No matter what size house, apartment, mobile home, or broom closet you live in, one of the first things many people say when beginning the journey of prepping, is “Where am I going to put all of this stuff?”
It’s a struggle we all have, even if we aren’t trying to become more prepared. We live in a disposable age. While it is a fabulous time, it does have it’s down side. It’s so easy to find and acquire the things that we want, when we want them, that we don’t often measure our “need” for the object of our desire. And this leads to a lot of excess in our homes. Specifically all the storage space we possess.
The second problem with this is we become emotionally attached to the excess in our lives. It’s completely understandable though. We worked very hard for the money to purchase our desires, waited when necessary to have the money saved up and we don’t want to feel like we are throwing money away, even though that “must-have” object is now stuffed in a closet or out “somewhere in the garage”. We often forget that we even own it in the first place.
There are many, MANY, blogs and books available on how to de-clutter your life. That’s not what talking about today. Though I will offer this one piece of advice, my go-to rule for de-cluttering our space. If it isn’t useful or serve a purpose, can I make it useful or serve a purpose? Yes? Re-purpose that bad boy right now!! No? It’s gotta go. Now this does not apply to sentimental stuff. Wedding picture and my dress, babies’ firsts, card from bouquets of flowers from my husband, anniversary and birthday cards (especially hand made ones by the hubs and kiddo), and other small trinkets that hold special meaning for me. But I am brutal with this stuff too. I like to keep old movie stubs from when hubby and I were dating, but after a few years, they can’t be read anymore :(. So eventually, those go too. Basically, I have 2 or 3 boxes of mementos that I will be hard pressed to get rid of. And most of the contents will actually be put to use…..someday. I have projects planned to display these priceless items. (Now if I could only find the time.)
So, moving on….
You’ve taken a look at your life, decided you need to be prepared for whatever emergency life is GOING to throw at you. You’ve started making lists of the supplies you need and started making your purchases. Then it dawns on you. “This stuff takes up a lot of space, and we’ve just started.” And maybe you’re thinking “Do I REALLY have room for everything on my list?”
I’m here to tell you the answer is YES! *As long as you get creative.*
First step: Can you downsize/ de-clutter? Can you condense what you have into a smaller space? If you were to add some extra shelving into cabinets (see left) and closets to make use of the head space, how much room would you free up in other cabinets?
Once you locate the areas you can condense, now start looking for the areas you never thought to use. The backs of doors are a great place for narrow shelving and most commonly used for hooks for towels, robes and jackets. You can carry that idea into your coat closet too, if you need extra space in there. The space BEHIND doors is often over looked too. Again, hooks, narrow shelving or even a peg board with hooks.
Now, look up. See all that space up there? Yep, you can use that too. I’ve seen several ideas to utilize the space ABOVE your doors with shelves for extra towels/ linens, toiletries, anything really. While my ceilings are high enough to do this, I’m extremely short and really don’t want to drag out the stool every time I need something or need to storage it away. For taller people (or those who embrace their shortness), this is a perfectly viable option!
Now it’s time to look down. A lot of people store stuff under the bed, myself included. But is that space being used to the best of it’s potential? How about we make it so. While there’s many options of the way you can store things under there, the first thing you’ll need to do is create more space. As us southerners like to do with our trucks, so too will we do with the bed. LIFT IT! Risers to be specific. Again, you can get creative with how you do it. The store bought ones look like really sturdy flower pots. You can also use Cinder Blocks, chunks or wood (4×4 seems best to me) or even go all out and custom build a bed frame and put it on hydraulic lifts!
Now depending on what you want to store under your bed will decide what you will use to store said items. Cleaning out the closet to make room for food? I really like the idea of turning old drawers or even an entire book case into a wheeled storage box. It can be used for clothes, shoes, linens, even food, if you want! #10 can will fit very tidy under there. Now, here’s an EXTREME measure that may work for you. You can get rid of the bed frame all together, store your forever foods in 5 gallon buckets (vacuum sealed or Mylar bags of rice, pasta, beans, water, the stuff you don’t need to rotate often and has a shelf life of “forever”) and turn all those buckets into your bed frame. As I said, extreme. And since you’re just starting, you probably don’t have enough stored up to have all those buckets (yet) to use. So let’s put that on the list of projects for the future.
So, we’ve looked high and low for storage options. What about the in-between-places?? You could pull your shoe rack out from the back of the closet (you bought one when you decided to re-organize, right?) and store can goods, paper products, boxes of mementos. The possibilities there are endless. How about behind the couch? Move that bad boy out about 6 inches. That could give you 12 cubic feet of space (depending on the size of your couch)!! Need extra room for linens and blankets? Store them at the source of use, under your mattress! Blankets and sheets take up SO much room in the linens closet! Attics and basements are great to store this kind of stuff too (because they don’t need to be temperature controlled like your food and cleaners) but who wants to chase down where you put it all when you have guests, it’s extra chilly in the house, or you just want to change the sheets?
If you really want or need to go drastic to find extra storage space, just get rid of the furniture. OK, not ALL of it, but definitely the pieces that can be made out of something else. Remember I said you could replace your bed frame with buckets? Well you can do that on a smaller scale with your coffee table, end tables/ night stands, even your TV stand. Take as many buckets as you have or need, cut a piece of plywood a little bigger than the combined size of the buckets to make a flat level top (or have the hardware store do it), place it on top of the buckets, cover with fabric (old curtains, table clothes or sheets work great!) and voila! New furniture that doubles as extra storage space! A little too drastic? OK, fine….
Here are some decorative storage options:
The point is, you are only limited by your imagination on storage options. Needs some other ideas? Check out Pinterest. Honestly, that’s where I go any time I’m looking for ideas. Whether I’m looking on ways to store something, or I have an item I want to repurpose into something useful, that’s my first stop. But no matter what you decide to do to reorganize, make sure it’s functional or no one will use it. You’ll end up with a house full of clutter or re-purchasing stuff you already have because you can’t find what you’re looking for. It’s a delicate balance.
Happy Prepping! P.S. Keep scrolling for other storage options!