We have discussed rising food prices and food shortages over the past several months. Nothing has changed, if fact, if anything things have gotten worse. This is a worldwide problem with no end in site. I hope you are planting fruit trees and berry vines as President Kimball counseled many years ago. I hope you are planting a garden even if it is in buckets on your front patio. Empty and understocked shelves in the grocery store are not going to end anytime soon. With that in mind it is time to think about where we are going to store all the food and non-food supplies we are accumulating. There are creative alternatives even for those living in small spaces.
We all know the value of under-bed storage. You can purchase risers for your bed, thus adding increased height for taller items as well as easier access.
If you have a deep closet with a bar for hanging clothes, move the bar as far forward as possible. Make sure you still have room to hang clothing. Add shelving to the back wall of the closet. Even if the shelf is narrow it can be used for smaller items such as soup cans, catchup, or shampoo bottles.
Add an additional shelf. Most closets have a shelf above the bar on which you hang your clothes. Look for wasted space above that shelf. This is a great place for Christmas decorations and items you use only occasionally, freeing up other space.
In children’s rooms, lower the clothing bar and add shelving above. Most clothing bars are hung higher than they need to be, even for adults, creating wasted space on the floor — which usually collects lots of clutter.
Raise the floor. If you don’t want to lower the clothing bar build a platform on the floor. Place storage boxes under it and you will still have room for all those shoes.
Forget labels. A coat closet doen not have to be for coats. Move coats to the bedroom closets. A linen closet does not need to be for linens, move them to areas incovenient or inappropriate for food.
Empty your closet
Most people wear only 20% of the clothing in their closets. Try going through your wardrobe and if you haven’t warn something in the last year get rid of it.
Under a staircase
Utilize an open staircase by installing custom cabinets, shelves, or storage cubes on the wall. For a decorative look add a bench with storage inside. If you don’t care about fashion or don’t have the money to make changes, just stack away. Keep a record of your inventory if stacking boxes and label them well.
If your staircase is enclosed, you have a huge cavern just waiting to be put to work. Create access to the space within by creating a door and store away!
If you remodel, or know someone who is doing so, salvage the kitchen cupboards and add them to your garage. Remember you can mount them high and go all the way to the ceiling with storage while retaining plenty of floor space for the car.
Old doors can be hinged together creating a screen to hide food behind. I know someone who did this with French doors and added simple, inexpensive blinds to the back. It looked great and hid her treadmill. Add a lace curtain or spray creating frosted glass.
Don’t forget the back of a closet door. An over-the-door shoe bag makes a great place to store spices, packaged seasonings, and other small items.
Use an armoire
Instead of a dresser, use an armoire. An armoire will double your storage space but without taking extra floor space.
Consider the Bathroom
Have a big bathroom? Add a dresser and store your supply of toothpaste, hygiene items and other bathroom products where these items are ready to use.
Add storage above the toilet. You can purchase a ready made shelving unit or create your own.
If you are stacking cans in the cupboard you can easily add another shelf. Adjust shelving to accommodate the size cans you wish to store on them. Leave about 1 ½ inches above the can so you are able to easily access your stored food. Measure the existing shelves and have the hardware store cut wood or laminated shelving to the exact size.
Hang a shelf on the walls, two feet or so from the ceiling, in your bedrooms. Baskets can be placed on the shelves and used for food storage or for seasonal items leaving space in closets and drawers.
A shelf over a doorway can also add a great architectural touch to a room and hold books or baskets.
Move the sofa
If you have a sofa in the middle of a room, consider adding a dresser or cabinet behind it that can be used as lamp table while hiding storage.
Next to the sofa
If there is a narrow place between the sofa and wall place a wicker or bamboo clothes hamper next to the sofa and place a lamp on top. Adds a designer touch while hiding extra blankets and linens taking up valuable closet space.
Use Baskets, baskets everywhere!
Clear items out of cupboards
You may be noticing a theme here. Clear items out of cupboards and off closet shelves and use these areas to store food. Take little used kitchen items, for example and store them in the garage. The garage is not a good storage area for food but it is great for roasting pans, oversized cake pans, extra large serving bowls, etc.
Remove pots and pans from cupboards and hang them. All the decorative wrought iron curtain rods on the market now make an easy way to create a custom looking pot rack, just add hooks.
Over the Cupboard
If you have a small space, or a large space above the cupboard, cut down a cardboard box to the proper height and width to fit the shelf, remove one of the longest sides. Cover the remaioning three sides with burlap or fabric. Place food to be stored on the shelf, turn the box upside down and slip the over the food. When you need to access the food simply slip the box off, retrieve the food, and replace the box. Make the boxes slightly different sizes or different fabrics for variety and interest.
Use a trunk
Instead of a coffee table use an old trunk.
Next to the bed
There is often more room next to your bed than your side table takes up. Consider getting a larger bedside unit, a small dresser, a trunk, a small bookcase.
Open up a wall.
That’s right. There are so many ways to use the space between the studs in your walls. Remove the dry wall, add a header and footer and:
a. Add a medicine cabinet to store soaps toothpaste and other small items.
b. Add shelves and a door and use for spice storage.
c. Add dowels between stubs to hang tablecloths. Enclose with cabinet doors. Store food where the tableclothes were.
Uniform storage containers
Invest in uniform storage containers and stack in the corner of a walk in closet or in cupboards
Home and garage attics
Don’t forget the attic, both in the house and in the garage. Much of your nonfood and seasonal or rarely used items can be stored here.
Create a window seat
Use two purchased bookcases to flank either side of a window. Add a bench or cabinets on the floor between the bookcases.
Make or purchase a loft bed even if you do not have more than one child in a room. The kids will love it and you can now add a dresser or shelving under the bed.
Convert the top bunk of a bunk bed into a food storage area. Create a tent over the entire bed with an opening to the top bunk to retrieve stored items and allow the fabric to also cover the sides of the lower bunk creating a sleeping tent. If they prefer to sleep on the top bunk make curtains for the bottom bunk out of camaplague or paint fabric to look like a castle for your princess.
Add a Wall
We have a friend who had a large living room. That is the room most of us only use when company comes. A wall was added to the end of the room creating a nice long “closet” which added extra storage space for food storage. The door is at one end of the wall making it look as thought there is a small closet but through that unassuming door is a cool, dark, narrow but long, large space for food storage.
Keep up or begin working on your food and non-food storage each Monday at Totallyready.com or on facebook at Totallyready. Ask questions and make comments for help and support. Carolyn is teaching classes on Zoom and other onine platforms to groups. If your group would like to schedule a class you may contact her at either her website or facebook messaging.