in General January 24, 2020
Fear not though as we are here to share with you our top storage tips and the cleverest storage solutions for around your home. We will help you maximise the storage you have, organise that storage to the max and show you how to add more without breaking the bank.
We have clever storage solutions for the kitchen, bedroom, kids stuff and general day to day bits and bobs that all need a home.
So you’ve moved to your dream home in Edinburgh. Perhaps the kitchen sealed the deal for you and you can’t wait to get cooking in it. Or, maybe you intend on ripping the kitchen out and need to know how to make the best use of the space.
Kitchens are funny though because bigger isn’t always better. A smaller, well planned kitchen can in fact be more functional and comfortable to use. The trick is to organising your storage so the things you need all the time are close to hand. Laying out your kitchen is a whole article in itself so today we will just concentrate on some of the nifty hardware and accessories that can be added to an existing kitchen.
1. Plinth drawers/ Kickplate drawers
If you haven’t come across these before they are a game changer in kitchen storage. The area under your cabinets is totally dead space, but adding in storage here will add significant square metres worth of storage.
They are basically a shallow height drawer that will go almost the depth of your cupboard. They operate on a push mechanism which you activate by gently pressing with your foot. They are perfect for storing awkward items like trays and casserole dishes that otherwise waste space in a large drawer.
Also because things like casserole dishes can be heavy and you inevitably end up stacking them it can be annoying and awkward to pull them out of traditional drawers, or from the back of cupboards. With these drawers they can all have their own place which makes life so much easier.
2. Internal drawers
Add internal drawers within your existing deep drawers to create handy extra storage. A lot of the time the items you place in a drawer won’t be very tall so you end up with a lot of wasted ‘air’ space. Adding in the extra drawer doubles up the drawer space.
Internal drawers are a shallower height so can make great cutlery drawers. If you can add one near your cooker, they also make fabulous spice drawers! It’s quite satisfying when you are cooking and can open your spice drawer with all the labels face up. No more rummaging through to find the right jar!
3. Extra shelving in cupboards
This is perfect if you are renting as involves no drilling! You can hang extra shelves from the existing shelves to create another level of storage.
If you have moved into a shared student flat this is a great way to make the most of your one ‘allocated’ cupboard!
4. Pull out larders
Larders are great. They are the tardis of the kitchen and can swallow up so much pasta, cereal, tins and everything in between. Having all your food stuff in one handy place also makes putting the shopping away so much easier.
Proper dedicated larders are a thing of the past so nowadays you have to create one within a tall unit. You can have pull out solutions that allow you to make the most of narrow spaces, and swing out which can make retrieving things from the back of your cupboards a breeze.
Which one is right for you will depend on the size of unit you have to work with, and your own preferences. Personally, I find pull outs to work in narrower units as you can see everything from both sides quite clearly. If you use these in a wider unit, you can still have things that can be hard to reach at the back, or hidden in the middle.
Swing outs work better in wider units and particularly ones with split baskets like this example. Each compartment is quite shallow so every part accessible. Splitting the baskets between the unit and the door effectively doubles your number of compartments which also gives you more options when organising things.
Bedroom storage can be hit or miss when you move into a new home. Existing built in wardrobes will give you a great head start, but if the previous people had freestanding you could be left high and dry. It’s well worth clarifying the situation before you move so if you do have to get a new wardrobe you can plan ahead so you’re not living out of boxes for too long.
So whether it’s starting from scratch or maximising what you are working with, the following storage tips are great for students, owners and renters alike.
5. Plenty of drawers
Drawers are one of your best storage tactics after plenty of hanging space. They are more convenient than shelves which on a full depth wardrobe will inevitably mean losing things at the back.
However, there are ways to get even more out of your drawers! Always opt for full extension drawers. This means when pulled out the whole drawer is visible. On standard drawer runners you could have up to a third of the drawer left in the frame. This just leads to messy drawers and unused things at the back.
One drawback (get it?!) of drawers can be the tendency to pile things in so you use only the top few items, or you are constantly rummaging to find an item at the bottom. Well, if there’s one piece of advice to really take away from this blog it is this…fold your clothes into little tents in your drawer.
Sounds weird I know so just look at the picture! Trust me this is revolutionary. It means you see everything instantly and you don’t have to pull everything out to get to something.
6. Double your hanging space
This is a really clever hack that can get you out of a fix when you’ve got too many clothes…and not enough willpower to throw any out. It’s also ideal for student storage as let’s be honest, the amount of wardrobe space a landlord thinks you need is way off!!!
So, start collecting ring pulls and pop them on your hangers! It’s that simple.
If you want a more polished solution of the same style you can always buy these clever hangers.
7. Build it in
If you have the option to build in storage take it! It’s absolutely the best use of space as you can make the most of the full height and width of a space and tailor it to your dimensions.
Freestanding wardrobes are a very limiting option and create awkward dead floor space around them. However, they are a much cheaper solution and if you are renting your only option. Or is it?
Well there’s kind of a halfway house and it lies in the big blue behemoth that is IKEA! Their modular PAX wardrobe system means you could configure a wardrobe that makes the most use of your space and with two height options you could get close to your ceiling height.
You will need to fix them to a wall with a screw which could be the only sticking point with a landlord. But if you can get the ok, you can install a fantastic wardrobe system that you can then dismantle and take to your next home.
8. Clothes stacker
There are some clothes that work better folded, like t-shirts. But once you’ve got your nice neat stack, getting to one near the bottom can make the whole stack tumble down. Not good. Well, no more thanks to this handy little organiser which is like a filing system for your clothes!
Just flip through and pull out the one you want. Simple.
Another handy tip if you are a little wardrobe OCD is pick up a cheap chopping board to fold your t-shirts around…it will give you crisp corners and they will always be the same size!
9. Lazy jean hanging
If you have a whole heap of jeans but no desire to try and fold them onto hangers, go for the laid back hanging option instead. Simply pop an S hook through a belt loop and hang that from your rail.
10. Make your clothes a feature
If a bulky wardrobe won’t work in your space why not embrace the trend of a freestanding clothes rail instead. You get some really beautiful rails for not a lot of money if you want to make a statement and a feature of your clothes. As it’s freestanding it can go with you when you leave. This is another example of a perfect solution for student clothes storage as you can pick up a rail for less than a tenner!
If you don't have much floor space then why not look up for some inspiration and hang a rail from the ceiling. Just make sure you can fix into a stud as clothes can be deceptively heavy!
11. Hanging under the eaves
A big storage complaint is often the lack of hanging space. With storage you want to make the most of every available inch in your home and one option may be under eaves or under stairs. However, physics tells us that a rail on a slope just isn’t going to work….unless you get creative that is!
You need to be able to stop the hangers slipping down so a simple solution is to wrap some wire around the rail to act as a stop for the hangers...or buy a rail specifically for this purpose depending on your budget! Just search for a zebedee rail online.
The great thing about an eaves rail is it is a great use of space for different length hanging items, whether it’s long dresses to tops in a wardrobe, or winter coats to kids coats under the stairs.
12. Storage beds
IKEA hacks are plentiful online, and for good reason. They find really creative uses for standard, affordable and well constructed items. Bespoke carpentry is expensive but the quality of IKEA hacks mean you really don’t need to call in the tradesmen.
A very popular hack is turning a modular chest of drawer system like NORDLI into a platform bed. The bed is going to take up floor space anyway so make that space work harder. Adding these deep drawers gives lots of extra storage that is easily accessible.
Standard storage beds that you can buy ‘off the shelf’ so to speak often don’t have as much drawer space or you need to lift up the whole mattress to access your items which is cumbersome. So, for me IKEA wins on this front hands down and you can be as creative as your imagination will allow.
These are a great option for kids rooms, guest rooms and for students looking to add storage into their room.
General household storage
When it comes to storing general ‘stuff’ around the rest of your home, practicality is key. You want to keep as much hidden as possible so the only things left on display are the pretty things…and not your stack of extra toilet rolls and a mop!
Good storage doesn’t need to be complicated, keep it simple to keep your sanity.
13. Kids toy organisers
There’s no arguing that kids come with a lot of stuff. Toys multiply at an alarming rate and you are forever tripping over a barbie or train set. While you want your children to have their toys available to play with….which should always be encouraged over screen time…you also want to be able to have your adult space back once they have gone to bed.
Make use of storage boxes, hampers and baskets to store toys and in a very unscientific way…just shove everything in! Make it easy for your kids to manage this process so they can be responsible for clearing their stuff away.
You can go for fancy storage towers with everything labelled nicely but reality is this won’t last long. So just be free with it and accept things may get jumbled up a bit but if they are off the floor that’s a win.
Kids storage doesn’t have to be ugly either, use nice wooden boxes and rope baskets to bring a bit of style to the chaos.
14. Craft/desk Storage
Fold down desks are a great space saver but they are also a clever way of organising and hiding away all the bits and bobs that you will use at your desk. So whether it’s an adult workstation, kids craft area or even a sewing station, choosing something like the image above means you can keep your bits and bobs tidy, and out of sight when not in use.
15. Peg boards
A variation on the above is the use of peg boards which are a great storage system for hobby related ‘bits’. This could be storing tools in a man cave, or paints in a craft room.
The real appeal of peg boards, apart from how cool they can look, is that the storage is flexible. You can add in shelves, increase the heights of hooks or easily add more pots as your collection of items to store grows or changes. This is much harder to do with any fixed type of storage.
16. Door storage
The back of a door is an overlooked storage asset! You can use many organiser systems that either hook over the top of the door frame so no drilling required, or you can hang something from a hook.
No door is off limits. It can be the back of a door into the room, or the inside face of a cupboard door. Any surface really. There are so many organisers out there so above are a few ideas to get you thinking.
17. Under sink storage
Another underused storage area is under a kitchen or utility room sink. The pipework means a standard shelf won’t fit so most of the time it’s just left unused. However, these are good sized deep cupboards with a lot more to give!
You can use a modular shelf insert that allows you to easily create shelves around your pipework. Or, you can get creative with storage boxes around the pipework. Whichever solution you choose to adopt, just start making the most of this underused asset!
18. Ceiling mounted dryers
If you have ever moved to a traditional flat in Edinburgh to find the original pulley intact you probably didn’t think much of it…until you did your first load of washing! Drying up high means you don’t have to navigate around a cumbersome clothes maid and because heat rises, your items dry much quicker up there.
There are lots of traditional type pulleys available but for ultimate versatility why not try one of these which allows you to individually lower the poles to suit your needs.
19. Slimline wall storage
First impressions count but being able to achieve a tidy entrance hall is nigh on impossible without a little storage help. Well, guess who you can count on again…IKEA! Their TRONES range is a slimline wall mounted storage solution that can house shoes, files, scarves etc.
They look pretty slick already but some people have hacked them by adding a little wooden worktop to the top to create a console table. So you can get fab storage and a decorative feature as a bonus!
20. Inbetween stud wall partitions
This one is definitely not renter friendly…but fab if you own your own home! A really effective type of storage is a shallow cupboard. In bathrooms this can be the perfect place to store spare loo roles, shampoos etc. Shallow cupboards are great because you can see everything.
However, if your room layout won’t allow a shallow cupboard and you have stud walls, there’s no reason why you can’t cut a section of plasterboard out and create a cupboard within the studs. This is a genius idea and having a flush cupboard door in the wall is super slick. The only thing is this will be a bit messy to do and I would always get the pro’s in for this one.
Hopefully this has given you some ideas for tackling your own storage issues. However, if you really have too much stuff to fit in your home and can’t bare to throw anything out….here at Man With a Van Edinburgh we offer short and long term affordable storage and are only a phone call away!