Martha Stewart knows the value of a good storage hack. But where should we mere mortals look when trying to identify safe ways to store our possessions without breaking the bank?
It can prove difficult to make the most of the space you have when you don’t have much to start with.
Findings from the 2016 census revealed that over the past 25 years, the number of occupied apartments and units in Australia increased by 78% with semi-detached, row housing, town houses, flats and apartments now making up just over one-quarter of housing (26%).
With those living in strata titled dwellings motivated to give up additional floor space for the convenience of living close to their work, restaurants and entertainment strips, results from the same questionnaire also showed apartments have shrunk in size on average 10m2 since 2007.
But talk to the experts and they’ll say a home doesn’t have to be huge to feel spacious.
Lifespace Store and Organiser owner Nicole Thomas says there are a myriad of ways Australians can optimise the space they live in, if willing to think outside the box.
Thomas, who founded her store in 2007 but has a lifetime’s experience raising a growing family in tight confines, says over door hooks, storage tubs, rods, pegboards and ninja baskets all have a role to play in restoring order by decluttering a home.
While those who own their apartment or townhouse have the luxury of remodelling to suit their needs, this doesn’t mean those in tenanted strata complexes have less options.
“Those who own their apartment or townhouse have the luxury of installing more permanent fixings. If they have a garage space they can mount fast track rails on walls with click on storage hooks to optimise storage. Suspending a platform from the garage ceiling above your car can use available space for storage tubs too.
“Tenants, however, need to think of the unused spaces they do have and how they can make it work for their needs. For example, the blank space behind doors can be used to hang an over door hook to store jackets, umbrellas, dog leads, towels or the next day’s clothes hanging as an alternative to a clothes valet,” she says.
National Storage marketing manager Monique Voltz recommends putting desk organisers in the fridge, installing spice shelves on spare walls and arranging bookcases in the centre of a room with a solid plank of wood as handy ways to acquire more storage options in restricted spaces.
Ice cubes work well as jewellery organisers while tiered fruit baskets can be repurposed and hung across a shower curtain rod to store washcloths, soaps and bathroom toys, she says.
Magnetic strips work best when used in bathrooms, bedrooms, studies and garages and can hold an assortment of items from nuts, bolts and nails to tweezers and hair clips.
Hanging a rod under your sink is the perfect way to rearrange washcloths and spray bottles while keeping your benchtops clear, she says.
“With your plastic bags imprisoned and your detergents all hung up, you’ll actually have storage space beneath your sink.”
However, those in search of the “holy grail” of home storage hacks should look no further than holey boards, Voltz insists.
“[You can] hang them in the kitchen to keep your cooking essentials close by, let your children decorate them and creatively store their toys, put them in your backyard shed to organise your tools, paint them and place them in your bedroom to hang up your hat and other accessories or place them inside the front door as a place to drop off and pick up keys, backpacks, sunglasses and other personal items,” she says.