For about $6,000 per year you can instantly solve all of your home storage problems by renting space at your local storage facility ($500 a month gets you a 16-by-20-foot storage space in California).
Or, you can rethink your home organization plan, solve your storage problems quickly and easily – and save a fortune in rental and logistics costs.
Here are several key things to mull over. Sure, some are obvious. But this time, don’t just read about them. Do them!
• Get rid of junk. If you haven’t used it for years, sell it, donate it or discard it. When was the last time you went through the hall closet or the toy box?
• Repack important items into smaller or more carefully packed containers. Make sure containers are airtight if they are to be stored in the attic, crawl space or an outbuilding. Rodents and roaches love living in piles of old photographs and memorabilia.
(By the way, if you’re thinking of an outbuilding, a nice ready-made storage building will cost anywhere from $500 to $3,000 depending on size; an average one sells for about $1,200.)
• Closet organization systems are better and cheaper than ever. Look into what’s available and make full use of precious closet space. Consider splitting your wardrobe into summer and winter. Creating an off-season closet somewhere in your home can make your everyday wear easier to get at.
• Discard outdated medications (they all have a shelf life). Check with your local waste haulers on how to properly accomplish this.
• Summer swim things (goggles, fins, inflatables and other items made of rubber and plastic) are best stored in a cool area like a crawl space or basement. Never store anything that is heat-sensitive in an attic.
In the kitchen
Rollouts and pullouts in the kitchen make lots of sense, but there are other ways to make good use of available space:
• Use a flat sheet of plastic between two tiers of short glasses (or other dishware), to take full advantage of the shelf-height in a kitchen cabinet.
• The cabinet over the wall oven or the one over the refrigerator is usually used to store stuff that is rarely used. This is because it is impossible to see what these cabinets contain without getting up on a stool or step ladder. Install vertical dividers in these puppies and you instantly create easy-to-access storage for trays, sheet pans, cutting boards, drying racks, broiler pans and more. When the door is opened you see what the cabinet contains front to back.
• Nest pots and lids separately from each other. Lids can be kept in a shallow drawer; nested pots take up almost no shelf space.
Use the space you have
• How about the area above the car in the garage? Did you know that there are several ceiling-mount shelf systems available on the market? Some even have their own built-in lift systems so that they can easily be reached from ground level. Pull the car out of the garage and there it is: easy-access storage as never before.
• Don’t store garden tools and equipment in the garage if you can possibly avoid it. Use an outbuilding instead. Gardening items do well in such storage. Why muddy up the garage? Free it up for clean storage.
• Sell your wooden ladder to someone who has the available weatherproof storage and buy an aluminum one that can be kept outside. Aluminum ladders do really well mounted on an exterior wall with hooks made for the task.
• It really is important to design flexibility into storage features. For example: As your wardrobe changes so do your closet storage needs, but there are very inexpensive storage systems that convert from multiple-shelving to hanging-storage in moments. This kind of versatility can prove to be invaluable even during seasonal changes.