You’ve lived in your home for some time now, and you’ve noticed that there is a distinct lack of storage space. Over the years, old objects have accumulated and mixed in with newer acquisitions, creating a hodge-podge of clutter. How can you bring order to this mess?
“Regardless of the type of home, storage problems stem from an inability to manage space and the mass of items to store. Too much space or not enough: it’s often the same problem,” says Lyne Côté, interior and furniture designer.
Sort and discard
When faced with a storage problem, you must first ask yourself, “how much is to be stored?” This simple question can be answered by doing something many people have trouble with: sorting the good from the bad. You must get over your sentimental attachment to certain items and take action – give away, recycle, throw away or keep. You’ll feel better once it’s all done!
Assess and sort into piles
The next step is tackling the things you want to keep. They should be divided into categories. This phase determines the amount of storage space you need. This is where the old adage “Everything in its own place” applies. For example, what will you do with the clothes you wear occasionally, with those precious framed pictures and paintings that are not hanging on walls, with the decorations used only at Christmas? According to Ms Côté, the solution is to group objects together in keeping with their function in clearly identified places and containers. In the basement, for example, open-space storage can serve for frequently used objects and closed areas (cupboards, drawers, furniture) for items you need only occasionally.
Ergonomics and accessibility
When it comes to storage, the ergonomic aspect is one element to consider. “Ergonomics is the relationship between the environment and the human being,” explains Ms Côté. The accessibility of objects must be assessed depending on how frequently they are used, which means that something we use often must be easy to reach. For example, label boxes in which each family member will store mitts, gloves, hats and scarves. A word of advice: pack commonly used items at a height of less than two metres. Beyond that height, they will be harder to get to. “Keep that rule in mind. Visual clutter should be kept behind doors in labeled boxes,” reminds Ms Côté.
There is an array of accessories and containers that can make it easier to store objects, even in outdoor buildings. Armoires, furniture, boxes of all kinds, shelving, drawers and cupboard rods can all be found in department stores, hardware stores, or specialty interior design shops. The variety is almost infinite. With a good interior layout plan, you will find exactly what you need to organize your space… and give yourself some room to breathe!
Personalized by a designer
Having trouble organizing your living space? Does the task seem too daunting? Perhaps you need some expert advice. Bringing in an interior designer can solve the problem. A professional designer will assess your environment, evaluate objects that need to be stored, and suggest personalized solutions to suit your budget. A designer can reorganize the space, recommend accessories that meet your needs, and suggest designs that combine looks and utility. Without necessarily costing an arm and a leg, a designer’s services will ensure that you make the most of your living space.
- Sort: give away, recycle, throw away… keep
- Evaluate the mass of objects and categories of items
- Group similar items together in labeled containers
- Remember accessibility: keep frequently used items close at hand and
less frequently needed objects in their own places
- Acquire practical, functional storage accessories
- Consider using the services of an interior designer.
Our thanks to Lyne Côté, interior and furniture designer and member of the APDIQ.