Making space in your home

Making space in your home

Bathrooms and kitchens in particular can be planned with as many wall units and shelves as possible. Photos by the author

Every time we complain of not having enough space to put away something, we are probably not really looking around the house. Every home has hidden storage spaces and you only have to look in the right places. Not only will you find lots of space to put away things, but it will also keep your home clutter-free.

 Even when you are planning a new house, it makes sense to install at the construction stage itself, hidden storage spaces, to put away crockery, clothes, electronic items, books, etc., which are not going to be used everyday. These could be concealed cupboards, hidden closets, and little nooks and corners away from direct sight.
Bathrooms and kitchens in particular can be planned with as many wall units and shelves as possible.

Vertical slide-in shelves and rotating ones too are now quite popular in kitchens. Decorative hanging racks double up as display points as well as storage space. A walk-in closet next to the bathroom is another solution. You can go for wall units with shutters so you can place items above them rather than open wall-units.

An attic is also a great idea, but check if the insulation and temperature there will be safe for the goods being stored therein. Otherwise, there are many ways you can find and conceal storage spaces.

A common trick is to have large and low-level chests to stow away objects and then to spread a pretty bedspread or divan-cover over them so it looks like seating space. 
Even a table can have a large cloth spread over it upto ground level and underneath the table you can then place storage boxes.  Besides, there are ottomans and blanket boxes available which can be put to this use.

Multifunctional furniture

You can also buy multifunctional furniture. Beds with storage space below them are common now especially in houses in space-constrained major metros. A wooden box next to the bed will not be a bedside table but also a good place to keep extra linen. 

Even divans and large sofas come with storage space beneath. Kathyayini Chengappa says she finds the ottomans’s inner space a very useful storage area for her children’s toys and for the family’s winter quilts. Today, you get large wall units for drawing rooms, wherein there are niches for a TV, DVD player, CD players, CDs and DVD holders as well as books and artifacts.

This is a good idea as it leaves the rest of the room housing only sofas/chairs and thus looking neat and uncluttered.

Opt for bookcases, cupboards

Buy bookcases and open cupboards which several levels of horizontal shelves, reaching almost up to the ceiling. This makes for very useful storage space. Web designer Kamalesh Sen, had large and tall shelves built into either side of his computer table (as extensions at the side) to increase storage space in that area.

Besides the shelves that normally come below the table, these extra ones act as bookcases, and space to store both is computer and music CDs and film DVDS.
The kitchen, as every woman knows, seems to need endless storage space. One solution is to have wooden platforms above the storage shelves to put away equipment and crockery and shelves with shutters that reach almost up to the ceiling. 

Even on the kitchen counter, you can have small moveable and standalone cabinets where you can put away vegetables and/or kitchen preserves like pickles and powders.
Angled walls and staircases also provide scope for putting away things. 

Lakshmi Naidu says she has converted the considerable area under the large staircase in her duplex home into a small library cum music room by throwing in a few chairs, open cupboards, cupboards and a writing-table.  Fortunately, this area also receives direct sunlight so it remains a bright and cheery area despite being under a staircase.
However, Lakshmi has also added a couple of elegant vases filed with silk flowers and some extra lighting for evening and night use.

Susceptible to dust

However, by virtue of being closed and hidden, these areas are very susceptible to gathering dust and dampness and becoming prone to musty odours. So, remember to open out these storage areas every now and then on a warm or hot day.

Remove their contents and leave them in the sun for some time. And the storage space itself should be thoroughly cleaned, dried, and if possible also exposed to the sunlight or at least allowed to get fresh, dry air for a few hours.  Most important, don’t even think of looking for storage space unless you have decluttered your home first.  The existence of potential storage areas should not encourage you to accumulate unnecessary things. Put together all the old, unwanted stuff around your home, locate people who need them and give them away.

The charity will also make you feel good. Or sell them if you like. And then look for storage space which should be occupied only by things necessary for you.

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