Storage Tricks for Those Who Love Their Stuff

Get ideas for clearing the decks without getting rid of all the lovely things you want to keep around

By Lara Sargent / Courtesy of Houzz.com

love my stuff and want to surround myself with all my glorious bits and bobs and keepsake treasures every hour of every day. And I buy things because I adore them — from folksy vintage tins and battered picture frames to pretty glass bottles and old postcards — not really knowing where each piece will go when I get home. 

That’s not to say I can’t get through the front door for fear of being buried under a mountain of old newspapers (I’m not that bad), but I could certainly do with a little helping hand every now and again. If that sounds like you, then take a look at these storage tricks that will make a big difference to your stash.

Look under your bed. If the space underneath your bed is already full to bursting with CDs, blankets and old paperwork, one way to make your stuff look a little more palatable is by investing in some underbed storage boxes or drawers. Slim pullout drawers (preferably on wheels for easier access) allow you to create order without everything spilling forth onto the rest of your floor.

Pick up reasonably priced transparent acrylic versions, or invest in custom wooden boxes to match your bed.

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Build a storage wall. Admittedly, this idea will take a lot more thought and initial outlay than most of the others here, but once the wall is built, you’ll have it for life. We’re talking about a dedicated storage wall with jigsaw-puzzle-style cubbyholes to hold your ceramics, books, photos and other collections. 

Call in a professional who can work out the best configuration for your needs. Paint the whole thing white — from top to toe — and let your belongings pack a punch with their own colors and shapes.

Invest in a linen chest. A linen closet is the stuff of dreams for a gatherer like myself: a cupboard to fill with a growing collection of vintage cloths, embroidered pillowcases and pretty duvet covers. Second best, though, is a large, sturdy linen chest, located in the bedroom or bathroom and piled high with lovely linens and other textiles.

Shelve your shoes. If, like me, you have shoes, boots and slippers scattered liberally around the house, an easy solution is to put up a series of shelves in an unused corner of a bedroom or tucked on a landing.

While I’d love to get a tailor-made shoe closet built for all of my kitten heels and wedges, this is a viable and purse-friendly alternative. And those pretty peep-toes will be on display for all to admire. 

For an extra decorative flourish, why not paper the walls in this area for a striking backdrop of color and print?

Love your baskets. Baskets, boxes and sturdy fabric bins can be a stuff lover’s best friends. And nowhere are they more welcome than in the bathroom, where clean washcloths and hand towels, toiletries, tissues and dirty laundry can be stashed in an orderly fashion.

Choose wicker and rattan for longevity, with pretty cotton linings that can be machine washed and kept in pristine condition. There is a basket out there to suit every unhoused item, so get organized by mixing and matching slim wicker trays with deep storage bins and petite boxes.

Display your finds. If you don’t want to hide certain collections, then embrace them and display your pieces for all to admire.

This pretty hodgepodge of white-framed mirrors in different shapes and sizes has been transformed into unusual wall art, propped on two slim picture shelves. Likewise, old suitcases can be stacked to create a quirky display, as well as provide bonus storage for some of your other stuff. 

Let your collection evolve: Move pieces from room to room, add new finds (but at least try to make sure they have a place before you buy) and give to charity shops when you tire of a certain object. It’s a great way to keep your home fresh and interesting.

Create a memory board. I love old photographs, postcards and ticket stubs, as they conjure up so many fond memories of past places, events and holidays. But where to store them all?

Using a huge pinboard is a good way to document the happenings in your life. They’re easy to make once you’ve found a suitably sized backing board. Simply attach plain fabric to it with a staple gun, then crisscross it with ribbons attached at the edges. Then you can tuck in colorful images, like cards and photos that mean the world to you.

Edit your collections. You might have held on to some of your stash for sentimental reasons, which is all well and good if you’re living in a palace. But do try to be ruthless with your stashes and bag up shoes, old picture frames, purses, scarves and tablecloths that haven’t seen the light of day for years. Donate them to charity shops or even make some cash by selling a few pieces online.

With a more manageable collection to deal with, you can create a pretty tableau of your prized possessions by displaying them in a shelving unit. Paint or line the unit with paper if you like, but otherwise let your keepsakes speak for themselves.

Use your understairs space. If you have a spare open space under the stairs but don’t have the budget to commission a tailor-made storage hub with doors, try more creative ideas. Old crates and boxes turned on their sides can become rustic cubbyholes for stashing various odds and ends — and everything will make for a pleasingly eclectic display.

If this look is a little too unpolished for your taste, try revamping the crates with a lick of paint or lining them with pretty wallpaper offcuts.

Have you tamed your treasures? We’d love to hear your tips in the Comments below.