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Putting It All Away

A chest adds both storage and style to your space and fits into a variety of rooms.
Century Chest from FurnitureGuide.com
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More of this Feature
• Storage Principles
• Four Types of Storage
• More Storage Tips

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• Storage Solutions
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Part 1: The basic principles of storage


Who doesn't love organized storage? Yet, for many, the sight of neat shelves and uncluttered closets is a distant memory.

When the time comes to clean out and get organized, it may help to remember some of the basic principles of storage.

These include:
  • Evaluate potential storage options.

  • Plan ahead by assigning specific uses to cupboards, closets, shelves, and drawers. Label them for a week or two until everyone gets used to the new locations.

  • Prioritize storage by placing often-used items in the most convenient locations. Infrequently used items should be placed in less accessible spots (such as top shelves or in another room).

  • Categorize your stuff. For instance, keep all holiday decorations together, all sports equipment in one corner, and all tools by the workbench.

  • Hold a family "clear out" day twice a year where you declutter, reorganize, and sell or give away unneeded items.

  • Hide what's unattractive either behind closed doors or inside something else.

  • Identify and label all storage boxes and bins.

  • Anticipate future storage needs (for files, photographs, books, etc.) by leaving some empty space.

In addition, it's very helpful to make a list, by room, of storage problems and possible solutions. Evaluate what's already in the closets, cupboards, and furniture. Then prioritize available storage space and the items to be stored. Assign the most convenient locations to the items that are used the most frequently.

For example, in a home office you may use the phone, the computer, and basic desk supplies everyday. These should be located in and around the work area first. Next, you'll want printer paper near the printer, reference books nearby, and backup disks handy as well. Finally, use upper shelves for software boxes, office supplies, archived papers, and so on.

Next: > Page 2: Four Types of Storage

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