No matter how much we may try to pare down to the bare essentials, storage seems to remain a problem. Finding ways to store your items to allow for easy access, storing important items in a safe and secure manner, as well as use the space to the best of your ability requires some ingenuity—but don’t despair, it can be done. With some focused time and attention, reorganizing can make dramatic changes to your small storage space. Over a weekend, set aside some time to clear out your storage spaces and apply some of the tips and techniques offered below to make your space better serve you.
The shed is a useful area to store items that do not need to be kept indoors, such as camping gear, sports equipment, and tools. It can also be a safe haven for your recreational vehicles during the winter months. If you have a motorcycle or other recreational vehicle that you routinely access and needs mechanical attention, having your shed organized is important to their upkeep.
Organizing your tools so that you know where to find what you need will help you to make repairs as needed without having to waste time searching for anything. A means of keeping your tools organized and safe is by purchasing a tool storage cabinet. You can lock the doors to protect your expensive tools from being stolen, or simply taken and not returned by a friend, neighbor, or family member.
Closets are tempting to serve as a place to send storage items to disappear to only reemerge during holidays or special occasions. However, they can be one of the most valuable storage places available to you within your own home. If you live in a home with more than one closet, assign each one a theme to best organize items that you don’t access all throughout the year. For example, one may serve as a linen closet, but also the area where you store all of your holiday decorations. To best serve you, when putting holiday decorations back in storage, place them at the bottom or the back and move the next holiday’s decorations towards the front. This way you are ready to dress the table or decorate the front door more easily than ever before.
Closets also are a great place for jackets and other clothing to stack up and go unworn overtime. Theses pieces could be donated to benefit others while also freeing up space to use for other things. Also, don’t forget that box of old photos. In the event of a natural disaster or a fire, your precious memories could be gone in a matter of minutes. There are a number of ways to organize your photos including scanning your old print photos so they are safely stored digitally in the cloud.
Most of us can tend to forget what is in our storage unit, spare bedroom, or shed until we return to search through boxes later on. Although that can be a fun game to play with ourselves, when we are searching for something we need, it can be more frustrating than not. To get the most out of your storage space, consider storing your items in boxes or bins that are the same size and shape. It allows for them to be stacked and creates a feeling of a neat and tidy shed.
Making your shed or storage unit more useful can be done by labeling or color coding your boxes or bins. Your labels can be as detailed and include a long list of the items inside, or you can group things by category, such as “winter clothes” or “gardening supplies.” When replacing the items to your shed or storage unit, consider when you will need to use those items next and sort the boxes appropriately. If you are storing your gardening supplies for the winter, move them towards the back of the shed because you know you will not be using them again for a few months at a minimum.
If you take to the outdoors often and have an RV, this is another place where storage needs to be considered. In such a small space, things can get cluttered easily—especially if you have a whole family using it—and disorganization and clutter in such a small space can make your camping and road trips more stressful than fun.
Before your next trip, take some time to organize the space in your RV. Be sure everything that can shift while driving, such as utensils and other small items, are secured by either being in drawers or strapped or velcroed to surfaces. Also, storing things vertically will help you to use your limited space more efficiently, just make sure anything you hang or store on walls is well secured, so nothing falls while driving.
Think Like a Minimalist
Knowing that you have a limited amount of storage space, try to put yourself in the mindset of a minimalist. It is tempting to accept new furniture, art, or second-hand clothing when offered such things for free. Before taking any items, no matter how large or small, consider where you will store them after the novelty has worn off. Adopting a minimalist state of mind does not have to mean that you have to live without items that you desire. It does, however, encourage you to think twice before making a purchase or accepting gifts in an attempt to limit your consumption habits. Once you have reduced the amount of superfluous items in your home, keep organized to best use the items you decide to keep.
Photo by Jason Leung
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