Storage of The Stuff We Love
We all have stuff, how much stuff depends on who you are, and how much room your home has to accumulate more! As collectors of things, we tend to fill spaces with stuff, to surround ourselves with items that give us meaning and define our home as a place we love and want to be. Regardless of how you accumulate your most cherished belongings, each of us needs the space to store them in our homes. As I mentioned in my last post, we have downsized and along with that came the gross reality that we had to confront all of our stuff, picking and choosing which items had the most meaning and more importantly, how we would not continue to collect things that had little or no value to us. When we began designing our home we looked at the most important things and designed a place for all of them, including our very large dog. We also had to, and still are, trying to figure out how to manage our lives, so stuff doesn’t pile up again, ultimately eliminating extra junk.
We had to take note of the places where things begin to pile up, and what we noticed during our purge, was how much stuff we had in our closets and bathrooms. I know I am not alone on this, but as you look at how houses have evolved over the decades, our houses have more, and bigger bathrooms and loads of closets. We have an understanding that we need a bathroom in every bedroom of the home, this, to me, is completely unnecessary. We are also storage obsessed! I have had an en suite bathroom and to be honest, I don’t prefer it, and I’ll tell you why. At this point in my post, I’m fully aware that I am going to step on many toes, but I have to let you know, what I have observed and what I think, so keep reading at your own risk. When we cleaned out our bathrooms, do you know what we found? We found expired medicine, lotions half used (multiple) shaving creams, travel sized items not fully used up, random razors, toothbrushes, cleaning products that promised to keep our shower gleaming, that we never remembered to use until the mildew was beyond what they could do, exfoliators, old makeup, the list goes on and on. All of the things we cleaned out, were things that would continue to accumulate, because we simply didn’t know what was even in the cupboards. Our solution to ending the overflowing bathroom randomness was to keep, what we call, our “pharmacy”, in our pantry, this is simply a basket that we all use and it stores all of our essentials and even extras. When we run out of something in the bathroom we go to the “pharmacy” and get another. This keeps us from not knowing what is in the cupboards. Matt also keeps an amazon list for re-orders when this basket runs low. We designed our bathrooms with minimal storage, and limit that storage to the things you need in a bathroom, extra toilet paper, towels, etc... Products aside, I also believe that you should always share your bathroom. Why have we come to a place in time where this is an honored space to lavish ourselves? I see a bathroom as a space to shower, use the toilet and get ready, the more minimal the better.
Next up, closets. I hate them. They are closed off rooms where we can endlessly pile stuff. There are weird back corners where you never know if something is lurking, and it’s where we put stuff we want to forget about. That being said, I am a fan of wardrobes or built in storage. In our bedroom we have a pass through closet and I designed it that way, more as a dressing room with our clothes than a closet. I believe that we should have to confront the things we possess. I have read lots of minimalism books on how to do your wardrobe, and I am not sure about limiting yourself to 4 pairs of pants and shirts, but I am into the idea of knowing what you own. I am in my 40’s and regardless of fashion, I have always purchased the same types of clothes. However I do this, I want to be mindful that I am not feeding a fast fashion machine, but also not just buying stuff that is on sale, but buying stuff I actually love. When I get a garment I love, I will wear it until it has holes in it and is pretty much done for. For our kids, we limited them to a wardrobe in their rooms, our daughter needed hanging space but our son didn’t, this limited space for accumulation. We also have a coat and linen closet at the top of the stairs. I used all IKEA kitchen system for all of our built ins. I have found over the years that their kitchens are great quality and made in the USA. I can’t speak for their closet systems, but they don’t look to me, like they can take a lot of wear. Our kids are not gentle with their things and these systems are amazing. The best part is that if you ever what an update or change out, you can just buy a new door.
In our kitchen, we have a walk in pantry, the only fully enclosed closet in the house. We did this because it is our only storage and we needed a full height place for brooms, dog food, our pharmacy items, and small . appliances. We also keep some tools and our good china in there. We love the IKEA pantry system for storing our food. Much like the bathrooms, food gets pushed to the back of the closet and forgotten about. The more space you have to store your food, the more food you will store! We have limited space for food storage and it works great for us. OK, we can’t go to Costco, but I think that place makes people buy things they don’t need and forces more storage in our homes.
Finally, our dining room holds the rest of our belongings. We designed in a full wall bookshelf and small . cabinets to store our linens, games, and photo albums. We wanted all of our things to be on display if they have meaning to us so we made sure to have room for everyday items. This space currently has become a repository for our everyday stuff, like mail and kids homework, but it works. I love hooks so we have those sprinkled throughout the house and they seem to do the job for seasonal items. We also have an entryway that catches all of our stuff, keeping it out of the rest of the house. I call it the dumping ground, on any given day it looks a mess, but we can tidy it at a moments notice.