Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A contest - of sorts

I'm puzzling over plans for the interiors of my new wardrobes and cupboards - trying to imagine what I need to store and how much space I might need to store it (yes, I know the answer to that second question is 'more than you could ever imagine', but my space is limited).

cupboard plans

So, I've had the bright idea of asking you to help:

What's the best storage solution you actually have, or have dreamed of having?

Remember I'm moving to a small apartment and I don't lead a life of grandeur, so I don't need ideas such as parking for 3 cars or a cupboard designed for a 100 piece dinner service or a wardrobe to accommodate ten evening gowns.

I'll choose the most inspirational answer and send out a gift - yarn for knitters, something else appropriate for non-knitters, and I'll incorporate your idea in my new storage.

The renovation is proceeding quite swiftly, so I need a quick turn-around of ideas - say, midnight Australian EST Thursday 24 June.

I'm really looking forward to your suggestions - I think I've just about reached 'inspiration overload' and am out of good ideas.


Rose Red said...

I don't know if you need bathroom ideas, but I had the best storage in my previous bathroom (which I designed!!). For the sink, rather than having cupboards under the basin(with a dead space in the area where the basin was sunk into the cabinet) I had drawers - with the top drawer having a cut-out area where the basin went (ie the drawer went around the basin, if you know what I mean). And I had an almost ceiling height cupboard between the basin and the toilet, with storage on both sides - the part of the cupboard which was the side of the basin had storage on the toilet side - perfect for toilet paper etc. (you might have to see it to understand!).

Something I didn't do in my previous kitchen, but wish I had, was to put pull-out shelves in the pantry. I had quite a deep pantry, and it was a nightmare to get to the back of the shelves (that was where all the old food went to die, basically!). A pull-out unit would have been much more practical. I also had the kitchen bin put inside a cupboard, and had another cupboard with a vertical divider (rather than shelves) which was where I stored my baking trays, chopping boards etc. And I had an extra wide and shallow drawer put in for the good cutlery set (which you probably don't need, but I found it great - I could put the whole box of cutlery in there, still in the box. Perfect). Oh, and another cool idea I've seen, but not used, was to have drawers in the kickboards, under the cupboards. Ones that pop open when you gently kick the board (or you could have cutout handles if you preferred). Would be a good place for extra yarn, I reckon... (you can also do that with the stair treads, if you have any stairs...)

Sorry for the essay - can you tell I love cool storage ideas!!

Lynne said...

This is not exactly storage (except it hides away) - a shelf on drawer runners under the microwave (the weight of the microwave holds it in place) so that you can lift food out to check/stir without having to put it somewhere else in the kitchen! There is no bench space near my microwave (it stands next to the cooktop). It is a galley kitchen with lots of benchspace - across the walkway and a metre down from the microwave!

Gail McKinnon said...

Well for those of us that are getting older, repacing the traditonal kitchen cupboards with drawers makes it so much easier to access everything ... no hidden little dark corners...

Sel and Poivre said...

Well my suggestions are more of the cheep and cheerful variety than the others but here they are...

1. Plastic Turntables. I use these everywhere - under the sink, in the spice cupboard, on the counter. I can reach way up to the top shelf and with just a finger tip, spin the turntable to bring the bottle I'm looking for to the front where I can reach it. Ditto under the sink rather than having to reach around the plumbing to retrieve something from the back.

2. Cheap plastic bins. Again, these organize my hall cupboard shelves, craft supplies, the insides of drawers. I have one stowed in the broom closet catching kitchen laundry. I tucked one into the cabinet near the door to collect junk mail for recycling, I could go on and on but I'm sure you get the idea. I can buy these for about a dollar each.

Back in the kitchen again, I decant everything - packaging really doesn't make it into the kitchen cupboards. I use glass jars for dry goods, stacking tins for crackers, cookies, coffee and tea snd purpose built containers for cereal etc. This means I know everything fits and with a glance I can tell when I'm getting low.

When I need to reorganize an area I asses the needs, then go and buy a bunch of stuff, bring it home to work out how it will all fit then take back what I don't use. You can't do that with customized cabinetry!

Bottom line, these approaches economically and yet very efficiently customize standard cupboards, cabinets and drawers. When we renovated our kitchen I worked out that the customized cabinetry was not only more expensive but the interior structures that customized everything actually took up so much space they yielded fewer square feet of storage per shelf.

As Rose Red said..."Sorry for the essay - can you tell I love cool storage ideas!!"

Sally said...

I live in a 100+ year old home in St Louis MO, built when folks had far less stuff, so the storage situation is less than perfect EXCEPT there are two built-in glass front cabinets, one in the butler's pantry and one in the kitchen. I love love love them. One holds our everyday dishes, the other my cookbooks and some pottery. They add color and character because of what they hold, which can be changed as desired or necessary. So I would suggest having some glass front cabinetry here and there...not just the kitchen: have one somewhere for storing/displaying yarn stash or quilts and blankets or whatever.
THe other storage gem that has surfaced in recent years are the canvas modular pieces that can create shelves by hanging them from closet hanger bars. They aren't permanent and so can be switched out for different sizes or types as necessary. Good luck! I'm enjoying this relocation/renovation process of yours, a little vicarious living! Thanks!

Cecilia said...

I too am enjoying your renovations vicariously!

The best storage thing I've seen is in a friend's kitchen. She has a long drawer built in under the burners for the kitchen that is designed to hold herb and spice jars. There are small "shelves" built in there that are at around 30 degrees (?) so she can see see the labels of every jar in there.

Brenda said...

I agree - drawers in the kitchen cabinetry are wonderful And like S&P I put my baking goods in large canning jars. On the top, I label them with traditional canning jar labels. When I pull out the drawer, I can see at a glance what I have/need. On the back of the drawer front, I use self sticking cup hooks to hold the measure cups and spoons.

Anonymous said...

Pull-out shelves are a great idea. However, here in the US, the ONLY way to go is to have California Closets come and do a custom cabinet/closet fitting for you. You should see if Australia has anything like this. I had my master closet re-done by them and I LOVE IT!! Just look at their website www.californiaclosets.com
Good luck!

missfee said...

I agree drawers drawers drawers
and the pull out pantry is a great idea - there are ones that pull out and swing - have a good look at them first though as the pull out we have we still loose stuff in the dark drawers and at the back.

Up to the ceiling cupboards - lots of extra unused space

purge and get rid of stuff - harsh but the best way to deal with smaller living space

Barbara said...

What great ideas. I am a terrible hoarder from way back, so am not able to give any sound advice. I just read it with admiration. I must say that I like the idea of some glass cupboards making pictures as it were within the room.

M-H said...

The drawers in the pantry are great. Our joiner advised against the full pull-out pantry as apparently they aren't very sturdy with the weight that's in them. But big deep drawers in the pantry cupboard are marvellous - you can see and reach everything.

We have a small kitchen, and have drawers in the kitchen joinery - we have no cupboards except the corner ones which open to turntables. One of these turntables is especially flash: it has stainless steel baskets that can pull out when they have been turned to face you, and can take huge weight - we have cast iron casseroles in them without a problem.

In the bedroom storage area we have small square shelving, like you see in yarn and clothing shops about 30 cm wide. You can fold clothing into these, arranged by colour or whatever. You can see everything and it is easy to lift off the top of the pile to pull something out.

Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

i'm terrible with this stuff but am loving reading the comments. Great idea to ask for advice Lyn!

M-H said...

Actually, I realised last night we don't actually have those shelves in our bedroom - they were too expensive. But we have broad shelves (about a metre across) in which we have put slide-on dividers, which have the same effect, and you can move them to different widths.

chocolatetrudi said...

One of my favourite storage ideas is multi-purpose furniture - footstools that double as storage chests, coffee tables that can store/display things, bed bases with built in drawers beneath.

Drawers under the bathroom sink has already been suggested, but the units that have them are hard to find and expensive (well, they were a few years ago when I was looking for them). So instead I bought a double sink top, which was remarkably cheap, and had a nine-drawer cabinet made. The top drawers are shallow to allow room for the sink, but they're perfect for medications and creams. Deeper drawers below hold towels and cleaners, right there where we need them.

Good luck with the home decorating!

chocolatetrudi said...

Lol! Just read your next post asking for wardrobe design advice. I had to do this a few years ago, so here's what I did:

I hung up all the clothes that Paul and I keep on hangers and sorted them into long things (dresses, long skirts, trousers), and short things (shirts, shorts, short skirts). Then I measured the width of hanger space they took up.

Long garments went to either side of the wardrobe space - left for me, right for Paul. Around half of our garments are short so I was able to put a drawer unit underneath them. Then on top of this, in the middle, I put open shelving for folded t-shirts, jumpers, etc. divided down the centre.

This way we have half the wardrobe each. No arguments! (However, I have a separate storage unit for all the knitwear I've made, but we won't mention that...)