The ClosetMaid MultiSuite storage system (shown here in hammered grey) is a custom-designed and professionally installed line. With quality hardware and chrome fixtures and clean lines, itís ideal for all of his workshop storage needs. Itís also UV and moisture resistant. Photo courtesy of ClosetMaid.
The laundry's the drop-off place. The basement collects seasonal and waiting-to-be-fixed items. The attic is where the homeowner keeps a lifetime of things. And the garage seems to store everything but the car. With "stuff" stored haphazardly, you can't find what you need, you spend more time getting less done and get stressed as you plow through the mess.
What's the "Stuff?" The first step in attacking the "stuff" itself is to determine what stays and what goes. "We like to say that 'storage' starts with 'S-T-O,'" says Lisa Engel, Vice President of Channel Marketing and Communications at ClosetMaid. "That means diving your stuff into two piles -- stuff to store and stuff to toss -- and then getting organized." There's no need to store what's not there. Review and donate, sell or discard items that are not needed. Safely dispose of no-longer-used chemicals and other unsafe items at a hazardous waste center. What's left is what needs to be stored.
Next, decide whether items are in their best location. An item that gets little use yet is now stored in the garage might be better placed in the basement.
Then, list items by storage area. Are they used daily or often, less often or even seasonally? Are they small or large or do they hold dangerous contents? Keep those points in mind when matching stuff with best storage options. Laundry detergents and other supplies, for example, might work best in a closed cabinet, a high shelf or even a deep drawer. Small gardening tools might be best in a basket, bin or on hooks.
With checklist in hand, review storage products and systems available but keep options flexible to meet changing household needs. Fortunately, today's adjustable shelves, tracks and slats, wall and base cabinets, drawers, baskets, hooks, modules and carts on wheels, locking mechanisms and overhead bins offer many choices. Depending on the amount of stuff, a storage system may be the best bet. Be aware that components vary among companies. A storage option from one may not work with the slat or track of another.
The Laundry Room A separate laundry room opens up possibilities for slide-out bins or baskets that keep dirty clothes off the floor and rods to handle clothes fresh from the dryer or needing to drip dry. Adjustable shelves, deep drawers or locking cabinets provide space for cleaning supplies.
A small laundry area requires a bit more creativity. Look for hinged or pull-out shelves that provide space to treat stains or fold clothes but then move out of the way. In a small area, plan to take full advantage of the wall space.
Both areas may need secure storage for cleaning fluids and sprays in case small children or pets are in the home. Storage options need to be easy to clean because laundry spills and drips are inevitable. Smooth surfaces and edges are also important so delicate clothing does not snag.
The Basement A dry basement offers many possibilities. Keep any storage away from critical equipment such as the furnace and water heater. Choose storage options that keep items off the floor in case of possible flooding and from underneath any pipes that could burst.
Households with finished basement living space may appreciate a storage system or products with a more formal appearance, perhaps with finishes that match the home's dťcor. Drawers and closed cabinets work to keep stored items out of sight. For unfinished basements, an open shelf system and a series of hooks or baskets may help keep items easily seen yet organized.