Note from the editor: Houzz is an amazing resource for those looking to update their home, do some decorating, and prepare their home for sale. You can share these these articles with your clients who are looking for ways to fix up their home to help it sell. We appreciate Houzz for providing us with this guest post.
By Becky Dietrich, Houzz
You have ruthlessly purged and carefully planned, but there you are in the middle of your new small home, surrounded by boxes of really necessary stuff, and you have no place to put it. I feel your pain. Believe me — I’ve been through it.
Hang in there. Here are some storage solutions that Mike and I have embraced and that have worked for us.
Be creative. Just because something is not normally considered a storage piece doesn’t mean it can’t be. Take our beloved secretary, which keeps elbowing its way into this downsizing series. Not only does it look stunning and make me happy in our new home, but the top half serves as a glassware cabinet, while the drawers store the family silver, napkins, placemats, overflow linens and even Mike’s antique platters.
Use dead space. A critical key to adequate storage is looking at unused space differently than you did in a larger home. We’ll talk a lot about shelving in the next installment of this series, but for now suffice it to say that shelves can be a downsizer’s best friend. The space over the tub often goes to waste, but not here. What a stellar way to gain both display space and storage!
The single bathroom in our bungalow is a bugaboo indeed, so I am salivating over this example. Look how wall space that normally goes unused has been put to super use.
If your home has a staircase, lucky you! That otherwise dead space underneath can become a storage bonanza with some careful planning.
Consider built-ins. Perhaps you have a nook like this or a platform bed that allows drawers below. Built-ins are an intelligent use of space when you covet more storage.
Go for double-duty pieces. When is a nightstand way more than a nightstand? When it is also a linen cabinet. One of our’s serves as storage for our extra sheets and pillowcases. If your new home lacks adequate linen closets, this might work for you, too. There are lots of nightstands that have great storage. And don’t think you have to pay full price: Ours came from a local store’s tent sale at a fraction of the retail price.
Our bungalow had no real entry and no guest closet. No problem! A bench that we formerly used for a coffee table became the perfect create-an-entry piece. Its drawers hold our first aid kits and emergency preparedness supplies (after all, we live in California), along with all the games we refuse to throw away because we really will play them someday. Behind the doors are my walking shoes and the cookbooks we can’t live without that don’t fit in our tiny kitchen. We added a pegged rack above the bench to hang coats and purses on. Voilà — instant entry hall.
Mike and I use this tallish chest as both a TV stand and household storage. Only 16 inches deep, it fits in even the smallest room, and its 36-inch height means the TV can sit on it rather than be mounted on the wall (which is a big deal if, like us, you’re renting). Its drawers house all our CDs and DVDs, extra lightbulbs, extension cords, candles and candleholders, laptop paraphernalia and, best of all, my collection of South Pacific shells. It also, much to my delight, hides the modem and wireless router.
Before you ask, this piece is not available in stores. Mikey built it for us years ago. (I know! He’s a keeper.) But you can find similar pieces if you search thrift and consignment stores, or search online for credenzas, buffets or apothecary chests. Ruby Lane is a fun source, and Houzz has several in the Products section. The important thing to remember is that the overall depth is a critical dimension in a small space.
Invest in a closet system. Even tiny closets benefit hugely from closet systems. They allow “a place for everything and everything in its place.” My personal favorite for quality, versatility and ease of installation (unfortunately, this is a totally uncompensated plug) is the Swedish closet system by Elfa, found at the Container Store. Added benefit: It’s easy to remove and take with you.
Use your garage smartly. If you have a garage, the space high up and some plastic bins can be just the ticket for seasonal decorations — and anything else you rarely need to access. Just take care that the support shelves are very securely anchored to the wall or ceiling. (I know … duh.)
If you can manage a pulley system, this is a terrific idea!
Think baskets. Finally, unless you detest baskets, downsizing gives you the perfect opportunity to indulge in them. Whether they are under your bed or tucked under pieces of furniture, they make great-looking, welcoming and comfortable storage.
Do you feel better now? Yay!