Storage is a magician’s card trick. You’ve seen the show, you know it can be done, but how do you make it work for you? The National Manager of Design for California Closets, Erin Hardy, is a master of the craft. And she’s ready to share her best storage tips for every home.
Ease in With Assessment
When you’re surrounded by overflowing closets, storage feels impossible. The pros know all you need to do is step back and look at the cards in play. Our first storage tip is to clarify storage categories, such as cleaning supplies, home maintenance tools and family entertainment. Once you’ve got a feel for what’s in your home, test your space one category at a time. “You can learn a tremendous amount from physically seeing and assessing what’s not working,” Erin says.
Each individual’s home deserves customization. Even if you have an average home with average storage space, you’ll use it in your own unique way. “No two customers have the same design aesthetic and functional needs,” Erin says. “Every custom storage design is a fascinating puzzle.” The beauty of storage is that it’s not a one-size-fixes-all solution. It’s an art.
Find Your Priorities
Older homes especially have a collection of quirks that you need to assess. You might replace the jerry-rigged shelving from the previous owner, but treasure that double-door milk cubby. 1950s homes are notorious for small pantries, hall cupboards and bedroom closets. Some choose to expand storage via renovation, while others prefer less-invasive redesigns.
If original 1950s closets spark joy, you may need to revisit Marie Kondo’s minimalist methods. No number of storage tips or solutions will change the math: If the volume of your scarves is greater than the volume of the space provided, they will not fit. Even if you vacuum seal and squish them in, will you ever go to the hassle of getting them out and steaming the wrinkles? Sometimes you need to pare down what you don’t need in order to fully appreciate the things you love.
If you match up personal priorities with the puzzle pieces in front of you, it’ll be easier to make the right decisions for your home. “We see all stages of life: first homebuyers, downsizers, new babies on the way, you name it,” Erin says. “The customization of our product line allows us the opportunity to accommodate any situation.”
No Budget is Exactly the Same
Storage is never one-solution-fits-all, nor is it one-budget-fits-all. Some custom options might be outside what you’re willing to pay, but that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice functionality. If you can’t afford custom units, consider modular. If hardwood is out of range, look into wire.
No matter what solutions you buy into, be sure to invest in longevity. “A good base of a functional design in timeless materials can last a lifetime,” Erin says, “and bolder accent choices can be swapped out over time as trends change.” Sustainability matters. With fewer updates needed over the years, you’ll both spend less and waste less.
Simplify Your System
A home office is the family catchall that piles up faster than you can tidy, but with streamlined storage, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are a few storage tips keep your system easy to follow:
- Clear the clutter. No one wants their car double-parked, so your storage shouldn’t be double-stacked. Creating margin makes it easy to put things away; toss or donate unnecessary extras.
- Keep a good visual. Use clear bins so you can see and remember what you’ve stored and where it is. If clear bins look too busy for your taste, consider monochrome boxes with specific labels.
- Adjust in real-time. Your life is always changing, so create labels that are easily replaced or rewritten. A flexible, forgiving system will help you stay ahead of the mess.
- Organize sustainably. Instead of buying new, keep some gift boxes, pretty packages and tea tins that make their way into your home. You can swap out for size and style as needed.
The walk-in closet of your dreams can easily carve $50,000 out of your savings, but few can opt for Hollywood luxury. According to Fixr, the national averages for installing storage systems is far more budget friendly:
- Wire: $100-$1,000
- Pine: $1,800-$3,000
- Hardwood: $4,000-$6,500
If you have an original reach-in, you can outfit your closet for even less. The starting cost depends entirely on how personalized you want it to be:
- Kit: $100
- Custom: $1,000
Don’t forget to consider other cost factors, such as:
- Electrical wiring
Get more inspiration with our favorite bedroom storage options!