For those who have a lot of stuff,  storage can be a headache and involves some creative thinking to avoid having items piled up all over the house.  Here are some fun and imaginative ways to make the most of those small spaces!

Furniture that doubles as storage!

If you’re living in an inner-city apartment, often your main pieces furniture take up a lot of space, but some items can double as fantastic storage units.  A blanket box or storage ottoman is great for holding everything from photo albums and toys through to bedding. If placed in the lounge they can also be used as a coffee table, making them even more versatile!

If you have a dining room table that is not used often this can also be used to creatively display items.  Alternatively turn the table into an ‘office area’ as this can create a space for the computer, phone, paperwork and stationery.

Under the bed

Bed bases are often on legs, leaving space between the floor and the base.  If the bed is particularly high banana boxes can be used to store items underneath it. Alternatively store items in suitcases or bags which can then be slotted underneath the bed, thus creating storage for both random items and the suitcases!  If your bed is a bit lower, your local plastics store will probably have a rolling storage box designed to fit snugly underneath.

The wardrobe – not just for clothes!

A decent sized wardrobe can be so much more.  The back of the closet door is an ideal place to attach a full length mirror, or hooks which can be used for handbags and clothes.  You can also have shelves installed to create extra storage space for clothing and other items.
If the wardrobe is deep and/or high, entire sets of drawers or large containers can be hidden away.

Overhead cabinet space

Often kitchens and laundries have high cabinets which are not entirely practical because you need to stand on a chair to get to them.  These can provide great storage space for items that are not needed very often – such as extra china or bowls and vases.  If there is space between the cabinets and the ceiling a few nice boxes can be displayed there, providing much needed storage as well as a touch of colour to the room.

Feel like having fun with storage – here are some quirky ideas!

Make the most of your wall space

Lots of wall space when all you need is storage?  Buy open boxes or baskets and attach them to the wall to bring a room to life and create the perfect hide-away for a wide range of items.  These will need to be secured in place with nails or screws otherwise they are liable to fall off the wall once they have a bit of weight in them.
The baskets or boxes can range from brightly coloured boxes (ideal for children’s rooms) through to elegant containers and baskets that match the decor of the room.

If you really feel like thinking outside the square you could also try:
* Painted wooden crates
* Plant containers
* Glass/plastic jars

Use antiques to create storage

Containers including old tool boxes, letter holders and silverware holders can either be painted or varnished to make beautiful items that are practical too.  These can often be bought at a reasonable price on Trade Me and provide a lovely storage solution that can be incorporated into your decor.

Frame doorways and windows with shelving

Often space is left around interior doors and windows which can be put to much better use.  Vertical and horizontal shelving can be purchased quite cheaply (or go really DIY and build your own!).  This can be painted to match the colour scheme of the room before being installed around the door or window to create an interesting area to display books, knick-knacks and special items.

Still not enough room?

If space is still an issue you can always rent storage space to house items that are not needed day-to-day.  Storage companies usually have varying sized storage units available – from ones that fit documents though to units that can accommodate an entire household.  Visit www.yellow.co.nz or www.finda.co.nz to locate a storage company near you.

About the writer:  Amy Pratt is used to thinking about creative storage solutions. She has resided in studio apartments in Auckland, London and Dublin – which gives her an eye for finding that extra space (but doesn’t stop her being a bit of a hoarder!).  

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