Several years ago it was time to downsize from a large, 2,700 square-foot home to a two-bedroom apartment. Then, a year later came the move to an even smaller two-bedroom apartment that lacked even the most basic storage: coat closet, linen closet, garage or extra space of any kind.
Throughout the process, managing so many things was a huge challenge. Despite purging as much as possible and giving carloads of clothing and household items away to charity, there were still a lot of items to keep, and nowhere to store them. It was time to find some small-space-friendly storage solutions that wouldn’t create clutter. Furniture would have been an expensive option for storing things, but would have used up precious space. At the same time, adding storage space was not an option.
Heading onto the internet for resources turned out to be the best way to find storage solutions. From free to low-cost ideas, it was mind blowing to see the unexpected and clever ways people were creating space-saving storage solutions. While some ideas worked amazingly well, others were a complete waste of time and money. But some research paid off and a plan formed that would help solve our storage woes. This article offers a way to share a few things we learned the hard way about choosing the right storage solution for you.
Consider the ease of use and time involved in your storage solution.
While so many of the storage ideas out there look stylish and useful, they’re often not as slick in implementation. These closet shelves had me envisioning a beautifully organized closet where I could see and access my sweaters easily. There were a few things that I didn’t consider:
- The shelf was too high, so I couldn’t nicely place my sweaters in them and ended up throwing them up onto it, and
- The shelves do not securely attach to the shelf, causing them to fall over or off and contributing even more to the sloppiness of the closet.
Consider the number and cost of pieces that you'll need for your storage solution.
Sometimes it can add up to be more expensive than traditional options. I loved the style of these shelves when I saw them online and expected to save quite a bit of money on them. However, by the time I purchased the baskets and boxes, the shelves, brackets, and the chalkboard tags, I could have purchased a bathroom étagère.
Do the items you're looking to store fit easily into the storage solution?
Is the storage solution designed to support the weight of the items? I was very excited when I came upon the door shoe holder as a solution to store cleaning products in my small laundry area which lacked any storage at all. But once I set it up, I quickly realized that two-thirds of my cleaning products were too large to fit in the compartments. For most, I was able to solve the problem by repackaging the products or purchasing them in smaller sizes. I still was unable to make some fit into the shoe holder.
If it's attached to a door or a wall, what kind of damage could it do?
Will it support the weight? With my smaller closet, I found an over the door shoe rack that I was sure would solve my shoe storage issues. When I set it up, it looked really nice. But I did not want to attach the shoe rack to the door at lower points for fear it would damage the door. What I found: Because I was always opening and closing the door, and the rack was not attached to it, eventually my shoes worked their way between the rack and the door, allowing all of my shoes to slide out of the rack and causing a huge mess!