- Every room needs some form of storage.
- Suggest portable options for homeowners who may move in a few years.
- Just as important as the usefulness of the system is being able to maintain it.
Storage comes in all shapes and size and varies tremendously, depending on the type of home. That said, every home needs some available space to organize items of daily use and those reserved as seasonal.
When searching for a home, buyers will often look to square footage and closet space to ensure that they can stow and organize all of their belongings. It’s important for real estate professionals to provide options. If no built-in closet exists, remind buyers of the various permanent and portable storage solutions available to them.
Flat-screen TVs and Bluetooth speakers have all but eradicated the need for bulky entertainment centers, says Amanda Wiss, founder of Urban Clarity in New York. Still, storage for gaming consoles, pillows and blankets, various remotes and more mean a living space requires some level of storage.
Designer Rebecca Pogonitz of GoGo Design Group recommends keeping one wall free from storage altogether—save for a couple of bookshelves—to make room for a TV. A clean wall with little shelving opens a space up and eliminates clutter.
For those not planning on staying in their home for long, Pogonitz recommends a modular system from Ikea or another affordable vendor. Suzan Wemlinger of Suzan J Designs suggests using ottomans and coffee tables with concealed storage.
Trending right now is maximizing closet space and foregoing armoires or dressers in the bedroom. When there’s space for a walk-in closet, designer Jodi Swartz of KitchenVisions likes to include a surface for a dressing table and a place to leave a suitcase open. Still, the logistics of a walk-in closet are important, which is why Aleks Videnovic of Stage IT advises making sure there’s sufficient space to turn around in.
When space for a walk-in closet doesn’t exist, outfit the closet space that’s available with racks of varying heights, along with adjustable cubbies and drawers when possible.
And if possessions exceed closet space, dressers do work well, as do ottomans and stylish shoe racks or cabinets, which can conceal shoes altogether.
The kitchen might be the most important place in which you minimize clutter and only keep what’s used. Organizing is just as important, and inserts from places like The Container Store, Rev-a-Shelf or Costco help keep things tidy says Bob Zuber, AIA, architect and principal of Morgante Wilson Architects.
When it comes to open shelves, Wemlinger, like many, prefers the minimalist look, but it’s important to remember they still require periodic cleaning and reorganizing, she says. She favors them for a specific use such as placing coffee mugs above a coffee center.
For an efficient pantry closet, Swartz incorporates roll-out shelves to make it easier to find items. Keeping height and reach in mind, she suggests a maximum height for roll-out shelves at 54 inches above the ground. Instead, she uses shelves above for larger items and tray storage.
For those with extra room and funds, a walk-in, back kitchen or butler’s pantry makes space for messy work out of view of the main kitchen plus more storage for extra dishes, bulk items and appliances, says kitchen designer Mick De Giulio of de Giulio Kitchen Design. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, he says. “One of its advantages is keeping everything visible to be able to take quick inventory,” he says.
Mudrooms and Laundry Rooms
Equipping a secondary doorway like a side door or garage door with storage for coats, backpacks and shoes can help minimize clutter inside the home. Real estate saleswoman Stephanie Mallios of Compass considers them a boon to make morning rush a breeze, especially with children. With closed cabinets, the mess seems to disappear altogether, says Jacob Laws of Jacob Laws Interior Design. If there’s no room or budget for a closet with cubbies, a built-in or freestanding bench, along with a shelf and a few hooks mounted above, might work.
Increasingly, mudrooms have become large enough to accommodate laundry equipment. Sometimes they also include shelving and a rod on which to hang clothing. Sinks are often popular as well. Allison Bond, a saleswoman with Cummings & Co Realtors, finds that many homeowners who put money into these spaces will recoup it due to the mudroom’s popularity. Even if there’s not room for a laundry on the main floor, a clean, freshly painted one in a basement helps organize life and will appeal to potential buyers at resale, she says.
Older bathrooms were smaller and had less built-in storage, sometimes due to the absence of a second vanity. If a remodeling isn’t in order, storage can be added above a toilet with shelves for a practical, minimalist look or within a medicine cabinet, says Wiss.
Because his bathroom had only a pedestal sink, Laws repurposed a mid-century modern credenza from his office and added it to a bedroom adjacent to the bathroom.
If remodeling is possible, storage should become a priority by using space saved by building a smaller shower, since the trend for oversized showers has waned in popularity, Bond says.
While there’s a large number of companies focused on organizing a garage with storage along its sides, back, and above cars, the guiding mantra again is to declutter first and not to overdo what’s installed. Nothing’s worse than having a garage so full with stuff that there’s no room for cars, Zuber says.
What’s also key is for the garage to look clean and have a floor that’s been painted with epoxy or another durable material, says Bond.
Nooks, Crannies and Stairways
Most homes contain spaces that can be converted to useful storage with a little imagination and help from a contractor or a piece of furniture. Under the stairs has become popular for a coat rack and bins. A stair landing can be outfitted with a window seat with storage, and under a bed also works for storage, says Mary Cook of Mary Cook Associates, who advises builders on commercial and home design trends.