Day 28 - Clutter Free Storage Areas (Garages, Attics, Basements, Mini Barns)

Welcome to Day 28 of the 31 Days to a Clutter Free Home Series.  Today we're talking all about organizing our storage areas!

When it comes to storage areas (garages, attics, basements, sheds, even unexpected nooks and crannies like under the bed), it is very important to find a way to "organize the chaos." We all have stuff. It's a fact of life. Even after several years of hard work to reduce clutter, Dave & I still have STUFF. So, here are a few tips that I've gathered over the years to help tame that clutter:

  1. Get rid of as much as you possibly can.  You MUST be realistic and get rid of things that you just don't need. Then you'll actually be able to get to the things in storage that you want to find (like Christmas decorations, camping supplies, luggage, etc.)
  2. Use clear containers. In a garage or attic where there are going to be a ton of like containers, clear is best. This will help you identify which tub you need quickly and easily.
  3. Label the containers. 
  4. Maximize the space you've got. Perhaps you are like us and have no basement or garage (and a very small attic and mini barn). In that case, you need to get creative with the space that you do have. Put your bed on risers and slide large storage containers underneath. Use pieces of furniture like dressers in living areas for off-season clothes storage...no one will EVER know! Keeps your shoe collection stashed under the couch. (Hey! I saw it on Nate Berkus today. Genius idea!) 
At the end of the day, you just DO NOT want to end up with a garage that looks like this (like probably 80% of Americans!) You want to be able to pull in the drive and feel welcomed home not cringe at the sight of all the work you have waiting for you there.

Since we don't have a garage we keep our riding lawn mower and all that kind of stuff out in our mini barn. 

I'll admit, most of the time we've lived here it's been a disaster because we subscribed to the "We don't have a garage, so we have to cram everything in our mini barn and that's why it's such a mess" mentality... But a few months ago I was at Lowe's and spotted an organizer for hanging items like rakes, brooms, shovels, etc. And it was only $15. We mounted a couple 2 x 4's across the back of the barn, attached the organizer and WA-LA! Now we have a place for our tools!! (Sure is a lot safer than tripping over a mangled mess of rakes and axes when trying to get the mower out!!) 

We also hung a few items on nails along the side (an extension cord and some garden tools). Now, it's no Martha Stewart masterpiece, but it's a TON more functional and orderly than it was.

Sometimes it's the little things in life that just make all the difference. . .

We are potentially moving in a couple weeks (if all goes well with closing, etc.) to a home that has a LOT more storage than this place...basement, second floor, garage, etc. And I'm BEYOND excited to have some of these spaces that I've never had before (not to mention, to share this incredible new-to-us home with all of you too!!!). Consequently, I've been pinning inspirational organizing images (and anything else...) over on Pinterest for some time now. Here are a few of my favorite ideas.

Back when we were using our living area as a storage area during the remodel, we had stacks and stacks of storage tubs. 

 The WORST was when Dave would ask "honey, where's ________?" and I would discover (thanks to my handy, dandy labels) that it was in the tub in the back corner of the room under 5 other tubs. At that point, it was almost more convenient to go out and earn the money to drive to Lowe's and buy a new ________ just to not have to move all those stinking tubs! *sigh*

And now, Enter Pinterest. And I find all these amazing ideas...Where were you 3 years ago Pinterest??? Huh?

Why not build a shelving system out of PVC pipes for all those giant tubs out in the garage? Now if you need the bottom tub, that's all you have to deal with! Wow! What a concept!

Or just use metal shelves...

 Or build some out of wood...

Or you could build some shelves under the basement stairs for all those tubs!

And then there's this organizing work of art...pull out drawers...er, shelves...er, whatever they are.

So now, who's ready to build a shelving system for all their tubs? And who's ready to just donate/throw away the contents of some of those tubs? Tell me about your projects!!


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