Main Menu
Articles Home
Most Popular Articles
Top Authors
Submit Articles
Submission Guidelines
Link to Us
Contact Us

Translate this page

Home / Home / Home Improvement

The Ten Essential Storage Principles Of An ExtraOrdinary Home

By:Carol Abrahamson

Planning a remodel, major repair or new home construction? Looking for some terrific features to include that won’t be budget busters? We can help! We started collecting over 1,000 uncommon, affordable convenience built-ins in 1998, when we first began writing books and consulting to help people have truly extraordinary — but affordable — homes. Here are some of our favorite storage ideas as well as our 10 essential storage principles. Add any of these to your next project, and you’ll be on your way toward creating a home that’s truly beyond the ordinary!

1. First of all, the purpose of good storage is to help you keep organized. (Contrary to what your spouse or teenagers might say, it’s not merely to hide monster messes where they’ll get forgotten or require tons of time to sort through whenever someone’s looking for something!)

Rollaway storage — with lockable wheels — can tuck into a stall built into a lower cabinet, island, closet or under a sink. Or roll into place for being used under a table, desk or countertop. Ideal for laundry hampers and garbage cans; a cart for tableware (from walk-in pantry to the table and from the dishwasher back to the pantry); file cabinets; a stack of drawers; containers for toys, equipment, gift wrapping or craft supplies; an entire island; a wagon or cart to wheel around the house while putting various items it contains wherever they belong; and so much more.

2. There must be adequate storage space for all your current belongings, plus space for your future acquisitions. And if you're likely to start a family while living in this house, that may mean you need as much space to grow into as you’ll fill when you move in.

Pullout shelves, bins, baskets and racks in lower cabinets allow easy access to their contents. Don’t forget to add these under sinks, with cutouts that fit around the plumbing. No more getting down on your hands and knees to see and find things! And with these, you can get to — and therefore use — the space that’s even at the very back of your cabinets.

3. Next, I’d be sure each storage area is appropriate for whatever you plan to store, and that each has compartments appropriate for its contents. That means your sports equipment needs space that's different from the space for your music and video collections.

For hanging table linens, dowels bolted onto the back walls or mounted on a frame bolted to the sides or bottom of pantries, closets or cabinets make linens easily accessible while minimizing creases and fold lines. No more digging to the bottom of a drawer of folded linens to find a favorite tablecloth, or having to empty the entire drawer to get it out! And no more linens that are too wrinkled to use “as is!” This is also a great way to use a narrow area of otherwise wasted space.

4. Plan storage scattered throughout the whole house. Ideally, everything will be stored near where you’ll be using it. No point in hauling stuff through half the house!

You’ll love having closets and cabinets — the pantry, too — whose lights go on automatically as their doors open, the way a refrigerator’s does. (One of the many benefits of built-in cabinets is the inside lighting that’s possible.) No more groping to find manual light switches, especially when your hands are often too full to reach for a switch — or they’re wet! This is also wonderful for kids — and adults in wheelchairs — who can’t easily reach a closet’s traditional light switch. A plunger switch is inside most refrigerators, but magnetic contact switches — similar to those used in home security alarm systems — can also do the job throughout your house.

5. I’d also plan for your most frequently used items to be easiest and quickest to reach, and to store your less frequently used things in the remaining space only after all the popular things are stored.

Electrical outlets inside drawers, cabinets or in appliance barns on countertops allow small appliances to be stored out of sight and used without frequent plugging and unplugging. (Ideally, everything you store in these spaces will be used nearby so you won’t need any extension cords.) You avoid countertop clutter, the items never get dusty and are always ready to use, and no one needs to fiddle with the plugs — especially when their hands are wet or arthritic. Just be sure to measure the sizes of the appliances you plan to store before you finalize these spaces’ dimensions, so you avoid any surprises about something not fitting inside.

6. Your largest and heaviest possessions also need to be the easiest and quickest to get to, and not be put up high or in a corner that’s tricky to navigate. Fill the remaining storage spaces with your lightweight items.

Separate activity areas in the kitchen will make everything efficiently at hand exactly where you need it: baking and mixing, food preparation, cooking, cleanup, entertaining, beverage service, etc.

7. Be sure storage minimizes wasted space.

Hang a detachable hamper inside a pullout or tiltout lower cabinet door or storage bench, or inside a closet door. A cloth hamper hanging on a frame makes transporting clothes or linens to the washing machine especially easy, but wire or plastic hampers also work. No more dropping items on the way to the laundry room that you might trip over! Choose materials that allow ventilation in the hamper, to prevent mold from forming on any damp or wet items that remain inside for more than a few days.

8. Make your storage spaces accessible, so none of them are wasted because they can’t easily be reached.

Full-extension drawers, pullout shelves and file cabinets — all on easy-gliding metal tracks — allow you to reach and see all their contents, so you can use all their space.

9. I’d also look at traffic flows in the house. If your most frequently used items are stored in the major traffic paths, no one will have to go out of their way to get what they need, and you’ll have a very efficient house. On the other hand, you can also affect where the traffic detours through the house via where you store popular items. So if you want to stop frequent bottlenecks where people tend to collide with each other, you can move the popular items into different locations in order to force some of the traffic to flow along new paths.

Adequate clearance around every open drawer, hinged cabinet or door, and appliance door will keep traffic flowing and save you some steps. Be sure you have room to open and move around all the drawers and cabinets you need to open at once when you’re emptying the dishwasher, putting groceries away, working on a project, etc.

10. My final point is to make as much of the storage adjustable as possible, so as your needs change, the storage that worked for you initially can be modified to remain as effective as ever.

Open shelving — or you can remove some cabinet doors — gives you instant identification of and access to your stored goods. Stored items get more light around them and are easier to see, the motion of opening cabinets is not required, and this saves some trial and error if you don’t recall precisely what’s stored where.

Like this article? Then you’ll love our books that all have uncommon, affordable storage ideas that increase your quality of life and your home’s resale value! We also offer a free e-book at The 34 ExtraOrdinary Home Principles: Over 70 Fabulous, Affordable, Innovative Ideas That’ll Improve Your Life and WOW You!

© Copyright 2005 by Carol Abrahamson/ExtraOrdinary Homes. All rights reserved.

Digg Blink Stumble Spurl Reddit Netscape Furl

Article keywords: home improvement ideas

Article Source:

Carol Abrahamson consults, writes and makes presentations about more than 1,000 of these fabulous features that can improve your life, add value to your home and make you the talk of the town. She spent years researching them via thousands of sources just so you can quickly and easily use them to create your affordable, extraordinary Home of Your Dreams™. Learn more about her work via or

Related Articles
  • 1). Taking Care of Your Adirondack Chair  By : James Crowley
    Adirondack chairs are beautiful pieces of furniture that were first developed in the early 1900ís in New York. Adirondack chairs can be used indoors or outdoors; however, they are most commonly used as outdoor furniture. For this reason an Adirondack chair needs to be properly cared for to preserve its condition from the outside weather elements. An Adirondack chair is a chair that is crafted out of various wood materials.

  • 2). Consider Sunroom Plans For A Luxury Addition  By :
    Sunroom plans can create a room in your home that is as comfortable as any other, yet as close to nature as possible without enduring the elements. A sunroom can offer a peacefulness to your free time that you cannot find anywhere else. Moreover, it can offer some great health benefits. Exposing our bodies to the sun boosts vitamin D production. Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb the calcium necessary to keep bones strong.

  • 3). 10 ways to cut your electric bill  By : paul wilson1
    One of the major concerns in the world today is depletion of energy. As concerned citizens all of us must make a concerted effort to be conscious citizens and save electricity. Electricity has become integral to life but imagine having to live without power. Conservation of electricity benefits you personally as you will pay lower bills. Consider: 1.

  • 4). Fine Window Blinds Are A Versatile Decoration For Today's Home  By : Peter Wilson
    Blinds can be very utilitarian, even industrial as a window treatment. Among the reasons that they have been popular as window decoration in office and industrial setting is because they are durable, easy to clean, filter sunlight effectively and provide privacy. For all of these same reasons they are also popular as window decorations in homes. The trick was to make them attractive.

  • 5). Make The Most Of Your Basement  By : Belina Storrey
    The basement of many homes is neglected, left undecorated and kept unlivable. If you are one of these people that has held off working on your basement, I suggest you think again. Consider the incredible potential that lies just below the main floor of your home. Think not only about the square footage that making your basement functional would add to your family's space, but think too about all of the great ways you could put that space to use.

  • 7). Drafty House? Six Home Energy Saving Tips  By : Carlo Morelli
    Want to put more money in your pocket? You can up to 10% or more on your energy bill by eliminating as many the air leaks in your home as possible. During the summer warm air leaks into your home and during the winter leaks out of your home, wasting a good portion of your energy dollars. One of the fastest and highest payback dollar-saving jobs you can do around the house is to caulk, seal, and weather-strip all seams, cracks, and openings to the outside air.

  • 8). Camper Awnings – Protect Yourself From The Rain When Camping  By : Peter Leigh
    Camper awnings allow you to add extra space to your camper. You can get an awning for a popup camper just as easily as you can get one for a fifth wheel or a motor home. You can even add a Florida room to the awning of your camper. When you have an awning for your camper, it is very easy to operate once you set up the popup camper. Camper awnings are wonderful additions to any camper that will make your experience that much more memorable.

  • 9). Home Improvement – New Solar Technology  By : SolarMan
    Solar panel systems have always been criticized as bulky and unattractive. New solar technology is beginning to make such criticisms a thing of the past. Solar Advancement While everyone agrees solar energy is a clean, cost-effective energy source, there has always been one problem. The solar panel systems tended to be large and rather bulky. Frankly, they don’t add to the beauty of a home.

  • 10). Ceramic Tile Flooring- The Healthy House Choice  By : Carlo Morelli
    Believe it or not, carpeting is one of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution. One of the commonest health problems in a house is allergies, and carpets are practically a perfect environment for dust mites, molds and mildew. Not only that, but the modern wall-to wall carpeting in today’s houses are made of synthetic fibers dyed and treated with chemicals (fungicides, soil repellants and pesticides, anyone?) and bonded to synthetic backing with chemical glues.


© 2013 - Privacy Policy