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My Little House Design: Organizing Storage, or 'Where Do I Put All This Crap?'

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Organizing Storage, or 'Where Do I Put All This Crap?'

I have stuff. More stuff than a 27 year old should. Moving into my own house greatly increased my amount of possessions, but that isn't really the stuff I'm talking about. I'm talking about stuff that I don't use like my two sewing machines and my collection of porcelain dolls from when I was a kid. Yeah, no adult needs 12 porcelain dolls.

As I mentioned in the post 'I Have One Too Many Rooms of My Own', I have a second bedroom that I don't need or use. At one point I created a mood board for the room to be used as a guest room/office, but even as I was making that I was thinking "I will never use this room." So it's just been gathering junk for a year, that is until this weekend. There is no room reveal today but hopefully by the end of the week I'll be able to show you what I did with it and what/who it will be used for (I know your minds are reeling at all the possibilites). Here are some reminder 'before' shots. My goal was to go through all of this stuff and either get rid of it or find alternative storage for it.

(Bob loved climbing into the empty half closet.)

So this weekend I cleared out what was essentially functioning as my own personal in-house storage unit. So here is how I decided where all my crap would go.

Step 1: Determine where my main storage areas are. This is a good first step because it helps you know how much you can physically and reasonably store. For this house, my storage spaces are the basement (I have a half-basement that isn't finished but is perfect for storing bins of crap), hall closet (this house has a deep hall closet which is perfect for storing things I need to access regularly), and my bedroom closet (it's huge for such an old house and I don't have that many clothes so there is plenty of extra space in there).

Step 2: Go through what you have and determine the following:
A) are you going to keep it
B) throw it away
C) donate it
D) return it to who it belongs to

Step 3: Do steps B, C, or D. I keep a trash bag with me when I'm going through stuff so that I can throw it away right then. I also make a pile for donating and then immediately take it to my car. I am far more likely to donate it if it's already in my car (and I actually did go donate my stuff this weekend because I needed to pick something up so it forced me to clear out my donate pile). Same thing with stuff that needs to be returned to others. Keep it in your car and return it as you see people.

Step 4: Hopefully, your 'keep' pile isn't an overwhelming amount of stuff. If you are having problems getting through a pile take a break or revisit your 'keep' pile another day. Sometimes it takes a day to resign yourself to the fact that you don't really need to keep that book report you wrote in 4th grade (even though it's on Amelia Earhart and she's awesome). Next step is to further categorize the pile. New categories:
A) Need to access it semi-regularly (party supplies, extra blankets)
B) Annual access (holiday stuff, seasonal clothing)
C) Rare usage (large luggage, camping supplies)
D) I will never need it but I can't get rid of it (memorabilia, childhood stuff).

Step 5: Determine where in your house these things function best. For me I store all B, C, and D category stuff in my basement. This includes holiday decorations, large luggage, and several tubs of childhood collections/memorabilia.

(If this looks like a serial killer's lair than you are correct, I mean seriously basements are gross no matter how much you dress them up.)

My 'A' category stuff is where it gets tricky. Anyone can stuff crap in a tub, dump it in the basement, and call it a day, but it's organizing the stuff you need to get to regularly that is trickier.

Since I have a large hall closet I use it to store not only bathroom products but also for items I need to store. The top shelf holds extra blankets and sheets, the middle shelves are normal things like towels, bath products, cleaning supplies, and the very bottom is where I keep my tools and other stuff needed for house projects. Since the bottom and top shelves aren't as easy to access they are perfect for longer term storage.

Probably the first thing you will notice about these pictures is that they aren't "pretty." I didn't try and style my closet because it's a closet and I'm more focused on the rest of my house looking good. My theory on storage is that is should be functional first and pretty second. I'm not to the second step yet and I'm okay with that. The storage up above is seasonal clothes and other random stuff that I seem to need occasionally and down below is gift wrapping stuff and a box of home decorations that I rotate year round. It works for me. Any of this stuff can be taken to the basement if I ever need more room in my closet but for now it doesn't bother me to have it loaded in there.

Often one project leads to another so for me I ended up not only cleaning out the second bedroom but I cleaned the basement, hall closet, and master closet in order to store more stuff there. But now everything is relatively clean and organized so it was worth it.

Is my method insane to you? Everyone seems to have their own method and that's the way it should be I suppose. Whatever gets it done.

I'm exhausted just reading about all that I did haha. Thanks go to Kim for suggesting this post!

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At January 8, 2013 at 8:01 PM , Anonymous Judi Snyder said...

Wow! I am tired just reading all of the work you did:)I am inspired by your A,B,C,&D steps to organization, and hope they help me organize all my junk! Great Job!

At January 8, 2013 at 8:09 PM , Blogger Kim said...

You go girl! I'm gonna need your motivation to tackle my extra rooms. I think I'd qualify for the show, HOARDERS. ;)

So, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one still hanging onto childhood schoolwork. I have tons of stuff from school that I have hanging out for a rainy day - like I'd ever need to reference old high school essays and report cards.

At January 9, 2013 at 1:40 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks Mom ;)

At January 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

Haha yeah, you're not alone!


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