In the smaller home, having enough storage and avoiding clutter can be a constant challenge.
Due to the expense of moving and buying a larger property, more people try to ensure their present house or flat can continue to meet their growing space requirements. With some careful thought, along with making the most of useful storage services and physical solutions, this is entirely possible.
1. The only way is up
Well, perhaps not the only way, but ‘going vertical’ is a sound idea when looking to maximise storage:
Shelving is the obvious answer perhaps, but be aware that there are a multitude of options available when it comes to shelving.
An idea that’s catching on is the ‘sliding shelf’ solution. Narrow spaces such as between the washing machine and the cooker, a recess behind a bathroom cabinet, or an under the stair cupboard can house a sliding unit that pulls out to access items on shelving.
A facility like this in the kitchen can house cleaning materials and storage for cooking ingredients such as spices. Or if it’s under the stairs, maybe pull out shoe storage; this is an excellent way of keeping footwear in one place and away from cluttering the hallway.
2. The pop up (or out) home office
Working from home needs a dedicated space to aid productivity and minimise distractions, but you may not have a dedicated room available, or even part of one.
If not, help is at hand with various flexible home workspace solutions that can be screened off when not in use. Opening the space out reveals a work surface or storage for paperwork and equipment.
If desired, the whole area can be removed from sight with a simple sliding partition to help adapt the space easily between work and leisure.
3. External storage solutions
You may think external storage is the preserve of larger organisations storing items for the long term, but there are companies providing a flexible external storage service for both domestic and commercial customers.
How might they help you?
Running a product-based home business
If you plan on running a business involving the storage and dispatch of products, or you already do but expansion means storage at home is becoming a challenge, then stock can be stored using this external service.
Maybe you’ve downsized so don’t have the space for some of your furniture, but would like to keep it for a while or just until you decide to sell it. External storage experts can provide safe and secure storage for whatever duration you choose.
Sometimes people put off decluttering because they’re not sure what to do with some items earmarked for removal. Storing them externally means you can get on with the declutter and make a decision later as they’ll be in safe storage.
If you have children at university, then storing some of their belongings externally while they’re away is a great idea. Then having their kit back in the house while they’re home for the long summer holiday avoids space being taken up by items not touched for the rest of the year.
The same could apply if they go travelling during a gap year: why let their possessions take up space for what could be several months?
Renting out property
Maybe you’re about to rent out a flat or small house and decide to offer it unfurnished, or you wish to pare down the amount of furniture in it. Either way, secure and flexible external storage can help if you don’t want to sell the furniture.
Short term external storage can help make decorating an easier process. Especially in a smaller property, if larger bulky items are removed entirely for the duration instead of having to be constantly shifted about and worked around.
4. Double duty furniture
There are many innovative furniture designs that incorporate a ‘double duty’ element; for example, sofas that double as handy storage facilities are commonplace and are available in various design styles.
Certain chest designs offer plenty of storage while doubling as seating areas, and storage ottomans are popular – especially as they offer a pleasant aesthetic in some spaces along with the storage function.
Beds with storage space underneath have long been a staple of storage provision. But some innovative storage methods using space behind the headboard for slide out shelving as discussed earlier, is a popular way of eking out as much storage space as possible.
5. Storage as an aesthetic
The need for storage can be turned into a feature – the mounting of large screen televisions on walls to get them up and away from valuable floor space can, in turn, make for an attractive ‘tech’ corner of the area.
Some keen cyclists even store their bike by prominently displaying it on a wall using one of a multitude of mounting solutions.
It’s a way of a bulky piece of equipment that requires safe storage taking up far less space and becoming a talking point at the same time. It’s ideal if secure storage such as a locked shed or garage isn’t available, although it might not suit all environments – a beamed cottage with an exposed brick interior wall might look odd with a carbon fibre bodied bike hanging from it.