Monday, June 18, 2012


We are seriously in the throes of working with the architect to design our house (and by "design," I really just mean that we are making a few adjustments to a house plan that already exists).

Matt, Henry, and I have lived in two different houses as a family. The first was a 1930s bungalow, 1,000 square feet, two bedrooms, 1 bathroom. We had no garage, so we stored our lawnmower in the kitchen closet with our washer and dryer, and we stored our bikes in our bedroom closet with our spare paint cans. Now we live in a 1960s ranch house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. We have a two-car garage, closets in every bedroom, a linen closet in one of the bathrooms, and a hall closet. 

Quite the extremes! 

As we design our house, we've striving for balance. Again, we won't have a garage, but we will have a small outdoor closet (for bikes and the lawn mower). We're enlarging all of the closets in the bedrooms to stretch along the entire wall. We'll have a linen closet in one of the bathrooms. We're also trying to fit in a little hallway closet for our vacuum and broom. There's no doubt in my mind that we're going to have to be very strategic with our space and storage. When I see entire closets dedicated to art supplies, I start to experience heart palpitations. Here are some of my strategies for fitting a lot into a little space:
  1. Purge, purge, purge before we move into the new house. 
  2. Have a permanent box for donations in place, so we're constantly moving things out that we don't really need/use/want.
  3. Be super-conscious about what we bring into the house, especially around holidays. Think quality, not quantity.
  4. Set up closet systems that help us maximize every square inch of the space that we do have in closets.
  5. Create a space for everything. We should hang our broom and dustpan on the wall, instead of letting it flop around in the closet. We should also consider hanging our bikes vertically to take advantage of our closet space. 
I'm even considering asking the builders not to put in any pre-set closet bars or shelves, so that we would customize the space to fit exactly what we need to store (using shelves that could adjust to fit our changing needs over time). For example, this IKEA shelving system might be great for half of every closet to store tupperware boxes of craft supplies, memorabilia, and other items.The part of the closet that needs to store clothes could look like this.

This article from Apartment Therapy details five different budget systems for custom-designing closets.

I think my next step is to do another round of purging and organizing. Then I need to make a list of everything we want to store and come up with a plan for where it's going to fit in our new house. Good times!

Photo courtesy of our closet at its very worst. We spruced it up significantly before we put our house on the market.

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1 comment:

Kristy said...

Great tips. We used to live in a 1920's house with minimal closet space too. I guess they used to store stuff in chests. I love our big closets in our newer house. Although keeping our garage accessible is tough with tools, lawn care/garden equipment, bikes, strollers and kids outdoor toys. I hope your garden shed is large enough!

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