Storage Solutions

10 Solutions for Your Storage Problems

We all have storage problems. Step-by-Step Declutter has storage solutions! Following is a list of simple practices you can implement in your life that will not only help you get organized; they will help you become an organized person. Anyone can tidy up a space. My goal is to give you the tools you need to make long-term changes in your life, in the way you think about your stuff.

There are tons of sites out there with cute and clever storage ideas. While I hope you will find plenty of those on the pages of this website, I hope even more that you’ll find answers and gain insight into what it truly means to be organized. Once you embrace the principles of decluttering (i.e. the why behind the cute and clever), you’ll be an unstoppable organizing machine!

Below you’ll find 10 storage solutions designed to be applicable in a variety of situations and circumstances. In addition, look for numerous links to more specific storage related topics.

Storage Solution #1: Look at Your Lifestyle

The single most important factor to take into consideration when planning your storage is your lifestyle. How do you use your stuff? By answering this question you can better determine where and how to store things.

Your goal should be to create user-friendly storage solutions. Let me illustrate with a bad example from my own life…

I love to scrapbook, and like many people I have hundreds of photos waiting to be displayed and enjoyed. So why is it that I hardly ever scrapbook? Simple. I have failed to come up with an effective storage solution for my supplies that makes them easy to get out when I want to use them and easy to put away when I’m done. As a result, every time I think about scrapbooking I quickly decide against it because it’s too much hassle and takes too much time to set up and take down.

Storage Solution #2: Keep It Simple

The fewer steps required to put something away, the more likely it is that it’s going to end up where it belongs.

Ideally there should only be one, and no more than three steps required to put something away. For example:

  1. open drawer
  2. drop item into open container within drawer
  3. close drawer

is preferable to

  1. open drawer
  2. take out container from within drawer
  3. remove lid from container
  4. drop item into container
  5. replace container's lid
  6. replace container
  7. close drawer

This sequence may seem simple enough, but often we (or our loved ones) are either too busy or too lazy to work through the steps no matter how little time it actually takes to do so. We think to ourselves “I’ll take care of it later”, and before long a whole lot of 'laters' are piled up on the counter, floor, stairs, etc.

One way to reduce the number of steps involved is to use open storage containers. I’m amazed by how much more often my children’s dirty clothes end up in the hamper when the hamper has no lid. That simple, millisecond task of lifting the lid is a deterrent.

Keep it simple.

Storage Solution #3: Store It Where You Use It

When you store items in the place where they are used (or as close to the place as possible), you set yourself up for success.

You can more easily find what you need when you need it.  

You can more easily put things away when you’re done.  

You reduce the number of steps involved in any given task, thus simplifying the task (see Solution #2).

Storage Solution #4: Store Like Items Together

Hair accessories, batteries, light bulbs, hand tools, office supplies, sports equipment – these are just some of the things often found in multiple locations throughout the home.

By storing items of the same type together, you save yourself money. You can easily determine what you have and what you need and thereby avoid unnecessary purchases of duplicates.

You also save yourself frustration because you can easily find what you’re looking for.

Storage Solution #5: Utilize Multiples

This may seem like a contradiction to storage solution #4, but I prefer to think of it as an exception. The exception applies specifically to what I call ‘roamers’, those items which are often wanted in more than one location throughout the home. As such, they regularly go missing or get left lying around.

Let’s use scissors as an example. Someone uses them in the kitchen to cut out a coupon. Later, someone else sees them sitting on the kitchen counter and takes them to another room to use on a project. Later still someone else wants to use them to wrap a gift, but they are nowhere to be found.

My storage solution for combating this dilemma is to keep a set of scissors in a pencil cup on top of every desk in the house (along with pens and pencils - also 'roamers'). Having them out on the desk limits the number of steps required to retrieve them (see solution #2). I also keep a pair in the kitchen and additional pairs are stashed in with the gift wrap and sewing kits (see solution #6). In this way I always have a pair of scissors when and where I want them without having to search for them (see solution #3), and I never have to worry about someone ‘borrowing’ mine and not returning them.

Identify the ‘roamers’ in your home. Consider buying multiples and placing one in each room where you frequently use them.

Storage Solution #6: Create Kits

Kits make great storage solutions. They're purpose is to make household tasks easier. Create a kit for any recurring task which requires specific tools. Some examples include: a mending kit, a fix-it kit, a gift wrap kit, a bicycle repair kit, a homework kit, a correspondence kit (for mail), a cleaning kit, and a first aid kit.

Recommended Reading

To learn more about Storage Kits and how to create them click the image below.

Storage Solution #7: Label It

Labels are a great way to give your storage a clean, unified look. More importantly, labels make it easy to identify what you’re looking for without having to rifle through a bunch of similar looking containers.

In addition, labels make it easy for everyone else in the household to know where things are, and better still, where they belong when they are out of place.

Storage Solution #8: Maximize Your Space

Look for ways to utilize every inch of available space in cupboards, closets, drawers, etc.

In kitchen cupboards add helper shelves, Lazy Susans, tiered organizers, under shelf bins, and other nifty space promoters.

Divide closets into sections with different types of storage designed for specific items: rods for hanging clothes, drawers and shelves for folded clothes, hooks for hats and belts, cubbies or bins for shoes, etc.

Add hooks or over-the-door organizers to the backs of cabinet and closet doors. Utilize dead space under beds and in other nooks and crannies.

Make the most of every inch.

Storage Solution #9: Think Outside “the Box”

Often when we think of storage we think of boxes, but there are many functional and attractive 'and functional 'outside the box' storage solutions available. Some of these options are traditional such as baskets or bins. Others are more exotic or creative, but still practical. Re-purposing non-traditional items as storage containers can save money and add character to your home.

Recommended Reading

When it comes to utilizing storage containers, it’s best to “become as a little child”.   Have you ever noticed that children often find unintended uses for things? Tools become toys, toys become weapons, and simple cardboard boxes become castles. Nothing limits their active imaginations.  

Follow this example and let go of your preconceived notions for what a thing is or how a thing is meant to be used and look instead for the possibilities.

Often when we think of storage containers we think of boxes, but there are many functional and attractive non-box storage options available.

Click the image above for inspiration to get you started.

Storage Solution #10: “A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place”

There is a reason certain phrases become cliches; it’s because they’re true! Such is the case with this little nugget of wisdom.

When stuff doesn't have a home of its own, it ends up “squatting” on some other stuff’s real estate – taking up valuable space and leaving things looking cluttered. Taking the time to identify a home for all your stuff is one of the most useful storage solutions you can employ.

Recommended Reading

For a closer look at this principle in action, check out this teenage boy's room makeover in which simple open containers provided some much needed storage solutions.

Don't just tidy up your space. Get organized! Apply these simple, sensible storage solutions in your life, and you will be well on your way to becoming an organized person!

More Storage Solutions

Check out the links below for other useful storage solutions:

If you would like help solving your storage issues, click on the link below to contact me.

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