Monday, May 13, 2013

Where do I put that? (Latest Fieldstone article)

Where do I put that?

Is your house overflowing with items that do not have a home? Are you feeling the need to move just to have more storage for all of your things? You are not alone. But, there is hope to transform your current space into a space that works better for you.

The first rule of organizing is to PURGE everything you do not need or haven’t used in a while. But, after you purge, what do you do with the items you have left? Everything does need a place to live, but are there rules on where items in your home should be stored?

The answer is yes, sort of. There is no perfect place to store everything. Where you store items in your home depends on how you live and what you have to store. It also depends on the layout of your home and where the storage areas are located. One general rule to remember is that items you do not use very often need to be stored in harder to reach places and items you need on a daily basis need to be stored where you can access them easily.

We won’t spend much time in this article talking about what to store in the common areas of your home. Everyone knows what needs to be stored in the main rooms such as the kitchen and living area. But, what should you store in those other areas such as the laundry room, linen closet and attic?

Laundry Room:

No laundry room is the same. Some come with lots of space and a desk and some are large enough only for the washer and dryer. Whatever the size, it is often overlooked as a storage space. The following is a list of other items you may want to store here in addition to detergents.

  • Ironing Board on a convenient hanging system- hang on the wall in a stud if the weight is too much for the door or the door will not close due to the hanger
  • Cleaning supplies contained in an easy to carry bin with a handle
  • Additional supplies- toilet paper, sponges and cleaning rags
  •  Dog supplies- towels, shampoo and clippers
  •  Shoe polish kit
  •  Tool box for often needed tools- tape measure, screwdriver and hammer
  •  Clothing toolkit- scissors for cutting tags or stray strings, buttons, needle and thread
  • A summer kit- bug spray, sunscreen and beach towels

In the laundry room, remember to utilize the space you have. Add shelving if there is room. Add baskets or hooks to the wall for hanging items. Add a frame with a cheat sheet on removing stains (Martha Stewart has a great one on her site). And, don’t forget to also add a small trashcan for the tags and lint from the dryer and a jar or bowl to collect all of the change (or other items) you might find. If you are feeling really energized, you could also paint the walls in a bright color and add a trendy rug.

Linen Closet:

Most of us have at least a small linen closet in our hallway. If you do, it doesn’t have to just hold linens. The linen closet can be utilized in a much better way. It is fine, of course, to keep some of these items in your linen closet, but save space for other items as well. Many towels and washrags can be stored in the bathrooms in baskets under the sink or even in baskets hung on the wall. And, many sheet sets can be stored in your bedroom closet or in an extra drawer or chest. Larger comforters and blankets can be stored under the bed in containers that keep dust off of them.

So, what else can you store in your linen closet you ask? Many of the items are what you could also store in your laundry room, but here are a few others:

  •       Medication- you want to store medication in a cool, dry place away from humidity and on a higher shelf away from children
  •      First Aid Kit- Band-Aids, rubbing alcohol, Neosporin and other items that would be in a normal First Aid Kit (you could also add a thermometer here)
  •      Additional toiletries- soaps, shampoos, razors (this is important if you shop at Costco or other big box stores)
  •      Guest Amenities Kit- additional shampoo, toothbrushes, soaps for guests
  •      Batteries- for toys or smoke detectors
  •     Light bulbs
  •   Beach Towels and pool items (these can also be stored in an area of the garage)
  •    Board Games for kids
  •    Inflatable mattress and sleeping bags (I store these on the very top shelf where other items would be difficult to reach)
  •     Inclement Weather Kit- flashlight with batteries (take batteries out when not in use), candles, matches, battery operated radio, battery operated lantern
  •     Travel Kit- airline approved containers for bathroom items, dirty linen bag, Dopp Kit

To make storage in your linen closet a premium, utilize the space you have by using stackable containers or baskets, label bins you cannot see through and hang a rack on the door for additional storage. You could hang your ironing board here as well.


The attic is a space where heat, insects (Silverfish), and pests can be a problem. If your attic is not a room in the home and is not very well ventilated and insulated, you should think twice about using it for extra storage. The list of what not to store in the attic is much longer than the one on what you can store there.

What not to store in the attic: books, pictures, memorabilia, Christmas lights, candles, glass or plastic ornaments, electronic equipment or cords, car seats or items for kids with safety buckles or harnesses, plastic items or items with elastic such as reusable diapers swimsuits and bottles, lighting.
The following are a few items you can safely store in your attic: (this list also is heavily dependent on how you store these items and how long and how hot it gets in your attic during the summer months- Georgia gets pretty warm). Moisture can also be a problem.

  • Empty suitcases
  •  Seasonal Items
  • Seasonal or outgrown clothes
  • Some toys
  • Some baby items not needed until the next child
  •   Packaging for purchases you made recently that require original packaging for returns (keep packaging only until you know you will be keeping the item)

When it comes to storing items in the attic, think twice. Some items might need to be stored in the garage attic space as opposed to the house attic space if it is better insulated. Whatever you decide to store in the attic, it needs to be inspected routinely and not left in the attic for years. If it stays on the attic for a long period of time, it may ruin no matter how you have it packaged- even clothes.
Using many times overlooked storage areas in your home can help alleviate the stress you may feel from not having enough storage space. Remember that purging is the first step in organizing, but really putting thought into storing what is left is a good idea. Just because the room is called the laundry room doesn’t mean it can’t be used for other items.

Happy Organzing!! I would love to hear from you. Email me with your unique storage solutions!

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