One of the biggest complaints people have about their houses is that there’s not enough storage space. In fact, a lack of space is the number one reason people decide to purchase bigger homes.
But if buying a house isn’t in the cards for you right now, there are plenty of steps you can take to better utilize the space you do have.
Clean it Out!
This may seem like a no-brainer, but the best way to create storage space is to get rid of things you don’t need. This is easier said than done for a lot of people. If you’re someone who likes to hold onto everything and has trouble deciding what to throw out, here are some helpful tips to clear out common household items.
- Clothes: A helpful trick for getting rid of unworn clothes is to hang everything in your closet backwards, with the hanger hook facing toward, instead of away, from you. As you wear items throughout the year, hang them back up the correct way. At the end of a year, whatever is still facing backward should be given away. Additionally, you should clean out your drawers between seasons. If you haven’t worn an item for an entire season, chances are, you won’t wear it next year. Anything with unintentional holes or stains should be thrown out, and anything that doesn’t fit should be donated or sold. A lot of people like to hold onto clothes that used to fit them with the hopes of losing weight in the future. If you truly don’t want to part with these items, consider boxing and putting them in the attic to make room in your drawers.
- Toys: If you have kids, you know how quickly toys can accumulate and take over your house. Plus, even if it isn’t consistently played with, it’s hard to convince a child they no longer need a particular toy. If something hasn’t been touched in a while, move it out of the room and into a temporary storage space. If it goes unmissed for a period of time, you can safely take it out of the house for good. You can also tell older children that you’re planning to give their toys to other children who need them — they should be old enough to understand this concept and may enthusiastically clear out other toys they no longer play with.
- Papers/Perishables: If you have piles of junk mail, letters home from school, old art projects, and grocery lists eating up room on your countertops, don’t worry — you’re not alone! In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to let things pile up. Take time to go through those piles and get rid of what you don’t need. If you can’t part with some of these paper items, consider clearing out a drawer or investing in a filing cabinet to store them. You can also put especially keep-worthy school art projects inside a bin in your attic.
- Miscellaneous Junk: We all have infamous junk drawers in our houses. These drawers hold everything from old birthday candles, safety pins, and broken pens to ripped gloves and old pot-holders. Chances are, you could throw out everything in these drawers and never miss them. But they’re still worth going through a few times a year to make sure you aren’t missing anything important. Everything else can be thrown out or put into small containers/plastic bags and stacked back in the drawer to make room for other items you actually need.
Pack it Away
The key here is to put away everything you’re not using during a particular time of year. For instance, winter jackets, snow boots, sleds, and snow blowers have no use taking up room in your closet or garage during the summer months.
Move these items to more permanent storage when they’re not being actively used. These are the best places to store items you’re not currently using:
- Attic: If you have attic space in your home, make sure you utilize it. Everything from winter jackets to holiday lights can be stored in the attic when they’re not being used.
- Under the bed: Putting clothes under your bed when they’re not being worn keeps them out of your way but close by in case you want to wear them.
- Shed: If you have a shed in your yard, you should store all outdoor/landscaping items in it, rather than in your garage. Garages can quickly become overcrowded if they accumulate too much.
- Storage unit: According to CostHelper, the average storage unit costs $40-$50 per month for a 5-by-5-foot unit and $75-$140 per month for a 10-by-15-foot unit. If you can afford it, storage units are a great asset that can allow you to save space in your home.
Invest in Smart Storage
If you’re struggling to find space in your house, luckily, many options exist to organize and save room in the storage spaces you do have.
- Vacuum-sealed bags: These bags compress clothes, pillows, blankets and other soft items to help them fit into tighter spaces. You can stack and store them away in closets or under beds, and you have the added bonus of knowing your items will be protected from outside damage.
- Stackable storage bins: If you find you’re running out of space in drawers or closets, consider organizing your items into plastic bins. Unorganized messes can take up more space than clutter organized into containers.
- Shelving and cabinets: Adding closed or open shelving units throughout your home can take care of storage and also provide an attractive feature if used in the right way. But if you don’t want to add shelves into high-traffic areas, consider putting them in laundry rooms, garages, or other less-seen areas of your home.
- Hidden storage: You can add hidden storage spaces numerous places in your home, including on staircases and inside furniture like coffee tables and ottomans.