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Editorial

If These Walls Could Talk


Storage Solutions



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03/01/2007 - Window and Wall Gallery

The problem of clutter was solved once. I researched a certain Native American culture that took spring cleaning to an extreme. Each year they threw out all of their household possessions. Clay pots were broken. Wooden utensils were burned. Nothing was saved or given away. Everything was made new. This would solve a lot of problems. There would be no fighting over inheritances. Packing to move could be accomplished in an hour. Storage would be minimal.

I have acquaintances that redecorate annually. Others rearrange their furniture monthly. They probably don't have dust bunnies. I have other acquaintances that are sentimentalists. Nothing is too mundane to become attached to. For them, and for the rest of us who fall between the two extremes, storage is a priority.

There are simple ways to increase storage in each room. For the living-room, use furnishings that do double duty. A flat-topped trunk makes a great coffee table, and also holds all of one's board games. Small chests with drawers take no more floor space than end tales, but hold a mass of small necessities. A stack of antique luggage can also substitute for an end table. A cushioned cube works as a footstool while holding piles of magazines. Old-fashioned piano benches with opening tops do likewise and also providing extra seating. If space allows, one can build a window seat recessed into a niche surrounded with built in storage.

In the bedroom, one of the largest and often overlooked storage areas is beneath the bed. Rolling plastic storage bins are made specifically to fit this space. Another option is to build a platform bed with drawers or cabinets underneath. Inexpensive closet organizers, available at any home improvement center, are definitely worth the effort of installing. They nearly double one's hanging space.

Look up to find innovative ways to take advantage of available space in the kitchen. The area above cabinets should be equipped with shelving or doors to store seldom used items. Pots and pans can be suspended from ceiling racks for easy access. Turntables and sliding racks inside cabinets increase useable space.

In hobby rooms and gardening sheds, baskets can be hung from the ceiling to hold small items. In the study, a roll-top desk is superior to a flat-topped one because it has those lovely old-style compartments. A variety of rooms have furniture that sits on high legs. Tuck decorative baskets or hat-boxes into this space.

Display space for one's collections can be provided in many ways. If there is no room for a shadowbox frame on the wall, build a glass-topped shadowbox table. The space between wall framing studs can be opened up to create niches and shelving. These are dramatic when illuminated with recessed lighting. Lamps with clear glass bases can be filled with a seashell or button collection. I once saw the equivalent privacy of a stained glass window created by stacking small glass containers top to bottom in a bathroom window. The containers were filled with an interesting mix of the owner's collections. Too many photographs? Try a room divider screen made from photo frames. There are also frames available that double as photo albums, and desktop turntable frames that display a different photo each month.

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