Forget cardboard boxes, old suitcases and assorted tins for storing your stuff. These days retail stores are lined with containers – plastic, wood, metal - of every shape and size, furniture with storage cubbies, easy-to-adjust- shelving, and hooks and holders for everything from belts to batteries.
Not the organized type? No problem; there are lots of handy guides available too.
Let’s visit the ultimate storage spot – The Container Store.
Clothing, Shoes and Other Closet Challenges
We spend part of each day getting dressed, which means a disorganized closet and drawers takes extra time away from the fun excursion at hand.
Before you organize, though, you have to sort and toss. Downsizing experts such as Marie Kondo advise gathering all your sweaters in one pile and weeding out worn, wrong-size and unused. Ditto for coats, pants and shoes.
Now it’s time to check out all the creative storage tools out there today for the stuff you want to keep. For instance, the Container Store recommends:
- Slender hangers
- Sweater and shirt see-through boxes
- Shoe boxes or bins
- Drawer organizers
- Hooks, bins and bags for accessories (purses, scarves, ties, belts)
The store offers handy tips for every room in the house, but don’t just peruse the housewares aisle for kitchen storage, for instance. You might get some good ideas from the pet, toy and bath aisles too.
Here are three other tips to try, regardless of the room:
- Maximize vertical space, using higher shelves for things you only occasionally use;
- Organize with color – store your spouse’s stuff in red containers, craft supplies in blue and pet items in black.
- Select transparent containers or ones that can easily be labeled so you can immediately identify their contents.
Furniture that Does Double Duty
As many of us downsized, we made sure we held onto furniture that had more than one purpose, from futons to end tables with drawers.
Now, thanks to the millennial movement toward small space living, it’s easy to find furniture that does two or more things: ottomans with storage space; coffee and side tables with drawers and lower shelving; daybeds with drawers; and bookcases and shelving units of every shape and size.
Storage furniture is so popular that many furniture stores have a special section just for it. Cube storage with attractive bins that camouflage unsightly items is one of the most versatile and inexpensive products for sale these days. From one to a dozen cubes, this space can be used for books, files, glassware, knickknacks, candy, and just about anything.
More Storage Tips for Older Adults
Many older adults decide to move to smaller homes, so efficient storage systems are needed to help them live comfortably. But storage products also help them live safely.
Each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall, and it happens most often at home. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Falls can lead to hip fractures, brain injuries and death.
Keeping your home free of clutter is key to preventing falls. The Mayo Clinic recommends taking these steps to make your home safer:
- Remove boxes, newspapers, electrical cords and phone cords from walkways.
- Move coffee tables, magazine racks and plant stands from high-traffic areas.
- Secure loose rugs with double-faced tape, tacks or a slip-resistant backing — or remove loose rugs from your home.
- Repair loose wooden floorboards and carpeting right away.
- Store clothing, dishes, food and other necessities within easy reach.
- Immediately clean spilled liquids, grease or food.
- Use nonslip mats in your bathtub or shower. Use a bath seat, which allows you to sit while showering.
With those safety tips in mind, visit a storage store online or in-person and see what items might help you stay safe and stress-free.
More Tips to Help You Clear the Clutter as You Downsize
Getting organized is the first step - and a major benefit of - downsizing to a smaller space. But what’s the best way to get started?
Get tips for learning how to part with items, hear from an interior designer, and more in our free e-book, Do’s and Don’ts of Downsizing. Download the guide today and get your downsizing journey off to a successful start.
The Do's and Don'ts of Downsizing Guide
Getting Ready to Move? Time to Downsize Your Belongings?Don't know where to start? Our guide can help!
In the past, Molly Kavanaugh frequently wrote about Kendal at Oberlin for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where she was a reporter for 16 years. Now we are happy to have her writing for the Kendal at Oberlin Community.