Organization the difference between a happy home and sheer chaos
Having everything neatly organised is highly satisfying and makes for a more streamlined home life. Here's how to sort out your storage, writes Georgia Madden. Who among us doesn't dream of better
storage, whether it's with a view to gaining more living space, improving an existing storage layout or simply having less stuff to keep track of? It's worth aspiring to, because we all function better in a home that's well organised. "Good storage is the difference between a functional home and sheer chaos," says interior designer and architect Brooke Aitken. "Without it, your whole life is on show."
The first step to organised living is to thoroughly declutter your home. Get rid of anything you no longer require, then take a good look at what you need to store. Do you have enough storage space? Does your storage need to be reconfigured or added to?
Every house presents its own storage challenges, the most common being a lack of space for shelves and an open-plan layout with nowhere to conceal mess. Designers have come up with a host of clever solutions, including storage products that can be retro-fitted into awkward areas, furniture that does double duty as storage, and flexible inserts for clutter hot spots such as kitchen and bathroom drawers.
A flash stash
One noticeable trend in storage products is that they've become so, well, noticeable. Featuring bright paintbox colours and novel mixes of materials, they are now design statements in their own right.
Decluttering the kitchen
According to Alicia Draper, Marketing Communications Manager at Blum, good planning is the key to a perfectly organised kitchen. "Storage should be the first thing to consider when planning a new kitchen," she says. Her other tips include:
Clear benchtops of clutter – store spice jars in racks and assign a special place for cumbersome gadgets.
Go vertical: use wall space for hanging racks, hooks and shelving.
Increase your pantry and refrigerator space with roll-out shelves and expandable racks.
Opt for drawers over cupboards. Full-extension drawers give you easy access to kitchen equipment.
Add drawer organisers to hold everything from cutlery and utensils to plates neatly.
Pull-out pantries take up minimal space and make it easy to access non-perishable items.
Keep everyday essentials such as paper towels and aluminium foil off the benchtop in special dispensers, either built into drawers or attached to overhead cupboards.
Use quality containers in the pantry – clear, square and stackable styles make the best use of available space.
Not enough bench space? A trolley on castors will provide an extra work surface plus storage space.
Meghann Wilson, Design Consultant at Adelaide-based furniture makers Transforma, acknowledges the main challenge of open-plan living: "You can't hide accumulated bits and pieces from view behind closed doors, plus there are so many new electronic gadgets to store." To achieve successful open-plan storage, aim to:
Clear the floor – use overlooked storage opportunities such as under the stairs and in alcoves, or around and above doorways for overhead shelving.
Consider a floor-to-ceiling wall unit that incorporates everything from storage and display to an entertainment unit and desk in one.
Look for furniture with integrated storage, such as a sofa with built-in shelves or side tables, a coffee table with lift-up top or storage ottomans.
Low-level shelving behind the sofa is great for storing books. Check out designs on castors for easy cleaning.
Stackable dining chairs and stools are easy to store away.
Don't forget to add some useful – and attractive – smaller storage items such as a coat hook, umbrella stand and magnetic wall rack for keys, to prevent little bits and pieces from turning into clutter.
More in store
Fully integrated floor-to-ceiling storage systems are gaining momentum, as are storage pieces used in unexpected ways, from travelling trunks in the living room and sport lockers in bathrooms to entire walls of storage cubes.