One of the biggest challenges of keeping a clean and clutter-free home is finding ways to manage storage. Whether you live in a spacious four-bedroom house or are renting a 30 square-meter studio, additional space to tuck away items is always a welcome feature in any home. While it isn’t always possible to construct a walk-in closet for your shoe stash or add a new set of built-in cabinets for your kids’ growing toy collection, there are stealthy, budget-friendly ways to store your items without having to resort to major construction.
Get ready to do some heavy lifting at home and rearrange your space to give yourself and your growing pile of clutter more room to breathe.
Dual-purpose furniture. If you have an antique trunk lying around in your attic, put it to good use by using it as storage and as a piece of furniture—either as a coffee table, a mini writing surface for your kids, or even as a bench you can sit on at your foyer, something you can sit on to put on your shoes before stepping out. Box-like pieces can essentially serve a multitude of purposes—plastic milk crates can contain toys, CDs and other small-sized items, and at the same time can be easily screwed on to your walls to create fun, three-dimensional shelves; a rolling stack of plastic drawers don’t just act as a cubby for your home office, it also offers a surface for you to place a scanner, printer or to keep files handy.
Floating shelves. One of the more overlooked places for storage are walls—often left blank or relegated to artwork or photographs, blank walls are also great canvases for DIY shelving that can be installed without the hassles of heavy construction. Left over plywood mounted on metal or wooden brackets can be dressed up with upholstery, paint or left bare depending on your motif, and can work well in any space of the home—above your bed, over a living room couch or even in your garage.
Floor space. Under-bed storage is always a good solution, especially for those living in tight spaces. Low-rise plastic bins on casters are perfect for sliding in and out from under your bed and are great for storing extra sheets, linens, towels and pillowcases and other flat items. Before shopping for under-bed containers, measure how much space your bed allows for and always have a measuring tape handy when you make a pit stop at the department store.
Appliance surfaces. If you’re lacking pantry storage, look to your refrigerator for keeping your cereal boxes, chips and other non-perishables within reach. Placing microwaveable food on top of your microwave can also help you scrimp on space—keep your microwave popcorn bags, instant soups and heat-ready containers in a catchall basket to minimize clutter. Washing machine users can scoop detergent into more manageable sizes and keep them in a plastic container atop the appliance instead of having to worry about finding a place for an industrial-sized box of soap.
Have more home and organizing questions for the author? Email her at email@example.com.
Chinggay Labrador is a freelance writer and stylist, contributing articles on beauty, lifestyle and design to local magazines. Her background in architecture has her profiling trends and homes throughout the region. A travel junkie who likes to frequent Japan and Korea, Chinggay is the former editor-in-chief of Sparkling, a quarterly K-Pop publication and is also the author of “Popped and Popped, Too,” books based on the fun, frivolity and friendship centered on Korean Pop music.