Don’t you wish you had an extra room? Wouldn’t it be great to have a dedicated space where you could work from home or leave hobby or craft equipment out, ready for next time inspiration strikes? Or maybe you simply want a restful area for quiet reading or listening to music.
Chances are, you have little used areas you could transform. With apologies to Jane Austen, it’s a universal truth that no matter how big the house is, our possessions expand to fill it. Now’s the time to take control and make your space work for you, not your possessions.
Re-Organise What You Have
First, take stock. Identify the area of the house you want to reclaim, and be aware that clearing that space will very likely involve small changes in other areas of the house as you rearrange things.
Prime areas for reclamation include spare bedrooms. It’s lovely having a spare bed, but be honest with yourself about how often someone sleeps in it. If you have houseguests every weekend, it’s probably worth keeping. But if your guest list is one or two friends once a year, would they be just as comfortable on a folding bed for a few nights? Moving the bed out, swapping bedside furniture for work desks and chairs, and removing (or repurposing) wardrobes will provide the hobby or business retreat you need.
Optimising Storage Needs
Reclaiming and redefining the purpose of rooms means you also have to rethink your storage methods. What you remove from the room has to go somewhere, but that doesn’t mean you need to get rid of heirloom furniture or other items you want to hang on to for when your needs change again (which they will).
For furniture items or belongings that won’t comfortably fit into alternative rooms, consider self storage. You’d be surprised how economical it is to store items that would be costly to replace in the future. As well as being a low cost option, the availability of rooms in a wide range of sizes builds in convenience and flexibility, and if you change your mind you can give just a week’s notice. If you thought self storage meant taking out an expensive long term contract, think again.
Self storage lets you take the long view, seeing life beyond your current, immediate needs.
For the smaller things you want to keep, get creative with storage options at home. Look around and identify spots in the house that are currently wasted.
For instance, do you have decorative objects you want to display, but nowhere to put them? How about installing a long shelf on the wall behind the sofa? This overlooked area is prime wall space that could house books, lamps, ornaments, floral displays or anything else you want on show.
Think vertically. We hang pictures on walls, but rarely think of the storage options they provide. Open shelving is fashionable in every room from the kitchen to the bathroom, but not everyone wants tiers of shelves up the wall. An alternative is a single feature shelf a couple of feet below the ceiling that runs right around the room. It could become a personal library, or the perfect display area for valuable collections. Position it roughly where old-fashioned picture rails used to be, and make it a designer feature. Floating shelves do away with unsightly brackets, creating a modern, clean line.
Reclaiming space through optimized self storage and clever home storage solutions puts domestic power back where it belongs: in your own hands. If you feel as though your living space is no longer working at peak efficiency, a simple reclamation exercise will give you back the space you need.
Drew writes for Big Yellow Self Storage. For more information on home storage see their website or storage blog.