Thrifty Storage Secrets from the Experts

We all have more storage than we think. The problem most of us run into when we hit storage overload is that we’re not using what space we have to maximum efficiency. We hang onto gadgets beyond their useful life, we grow sentimental about objects, and we all have a bit of the ‘out of sight, out of mind’, magpie attitude. This is especially true with our garage or storage shed, many of us need them, many of us buy them. Then, many of us leave a mixture of random household and outdoor items in there to sit lonely until we (seldom) use them! It’s a nightmare!


Out of sight out of mind is all very well until we realise our home storage is full of things we don’t use, so the things we do use end up cluttering up surfaces, the floor or the shelves. What’s needed is some organisation.

Have a Clear Out

Boring, but it’s the first step in getting organised. If you don’t reduce the number of possessions you own, you end up simply moving clutter from one place to another. The problem isn’t solved, it just looks different.

Items ripe for a clear out include clothes and shoes you no longer wear, dog-eared paperbacks you won’t look at again, old bags and suitcases you’ve replaced but the old ones are still in the cupboard, broken or outgrown toys. There are a million and one other things lying unused and unwanted around the house. Only you can decide what you absolutely must hang onto and what can go.

Try going room by room, methodically sorting through drawers and cupboards. Be a little ruthless to start with. Make three piles of stuff, mentally labelled keep, discard, store. After the first pass through, you can reconsider if you want to, but don’t let too many items travel from the discard pile to the keep pile.

Once you’ve weeded out the dross, what you actually want and use will fit much better into the available space, and if not, you can start to think about whether you need to invest in something else like a small garden shed to store all the additional storage.

Sensible Solutions for Magpies

What do you do with the items you want to keep but don’t need at home? You may have furniture that doesn’t really fit or match, out of season clothes you want to keep but which are unworn for months at a time, cluttering up the wardrobe. You may also have sports gear that’s seasonal, such as ski equipment. And don’t forget the outside shed and garage stuff, such as gardening tools and machinery.

All these items, the ones you can’t do without but don’t use regularly, are prime candidates for self storage. Those handily located facilities you see all over town aren’t just for people with a warehouse full of stuff to store. More and more ordinary people, who simply need to extend their available space, use storage rooms to streamline their home lifestyle.

Part of the attraction is the wide choice of room sizes. If you just want somewhere safe to store business or household document records, large lockers will fit the bill. And if you want to store spare furniture or bulky tools and equipment, larger room spaces are more suitable. All are secure and individually lockable, damp and pest free, and totally private. Handy locations and long opening hours make retrieving stuff easy, at a time that’s convenient, whether that’s in the evening or on the weekend.

Out of Sight

For the things you keep at home, make sure they’re easily accessible but tucked away so you can keep the place tidy. Storage furniture such as side tables with drawers or coffee tables with lift-up tops do a fine job of housing all those little gadgets like TV remotes, game controllers and chargers and cables.

Ottoman style beds, with lifting mattresses are a godsend if you’re struggling to find a place large enough for spare linens or soft furnishings such as curtains. They’re also brilliant in kids rooms, housing a host of items not used every day, such as sports or game equipment, larger toys or collections of items.

Elsewhere, utilise all the nooks and crannies in the house. You could get creative and install shelving in the awkward place under the stairs, or fit hinges on the kick boards under kitchen cabinets so they lift up. These areas are never used, but provide extra space for all kinds of items, from giant roasting tins you rarely use to board games that only come out at Christmas.

Use Ignored Wall Spaces

Need a bookcase but don’t want to hog floor space? How about a floating shelf above a door? That piece of prime wall space is rarely used for anything. If you extend the shelving down either side of the door, you not only create storage space for books or odds and ends, you also create a recessed doorway which is quite a design feature. The space above windows is also a good place for a floating shelf.

When you look around with fresh eyes, there are all kinds of storage opportunities to help keep a tidy home, no matter how much magpie DNA we carry.