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Sheila Chandra

Why ‘pretty’ storage solutions hardly ever work…

Are you one of those people who LOVES storage solutions?

Do you see yourself being neat in your minds eye the second you pick one up? Do you long for chunky shelves with nothing on them but 3 raffia storage boxes with leather handles which tone in with your leather sofa (I always have a leather sofa in these fantasies…) in which all your old photos and memorabilia are sorted? Often, the reality is more like huge piles of papers, electronic spaghetti, toys, unwashed cups and trinkets with ‘a present from Margate’ on them….

The storage trap…

The huge trap with ‘pretty’ storage solutions is that when you see them in a shop, you want to buy them just because they’re so pretty and look so sophisticated, rather than because they are a real solution that’s truly tailored to you. They can seem to manipulate you into buying them by using your longing for order, because they appear to promise an instant solution. How many of us have bought a huge wardrobe with several hanging rails and drawers and shelves, hoping that it will miraculously look the way it does in the brochure in our own home, and believing that owning it will turn our ‘clothes pile’ of a bedroom into an oasis of calm? It never works like that does it?

The storage solution

The answer to your storage problems is twofold. Firstly, you do have to prune occasionally. (Don’t panic. Stay with me here…) Get rid of anything you no longer need. This should be an instinct and an ongoing habit, not something that only happens when your auntie Ethel comes to stay in the spare room once every 10 years, and you’re forced to clear it out. Try to throw or recycle or give away one item you don’t need, at least once a week. (And no packaging doesn’t count, unless you’ve been hoarding it…) Doing this will get you out of the trap that thinking that the answer with storage is always ‘more!’

Storage solutions should always be a considered decision

Secondly, when you buy storage solutions, it should always be a considered decision. I know, I know, it is heartbreaking to walk past those stacking raffia boxes, but you must be firm. Before you go shopping, you really need to consider

  • What the storage will house e.g. something for a specific task…. Maybe a trolley with all your craft materials in it which can be wheeled out of sight in the dining room when you have finished using it in there, or a tool board so that all your precious tools can hang above your workbench.
  • Where the storage needs to go. So, shelves in the dining room for your crafts is not suitable. You are unlikely to use them, and put things away, and even when you do, the dining room will still looked visually cluttered with something inappropriate to the room’s main function. And that means you need precise measurements too that you remember to take to the shops with you.

The best forms of storage

The best kind of storage will enable you to keep all that you need for the tasks you do, in the closest place, and in an easy to access form, which uses the space well and is aesthetically pleasing. See what a long list of requirements that is? This is why ‘impulse’ buys are very unlikely to work. Consider what you need, why, where, capacity and ‘look’, before you go shopping. Then if those raffia boxes are suitable for your needs, you’ll actually use them, and they will really be the solution you’d hoped for.

In lockdown we’ve all needed to reassess our personal spaces, especially when we’ve been working from home. I’m now offering home organizing coaching for those of you want to put the time aside to finally create the kind of nurturing sanctuary you’ve always wanted. Contact me for more details!


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