Friday, July 27, 2007
Extra storage makes life easier
By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon
There is an old adage that says "A place for everything, and everything in its place." But what if everything doesn't have a place in your home? Then you need better storage or less stuff (or a little of both).
Storage is actually a very personal issue. Each individual and each family have different needs and priorities as to what possessions they have and their value. Some families are pack rats and can't bear to throw away even one child's art project. Other families cannot abide the sight of clutter. As architects, our role is to help each family measure their needs, prioritize, and accommodate for those needs in their homes.
There are several major types of storage in a home. These categories include clothing (current and off-season), linens, household supplies, food, sporting and recreational equipment, yard tools, holiday decorations, crafts and hobbies, office supplies, entertainment items, and mail and papers.
Each category that applies to you needs to be addressed in your home. Is there a dedicated place for each of these functions? Is it organized so it functions well? Have you accumulated more than your space can accommodate? If so, are you going to expand your storage space, reduce your stuff, or live with the ambiguity?
If you choose to expand your storage space you have a few options. You can either add more space to your home or you can better use the space you already have. If you are going to add on to your home, expect the cost to be about $50-$60 per square foot to finish a basement and about $100-$120 per square foot to add on above ground.
If you are not going to add to your home, there are several ways to convert or capture existing space for more storage. You can add shelving, closet organizers, cabinetry or even simple plastic bins. These options will run anywhere from a few dollars for a bin to several thousand dollars or more for custom cabinets.
You can also capitalize on storage space by adding built-in seating with storage drawers below, adding pull-out storage bins under stairs, continuing cabinetry to the ceiling, and adding small linen or storage cabinets above a bathroom countertop. An attic in your home or garage may also make perfect storage space with a few modifications, such as improving access, strengthening the floor, and adding temperature control.
Also, if you have empty space that won't quite fit shelves then you can capture hanging space with hooks, pegboard or kitchen racks.
And just remember: Having a place for everything and everything is in its place makes your home more functional and contributes to a calm, comfortable and less stressful life. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.