We may be living in a digital age, but we seem to have acquired more stuff than ever – and the pandemic hasn’t helped, with and sales of everything from cleaning products and gaming gear to home office and gym equipment soaring during lockdown. If your cupboards are bursting at the seams, this is the guide for you!
With careful planning it’s relatively easy to get organised and discover space you never knew you had. We’ll show you how to to make the most of your home’s storage potential, by identifying those unused corners ripe for transformation into storage space. Here are seven ideas to explore when it comes to maximising storage space in your home.
1. Use all the loft space
The obvious place to stash stuff you don’t use very often, the loft should be boarded to provide a sturdy, level surface for boxes. For safe access, fit an extendable ladder that folds back into the hatch. These jobs can be done by experienced DIYers, but there are specialist brands that can complete the task within a day.
2. Fill the eaves
If the attic’s already been converted or the top floor bedrooms have sloping ceilings, you’ll be reliant on the eaves for storage. Fortunately, they often relinquish a surprising amount of usable space: get drawers, cupboards, compartments and shelves custom built to accommodate the awkward angles and, depending on the roof’s pitch, you might even be able to include a low-level hanging rack and a desk or dressing table.
3. Install wall units and open shelves
Open-plan living has brought us multipurpose, light-filled rooms but comes at a price as you’ll have fewer walls to rely on for storage. So, it’s vital to make the most of your remaining wall space by adding fitted units and open shelving. Opt for floor-to-ceiling cabinets so you won’t be tempted to pile things on top.
If you’re installing a new kitchen and don’t already have a dedicated office area, consider integrating a workstation that blends in seamlessly with the rest of the room.
Built-in shelving and desks in living and dining areas can be concealed behind folding or sliding doors, which keeps everything neat and tidy, while narrow bookshelves will utilise the space above door frames or above furniture.
4. Look under the stairs
The under-stairs cupboard is often taken for granted but a clear-out, rethink and refit can work wonders. We suggest divide it into three sections – ideally with its own door – using the tallest section for large items you use most days, like the vacuum cleaner and ironing board, the middle compartment for jackets and scarves, and the smallest one for your DIY equipment and tools.
In an open-plan area, you could expand kitchen storage by creating an under-stairs pantry or adding shelves and pull-out compartments for crockery, glassware and saucepans. Get more ideas for maximising kitchen storage here.
If you’re a wine enthusiast, the under-stairs cupboard could even become a wine cellar! And, with a little imagination and decent carpentry skills, the stair risers could be turned into rows of handy drawers.
5. Explore every little corner
Don’t forget that even the smallest spaces can be turned into useful homes for all kinds of items. For instance, if you have a fireplace you’re not using, fit it out with shelves, a bottle rack or toy crates.
In the kitchen, you could fill the gap under your units with plinth drawers. Plate stackers, door and corner racks will make kitchen cupboards work twice as hard. In bedrooms, go for beds with a lift-up mattress or drawers underneath to store bulky spare duvets, bedding and pillows. And don’t forget that hallways are full of potential for storage space.
In the bathroom – typically the smallest room – slot modular furniture into the spaces under the basin and above the WC, and, if giving the bathroom a makeover, look into building recessed cubby hole shelving between the studs to take care of your showering essentials.
For more efficient bathroom storage ideas, check out our stylish ideas for storage your towels.
6. Buy built-in furniture
Fitted furniture makes far better use of space than freestanding, and flat-pack, self-assembly shelves or wardrobes are the most budget-friendly buys for a straight expanse of wall.
At the other end of the spectrum, a specialist company can tailor make a storage system that makes the most of any room, whatever its size or shape, and is ideal for dealing with awkward angles or pitched ceilings. Internal fittings such as wardrobe racks, rails and drawers that cater to your individual needs will be provided, and you’ll have your pick of colours and finishes.
If you’re undertaking a bigger renovation, hiring an architect to create clever ways of maximising space will be money well spent.
7. Tackle the clutter
There’s absolutely no point in addressing your home’s storage problems until you’ve had a major declutter – a task which in itself will free up valuable space. You’ll need to be ruthless, so enlist help if you’re hopeless at making decisions, and put items in one of five piles – keep, sell, charity, recycle or rubbish.
Make the job more manageable by tackling it room by room, and focus on one area at a time – for example, a chest of drawers or under the bed. We’ve prepared a guide to decluttering and organising your home to help you out.
Feature Andrea Dean