Home Storage 101


Storage areas are prone to clutter. Cabinets, drawers and bins are prime areas for collecting the miscellaneous items of your life. Items infrequently used often get misplaced and you are stuck purchasing such items again when you need them. Don’t let this happen to you. Find what you need, when you need it. Organize your storage areas with these practical home storage 101 tips.

1. Eliminate Clutter.

Review the items that you have in an area and make a plan. Designate them into one of three piles: throw out, give away, and keep. Keep the items that are in good conditional and that you plan to use in the near future or that have sentimental value. A good rule of thumb is that if you have not used something in two years or more, it is time for it to go. Donate to charity or give items to friends and family that are in good condition but you will not use or have outgrown, such as shampoos or clothing items. Throw out the discolored, items that require repair or are past their expiration date.

Do not overfill the storage space. Items are easier to find when a space is not tightly packed.

2. Remove Stains and Spots.

Keep the items that you have in good working condition. Remove and prevent bacterial growth and rust from the dishwasher. One way is to add powdered citric acid (2 tablespoons) to the detergent cup of your dishwasher and run the empty dishwasher for one full cycle. This will help remove rust spots. Mineral build-up or stains can be removed by swapping out one or two cups of vinegar for the citric acid and letting it run through a cycle.

3. Group Similar Things.

After sorting through items, keep related items together and make it easy to find them by association. Office stationary items, such as paper, glue and envelopes, should be in the same area. The same goes for shampoos, conditioners and razors.

4. Make it Easy to Access Items.

Keep the items that you need close to you. Items frequently used should be placed by front of your drawers and cabinets. When storing numerous bins in one area, such as in the garage or basement, keep those bins you often use often at eye level and close to the entryway. Seasonal items, such as holiday decorations or pool items, can be kept farther in the back. Clear bins make it easy to see items within. Label large storage bins to help sort and find your less used items.

5. Add More Storage Space.

Do you need more storage space? Removing and discarding the unnecessary will quickly give you more wiggle room. Take the measurements of the dimensions of areas where you want to add additional storage. Consider the type of shelving systems and bins that you will need for the space and how your items will fit. Also think about the conditions in the space. If you have an area is prone to dampness or humidity, such as the basement or bathroom, you may want to select plastic items with a secure lid that will help prevent mildew growth or can easily be cleaned with a simple swipe. While woven storage bins may look nice, they collect dust and mites and are more difficult to clean.

There are well-known stores that can help you visualize the storage items you may want to use and how to set up your space. Walk through the store or review the items online. Maximize your space with:

  • Large hooks for mounting on joists
  • Canvas boxes and garment bags
  • Covered racks for garments
  • Plastic bins for long-term storage
  • Pegboards
  • Cabinets that can be locked
  • Adjustable shelving

Get additional advice for all of your home storage needs from your friends at Mesa Awning.

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