Canadian Woodworking

Top 10 ways to improve storage

“Out with the old” is the first step to finding more space for household and personal items. Focusing on a certain area or items to be stored yields big results, too.

1. Nearest the Main Door – Maybe not the spot for an armoire in most homes, but smaller dedicated storage like a coat rack, umbrella stand, or wallet and key shelf will go a long way to keep­ing the front entrance of your home tidy, welcoming and functional.

2. Nearest the Secondary Door – Boot trays and lots of seasonal jacket and clothing storage will come in handy for your family, especially during the shoulder seasons where you need every­thing nearby in case the weather turns (which it will). It will also reduce dirt and clutter. Reusable bag storage, anyone?

3. Basement – Get serious with some basic floor-to-ceiling plywood and 2×4 storage shelving. Once you have large plastic lidded bins for storing gear and other items, customize the shelf heights to fit these bins. For the ultra-organized, this is the time to buy a label maker. For me, it’s Sharpie time.

4. Outside – When the indoors becomes too cluttered and full, turn to the outside. A shed, or even a covered area, will provide security and protection from the elements for items that unnecessarily take up room indoors.

5. Shed or Storage Locker – Rather than just stacking items on top of each other, take a bit of time to create some very basic, sturdy shelves for these areas to not only let you fit more into the space, but also allow access to what’s there without needing to first pull everything out.

6. Garage – Don’t be afraid to change with the seasons. If it’s winter put the bikes up high; if it’s summer replace the bikes with skis, shovels and salt. There are lots of garage-organizing products on the market, but we woodworkers and DIYers are a creative and handy bunch, so think outside the box.

7. Inside Wall Cavities (between 2×4s) – Many interior walls are without electrical wires, ducts or water pipes. Granted, it’s not a huge area, but a few simple custom cabinets between studs will go a long way towards storing smaller items. This is especially true for small bathrooms where product bottles, bars of soap and toilet paper take up a surprising percentage of storage space.

8. Bedroom Built-Ins – When closets are non-existent (or full) built-ins are a simple way to provide more storage in a criti­cal area of everyone’s day-to-day life. Consider long-term storage needs and build storage that has adjustable shelves and the potential for future adjustments.

9. Kitchen – Possibly the trickiest room in the house to organize properly. Getting rid of lesser-used stuff to make more room for regularly used stuff is job one. Next, adding extra shelves to existing cabinets, organizing the area under the sink or making a custom cabi­net is the way to go. Consider adding other storage areas nearby to store those infrequently used kitchen items.

10. Basement Workshop – I’m not looking to make enemies here, but keeping a basement work­shop clean, while making sure it doesn’t migrate too far into the rest of the basement, is probably a good long-term approach to working wood in your base­ment. If tools do cross your workshop’s boundaries, make sure to store them neatly so nobody gets angry.

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