook under the stairs or the gaps between cabinets in the kitchen.
Out of sight shelving, such as in a pantry or airing cupboard, is great for storing bits and bobs that otherwise clutter up main storage areas. Think of spare food storage containers, shoe cleaning brushes, small appliances like the iron, or hobby tools. Put related collections of small items into transparent plastic boxes so you can quickly identify them. See-through tubs are especially handy for toys like building bricks or colouring pens and pencils.
- Over and Out – Garages and lofts can be fitted out with sturdy shelves or flooring to create additional storage. Reserve the garage for low-value items unless it’s securely lockable, and the loft for items you don’t need access to on a regular basis.
Making Room with Remote Storage
It’s not just the hundreds of small things that accumulate as clutter. Furniture can do it as well. Those hand-me-downs or heirlooms we often can’t bear to part with, but have no room for, end up in spare rooms or take up other valuable space.
If selling or donating those larger items is out of the question, a viable alternative to giving them houseroom is to put them in self storage. It’s not expensive, is secure and dry, and there are spaces of all sizes, so even if you just want to reclaim the space taken up by a dining table you no longer use, you can get the ideal sized storage space for it.
Another way to make best use of storage options is through temporary use. If, for instance, you need to clear some space for visiting house guests, a short term rental lets you swap things around at home to set up an extra bedroom. You can rent from just a week, and the town locations make transporting items quick and easy.
Is the clutter taking over? by Shutterstock
It’s surprising how just a little extra storage can make a big difference. By creating extra space and making it easier to put things away, you might even encourage the kids to pick up behind themselves more often. That would be a real bonus.