When to store, where to store, and when to throw out

marti8aOctober 9, 2011

I know we've talked about limited storage in small houses before, but I never bookmarked any of those threads before. This time I will.

Dd is decluttering and doing a pretty good job of it. Better than I am.

Tonight, dh put a box of stuff in front of me and asked me to find a home for it. (My new slogan is "everything has a home or out it goes") This is stuff he doesn't want to toss but doesn't have anywhere to put either. I've got a little stash of that kind of stuff myself and I just can't bring myself to toss some of it, even though I have looked everywhere and just can't find a place for it. Without a basement, and attics reaching over 150 degrees in the summer, those aren't really an option.

If your bedroom closets barely hold your clothes, you have no pantry, and your linen cabinet is stuffed, where do you put things? Feel free to list the things you have found a great place for, and things that stump you too.

My list:

1) Exercise equipment - the small things like hand weights are under the bathroom sink with the scales. Seemed like a good incentive to use them after taking a look at my weight. lol The bigger things like bike and treadmill we just got rid of. I'd rather pay a gym membership than walk around these things.

2) Shoe goo. This is a duplicate of another tube of the stuff that we couldn't remember where we put. Neither of us can think of a logical place for it.

3) Posterboard and matboard. It's big, floppy, won't stand up behind a door, gets dusty under the bed. A real pain. But nice to have when I need it.

4) Grandma's quilts. This is a real conundrum for me. I currently have them laid out on the spare bed. No fold lines, no sun on them. Nice. Until company comes and I have to put them some place. Aaack!

5) Sewing notions. I gave dd the desk I used for sewing, and now I have no drawers to put all those things like scissors, seam ripper, and even the bigger things like the embroidery hoop and interfacings.

6) Batteries. I put them in an over-the-door shoe organizer, with a pocket for each size battery, plus a pocket for batteries that need charging.

What are your solutions and problems?

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Marti, lets jump to #4 first. Grandma's quilts.
I know you like quilts... Just how many of them are there?
If only a couple of them, you might be able to put them between the guest room box springs and the mattress. If you have a small duvet cover that could keep them covered up, maybe put two quilts in one cover.

Or, they sell those bars which clamp the top edge of a quilt (no holes) and you screw it down tight and hang it on the wall. If it is possible to hang one in that narrow space you say is what is left of DH's office, then would it be safe there? I know your living room walls are very tall, and light may be a problem if hung on the wall there.

5. Sewing notions. You are already using a shoe organizer for your batteries. But I use mine for all kinds of thread, snaps, buttons, scissors, bias tape,...but what do you do with your patterns? It is possible to get an old trunk and set trays inside which slide back and forth to reveal the layers beneath.

6. Batteries. Well, I keep all of my batteries in a kitchen drawer beneath an outlet, which is where I keep the universal charger (for AAA, AA, D, C) plugged in. I put them in a silverware tray that adjusts to fit the contents. If you have a cell phone charger, a Walkman charger etc, You can get a special box to mount on the wall to put all your gakgets in, with their special cords left hidden in the box out of sight. I hate cords visible anywhere.

3. Posterboard. Just how big IS your posterboard? If you have some good peg board pieces big enough to lay it on, you might find a way to put your posterboard between your mattress and box springs. The pegboard would keep it from bending.

2. What in the world is SHOE GOO? Do you have a mudroom?
Do you keep shoe polish or shoe laces? How about in your DH's sock drawer?

For many people, the garage is a great untapped resource for storage. They make racks to suspend overhead, and you can put flat sheets of plywood up there, or wooden boards.
They make poles which have attachment points to hang several bikes, one above the other. We have our canoe hung from the ceiling of our garden shed on a pulley, and all the life jackets and safety equipment for it are inside the canoe in a waterproof box.

Marti, it is fall and you'll have nothing left to do when spring cleaning time arrives. You are going like a whirlwind, lady!!! More power to you.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:28PM
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3. Posterboard/Matboard is about 30"x36" I think. I keep all my unused picture frames on the wall in the garage office and after the remodel there, I thought about sandwiching them between cardboard in the biggest frame, or making a frame for that purpose, just to get it off the floor. I was hoping someone else had a better idea.

4. Grandma's quilts. There are probably 20 of them. I got them when my mother decluttered. Thanks mom.

5. Sewing notions. I don't have any doors left for shoe bags. Patterns are another issue I haven't addressed yet. Right now they are in pattern boxes stacked against the wall. I think I can put them in the top of the coat closet but I haven't looked yet.

6. I like your idea of the drawer for batteries and chargers. I keep my charger in a drawer too, but the batteries kept getting jumbled there and the charged were mixed with the uncharged.

7. Shoe Goo is glue made just for mending shoe soles I think. I never use it, but dh uses it on soles that separate from the shoe. Keeping it in his sock drawer is the perfect place. Great idea. No mudroom here.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:06AM
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Do you have room for a large standing cupboard or an older wardrobe with doors that close that you can put baskets on the shelves? I did this in the computer room. Almost threw out an antique wardrobe until I discovered the reason it was "falling apart" was because it was suppose to. It's one that can be knocked down and put back together. I fit the pieces back together and tightened the clamps, moved it into the computer room. Then bought baskets at K-mart to put on the shelves for storage. Paper supplies, tools, batteries, light bulbs, gadgets, misc. "might need someday" stuff, all have their own baskets. It works great.

Quilts? That's a tough one. How high is your bed? Is there room for storage under it? But then you would have to fold the quilts into flat Rubbermaid containers (or similar) and it sounds as though you don't want the creases. My Mom makes quilts and has the same problem. I'll have to ask how she keeps them.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:14AM
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Wanted to mention that I agree with moccassin, there could be lots of room for storage above the rafters in the garage. Especially for items you just can't part with now.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:19AM
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My husband has shoe goo...and it works pretty well, too. He keeps it in our laundry room/mudroom. This might work for some of your other small things as well, if you have any wall space left. Bookcases! Bookcases from Shopko ($19.99 on sale) that you assemble, out of a box. Easy to put together and the smaller ones are 30" to 36" tall and about 24" wide. Once you have them put together, get some small baskets or boxes and put all your small stuff in them. This even works for small tools, scissors, etc.

My other favorite storage option...dressers. You can find them at yard sales/Goodwill and they can be easily painted, new hardware and even some new shelf paper/liner for the drawers. You can use dressers for all sorts of great storage and even divide up bigger drawers, for smaller storage needs. My grandmother loved dressers and even used a few in her kitchen :)

Quilts- Okay, this might not work for all 20, but pick out a few that you really love and hang them on dowels, in your living room. I saw this on 'Room by Room' years ago and it looked so good, I actually have been looking for a few quilts, to have when I get the farmhouse remodeled. I'll see if I can find a picture or link. The rest, would those plastic bags work...the ones where you vacuum out all the air and store them under a bed? Keeps the bugs out and it's not supposed to crease them. Maybe at least worth checking into?

Oh, and the posterboard...stick it behind a couple of the bookcases. It will keep them from getting bent, but still be easy to reach, when you need them :)

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:42AM
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Schoolhouse, I'd like to see your antique wardrobe that comes apart for storage. I don't have room for anymore furniture right now. I'd like to build cabinets across the end of the den and have the bottom part deeper and with drawers for storage. Right now I have antique barrister bookcases there and they are too narrow for anything other than knick knacks and small books.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:19PM
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I vowed to keep everything looking neat inside, but that only lasted six months or so. I just kept shoving things in the baskets until it almost looks cluttered. Well, that's what it was suppose to do - hide the clutter. ha.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 2:27PM
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LavenderLass' idea I think was one I saw also. It does take a dowel, and what you do is sew onto the top and bottom of the quilt a sleeve or tube if you will, and then push the long dowel through it.

For heavy quilts, the top dowel must have a fat diameter to keep it from sagging. Sort of the diameter of a shower rod.
The bottom one can be a 1/2 inch dowel, just to keep the quilt flat. And, a loop at the corners will provide a way to keep it steady there.

I've seen those with the open brackets such as those which hang curtains. Or, go to a quilt museum, and see how they hang their displays. For really tall ceilings, like Marti's cathedral living room, having one high up on the wall and another beneath it might really be a way to show off the prettiest ones. Quite impressive really.

Marti you are lucky to have TWENTY QUILTS. I had no idea. I wish I had the ones I remember from my childhood. When my mother got married, her friends made a Friendship quilt, with their names and a wish embroidered in their block. They did the work at a quilting bee. This was in 1935.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 3:16PM
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do you have grown kids no longer living at home? gift each with a quilt for Christmas? or just because...

is the space under beds all 'booked' up already? if not, plastic boxes to fit under there...

how about space above the shelf in closets? there's usually more space up there. I'm putting in a shelf above the shelf. won't be as deep - maybe about 8" or so. Will still hold a good amount of things!

posterboard - I store things like that behind a dresser, bookcase or storage cabinet (I have several).

do you have a laundry room? shelf/shelves in there? get a shoebox for those misc things /shoe goo and put up on shelf. label the end of it.
or put that shoebox of misc stuff up on that 'new' shelf over the usual shelf in your closet.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 7:48PM
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I have one kid at home and one who has her house on the market. And neither of them care a whit about antique quilts that they can't use.

All under bed space is taken and all closets are double stacked with shelves already.

I should really get rid of more stuff I guess.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 9:50PM
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I make jewelry and have lots and lots of stones and glass beads and findings. I bought a bunch of the plastic drawer sets on casters at Joanne Fabrics or at other hobby-type shops. I then bought some plywood at Lowes and had them cut it to the right size to make tops for the drawer sets. I took the wood home and sanded the ends smooth and then put on a nice dark stain and several layers of polyurethane. Then I went to Joanne's and chose a beautiful fabric that matched the family room. I really hate sewing hems, so I used Tacky Glue and folded back the heavy fabric and glued the hems and side seams. I made skirts for the drawer sets, stapling them to the plywood tops. You can then glue ric-rack or rope trim to hide the staples. I made the fabric into a flap in front of the drawers, but mostly just made straight, heavy skirts that were stapled to the tops. Then the top just sits on top of the drawer set. I sat plants on one, family pictures on another.

Using this idea, you can hide all kinds of small things. They make the drawer sets in tall, narrow sizes, as well, so you might be able to find a space in the corner of a guest room or den to put one.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:20PM
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schoolhouse, I love that cabinet. It reminds me of some at the old elementary school I went to.

Nancy, I have thought about doing that. The problem is lack of anywhere to put the drawer sets.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 11:56PM
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I am not great with advice on throwing things away. There are rules about "if you haven't worn it or used it in the past year, throw it out." That is a lousy rule if your weight tends to fluctuate over several sizes, however. It would also have you throwing out those quilts! It also could not apply to things like your sewing notions. After all, you may not need your embroidery hoop for a year or two, but it makes no sense to buy a new one when you do need it.

With all that space in the garage, can you add a shelving unit and put some of the quilts there after putting them in the vac bags?

I was looking at the Lee Valley/Veritas hardware catalog last night. They have lots of ideas. Take a look at the link below. Storage starts on page 228, but there are a lot of drawer systems earlier. They do not have the pulley systems that allow you to put a platform full of things up by the garage ceiling, but I think the Solutions or Improvements catalogs have them.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lee Valley/Veritas Hardware catalog

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 11:13AM
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Marti, I'm sure your DH can rig a pulley system for the garage. I did that for my kitchen pot rack. Any hardware store sells the pulleys, etc, and so do marine supply stores
but those tend to be super expensive. However, take a look at
how it is done because they've worked out all the problems.

If the garage is very hot, it won't be a good place for the quilts, unless you can keep the temps down. Texas is a real
problem in that way, even worse than in Alabama these days.

Nancy is the one who led to my addiction to Lee Valley equipment. Really a great place for ideas, even for the hardware to make your own Murphy bed and sliding barn doors. If I had the wall space in my #2 bedroom/study, I'd make the Murphy bed for guests. Not many of those these days, so we're not sweating the guests. My brother can always sleep on the sofa. :) But when we redo the kitchen, I see a barn door in the plans. Better than a pocket door in the location I have in mind.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 11:27AM
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I bought a artist folder that zips and will hold my mat board. Costly but used a coupon for Dick Blick Art Supplies so got a break there
Then it usually goes under a bed or maybe you can hang it in the garage

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 1:19PM
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