Space-saving ideas for your home

ELIZABETH MAYHER
Last updated 05:00 10/11/2012
shoes on shelf
SHIP SHAPE: Giving everything a home is key to having an orderly home.

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Home Living

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Whether you live in a small space, are moving into a small space or just want to adapt some small-space diligence, you have to start by editing and organising.

Over the years, I have helped countless people pare down, and when we start sifting through their stuff, they are always surprised (and often embarrassed) by how much they have squirreled away.

How many times have you gone looking for an item, couldn't find it and then just went and bought a new one? Part of the problem is that many folks haven't set up the right systems and framework; you have to have a place to store things. This usually means an investment in shelving, boxes, bins - basically a quick trip or two to a shop that sells storage. Here are my top small-space must-haves, but before you shop, make sure you measure - the last thing you want are boxes that are too big for your shelves or shelves that are too big for your space.

Shelving

My mother bought me my first shelving system in 1982. Since that time, I have used Swedish modular storage system for laundry rooms, home offices, closets, kitchens, garages and family rooms. It's easy to install (and disassemble, so you can take it with you if you move), and you can customise the shelves and bins to fit your space and your needs. Just bring your dimensions to the shop and ask staff will help you design the right shelving configuration.

Boxes

It is true that an empty shoe box is as good as anything to organise your stuff, but I would argue that the better your boxes and bins look, the more likely you will be to use them. There are always has a number of stylish boxes to choose from in shops at any time of the year. I use them to store everything from photos to hats and gloves. Just make sure you label each box so you know what's inside.

Canvas closet/shoe bags

The easiest and cheapest way to outfit your classic pole-and-shelf closet is with canvas shoe and closet bags. All you have to do is attach their Velcro tabs to your pole and you have instant vertical shelving. I use the sweater bags to store clothing, linens and board games. On the inside of all of my doors I have hung canvas shoe bags that, depending on the location, have shoes, accessories, kid's toys, canned goods, tools or wrapping supplies.

Belt hangers

I know this is a seemingly small and very specific item, but belt hangers help keep certain items from getting tangled. I use them to hang belts, ties, handbags, necklaces, lingerie and anything else that is long or has a strap.

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