Professional Organisers’ Tips to Help You Plan Perfect Storage
Follow this expert advice to ensure your storage is designed to help you keep every room tidy and ordered
Professional advice from: Sophie Aroutcheff of Sophie Aroutcheff; Lesley Spellman of The Clutter Fairy; Caroline Dhaouadi of Homefulness; Filipa do Carmo of Khôra Space Sorted
The key to good storage is to plan its location carefully, say our experts. “Anything that comes into the house needs to have a dedicated home, where it should always be put back when not in use,” Caroline Dhaouadi says.
Sophie Aroutcheff agrees and says, “Store things where you use them. For example, if, when the members of your household get home, the first thing they do is drop their shoes and coats in the hallway, think of adding hooks and shoe storage there, rather than hoping people will take them to their rooms.”
Caroline adds, “Even bits and bobs from everyday life should have a dedicated space somewhere in the house.”
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It’s important to be realistic when it comes to devising storage. “Don’t micro-organise,” Lesley Spellman says. “We’re all blown away by organising ideas we see on TV and online. However, make sure you create a system you’re able to maintain, otherwise it may fail before you’ve even started.
“It’s so much more important to be able to put things in the right place easily, than to spend time and energy folding things perfectly,” she says.
“If you’re more messy than orderly, consider hanging rather than folding clothes in a wardrobe, for example,” she adds. “You can take out shelves and add rails into wardrobes very inexpensively.”
“When designing kids’ storage, make it accessible for their height, so it’s easy for them to grab their things,” Sophie says. “Compartmentalise the toys in different containers or drawers, so they’re easy to find and tidy away.”
Organise your wardrobe carefully to make sure you’re using all the available space. “Look at adding rails, shelves or drawers to accommodate all of your clothes and accessories in one place,” Sophie advises. “Make sure the doors open in a way that you see tops and bottoms at the same time, so it’s easier to choose your outfit in the morning.”
Caroline suggests adding an extra rail to utilise wasted space. “In most wardrobes, clothes can be double hung by adding a lower rail,” she says.
To keep accessories and clothes in one area, Sophie suggests, “Add rails on the inside of your doors to hang scarves or belts, or install a cork board for hanging jewellery. This way, you’re more likely to wear what you have and not buy more.”
She also recommends you think about the dimensions of your items when planning shelves and rails. “Think about the height of tops and bottoms when positioning rails,” she says. “Similarly, in a bathroom or kitchen, it’s a good idea to consider the height of bottles and jars.”
“Using the insides of the doors in kitchen or bathroom cupboards isn’t only a great way to maximise the space, it’s also practical for storing items you use frequently,” Filipa do Carmo says. “Even a simple hook can be used to hang small, everyday items.”
“The area on the back of a door is almost always overlooked as a way to claim vertical space,” Caroline agrees. “An over-the-door shoe hanger, for example, can actually be used to store much more than just shoes.”
“Ask a joiner to cut the shelves inside your store cupboard so they’re not too deep, then use the space created at the front to hang easy-to-access spice racks on the doors,” Sophie suggests. “This will also avoid you having to empty your cupboard to access items at the back of the shelves.”
More: Architects’ Tips to Help You Plan Perfect Storage
“Storage doesn’t have to be all about plastic and ugly cardboard boxes. In fact, it should be quite the opposite,” Caroline says. “There are all kinds of storage items on the market to match your home décor.
“Whether you’re using open shelves or storing your items inside a cupboard, just looking at everything should make you feel stress-free and happy,” she says.
“Cube storage is one of the most versatile designs out there,” Lesley says. “It works brilliantly in children’s bedrooms, living rooms and playrooms.”
“If you have a wardrobe with more shelves than drawers, try adding boxes to fill some of the spaces, so you can fold your clothes, pull out the box, and see exactly what’s inside,” Lesley suggests. “It keeps things in order and accessible, and utilises the full space.”
“Miscellaneous items are always better contained in a box than in a clutter-filled drawer that will most probably end up overflowing,” Caroline agrees. “Try opening a cupboard and organising its contents into boxes. You’ll be amazed to see that the cupboard seems much bigger.
“Clothes neatly folded will take up less space in a box than on a shelf [as they won’t come unfolded and spread into the surrounding space],” she adds. “And if you want to be able to see what’s inside each box, clear acrylic containers will work magic.”
More: 8 Bedroom Storage Spots You Might Not Have Considered
“Store dry food, such as rice, flour and sugar, in glass jars,” Sophie recommends. “Make sure the containers are big enough to hold a full new packet, so you don’t end up having lots of little ends of packets to store.”
She suggests writing on jars with glass pens to help you remember what’s inside. “You can wash it off if you change their use,” she says.
As well as the obvious items, there are things we often forget about, such as laundry detergent. “No space is too small to be used,” Sophie says. “Add shelving or buy drawer storage so you can keep your detergent to the side of your washing machine, for example.”
Filipa highlights electrical cables, which “can add a lot of visual clutter and tend to be a magnet for dust. Be strategic when installing power sockets around your home, and keep cables and routers out of sight by storing them inside boxes,” she says.
She also recommends allocating a drawer for cables, extensions and plugs.
“If you have an opportunity to divide things in a drawer, you’ll find it easier to keep them orderly and categorised,” Filipa says. “You can do this with shoe boxes or takeaway tubs, or go for a bespoke option.”
“Store baking trays, lids and chopping boards standing up to save space in your cupboards,” Sophie says. “Think about designing a cupboard with compartments to tuck them away easily.”
How do you keep your home organised? Share your ideas in the Comments.