Monday, February 25, 2019

Storage Options in a Small House: Doors as a Storage Space?

The average size of house being built today is 2700 sq ft.  My house is around 1500 sq ft.  By today's standards, I live in a small house - just over half the size of average. 

The problem, though, isn't that my house is small.  It's that there are very few closets (two), no basement, no attic space, no garage, and no storage shed outside in the yard. 

Pretty much, every thing I own is out in the open and on display, which has, in the past, resulted in a very cluttered-looking living space, which, as we all know, can be damaging to one's psyche.

It's taken me a lot of years to really find attractive and creative solutions to minimize the clutter in my home and to make space for things that make me happy.

Like this built-in shelf with plants.

It was actually my daughter, who started the whole houseplant craze.  She's been adding plants to her room for a while now.  It started out as mostly succulents, but then, she started acquiring other kinds of houseplants.  The thing about succulents is that they can go dormant over the winter and be able to tolerate her colder room.  What she found with the plants in the picture is that they tended to not thrive in her colder room, and so she needed to move them closer to the woodstove.  I cleared off this space for her, and now, I'm finding that I really like it - the garden inside the house-, and I know if/when she decides to take her plants back to her room, I'll be acquiring some of my own to fill that space.

It makes me happy and isn't that what one should feel when one is in one's home?

It can be tough, when one is prepper-minded and living in a small space, to be able to keep the things one is certain one might need, without being overwhelmed by clutter.  In the greater scheme of things, I don't really care what my house looks like, because function is infinitely more important to me than form, but at the same time, I like pretty things.  I think most of us do, and if I can have it pretty AND functional - all the better.  It makes me happy.

In the next few posts, I will share some of the solutions we've found that look nice, but are also useful storage options.

Using the Doors for Storage

As I mentioned above, we don't have closets.  There are two - one in each of my daughters' rooms, and neither of those are very big.  No linen closet.  No utility closet for things like vacuum cleaners.  No coat closet.

But we live in Maine, and coats are a part of life - at least for half the year.  We need a place to put them when they aren't on our bodies.

For a long time, the solution was to hang coats in the bedroom closets, but to be honest, the coats rarely made it that far.  Most of the time, they ended up on the backs of  chairs.  I've developed a real loathing for coats and sweaters hanging off the back of a chair.  It just looks messy. 

As such, for my mental health and sanity, it was really important that we come up with a better solutions.

We have an Armoire.  It started life as a TV cabinet, but when we got rid of the television, I repurposed it.  The top half, where the TV went, is where we hang coats.  The bottom half is where we store gloves, hats and scarves.  The top half isn't quite long enough for adult-sized coats, but we manage it.  We also have a wall hook rack that is attached to the side of the Armoire so that when we first come into the house, we can hang up our coat by the door. 

It's neat and convenient, and mostly, it keeps things off the backs of chairs.

With four people and the varying temperatures here in Maine, we found that we have a lot of outerwear.  Coats for winter sports.  Coats to wear to non-sporting events (like work).  Cardigan sweaters.  Fleece pullovers.  Light jackets.  The list actually does go on. 

With the Armoire and the wall hook rack full to overflowing, I needed more options.  I tried having special storage areas for "extra" outerwear, but the issue of chairbacks becoming the storage option of choice, I decided to get a little more creative.

That's when I discovered over-the-door racks.  They are genius.  Unlike the wall hooks, I don't have to worry about putting something on the rack that's going to be too heavy (just in case I didn't attach it to the wall properly.  Good thing those holes are easy to fix :D).  These over-the-door racks are pretty sturdy.  They are also pretty cheap at the dollar store.  Useful and frugal!  Be still my heart!

For me, the lesson over the years has been to not overlook those under used spaces, like the backs of doors, for storage options.