What's the one thing most homes don't have enough of? It's closets, and storage space in general. The perennial shortage has spawned hundreds of organizers, pull-out bins, wire racks, stackable baskets — you name it. To decide which option works best, try working through this list.
What stays and what goes? A trash bin may be the only solution for inveterate hoarders. But most people can lighten the storage load simply by chucking some stuff they don't need. The guidelines are simple: Do you see it and use it? Is it out on the mantle or in a box of things you might put on the mantle but haven't so far? It may be the soup tureen coated with dust on a top shelf in the kitchen, the T-shirt at the bottom of the pile you never wear, not to mention containers you moved from your last house with who knows what inside by now. It may be painful, but dumping or donating some things you don't see and don't use is a good start.
Who does the work? If you plan to renovate or add built-ins, there is a whole world of options. At one end of the spectrum (the most complicated and expensive) are services from companies like California Closets. Typically, they start with a house call from a rep who shows you the line and its possibilities, measures the area and helps you come up with a plan, and then creates a 3-D computer image of the solution. After any alterations and final approval, the plan goes to the company production department to turn out stock or custom parts that are assembled in another visit by an installer. Or, if you're not up for fabricating cabinets and mortising hinges but can handle straightforward jobs with basic tools, consider doing it yourself.
How difficult is installation? Most shelf and bin storage systems are modular. A combination may not fit your cabinet or closet exactly, but in most cases a mix and match of stock parts comes close. Typically, these systems require only a level, ruler and screwdriver — plus some careful planning and measuring. The key is locating wall studs that have enough strength to support the system and the weight of storage items it carries. Find them with a magnetic stud finder, expecting another stud every 16 inches on center. Molly fasteners that attach to drywall between studs may help carry part of the load, but aren't adequate for storage systems carrying heavy items.
How can you best change cabinet storage? Many storage spaces in closets, kitchen cabinets and other areas include dead space. For example, corner cabinets under kitchen counters are so deep that a fair amount of the cubic volume is hard to reach — so far back and so dark that you don't know what's there anymore. The solution incorporated into many cabinet systems is a multitiered carousel. It uses almost all of the cavernous space and lets you bring items in the back to the front with a quick spin. If you don't have one, or could use another, check the Web for companies such as Hafele, Rev-a-Shelf, retail big-box stores and cabinet manufacturers selling a variety of units that are easy to install. Aside from Lazy Susans for blind corners there are all sorts of pull-outs and organizers for deep cabinets and cluttered spaces under double sinks.
How can you best change closet storage? Most closets have a pole 60- to 65-inches off the floor. The standard layout is roomy but leaves extra space top and bottom, and some at the front and back. Moving the pole toward the back wall usually provides enough room for a narrow storage rack on the door to hold small items that used to fill a bureau drawer. To use even more of the volume, consider hanging clothes at half-height with two poles. The plan works in many different configurations. The most efficient has two full-width poles — in standard closets at about 80 inches and 40 inches off the floor. That can free up most of another closet you might convert to tiers of pull-out storage bins. But you can incorporate the space-saving plan in a large closet by partitioning one end and leaving a short, single pole for long garments.Copyright © 2015, CT Now