Making the Most of Your
By Nikki Willhite
Many of us live in homes where space is at a premium. Storage
space can be essential to our feelings about our homes. If our household items
and other things we use can be easily stored and located, we are much more
comfortable and have better feelings about our homes.
If we have no place to put things, we can get aggravated. When
we canít find things, we get further aggravated!
One of the best, yet under utilized, storage spaces in our homes
is our closets. Most of us do not use them to full advantage.
Everything we store in closets is behind doors. This gives us a
lot of options. There are many ways we can store things using a variety of
materials, and we donít have to worry about how they look.
Take a good look in your closets. If you are seeing much of the
back wall, you are wasting space.
There are a lot of innovative things that are done with closet
space besides storage. I'm sure you've seen where the doors have been taken off,
and the space has been used to make a home office. Sometimes the doors are
replaced with something that will close the area off when not in use, such as
folding doors or even curtains.
This is an inexpensive project. You can place file cabinets at
each end of the closet with a sheet of plywood on top for a desk. You will need
electrical work so that you can have lighting in the area or plug in computers.
Closet space can also be adapted for a washer and dryer. This is
a little more difficult as you need plumbing as well as electrical.
Another not so well known trick is to use the closets for extra
sleeping space. You can make bunk beds in the closet space, and keep them hidden
behind doors. This is great if you have a lot of young visitors and need more
As to regular storage, there are many products on the market now
to organize your closets. Some are more expensive than others. A good closet
system does improve the market value of your home, as it will appeal to women,
much as fresh shelf paper in the kitchen did a few years ago.
You do not have to buy commercial systems to improve the storage
in your closets. This is a do-it-yourself project that does not require much
Everyone has different storage needs. Some things are heavy and
require sturdy shelves. Other items are lightweight. Such is the case with the
fabric I store. I am able to use very economical plastic shelves. On the other
hand, cans of food are heavier, and require metal or wood shelving to support
You also need to keep in mind how high you plan to stack your
items. Fabric can be stack up high. Other items, such as cans of food, do not
stack up high and need closely spaced shelves to maximize storage.
There is a lot or variety with purchased shelving units. However
you will achieve the maximum storage making your own wooden shelves. You can get
the exact height, width and depth you need to utilize every square inch of
potential storage space.
You can often gain half your clothing closet for shelving space
by using one side of your closet for clothing, and then building shelving on the
other side. Just lower the bar that holds your clothes so that you can place
another one on top of it. You will need to leave some room for longer items like
dresses and robes.
Free up more space by getting rid of items that are not serving
you. A good rule of thumb on clothing is that if you haven't worn it in a year,
get rid of it. The exception to this is clothing you wear only on special
Women often need a space to store clothing that doesn't fit
because of weight fluctuations and pregnancy. Children pass down clothing, and
you will need a place to put those clothing items also.
I like to keep a large plastic container for each family member.
When I see items during the year that are on sale that I think they will like, I
put these things in their container. Then when birthdays and Christmas roll
around, I have a head start.
If you need ideas on how to organize your closets, just go to
your local home improvement center. Check out all the options. Use what they
have, or adapt their ideas and do it yourself.
A well-organized house just runs smoother. It may also save you
money by keeping you from moving to a larger home, just for more storage space.
One of my sons just purchased his first home. It is relatively
small, only around 850 square feet. However every space possible in that house
was adapted for storage. There are shelves above doorways and cupboards in every
The interesting thing about this house is the people who lived
in it. They had six children! I'm sure it was a challenge living in that house.
However, they reaped the rewards, as it was mortgage free when they sold it.
Take the time and effort to make your home as comfortable
and practical as possible. It will save time, aggravation, and money.