The Best Built-In Storage Solutions for Your Home

Built in Storage Under a Staircase

Image courtesy of This Old House

We’ve all been to the local department store and gawked at the next great storage invention. Light-up tubs that sing the Seinfeld theme song? What’s not to love? The problem with these standard cupboards and shelving units is they can clutter your space more than clear it. Fortunately for the cramped homeowner, built-in storage provides an affordable and efficient way to clear your space and your mind. All it takes is a little planning, a little creativity, and a little elbow grease.

Determine Your Need

Storage space for storage’s sake is about as useful as shoes for shoes’ sake. As exciting as it is to organize your home, it’s important to understand what you need to organize before you get started. Take stock of your current mess. Clothes spilling out of the closet? Garage full of spare parts? Toys turning stairs into a treacherous trail? Each of these day-to-day annoyances will help you determine which built-in storage solutions would make the biggest difference. Furthermore, the type of mess you possess will help dictate what kind of storage you should choose. Books require shelves, toys require boxes, and clothes require clothes-rods and drawers. Devise your plan of attack around utility and need and you’ll never end up with excess space.

Evaluate Your Space

Of course, your built-in storage has to go somewhere, so take a look at your available room. Unlike standing storage, however, the space you find may be hidden to the untrained eye. All around your home there is unclaimed space. In thick walls, under staircases, and even vertically in a tall room or garage. Whether it’s cosmetic, oversight, or just plain coincidence, this space has gone overlooked for far too long. That’s where built-ins thrive. Look in these inconspicuous places and imagine shelves, plastic bins for toys, or additional closet space. Even a small desk with a computer can fit beneath a staircase with a little creativity. Next thing you know, your house will seem a little bigger, without changing size at all.

Compare Your Options

With your target acquired and your goal understood, it’s time to evaluate options. In this arena, there are two primary categories: DIY and pre-built. Pre-built storage is useful for a number of reasons. First of all, it requires little to no work on your part, outside of assembly, to turn your empty space into a functioning closet. Second, these options are usually made of metal, making them strong enough to withstand heavy loads and durable enough to justify the money spent. The problem with pre-built storage lies in its limitation. Let’s say your staircase is a bit unconventional; odd dimensions, awkward space, no stud on the back wall. If your catalog of options doesn’t feature a shelf with the right length, or you find yourself compromising space to fit these units awkwardly into the nook, then your built-in storage loses a bit of functionality for the sake of easy installation. DIY options, on the other hand, know no bounds. Do you need a shelf cut to 16 and 5/16ths of an inch? No problem! Simply take out your saw, hammer, and nails, and construct a built-in storage unit that perfectly fits your needs. Of course, therein lies the problem. DIY storage solutions require that you do it all yourself. If you’re uncomfortable around tools, or even a poor craftsman/woman, then your shelving may look ugly, or even fail to support the weight of your possessions. Know your ability and establish a budget before you dig the tools out of the closet. That way you’ll avoid a late-night drill injury when a perfectly good premade shelf could’ve saved you a lot of time and energy.

Get Creative

A lot has been said about shelves, clothing rods, and buckets. These are, of course, only some of the options available. Particularly when customizing your built-in storage, it’s valuable to be creative. What if you hung the children’s jump ropes on a coat hook? How about a shoe rack, hung over a clothes rod, to hold all your cleaning supplies? Divide a space into compartments in order to segment your books and build a more organized library. Your space has specific needs, and your solutions should match those needs in the best way possible.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

Finally, a word of advice for the ambitious homeowner: Don’t purchase shelving/materials unprepared. Plan your space. Create the ideal closet or recessed cupboard on paper before you even make a cut. Home organization is about making your life better, and with the tips mentioned here, your days of late-night Lego disasters can be a thing of the past.

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The Clutter Effect

cluttered room with old computers and a video game wall

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Text messages, emails, phone bills, and toys; the sensory overload of our modern lives is hard for anyone to navigate. Our schedules, homes, and inboxes are full, but that alone isn’t the problem.

Clutter is an issue. Our senses need a little peace and quiet to make sense of our surroundings. So what happens when the items and invoices pile up? We become stressed. Fortunately for the overstretched mind, hope lies in coming to terms with our curiously productive need for mess.

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6 Ways to Make Spring Cleaning Less Painful

sponge in the air

Raise your sponge up in the muthaBLEEP’n air! Wave that muthaBLEEPer like you just don’t care!

As the snow melts away and the grass greets our feet, one dreadful realization sets in: it’s time for spring cleaning. The car, guest room, and backyard have all accumulated clutter while you weren’t looking, and no one’s happy about that.

Fortunately, spring cleaning doesn’t have to break our backs, budgets, or brains. Here are 6 ways to make your home shine without the stress and disorganization you’ve grown to fear. Continue reading

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6 Must-See Colorado Attractions

Aspen at night

Denver, a bustling, modern metropolis, is at the heart of Colorado, a state known for majestic natural beauty. This division within a single state’s borders makes it no surprise that people want to vacation there. Since Colorado is larger than the smallest ten states combined, though, you’re not likely to see the whole thing in one visit, so we’ve put together a list of must-see destinations in the Centennial State.

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Plan Your Next Extended Vacation To One of These U.S. Cities

the scenic american city

Oh the places you’ll go!

As summer draws near, the desire to travel and go on vacation rises along with the temperature, and the United States is a great country in which to vacation, due to the fact that it is one of the most ecologically diverse countries in the world. No matter what you want to see, the United States has it somewhere; from the deserts of Arizona to the snow capped mountains of Alaska, and from the seaside resorts of the Carolinas to the tropical party towns of the Florida Keys.

Not only is there an environment for every taste, but many of the cities in these unique settings have equally unique attractions to offer visitors. The right attraction can take an ordinary trip and make it extraordinary. Here are some great options for your next getaway, conveniently organized by landscape!

Mountains: Denver, Colorado

In the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, Denver is a gorgeous modern city nestled in the middle of some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world.

Much like America itself, Denver offers a wide range of experiences. You can release your inner shutterbug or pioneer hiking and camping in the Front Range, then unwind while taking in the hopping craft beer scene. Finally, you can enjoy the all of the pleasures of a modern metropolis, relaxing and being served at some of the best restaurants in the country,

One restaurant in the area that can’t be missed is Domo. It has twice been voted as the most authentic Japanese restaurant in the U.S. by Zagat and is currently the fifth best Japanese restaurant overall. Great for sushi lovers and hibachi fans alike.

The Tropics: Key West, Florida

The island of Key West, Florida is the Southern-most point in the continental United States. It even boasts a sign on its southern point that reads “90 Miles to Cuba.”

The island is an absolute Caribbean dream town, full of tiki huts and palm trees, roadside vendors, and restaurants offering Key Lime pie made with homegrown limes.

During the summer, there are festivals coinciding with fishing season and these parties can become so wild that the entire island occasionally – and briefly! – loses power from all the pumping electronics. While the power’s out, all you hear are the cheers of the partiers and all you see are the stars over the Atlantic Ocean.

If you are not a partier and prefer a more tranquil experience, the sights of Key West and its surrounding Florida Keys are still a perfect fit. The Seven Mile Bridge, for example, is a marvel of modern engineering. As its name suggests, the causeway stretches seven miles, connecting two of the islands of the Keys and is quite the sight. We recommend driving it at sunrise or sunset and taking advantage of the designated viewing stations along the bridge. The view is as near to heaven as you’ll find on Earth.

Desert: Phoenix, Arizona

In the Southwest lies Phoenix, a bustling metropolis in the heart the Sonoran Desert.

Phoenix is a great vacation destination, offering hours upon hours of entertainment options, including a plethora of performing arts venues (such as The Phoenix Symphony Hall and the Orpheum Theatre). It also serves as a hub to make sure you have any amenities you need before you go and explore the wild world of the Sonoran desert, and the former dwellings of the native Pueblo tribes that once thrived in the region. Plus, if you visit in the spring, there’s no better way to relax than with a few Cactus League Spring Training games!

Beachfront: Clearwater, Florida

There is a reason that Florida is such a huge tourist destination. Disneyworld, Universal Studios, Miami, and the aforementioned Keys are wonderful. But that’s not all: quietly nestled amongst the heavy hitters is Clearwater.

The city faces the Gulf of Mexico, which gives it an astounding view of the sea, but it is tough to top the beach itself. It is a white sandy heaven so smooth it feels like flour between your toes.

The town is preparing itself to become next big tourist stop in The Sunshine State: it has undergone beautification projects to several buildings in its downtown to make sure that tourists experience only the finest.

Great Plains: Des Moines, Iowa

Des Moines, like Clearwater, is a major vacation destination in its infancy. Seriously.

In recent years, the city has taken strides to challenge Chicago and Minneapolis as hubs of the Midwest. Regardless of the fact that Des Moines lies in the middle of the breadbasket of the country, the city combines the best of two worlds: metropolitan features with rural friendliness.

Due to the myriad of minor league sports teams including the Iowa Cubs, (AAA affiliate club of the Chicago Cubs) and the Iowa Wild (Minnesota’s Minor League Hockey affiliate), Des Moines is ahead of the curve. If you want to see the next big thing, it’s playing in Des Moines.

Summer time in the city turns Des Moines into a breeding ground for arts and music, including the 80/35 music festival, which lasts for two days in early July, and has featured acts such as Death Cab for Cutie, The Roots, David Byrne & St. Vincent, and the Wu Tang Clan. It’s safe to say that a vacation to Des Moines will definitely not leave you bored.

With the range of vacation spots in the US, you can let that passport rest for a little while. From sea to shining sea, America really does offer something for everyone.

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How To Make Your Home Storage Look More Like Art

Keeping your home organized will not only help you find things easily but will also help reduce your stress. The key to keeping things organized is making sure that everything has its place in your home. Unfortunately, storage bins can be unattractive and plastic bins on shelves are hardly a fashion statement. Thankfully, there are numerous ways to help your home storage look like art and contribute to the aesthetics of your home while keeping you organized.

Colorful boxes and bins

Rather than just purchasing plain rubbermaid bins or plastic totes, consider investing in beautiful fabric bins or baskets in the same color scheme as your home. There are numerous bookshelves for purchase now that have perfect square compartments designed specifically to hold these bins.

Alternatively, gather a large collection of similarly sized cardboard boxes and cover them with pretty wrapping paper or fabric scraps. You can even use a set of boxes of increasingly smaller size to make a tower. Cover them in coordinating colors and display them in a corner of a room. No one has to know they are really for storage.

Use creative vessels to hold your items

If you are accustomed to simply putting things on a shelf or in a closet, consider instead investing in some creative vessels to hold those items. Tall things like straws, markers, and pencils look absolutely lovely in pails. In fact you can store most anything in decorative pails on shelves. If you are feeling ambitious, you can even nail a board to your wall, affix hooks, and hang pails on the hooks. All of your items will be close at hand and look stunning at the same time. You can choose galvanized pails or from an array of colors.

If pails aren’t for you, you can find small, decorated wooden boxes or crates to accomplish the same goal with a more rustic touch.

Display your things

Consider the items that you will be storing and think about finding a creative way to display them instead. For example: if you need to store all your craft paper and materials, instead of tucking them away in a bin, you can put them in creative vessels, then display them in an artistic fashion on a shelf above your crafting desk. Not only will it keep your items accessible but they will be within view so you will be more likely to use them.

If you have an active hobby or are an avid reader, build extra shelves in your rooms so that those items become a part of the decor, rather than hiding them away in a closet.

Buy creative looking bookshelves

Furniture can be an art statement in your home and you aren’t just limited to your couch and chairs. Many designers are coming up with creative, avant garde bookshelves that you could purchase to simply display your books or nick nacks. If you are a traveler and have lots of travel books, there is a bookshelf in the shape of a map of the United States with each state acting as its own box or shelf. Alone, this piece would take up an entire wall, but its artistic and aesthetic appeal makes it well worth the investment.

If you don’t have the budget for a designer bookshelf, consider using a ladder. A wooden ladder screwed into your wall horizontally or vertically will make a rustic and creative art piece, upon which you can store and display many items.

Showcase jewelry or accessories

If you have so much jewelry or so many accessories that you need a storage solution, consider displaying it instead. Hats hung on hooks up a wall vertically can turn a storage problem into a bedroom decoration. A plain bulletin board hung with jewelry will encourage you to wear it, but will also showcase your personality.

Storage solutions don’t have to be ugly or unsightly. With a bit of creativity and some DIY skills you can turn your storage and organization into works of art in your home, de-stressing your mind and beautifying your space.

Sources:

http://www.pinterest.com/ruthtoledo/pretty-storage/

Great Google Images for Storage Help!

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DIY Storage Ideas That Use Recycled Shipping Pallets

desk made from a wooden pallet

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Pallets (sometimes called skids) are flat transport structures that hold goods stable while being lifted by a forklift or jack. The wooden ones in particular are ubiquitous and, if you know where to look, often free. If you happen to come across some free or cheap wooden pallets, here are some easy DIY storage ideas for making the most of these simple wooden throwaways. Continue reading

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10 Reasons Why You Need a Storage Unit This Summer

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Photo Credit: me and the sysop via Compfight cc

If your home is overflowing with too many things, add renting a self storage unit to your summer to-do list. Sure, organizing your house might not seem like the best way to spend part of your summer vacation, but the benefits far outweigh the amount of work it will entail. Here are ten of the many reasons why you need a storage unit this summer. Continue reading

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10 Organization Tips to Help You Get Ready for Summer

child on swing

To quote U2: It’s a beautiful day!

As spring arrives, you may need to invest some time in reorganizing the house to prepare for warmer weather. Changing seasons likely means your family will need different items and organization to have a fun, adventurous, and healthy summer.

Here is a simple set of ten tips to help you make a successful transition as the sun comes back. Continue reading

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Ingenious Storage Solutions to Try While Spring Cleaning

flowers springtime

Springtime… FINALLY! Time to air out your home and get a-cleanin’!

After a long cold winter, precious little can feel as good as spring cleaning your home. As the sunlight starts to stream in your windows again, take the opportunity to deal with more than just dust. Instead of just cleaning your home, tackle your clutter with these helpful organization and storage tips.

Kitchen

If you make the food, you’ve likely fallen victim to a cluttered kitchen. These storage solutions will help keep your spices and sanity in order. Continue reading

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