Thinking Inside the Box

While your home isn’t likely to expand over the years the amount of stuff you accumulate is bound to grow exponentially. If your home seems to be overrun by things check out our small-space storage solutions, and make some space for yourself in your house. 

Keep Your Favourite Magazines

Space-saving magazine racks are available at home improvement stores. You might attach a six-tiered magazine rack to the back of a door with wood screws, for example. Or keep magazines in upright magazine holders (available in office supply stores) on a bookshelf so they will be within easy reach but out of the way. After you have collected two year’s worth of magazines in the holders, it’s your signal to start discarding the older issues.

Control Catalogue Build Up

Keeping catalogues “just in case” can use up a lot of den or family room space. Buy an accordion-style file folder to hold catalogs you are not ready to throw out. Give each catalog a two-month life span. After that, throw them out. (You will undoubtedly get a replacement soon.) You can also save space by jotting down the Web sites of each company and going online the next time you want to place an order.

Smart CD Storage

You can dress up your family room and organize your CD collection with wicker baskets. Pick square or rectangular baskets in colors and designs that match the room’s décor. Designate different colors for different types of music. Line up the CDs in the baskets so that you can read the titles. Baskets are often prettier and handier than the metal CD holders you can buy at music stores.

Surviving Without a Hall Closet

Many apartments and small homes don’t have coat closets near the front door. Depending on your space, you can improvise a satisfactory way to handle family and guest coats, gloves, scarves, and hats. Buy a sturdy coat stand to keep by the front door, or install a row of hooks or pegs. A small table with a drawer or a compact chest of drawers can provide a place for gloves and such. Some hallways are large enough for an armoire to hold outerwear. Include an umbrella stand in the mix for rainy days.

Keeping Shoes and Clothes in Their Proper Place

Keep some clothing items in storage bins under your bed. Just buy some inexpensive small casters at the hardware store. Screw them to the bottoms of shallow wooden boxes or drawers from an old dresser. (Make sure the drawers, with casters attached, will fit under the bed.) You can fill the drawers with seasonal clothes because they can easily be rolled out when you need an article of clothing.

Controlling the Shoe Stampede

Save up-front space for the three or four pairs of shoes you wear the most, and store and stack your shoes in clear plastic containers so you can quickly select the pair you want to wear. If you can’t bring yourself to throw the cardboard shoe boxes out, label each box so you can easily identify what’s in it without lifting the lid.

Smart Out-of-Season Storage

You can store seldom-used clothes (such as evening gowns and tuxedos) in very little space if you use special vacuum-seal bags, which are available at hardware stores. Put the clothing in the special plastic bag and use a vacuum cleaner to suck all the air out before sealing the bag. The clothes compress and are totally safe from insects and dust.

Make Room in Your Pantry

If your walls and floor are jammed with cans and boxes, look behind you: Is the back of your pantry door being used effectively? Install narrow shelves or hanging racks on the door to hold frequently needed items such as spices, condiments, and snacks. (Don’t hang anything too heavy on the door, or the weight may cause it to drag on the floor.)

Create a Wine Cellar

Keep your bottled wine in the basement. Unless you’re a certified oenophile, you probably don’t keep the quantity or quality of vintage wines to justify a full wine cellar, which is a small refrigerator calibrated to keep wine at a consistent temperature and humidity. To store wines properly, you just need a dark, cool space. (The optimal conditions are constant temperatures of between 12° and 17°C, and between 60 and 80 per cent humidity.) Wine should not be jostled, so keep it in a part of the basement where the traffic is low. Since wine bottles should be stored on their side, look for adjustable racks that will fit on shelves or stand on the floor. One more suggestion: Strong odors can infiltrate an aging bottle of wine, so keep your wine far from the garlic cloves and ammonia.

Still Stuck for Space?

Use the bottom step in the basement If you have wooden steps leading down to your basement, you can convert the bottom step to a storage bin. Pry up the bottom step with a crowbar or claw hammer and screw a pair of hinges at the back of the step. The step becomes the lid for your new storage space. This is a great spot to tuck away tools, batteries, or spare light bulbs.