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Living a simple life isn’t always easy. Even though we live with less, sometimes there’s not even enough space in our modest homes for the basic necessities. Read on to learn some creative storage solutions for your home.
Our first home was a small 1000 sq foot ranch style house built in the 1950s. It was 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, so the rooms were very small and the whole house was cut up.
The closets were small, and the original kitchen lacked sufficient cabinet space. However, it had amazing amounts of storage in the full basement and full attic. So I could always move out of season clothing, linens, outerwear, shoes, etc. into the attic for storage in the off season.
When we moved into our current home, the living space was much bigger. However, there is no basement, and the attic is only about 50 square feet and you can’t stand up at all.
Needless to say, I’ve had to come up with some very creative storage solutions over the years. Here are some of the top creative storage options available.
Under Bed Storage
There are many styles of under bed storage. There flat are plastic totes or baskets with wheels. You can get fabric bags that zip up. I’ve even seen people build boxes and put them on wheels to use like drawers. Some furniture stores even carry bed frames with built in drawers. All of these are great options. However, they don’t maximize the space and they can leave a lot of wasted space.
When space is limited, you really have to think outside the box. I mean for real, outside the box. Our house is round, well not exactly. It has 16 sides, so technically it’s a hexadecagon. But it’s definitely not a box!
It makes for some odd shaped rooms. Particularly the closets.
There is one closet in each bedroom, which are on the exterior walls, so they were built by squaring off the rooms on one side. This left triangular corners.
When we moved in, each closet had a single rod across. The master closet had one rod along the long wall, and a lot of wasted space.
We used the Rubbermaid FastTrack system.
We put up two rods and shelves across the long wall. In the corners we traced the angle onto a piece of paper and made a template with cardboard. Then we cut out shelves out of melamine coated panel from Home Depot.
In one corner, we made 3 larger shelves to store out of season clothes, handbags and miscellaneous items. In the other corner, there wasn’t as much room, and the angle was wider, so we made smaller shelves to store smaller seldom used items like hats, wool socks out of season, hosiery, etc.
There’s a large closet just off the kitchen that originally had some built in cabinetry for a sewing machine. We took that out and used the same Rubbermaid FastTrack system to add 4 shelves across the back. Now we use that for cookbooks, my sewing machine, gift bags, extra takeout containers for sending leftovers home with guests, and some craft supplies.
Originally we had paper products here, paper towels, toilet paper, tissues, but I have relocated those to under the sink in the spare bathroom.
In the little ranch, we had zero storage in the bathroom. Just a small vanity that was 18” wide. About all we could fit in there was a couple extra rolls of toilet paper, mouthwash, feminine products, my husband’s razor, and hair brushes and the like.
We were able to use the closet in the bedroom closest to the bathroom for all the extra. That closet was set over the stairway to the basement so it was quite deep, and about the same width. We ended up adding deep shelving made out of melamine coated panel from Home Depot and were able to store all of our linens, extra paper products, extra hygiene products (toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, etc.), cleaning supplies, and our bowling balls.
Look for any unused space, and find a way to make it useable. In our little ranch house, I figured out that if I folded the bath towels just right, I could stack 6 of them on top of the cabinet over the toilet.
Baskets, bowls, totes and even shoe boxes can make great storage organizers as well. Another clever bathroom storage idea is adding a shelf over the bathroom door for extras like toilet paper. Look for any unused space that can be repurposed.
In our little ranch, I always wanted to turn that little bedroom next to the bathroom into a nice walk-in closet. It was smaller than the others, and tucked away out of sight. It was also at the back of the house so you could go from the master bedroom, to the bathroom to the little bedroom while getting dressed without really being seen from the front of the house.
If you have unused rooms in your house, you can convert them to a closet. There are many options, such as these Bedford Black 3 Piece Closet/Storage System Organizer by Home Styles. Just make sure you anchor them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations so they don’t topple over on you or a loved one.
This shoe rack like this Whitmor 6 tier Floor-to-Ceiling Shoe Spinner is great for storing a lot of shoes and tucks away neatly into the corner.
If you have an unused bathroom, such as a guest bath, you can use the storage there for extra household items, such as candles, paper products, cleaning products, etc.
Other Useful Organization Items
YouCopia 50100 StoraLid Food Container Lid Organizer keeps your food container lids corralled in your cabinets, making better use of the space.
Command hooks help organize everything from coats, hats and purses to pot lids, cooking utensils, jewelry and hair accessories. The list is endless.
If you’re looking for a good book to get you motivated to start clearing, cleaning and organizing, Sink Reflections by Marla Cilley is a must read. My mother gave me this book years ago, and it really helped me get a routine for cleaning and decluttering, which made it so much easier to organize my small home. I still follow her methods to this day (although some months are better than others!).
Think outside the box and you’ll find a storage solution that works for you. And remember – sometimes the best solution is an unconventional one.
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