6.17.2013

Double Your Closet Shelf Space

Room for Growth
   You unknowingly joined the latest trend of living in a small space. Maybe you care about the Earth and want a smaller environmental footprint, or you just had to downsize for financial reasons. Either way, you have made an excellent decision. Living in a cold climate, I can tell you the biggest plus is not having to heat a ridiculously large home. There are countless, positive reasons for rightsizing your home, however there truly is a lack of storage in a small domicile.
   The reality of your new situation is piled in a truck, buried in a stack of boxes taller than you. What do you do with all this stuff? The first mistake was moving this superfluous crap with you to your new tiny abode, didn't you know there wasn't going to be enough room?
   If you can pause and be honest with yourself, all of your keepsakes should fit in one tote. Anything else that you consider to be your most valued possession is probably just a physical shell of a memory. So pull out your camera and document the object well and let it go. In this media rich world of ours, I find it unnecessary to keep most objects any longer. Yes, that original Nintendo has a certain nostalgia, but most vintage games are available online.
   With our last move, a 2500 mile cross-country drive, I did not want to rent a massive box truck for this trek. So we did the unthinkable, we started giving away all the crap and it was the greatest feeling ever. Now some of you prefer craigslist and yard sales, but I am telling you there is no greater joy than just dropping it all off at Goodwill. You will feel pounds lighter and have had the Zen moment of making peace with the objects of your past.
   Now that I have discussed the pleasure of jettisoning all your stuff, lets get to the nitty gritty, the things you actually need. Our 1970's house plan did not consider all the neat paraphernalia that a modern family would need, but might not want to look at daily. We have four small, standard bi-fold closets and one under-the-stairs coat closet, not to mention minimal kitchen cabinets. I knew there was space hidden here somewhere and I soon realized how much cubic feet was wasted in the top of our closets.

Add-On Closet Shelf
   We had not utilized the very top of our closets because we could not reach them and the space was hard to manage. I was able to insert a ClosetMaid shelf above the original wood shelf and doubled the usable storage. These are not "high design" solutions but they are affordable and easy to install. Later I outfitted an unused guest bedroom closet with wire shelves above and below the built-in shelf. This really created a functional storage closet that allows for flexibility as your interests and the associated gear changes.
   So get rid of the nonessentials, the college textbooks, unused sports equipment, the childhood stuffed animals and find what you need to function. Now look at your cupboards and closets for the unused volume, the space around objects. Remember whether you rent or have a mortgage, there is calculable price per square foot for your storage space, so use it wisely.

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