Q&A: Home Downsizing Creates Storage Problems

Question: I have recently moved from a 2500 square condo to 1400 square feet apartment (2 bedrooms).  I would like to divide one of the rooms for storage and self standing racks for hanging clothes. I am not allowed to nail anything to walls and I would like to do this as economically as possible.  Any suggestions?

The problem is I have a lot of clothing and books and wouldn’t like to throw them all out.  I am trying hard to reduce the amount of clothing and books – but at present two rooms are full of containers waiting for a place to be put….
I hope you can suggest some solutions.

Answer:  Before I suggest anything, move all those containers into the extra bedroom.  If this is going to be your storage room, it may as well start storing your stuff.  Besides, you’ll be less stressed if the entire apartment didn’t look like it’s been turned upside-down.

Moving can make any space look like it is cramped and overflowing.  Of course, as you have alluded to, the first step would be to go through all those clothes and books and ruthlessly discard whatever you can.

If you want to read one of those books again, you can pick it up at the library.  I had a whole collection of books that would not fit on my many bookshelves.  I had to tell myself, “I would rather get rid of the book and have an uncluttered home.”  Keep you ABSOLUTE favorites and sell the rest.  You can use the money for other things – like buying storage for your clothes.

When you sort through your clothes, try on everything that you are considering keeping.  If you only have time to try on a few outfits at a time, then just do a few at a time.  Small steps.  Eventually, it will get done.

If the item you try on is uncomfortable in ANY WAY, get rid of it.  If it needs to be mended, get rid of it.  Are you really going to take the time to mend it?  You have plenty other clothes right now anyway.  Have a yard sale and let someone else save a buck on clothes AND do the mending.

Once you get into the habit of tossing out things, you’ll be surprised at how easy it becomes.

Finding an economical solution for a large storage project is difficult.  If you’re thinking of spending $100 or less, you’re not being realistic – especially if you don’t plan on getting rid of a lot of stuff.  You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, either. 

cb-60-web.jpgYou could be VERY economical and purchase plastic storage containers to hold everything then stack them up along the walls in your extra bedroom.  The downside to this method is you won’t have easy access to anything.  If you can’t get to it, you can’t use it and you may as well get rid of it.

Book Storage:
You can get good freestanding book storage by using bricks and wood planks.  A 6in x 10 ft pine board may cost you about $7 (lumber prices vary depending on your location, the season, etc.).  Stack up about 3 or 4 columns of bricks with each column having 2 bricks in each layer.  Alternate the direction of the bricks to add stability to the column.  The height would depend on how tall your books are.  Once you have your 1st set of columns made, lay a wood board on top and repeat making additional columns on top.  You can do this with varying lengths of board, but remember to keep the heights even.

Some variations to this method: You can use flat stones instead of bricks.  You can paint or stain the wood.  You can use plastic crates instead of the bricks.

Another option for storing your books is to purchase free-standing book shelves.  Be sure to spacesavers_2048_173276309.jpgget shelves that can hold up a lot of weight since these would be used for storage only.  Try to get bookshelves with adjustable shelves.  That way, you’ll be able to accommodate all sizes of books.

You can line freestanding shelves up along the edge of the room or you can back them up to each other in “rows” and create a library of sorts (secure the shelves to one another for added stability).

double hang.gifClothing Storage:  The fastest and easiest way to increase (and double) your closet space is to install another closet rod.  You can do this without any tools and without putting any nails or screws into the walls of your closet.  All you need is a closet doubler.  Get as many of these as you need and fill the rods with all your clothes.

Even if you pack your closet shelves full, there is usually alot of empty space up top before you get to the ceiling. You can add additional shelves going up!  Try inexpensive coated wire shelves that lock together when they stack or get creative and turn stackable shoe shelves into closet-top additions.

If your closet has been optimized for bulk clothing storage and you find you STILL need additional room, it’s time to turn to your doors and freestanding garment racks.  Your bedroom door and closet doors can handle all sorts of storage pieces for shoes, hanging clothes, folded clothes, books and more!  Just place an over-the-door storage unit on your door (again, no hardware to go into the door or walls)!

Freestanding Garment Racks and storage wardrobes come in many different models with many different features.  They can be as inexpensive as $20 or as much as a couple hundred dollars or more.  Don’t overload your garment rack, it won’t be able to do its job and all your clothes will wind up on the floor.

Because you are still trying to reduce the amount of clothing and books you have, I would be very careful about the storage method(s) you choose to invest in.  While you want to make sure you get plenty of storage for your buck, you also don’t want to shell out money buying storage for those items you will be getting rid of.

Hope this helps you out!  Happy Organizing!

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Tumblr Linkedin Digg Delicious Reddit Stumbleupon Email
This entry was posted in Bedroom, Closet, Home Organization, Q&A. Bookmark the permalink.