When you’ve outgrown your current storage space at home, you have two options. You can either get a bit more savvy with the space inside your own four walls or you can expand beyond those confines. But does it have to be either/or? Actually, we have ways of making the most of both options.
Furniture grows as storage needs grow
Over the years, storage needs change. Not just in terms of how much space is needed, but also in the type of possessions needing storage, and how many.
Just about every type of furniture can either be adapted to include some storage or can be swapped for something different that’s better suited to changing needs.
Adapting current furniture could be as simple as grabbing a couple of organisers to drape over settee or chair arms. These can hold items that cause clutter, such as TV remotes or games controllers. Or adaptations can involve more elaborate changes, such as adding an extra shelf to an existing shelving unit or installing completely new shelves in alcoves or around door frames.
Choosing furniture that’s adaptable from the start is a help, but if you’re just now thinking about making some furnishing swaps, choose items that will see your family forward through a few year’s worth of changing needs. Beds are a good example.
You could go for elevated beds for growing children who need more floor space in their rooms. These come in a few different configurations, with some offering desk space beneath the bed area, or a cupboard for their clothes. If you don’t fancy an elevated bed, divans or ottoman styles are a practical alternative and have a more grown-up feeling about them. The drawers in a divan or space beneath an ottoman mattress are endlessly versatile for all kinds of storage, whether it’s for clothing, toys, games, or sports kit.
An extra room beyond the home
Storage becomes a problem when you’re holding onto things you’re not actually using, letting them take up space you could put to better use. Kids’ possessions are a great example since toys fall out of favour and come back again as quickly as the weather changes. A handy solution to this dilemma is self-storage units, where you can put things you suspect kids will want again in a few months, and it’ll save the expense of replacing items that suddenly become must-haves again.
Self-storage facilities are also useful for seasonal storage. Things like garden furniture and equipment in winter or winter sports gear in summer, or even seasonal clothing storage. Instead of rifling through rails of winter jumpers in search of a favourite summer outfit, packing up and putting winter clothes into self storage keeps them in good condition.
There’s an added bonus, too, in that clothes (or anything else) often feel fresh and new again. When you haven’t seen things for a few months, it’s a bit like discovering a whole new wardrobe.
Create flexible living spaces
It’s not just possessions and their storage needs that change as families grow, it’s also the activities we do that change.
You might need to create a computer corner in the living room when growing kids need somewhere to do homework but still want to be with the family.
One way is to turn a bookcase so it’s perpendicular to the wall and use it as a room divider. You can have stationery, printer paper, and pots of pens on the shelves, and if you alternate the direction that book covers face it looks attractive from both sides. With the computer on a small desk behind the bookcase, there’s a sense of privacy without any sense of isolation.
For those hobbies that are nearly always done in the living room, casual furniture like end tables or coffee tables that have drawers or shelves help to keep small hobby items neat and together.
They’re great for sewing or embroidery enthusiasts, or for knitting needles and patterns or colouring books and pens. At a pinch, you could even fill them with building blocks or toy car collections. Whatever you need to hand but tidily contained when not in use.
Finding storage solutions for a growing family never stops being a challenge. But with a bit of creative thinking and experimentation you can have everything you need close by, and things you love but don’t need right now safely stored away.