I think I finally figured it out!

lovemypetsApril 23, 2006

I have been having a horrible time getting organized. Not only have I been working on it for 7 years since we moved in, I used to be a very organized person.

I have blamed it on depression, energy level, etc. anything I could think of.

Then it dawned on me, I have almost no storage! And this is a new display home.

Upstairs we have a loft that I use for an office. No closets, no storage!

My stepsons room is up there & he has 1 closet for his stuff.

We use the third room up there for a master bedroom. It has a closet we use for my husbands clothes and a small storage room I use for my closet. It has a sloping ceiling so space is limited. We hung a curtain rod on the sloping side so there is just enough room for me to stand on the tall side. There is just enough room for my clothes, shoes, and a small dresser I use for undergarments, socks, etc.

The bathroom upstairs just has cabinet space under the sink. No space for medicine cabinet items, no linen closet.

On the main floor is the living room, no closets. The dining room is adjoining the living room, no closets. The kitchen is big enough for cooking, no room for even a small table. There is a pantry closet for dry goods. We have a small coat closet that I store light bulbs, and other small household items in with the coats. There is a half bath that had no place for storage. I bought a wall cabinet with enough space for makeup, hair dressing items.

The real master bedroom is on this floor and we let our grown son use this room. It is smaller than our room upstairs, which is the reason we did this. Also he can come and go and it does not disturb anyone. He has a walkin closet which he uses for all his clothes, grown up toys (games, stereos, and whatever he has). The laundry room is on the main floor and I bought a wire basket tower to store some items in. There is no more room for anything else.

In the basement is the media room which my husband uses for his sports room. There is a small storage area in the back of the basement, we use it for holiday decor, cleaning supplies, and I store some other things down there from my growing up years.

I don't know if there isn't sufficient room for storage for 4 people, if I have too much stuff or if it is an organization problem I have.

It sure seems like I am missing a linen closet and should have some storage in these bathrooms.

I guess I need to buy some shelves for the back of the basement but that sure seems like it would cost a lot of money.

Help! I am drowning!


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A display house without common sense storage? Bummer.

Now, on to the creative part. Maybe the good old legal pad. It sounds like the lack of bathroom storage bothers you the most.

You can get very attractive cabinets which attach to the walls over the toilets. They are not very deep, but will hold the toiletries. You can change out the current mirrors with ones which are also cabinets. Purge unneeded items under the sink and use for towel storage.

Make sure you have really purged clothing and other household items so you are not trying to find storage for items you don't use. We are all guilty of having clothing which we don't wear, but it takes up space.

Can you put extra sheets in bedside tables? If not, you really can lay them between mattress and box springs by folding them only a couple of times, rather than a nice, neat bundle. Are you utilizing under the bed storage boxes? They hold linen and out of season bedding.

Personally, I would trade rooms with the oldest and take back the master. It may be a smaller room, but it sounds like you need the closet space. My 22 year old often comes in very late, but he is just quiet, knowing not to disturb the sleeping household. Let the son keep his big boy toys where you've been trying to make yourself a closet.

The top shelf in coat closets is usually wasted space, so keeping things like light bulbs there isn't so bad. Again, make sure you all don't have 20 coats if you only need 10. You don't mention any garage space?

Is your dry pantry space large enough to keep a broom or vacuum? I would also think you really don't need a great deal of space for a laundry room to be effective. I have a large one, but only have the detergent and dryer sheets and a small trash can. Otherwise, I'm set. Everyone keeps their dirty clothing in their rooms.

We have two home office spaces, neither of which has a closet. We don't need one for what we do in those rooms, but we do have bookshelves, filing cabinets, and all of those other storage type furniture. What do you need for your office?

Shelving isn't expensive from a big box store, but what would you put there? For most of us, getting rid of unneeded items is really the first step so we can effectively use our space or create shelving which meets our needs.


    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 6:39PM
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How smart of you to realize this! You're halfway to solving the problem.

It's not an accident that the FIRST half of that old adage is:
"A place for everything......."
People get too focused, sometimes, on the second half--"and everything in its place."

You need INTRASTRUCTURE! My favorite topic.

but of course, infrastructure costs money, so think well, and start saving. You don't have to buy the most expensive version, but try not to cheap out too much, and then have to buy a new one anyway, thereby having wasted that first set of money.

for the big bathroom:

Do you have room for a "linen tower" cabinet, or a "bath tower" cabinet?

The two I've had have had all doors, no drawers, which has been nice bcs it holds a lot; I don't have THAT much need for small drawers in the bathroom. I don't store cosmetics in there (don't use many or keep many anyway), and all the stuff like aspirin, etc., fits behind the mirror or in the "over the john" cabinets. (I'd go w/ solid doors, so you don't have to worry what it looks like behind there; nearly all cabinet companies make them,e ven the inexpensive Mills Pride.)

Is your master bedroom big enough that you can fill one wall w/ storage? Eitehr a closet, or cabinets? You can cover them to look like the wall, if you want, and even hang pictures on them still.

And you need SOMETHING in the living room, I believe. It's silly to expect people not to keep things there--games, books, stuff you use in the living room. From your description it doesn't sound like paring down is your first step. Sure, you should keep that idea in the back of your mind. But I think you need infrastrucutre.

It's time to look at the rooms and figure out what sort of look you'd like--do you want to get pieces of furniture, or do you want cabinets/closets that look like the wall?

I once went to a Park Ave. apartment that at first glance looked like it had little storage. But in fact, one wall of the dining room, which looked like it was paneled in leather squares, was in fact filled floor to ceiling with square cabinets, whose doors were leather covered. (the other wall that looked paneled in leather squares, was in fact simply paneled). They'd made the cabinet treatment look like a wall treatment.

And in their long hallway, they'd built the wall out about 12 inches, w/ plain white flat doors all the way down. They had, actually, a TON of sturage.

In your small laundryroom, can you lift the dryer up? And put drawer storage under it? Get an unfinished-furniture place to make you something like those laundry pedestals that the new front-loaders are often shown with. Then you can stash stuff, but it'll be easier to reach than the stuff OVER the dryer. You might be able to raise the washer, too, but that's a bad thing to do w/ a TOP loader.
And of course a tall skinny cabinet could hold alot there too. You don't want to hold lots of UNNECESSARY stuff, but you DO need PLACES for stuff.

You can get inexpensive shelving for the basement, but let me caution you: lots of the industrial-looking metal shelves homeowners buy have the shelves spaced too far apart. They end up w/ wasted headroom--or worse, they cram stuff INTO the headroom, and end up w/ shelves that don't function well.

For not a lot of money, you can get these plastic brackets called Shelf Links, then buy 2x4s to slip into them and make shelves the exact size & shape you want.

You could even use this sort of shelving in the living room, etc., until you found or could afford what you REALLY wanted.

(I would never lay my sheets between mattress & box spring--what pain, to have to lift the mattress to get teh sheets. And I cannot imagine them being anything but lumpy, which would be bad for the mattress. Bed linens fit great, at my house, in underbed boxes. I only have 1 extra set of sheets for each bed, anyway.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 10:40AM
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Don't you flip your mattress, Talley? Fold the sheets in half and they are fine. Just like the old fashioned linen press.

Now, do I do this? Not anymore. I only have one set of sheets per bed, which really isn't enough. I've just been too lazy to get a second set.


    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 7:51PM
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I sure don't flip my mattress weekly! It's true, I don't flip it often enough. It's also true that I wash the sheets and ptu them right back on the bed. The spare set comes out if for some reason I need to change the sheets but am not going to be able to wash the dirty ones right away.

So, I don't want to have to flip my mattress just because the cat barfed on the bed.

And, w/ dust mite allergies, etc., I like to keep my "clean" sheets in a plastic box

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 1:21PM
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talley sue - the Shelf Links sound interesting. Could you try the link again? The one above leads to a bath cabinet.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 12:06AM
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if you do a Google search on "shelf links" (use the quotes so you get the full term), you'll find several links. Here's one.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shelf Links at Improvements Catalog

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 11:51AM
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Here's the company's site--there are tons of products using ShelfLinks.


Here is a link that might be useful: 2x4Basics website for ShelfLinks projects

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 12:29PM
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No closets? Me too! I live in an old apartment in a historic section of town and we have TWO closets, one in each bedroom. No coat closet, no linen closet, no pantry, no medicine cabinet. I think there might have been coat closet at one point, but it's now our laundry "room." With 3 adults and sometimes a kid, it gets a little cluttered. If we could just get rid of the roommate . . .

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 5:05PM
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As for the bathroom, I have little storage there.Yes,there is a towel bar but it holds,at most, only two full size towels and a couple of hand size towels. No linen tower, no room , but above the towel bar I will soon be installing a "train rack". It's about 24 inches long, will give me room to stack folded dry towels. I found it at the website of Restoration Hardware.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 8:32PM
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When my in-laws lived in a very small apartment in NYC they built shelves above some of the hallway doors to create lots of storage up there. We copied the idea for our house many years later. We made the shelves the width of the hallway and 2' deep so we could access stuff without having to reach way too far back inside the area. Great place to store bulky items (suitcases, boxes of out-of-season clothes, camping gear, etc.) that you don't need too often.

Another thing we've done in one house was to use back-to-back bookcases as room dividers with built-in storage. How about using bookcases in your loft office for storage?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 1:10AM
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talley sue,

Thank you. I found the Shelf Links & bookmarked the site.


    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 10:42AM
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we have a one piece shelf and towel rack in our bathroom. Can fold four towels on the shelf and have three on the rack, plus a couple of hand towels. We stored shoes on pull out racks under the bed for a while, and now i store last seasons clothes under the bed in plastic containers. We lost a closet in the hallway when we remodelled, and have had to find new homes for some things. I find that if i think about a problem for long enough, a solution can always be found.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 11:23PM
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Sometimes repurposing a closet helps a lot. I realized we had too little kitchen storage, but had a cleaning supplies closet nearby. That closet became a pantry. We put the cleaning supplies closet into a floor to ceiling cabinet in one of the baths. We got the space by removng a tub. We had a separate shower in that bath anyhow.
My husband created a storage room under the stairs going to the garage. What really helped me is that we have three baskets near the bedroom. One for dry cleaning, one for laundry and one for the salvation army. I have waste baskets everywhere, and if there is something wrong with an item and I wouldn't wear it then it goes in one basket or the other.
DH (I hope that stands for dear hubby) assembled all the shovels and rakes, etc. in the basement/garage and put a strip of wood up on the concrete,and hung them. We laughed at the fact that he had 6 pickaxes and only one rake. He's ready to run a chain gang. There is something to learn from that. When you assemble all of one item, you can see you have too much of something and can throw out the one or two in worst condition.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 11:00AM
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Somehow I missed this thread. Boy, can I empathize! My house is a converted church and we have 4 (FOUR) closets in 3000 sf. 3 are the size of small coat closets, one is a bit larger. And, there is only a small galley kitchen, no pantry. Yes, this does make it hard to organize!!! Though this house is roughly 3X the size of our old one, there is less than half the storage space. There is only so much stuff you can get rid of! Of course, we spent all our $$ on the house, so remodeling is not an option in the near future.

I put cabinets over the toilets - big enough for hand towels and washcloths and shampoo, etc. I keep the rest of the linens under the bed (in rolling drawers.) I still have to keep the vacuum cleaner behind the sofa (and my guitar underneath)! We have a large laundry room and I'm trying to figure out how to make better use of that space. What is frustrating is that there is space that we don't really use, but I'm not clever at trying to convert this space myself. The house is all windows, too, so that really cuts down on available wall space; the third floor is an attic conversion - very steep walls and not conducive to practical storage. If I had a nickel for every time I've banged my head up there!

I did buy a couple of big melamine cabinets (garage quality) to store stuff in, and that has helped a little. Glad to know that I'm not the only one with this problem! I spend a lot of time on the home decorating forum and just drool over those new houses with big pantries and huge walk-ins.

Good luck and if I come up with any brilliant ideas you'll be the first to know!

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 1:47PM
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lovemypets, I thinkof you now and then, and I wonder if you've been able to identify any way to create some storage in your place.

I have a fantasy of filling one wall in our bedroom w/ Ikea kitchen cabinets, so all the stuff that's currently on the shelves there can be behind doors. It would be less expensive than some other options for enclosed storage.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 3:19PM
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I think I mentioned this before. When I lived in Taiwan, our townhome had one long wall covering the entire space with cabinets for storage, rods for hanging clothes behind doors and drawers. If I ever win the lottery and build my own spec house, that would be the first thing I'd add to the plans. Every bedroom wouldn't need a dresser, it would have only built-ins.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 3:54PM
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