In this post: Sometimes being organized requires a creative approach to storage solutions. Here are 8 surprising places that I store things.⇒
This was, by far, the word most often used by readers in a recent survey to describe what they are currently struggling with. Very timely, given I already had this post planned.
You will hear me talk about storage solutions a lot in the upcoming months (along with many of the other topics mentioned in the survey), as it’s something that I, too, am always working on. I tend to be exceptionally organized, but sometimes this means devising creative solutions for storing things that don’t have an obvious home.
I am a staunch believer that the key to organization is ensuring that everything has a place (preferably close to where it will be used), and that you have the right containers to accommodate the things you need to store.
But what happens when you’ve outgrown the obvious storage spots, yet aren’t ready to discard the spill-over?
Today we’ll look at storage solutions and 8 surprising places that I store things, in an attempt to tame the chaos. These aren’t outlandish or impractical storage solutions but just simple creative ways to eek out a little extra storage from the home you already live in.
1. Store plates and tableware in a closet
I am often asked where I store all the plates that I use in my tablescapes. As someone who firmly believes you need to constantly purge to stay organized, I have to admit when it comes to dishes I’m not willing to get rid of very many. I do too many table settings and purging only works for things you don’t actually use.
So when you’ve maxed out the space in your cabinets, you need to begin to look at furniture to house some of the overflow. I could do a whole post on plate storage alone! I use kitchen cabinets, butler’s pantry cabinets and a large classic china cabinet.
But when those proved to be not enough, I co-opted a hallway closet, to provide a bit more storage. It’s next to my dining room and the closed doors keep the dust out and allow me to store various sizes and colors together.
2. Store table linens in a dresser
Many years ago I bought a beautiful antique burled wood chest. The wood is stunning but the piece is in terrible shape and the drawers are not so easy to open. They work best when the contents are as light as possible, so I like to use them for my table linens.
Like plates, I collect a lot of these and the many drawers provide ample storage. I keep tablecloths, napkins, runners and throws in these drawers and as a result, I can store all my linens in one place.
When you’re pressed for storage space, utilizing furniture for this purpose is a key strategy. As I shop for furniture for almost any room, I always opt for the piece with drawers or shelving. I needed a piece for this spot in my living room anyway, so why not pick a piece that could hold all of my table linens?
2. Store teacups in a large basket
I’ve collected teacups for a long time but in my effort to declutter, I prefer not to have them scattered about the house. I think a collection has more impact when presented all together and I was stumped how to best do that when it came to my teacups.
I have presented them layered in a china cabinet or hutch, but the look is a bit outdated and I was looking for something a little more updated.
My solution was to pile a grouping, that coordinated well together, in a sumptuous rattan basket, lined with a vintage white cloth. It looks pretty on a table or tucked into a corner on the floor next to a piece of furniture.
4. Store flatware in a dining table drawer
This is one of my favorite little secrets. Our dining table has tiny drawers at either end. For many years I didn’t use them as they were very shallow and frankly, I forgot they were even there.
I always kept my silver in a traditional storage box that’s packed away in a cabinet. But as I began to entertain more and more frequently, doing lots of table settings, I wanted my flatware to be more accessible.
I also wound up with an extra set when we were cleaning out my parents’ house and so I keep one set at one end and the other set at the other. It’s not the entire set by any means, but I keep my most often used pieces there and it’s an enormous convenience.
5. Store cosmetics and makeup in shoe drawers
If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know about my obsession with shoe drawers. I keep everything in them! I designed my closet shelving around the exact dimensions of the shoe drawers and they’re one of my best defenses against being overwhelmed by clutter.
And since I’m also fixated on efficiency, I tend to buy favorite products in multiples. So while I keep my current makeup in my dressing table, I store the extras in shoe drawers on a shelf in the closet.
(Efficency tip: as soon as you pull the last one out of the “extra” drawer, that’s when you need to buy more. This way you will never run out.)
6. Store gift wrap and cards in a writing desk
Perhaps this one is not surprising if you actually use a writing desk, but how many of us really do that? I like to have “stations” in a room that serve a particular purpose, so the writing desk in our living room is dedicated to wrapping and cards.
The drawers are perfect for stationary, gift tags, tissue paper and greeting cards, while a pail at the side of the desk (it’s actually an umbrella stand… ;-)) is where I keep wrapping paper rolls. Of course it’s on the far side of the desk where it’s not so obvious, because it’s not the prettiest thing to look at when you enter a room.
7. Store earrings in clear bead boxes
Another of my favorite storage solutions, I love to keep earrings and other decorative jewelry in individual compartments in clear bead boxes. I store them by color so I can always find what I’m looking for and the separate sections ensure that the earring pairs stay together.
8. Store paper files in a book case
The obvious place to keep files is in a classic file cabinet and we do have two in our home office. But as you get older and life gets more complicated, there always seems to be a need for more and more files.
I use pretty lattice file boxes for current projects or anything that doesn’t fit in our file cabinets, and store them behind the desk in our large bookcase.
I’ve only touched upon some surprising places that I like to stores things, but in the upcoming months I will get more and more into storage solutions, as it’s a clear pressing need for so many of us.
Every time I think I’ve solved the storage dilemmas in my home, new acquisitions crop up that require more solutions. From kids that are only half moved out to cleaning out parents’ houses, that empty nest doesn’t seem so empty anymore. Like many of you, I’m at this exact crossroads in life, so how about we navigate these very cluttered waters together?
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