When it’s time to downsize into a smaller home in a land lease community or over-55 lifestyle village, storage can be a problem ‒ especially if you’re moving from a larger home and there are things that you simply can’t part with.
If the storage space available at your new home is limited, don’t worry because we have some innovative and clever ideas to help you maximise your storage space.
Storage solutions for your bedroom
Most bedrooms will have a built-in wardrobe. This makes it easy to house your clothes and other soft furnishings such as sheets and blankets. But, what about your other treasures?
- The space under your bed is an obvious place so invest in some clever storage bags (like the zipper-close ones from Ikea or whatever Kmart offers) that will fit this space. This is ideal for storing extra doonas, pillows and blankets you might only need in winter. We use ours to store the tonne of toilet paper that we get from Who Gives a Crap. If you’re into feng shui, you’ll know that under-bed storage is a no-no. However, we figure as long as you clean under there twice a year, you’re good to go.
- A blanket box that fits at the end of your bed is a great place to store out-of-season clothes that might otherwise clutter up your available wardrobe space.
- Instead of placing bedside tables next to your bed that take up valuable floor space, consider installing some wall shelves instead.
- Think about a storage ottoman in front of your dressing table instead of a chair.
Storage solutions for your living space
You might find that your living space such as your living room or dining area is too small to fit the furniture that you had in your last home. This means that you get to invest in new pieces that can also double as extra storage space.
- Ottomans and coffee tables are available these days that also double as extra storage. Make the most of these to store books, magazines and games.
- Empty space above any doors is great as long as you have a stepladder. Add an over-the-door shelf for displaying some of the treasures that you simply can’t part with or the overflow books.
- An open-shelf storage unit can also double as a room divider. These types of pieces are perfect for breaking up space and delivering somewhere for your indoor plants to hang out.
- Not sure what to do with cushions and throws? Head to Ikea or Kmart or whatever is in your area for some gorgeous baskets to keep everything under control.
Storage solutions for the bathroom
Your bathroom can allow you to be extra creative when adding valuable storage space.
- Have a narrow shelf built above the door to house items such as towels. Rolling your towels takes up less space and they look great too.
- Consider a ladder-style towel rack to give you more space to hang all your towels. However, if the floor space is limited, you’d need to attach the ladder rack to the wall.
- You might even think about changing your bathroom door for a slider as this will take up much less floor space. If possible, a cavity slider is ideal.
Storage solutions for your kitchen
Storage space in smaller kitchens is always at a premium, so you have to be extra creative.
- If your kitchen doesn’t have overhead cupboards, consider adding some open shelves instead. If kept neat and tidy, these will take up less space than actual cupboards.
- You can almost double the space in your pantry by investing in some inexpensive tiered shelving to store items at different levels.
- Over-the-door hanging racks are also fairly inexpensive and can use spaces that would otherwise be wasted.
- If you’re really stuck and don’t mind bending down, you can use space under your cupboards. Yes, almost at floor level, but getting a tradie in to add drawers where your kickboard was will give you extra storage for those items you need to keep but hardly ever use.
Storage solutions for your laundry
Smaller laundries often mean less available storage space so you need to be clever.
- Shelves above your washing machine can store detergents and other cleaning products. (Hot tip: Decant detergents and cleaning products into matching containers. All that branding is distracting.For products like insect spray, find a basket that’s the same height as those products and store them together in the basket so they don’t look messy.)
- Add a wall-mounted hanging rack for brooms and washing baskets so that they’re out of the way. If you have a tall narrow cupboard, use it to store brooms and mops but use Command hooks on inner walls to keep items off the floor.
- Consider installing a wall-mounted pull-down ironing board. That’s if you still need to iron ‒ we don’t!
Storage solutions for your garage
If your new home comes with a lock-up garage, you can easily use this for extra storage. You just need to maintain the space so that everything remains neat and tidy. The trick is to set it up from the get-go so your garage doesn’t become a dumping ground where you can’t find anything.
- Install a hanging pegboard to hold your tools and garden implements.
- Use steel shelving or Ikea Billy bookcases (that are REALLY easy to assemble) along one wall to get your stored items off the floor. You can put things into clear plastic tubs that have lids so that you can see at a glance what’s inside.
Want to learn more about making the most of your next 30 years?
We’re committed to making life better for the over 55s. Check out downsizing.com.au for more insights and great advice on living life to the fullest. We have a great range of properties for the over 55s to help you do that with like-minded people in land lease communities and retirement villages.