Clutter and disorganization play a significant role in the experience of stress. Keep your home organized and clutter free by paying attention to storage. It has been said that we use twenty percent of our belongings eighty percent of the time. Set a time limit for storage. Many people claim that if you haven't used it in a year, you don't need it. Some personal things just can't be discarded, however. If you must keep it, store it with care and be sure to label all boxed items for quick reference.
Look for pretty storage containers with lids. This set of Nantucket baskets will hide a multitude of odds and ends and can be diplayed on a bookshelf or even under a coffee table.
Shelves and storage go hand-in-hand. You can hang shelves from the wall, suspend them from the ceiling or rafters or span a wall. Adjustable shelves and free-standing shelf units give you more flexibility but are less stable for heavy loads.
Boxes and bins
Midway between shelving and cabinetry are boxes and bins. These containers are more casual than cabinets and more protective than shelves. Bins can either tilt or roll out from beneath counter or from inside a cabinet or closet. Bins are excellent space-savers and are great for moving items in and out of a congested work area.
Store documents you use frequently in attractive containers like this handwoven rattan file box.
Cabinets and closets
Cabinets and closets are both more useful and more expensive than any other type of storage unit. Really efficient cabinets and closets often include other storage components such as shelves, drawers, rods and hooks.
Books, Documents and Photographs
Nothing grows faster than personal documents, books, magazines, financial records, photographs and letters. All of these items are difficult to keep organized and in need of protection from the environment. Heat, insects, light, moisture and poor ventilation are all enemies of paper products. Good quality storage units should permit air circulation. Ideally, these items should be stored at temperatures between 60 and 75 degrees and humidity between 50 and 60 percent. Hot attics and damp basements will ruin your valuable papers.
Dust-proof zippered clothing bags are great to store your off-season garments. Use cedar products to keep the moths away.
Cardboard boxes are an option if the lids are loose enough to allow free air flow and the contents aren't packed too tightly. Cardboard is vulnerable to insect or rodent damage. If these are a concern, you will want to consider metal storage units, like filing cabinets. Consider recessing your filing cabinets into a knee wall or under a stairway so only the drawer fronts are exposed.
Books and magazines are best kept on standard shelves. These items won't be damaged by cold as long as they're kept out of the damp. Magazines can be stored in slipcover cases or binders.
Photographs and film
Excessive light, heat or moisture can damage your photographs. These should be kept in covered boxes, cupboards or flat files. A small amount of silica gel in each container will help keep them dry.
Storage above and around your washer and dryer make an efficient work area. A long deep shelf directly above your machines will be perfect for stashing frequently used supplies. Every laundry area needs open counter space for folding and sorting clothes. If space is tight, consider a fold-down counter. Be sure you have a clothes rod handy for drip-drying. Sorting bins are invaluable for a laundry room.
The key to storing clothes is protection. Moisture, dust and insects are all damaging to clothing. Cedar-scented moth products repel moths but do not kill them. Cedar bars and accessories can be used inside garment bags, chests or closets. Clothes should be thoroughly cleaned before storing them.