Ideas for a home lacking storage - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 08-19-2010, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We are renting this house for a few years because A) I have NO desire to move anytime soon B) I own a home in another state that we are upside down on and our tenants signed a 2 year lease C) Houses in this school district are impossible to find to buy, yet alone rent D) They allow me to keep my 4 pets here... 3 cats and a Great Dane.

However I just do not like this house because storage is SO limited. No pantry, small kitchen, no linen closet, no medicine cabinet, and the only shelves are a single high shelf above each closet, which is not a handy place for a 5'4" and 5'5" couple.

Right now I keep sheets in the coat closet on the high shelf (and frankly it looks horrid because it is so high up, they just look tossed up there, because really they ARE just tossed up there), towels under the sinks in each bathroom, and all medicine and toiletries in a plastic drawer under our 2nd sink in the master bedroom and the rest on the counter... SO not idea. Extra blankets and pillows go in the top of the bedroom closets, so off season clothes are causing all our dressers to overflow.

I have a 4 poster bed that is short to the ground, so I cannot even fit the typical under-bed storage totes under it. In fact the only beds that could house under-bed storage would be the bunk bed my 14 & 12 yr old share, and POSSIBLY my 2 yr old's crib.. not ideal places for family storage.

We do have a storage room off the garage, but it is packed to the gills with things like the washer and dryer that came with the house and we don't use because I have a nice set myself, and there is no shelving in there, or much room for shelving as the long wall is covered in windows that are about 1/3rd the height of the wall.

The house is a decent size, probably 2,000sf, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths. We have 3 boys, ages 14, 12, 5, a girl who is 2, and one on the way of unknown gender. 3 of the bedrooms are upstairs along with the living room, a small dining room, 2 of the bathrooms, a coat closet, a long narrow eat in kitchen (we use the tiny eat in portion for DH's necessary office and a I have a metal open shelf for canned goods). The smallest bedroom is in the basement and shared by the 14 & 12 yr old. There is a family room down there which is 1/2 play room for big kids (media & books) and 1/2 play room for little kids (toy box & play kitchen) a laundry nook big enough for my W&D and a cat box, and a small storage under the stairs that houses our dirty laundry hampers, and a 4' high area that houses pictures that I need to hang, but once I get those on the wall will house a bookshelf with all the family games on it. 1/2 the garage is packed with boxes from our move in March of tools, or stuff we need to get rid of or store but have no place to put them... I would love to park there some day, but we have no garage door opener and no place to put our trash and recycling which sits in front of that door right now.

So, mamas who have no storage... where do you keep sheets, towels, toiletries, off season clothes, and medicines without damaging walls or spending a fortune?

Where the heck am I going to keep clothing and diapers for the new baby coming in December/January?

Heather: Mama to my amazing boys A-14.5, C-13, & M-5.5, and my sweet girl S-2.5 and introducing our little surprise Liam Michael, born 12/28!
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#2 of 15 Old 08-19-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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We have very little storage. Our house is old, so the ONLY closet is the one we built in the kitchen when we renovated. Here are some things I've had success with:

-I've put baskets under our end tables & coffee table in the livingroom to store extra stuff.
-Our nightside tables house linens.
-I put baskets under the crib to house additional linens.
-We put a wine rack on the wall in the bathroom & roll up towels in there.
-I have even folded up linens & put them between the mattress & the boxspring.
-When ds was little we had all of his stuff in one dresser which was also the change table.

-Could you put the laundry hampers into the bedrooms or bathrooms, hang your photos & then have the under the stair area to store stuff?
-What about adding those module, removable closet organizers to some of the closets to give you additional storage.
-You could also put step stools around so you can reach the tall shelves a bit better.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#3 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 01:07 AM
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have you considered http://www.knock-offwood.com? I am newly obcessed with her.

i'm starting with pallet shelves, then a planter, and then thinking about diving into an armoir and then making lockers and then. . . i'm always like this, i know.

anyway, she has a lot of shelves, and making them yourself makes it cheap and easy. so, we're looking at it pretty seriously now.

just an idea anyway.
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#4 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
-Could you put the laundry hampers into the bedrooms or bathrooms, hang your photos & then have the under the stair area to store stuff?
-What about adding those module, removable closet organizers to some of the closets to give you additional storage.
-You could also put step stools around so you can reach the tall shelves a bit better.

No, the hampers down there are where we sort our bedroom baskets into before putting them into the washer.. three tall ones, reds, whites, and darks. They need to be locked in a room, otherwise my helpful cat will pee on them to make them stop smelling like human. I will be hanging the pictures as soon as hubby is home for more than a day or two at a time, but the space is pretty worthless for too much. I would not want clean linens down there with the dirty clothes in there, but it will work well for stuff we don't use that often, maybe some totes with like our Christmas stuff since it is only 4ft tall. Think of an L shape with the short part slanting down quickly, and the long part is actual "storage" I bought a bookcase for the one wall, and I will probably put stuff in large Tupperware as far as I can without blocking the shelf.

We do pretty much have step stools where we can, but as spazzy as I am, I hate relying on them too much since I need to be on on the third (top) step to move almost anything up there and I am 5 months pregnant. I try to keep things we don't use very often up there, like our blankets we rotate out for the season. Big boxes will fit on my shelf, but not on my kids' because the wall comes down too far, so right now I just have short baskets up there with a ton of unused space. I have a metal shelf in DD's closet and boxes on the other side, but there is no room in DSs closet for a shelf because he keeps his toy cubby in there because his bed takes up most of his room. The older boys keep blankets in the top of theirs and their toy shelf/cubby in theirs. Their sheets and YDS's sheets go in the mess that is the top of the coat closet. If I didn't have my broom and vacuum in there I would put a shelf in there for linens, but I need them up here so I am not dragging them up from the basement daily. I hate how they are up there now because pulling out one pillow case will make half of the stuff up there fall down. I may see about getting some tall open baskets or something to put up there and maybe have one for our bedding, one for twin bedding, one for beach towels, etc.

No clue where to put medicines though, I hate them under my sink because of little kids. I may look into an over the toilet type shelf, but if they are determined enough they will just step onto the toilet.

Anyone ever use those space bags? They are about as tall as we can get to get under bed storage.... think shoe box height.

Heather: Mama to my amazing boys A-14.5, C-13, & M-5.5, and my sweet girl S-2.5 and introducing our little surprise Liam Michael, born 12/28!
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#5 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 02:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Zoebird, that is a cool website, she's really handy. I will have to go through her projects. I wish my BIL was closer, he has real tools and a table saw and I bet he would love to help me with stuff like that. I don't think I know anyone less than 300 miles away though who is handy.

I am in LOVE with those lockers... someday we will build our dreamhome and I will have a mud room with lockers like that *drools*. Hubby needs a bookshelf too for paperbacks... I may drag him up to IKEA one of these days as we are only a couple hours away and see how they can help us, and of course keep watching CL and goodwill.

Heather: Mama to my amazing boys A-14.5, C-13, & M-5.5, and my sweet girl S-2.5 and introducing our little surprise Liam Michael, born 12/28!
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#6 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 02:30 AM
 
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I totally get the no closet thing - there are none on the first floor of my house, and the bedrooms have tiny closets.

By the front door, I bought a closet from Ikea - I forget which kind, but it has three doors, one with a mirror. I use this for coats and such, things I need going out the door like sunblock, as well as games. I also put baskets on top of this for out of season storage.

I don't have a linen closet either so I keep towels in my armoire, each bed has an extra set of sheets that are kept between the bed & boxspring.

I bought an etarge (sp?) - the cabinet thing that goes over the toilet but is not attached to the wall. I keep a lot of medicine type stuff in there. I also have a little 3 shelf bathroom storage thing that I put a basket on top that holds toothpaste & toothbrushes, mouthwash, face cream, etc. - all the things I use every day. The shelves underneath each have a basket that holds more toiletries, brushes, washcloths, etc. - Both of these I got in target pretty cheap.
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#7 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 07:09 AM
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seriously, i moved to the other side of the planet and i am not handy.

but, i found a workshop! essentially, it's a place where anyone can go and learn and use the tools and it costs $8 each time i go! that's for everything--the guy helping me use the tools, supplies like wood glue! it is great.

and it's about 3 minutes from my house (walking). i'm so psyched.

look around--there might be one in your town. also, if you have any sort of community connection (church bulletin) you might be able to ask if there is someone who can help.

i'm always amazed to find what i need right there.
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#8 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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For medications I put everything in a basket in the kitchen. It's not recommended to keep them in the bathroom anyway because of the humidity.

Surviving sleep deprivation one day at a time with dd (Oct '11) & ds (Oct '08).

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#9 of 15 Old 08-20-2010, 12:32 PM
 
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Could you afford a really small storage unit somewhere for that extra W/D set and/or all the stuff in the garage?

Hippie sympathizer and mom to L, 4.8.10.
Pet-mom to Squirt with FLUTD & Maya the deaf wonder dog .
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#10 of 15 Old 08-22-2010, 05:29 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
have you considered http://www.knock-offwood.com? I am newly obcessed with her.

i'm starting with pallet shelves, then a planter, and then thinking about diving into an armoir and then making lockers and then. . . i'm always like this, i know.

anyway, she has a lot of shelves, and making them yourself makes it cheap and easy. so, we're looking at it pretty seriously now.

just an idea anyway.
Love this woman! I am going to make a set of chairs for my dining room table and the bunk beds...oooh those bunk beds. I'm in love.

As soon as I figure out how to use tools...

Mama to 14yo, 9yo, 7yo, and babe born 9/2012
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#11 of 15 Old 08-22-2010, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lifeguard View Post
For medications I put everything in a basket in the kitchen. It's not recommended to keep them in the bathroom anyway because of the humidity.
I could probably make room in the kitchen if I could find a new place for my cook books... that is the only cupboard I think would fit it.... I have yet to find a decent solution for cook books though. I thought I found one via an old printer cart, until I found my DD likes to dump water in it... that could have been an expensive thing to find out it I had not been slacking on moving them.

Heather: Mama to my amazing boys A-14.5, C-13, & M-5.5, and my sweet girl S-2.5 and introducing our little surprise Liam Michael, born 12/28!
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#12 of 15 Old 08-22-2010, 04:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Could you afford a really small storage unit somewhere for that extra W/D set and/or all the stuff in the garage?
No. Our budget is pretty tight because our rent is seriously insane. I tried to get the property manager to remove it because the smallest storage I could find is $50/mo and the w/d is the only thing I would want stored in there. I also would have to hire someone to move them, upping the cost even more.

I am hoping I can create a little more wiggle room next time I am at Costco, they had some really nice chrome shelves that are identical to the ones I got at Home Depot, but for $30-40 less. I use one for DD's linens, and one as my pseudo pantry. I think I can fit one more into another closet if I am creative. and maybe put it in sideways. I will have to pull out a tape measure and see if it will fit.

Heather: Mama to my amazing boys A-14.5, C-13, & M-5.5, and my sweet girl S-2.5 and introducing our little surprise Liam Michael, born 12/28!
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#13 of 15 Old 08-22-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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What about the under the bed cups (AKA Bed risers about $10 for a set of 4) that raise the bed? Then you could jam stuff under it.

Liz

Wife, and mother to a small fairy, a demolition expert, a special new someone this fall and a small dachshund.
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#14 of 15 Old 08-22-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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I agree with knock-offwood.com and I also want to suggest younghouselove.com. They are more about making a home pretty, but they definitely have some neat storage/organization ideas all over the place on their posts. They are really creative with multi function options and fitting things in nicely.
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#15 of 15 Old 08-22-2010, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebird View Post
seriously, i moved to the other side of the planet and i am not handy.

but, i found a workshop! essentially, it's a place where anyone can go and learn and use the tools and it costs $8 each time i go! that's for everything--the guy helping me use the tools, supplies like wood glue! it is great.

and it's about 3 minutes from my house (walking). i'm so psyched.

look around--there might be one in your town. also, if you have any sort of community connection (church bulletin) you might be able to ask if there is someone who can help.

i'm always amazed to find what i need right there.
I'll have to look. I know I saw something like that at Ft. Hood when my husband was stationed there, and my gpa has something like that at his senior center in AZ, but I have not thought to look for it locally. So far I have not found anything that is public via google, but I will continue to be on the lookout.

Heather: Mama to my amazing boys A-14.5, C-13, & M-5.5, and my sweet girl S-2.5 and introducing our little surprise Liam Michael, born 12/28!
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