09 June 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Storage magic in 3 easy steps


Want to get organized? Check out our storage tips!

With the minimum possible effort, we’re going to convert that heaping wasteland of a storage room into an orderly depot where you can locate any of your possessions at a moment’s notice—and we’ll leave open floor space to boot. You’ll be happy to know that the following strategy borrows heavily from Chapter 1’s S4 technique, which, by now, you have tattooed to your forearm (Strip, Scrap, Sort, and Store). This plan is broken down into three stages. I highly recommend that you be nice to yourself and not attempt more than one stage per day. Complete a step, and then go out for an ice cream cone, the How to Cheat at Organizing all-purpose salve. A feather-duster salute goes out to Connie Edwards, a cabinet design expert for the American Woodmark Corp., for her contributions to this plan.

DAY 1: The Strip-Scrap-Sort-Store steps are probably all the easier, because many of the items in storage areas are often already boxed up and clustered by type. Check the contents of each box. Move the boxes and the loose items around the room, forming three clusters:


• I’m keeping this stuff. Be hard on yourself. Do these items really hold a place in your future? If they do, they get to remain in the storage room, albeit in a more orderly fashion.

• This is usable, but let’s get it out of my life. Good for you donate it to charity or leave it on the curb where passers-by will snatch it up. If there are no takers, then that’s the surest indication that it really belongs in the category called . . .

• This is junk. Throw it away—immediately. Now categorize all of the possessions that you have decided to keep—for instance, all of the golf gear goes together, the kitchen equipment goes together, and the entertainment stuff goes together. When that’s done, leave the room and get some ice cream.

DAY 2: Our second round of organizing work will be even easier: just a little analysis. Consider the size and the shape of the room better yet, take 10 seconds to sketch the room out on a piece of paper, with approximate measurements of the walls marked. Also make note of the size and shape of the stuff you have decided to keep in storage here. This information will heavily influence the kind of storage devices you install in this room. It would take an entire book just to list every one of the nifty little options, but you’re a smart person—and you’ve been in a home improvement store before so I won’t bore you with such detail. In very broad terms, here are some of the choices to think about:

• Freestanding open shelves. Very flexible, since you can move the shelves around if you want to reconfigure the room. You get easy access to the stored stuff, since the shelves are open, and you can see all of the stored items easily. • Freestanding lockers and cabinets. Storing your stuff behind closed doors will lend a more orderly look to the room if that’s important to you. It also will keep dust off your possessions, meaning there’s less cleaning in your future. This approach costs more.


• Wall-mounted open shelves. They don’t eat up any floor space, and you get easy access to the stored items. Mounting shelves on the wall is more hassle, though, and they’re a trial to move if you decide to reconfigure the room.

• Wall-mounted cabinets. Again, you get a more orderly look when you close the cabinets, plus better protection for your stuff. But they’re a more permanent, less flexible fixture.

• Wall-mounted storage systems. You cover a wall with special paneling (most famously, pegboard) or wire mesh. Hooks, brackets, and bins attach to it, providing storage for all manner of tools and gear, from screwdrivers to electrical cords to skateboards. An excellent way to make scores of smallish objects super-handy and organized.

• Independent hooks and brackets. These include everything from a delicate little hook you hang a key on, to monster brackets you suspend from the ceiling to hold your surfboard.

So it’s decision-making time. After analyzing the room, the nature of items you want to store, and the storage gear options, come up with a combination that best meets your goals. Factor into your plan any bins or other storage containers you will need to use in combination with your shelving and cabinets. Complete the sketch of your room, indicating the position of all storage units. As you plan the room, try to cluster all of your storage in one section so that floor space is left over for other purposes-such as an exercise area, a workbench, or a sewing table. Now, what’s that sound? Oh, it’s an ice cream cone calling your name!

DAY 3: Time to gather and install your storage hardware. Take precise measurements for all of the storage features you need (more on measuring below) and make a thorough shopping list—from the big stuff (shelves and cabinets) right down to the number of hooks you need and mounting screws. You can buy everything at a home improvement store, a discount store, a hardware store, or a container store. Install it and slide your possessions into place. Tired of ice cream? Treat yourself to a big steak dinner. You deserve it.

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