No Closet, No Problem: How to Stay Organized in a Home Without Storage
Living in a large city has it’s perks; the exciting night-life, the endless opportunity for dining out, and the proximity to shops and boutiques. However, nothing is without it’s downside and for many living in a city the size of Toronto, the downside is size. Apartments, condominiums and lofts, especially in the downtown core, offer endless amenities but often lack square footage.
Many times when a unit is short on size, what gets lost is closet space, or sometimes, even built-in closets themselves. As you can imagine this can present a problem, after all, everyone has belongings: clothing, kitchen paraphernalia, and the stuff of life that one collects over the years.
In order to live in a home without closets, homeowners should “start by thinking about what activities they want their space to support” and then move forward from there. Are you a cyclist? Do you need to store your bike and cycling gear? Being organized before you move in, will help you to know what exactly you need to find space for.
Too, you need to balance what items you want visible (open storage such as shelving) and what items you want hidden (closed storage such as baskets). How then can you live without built-in closets? It turns out all you need is a little creativity.
Minimalism is a fairly new concept, grown out of the excess of previous years. Minimalism is all about living with less: less personal belongings, less debt, and less in your personal calendar. “For many minimalists, the philosophy is about getting rid of excess stuff and living life based on experiences rather than worldly possessions”. It stands to reason that a minimalist would have an easier time living in a home that existed without closet space. But what if you don’t want to embrace this lifestyle head-on?
A compromise to completely diving into the minimalist ideology is to have a minimalist challenge, even if the only person you are challenging is yourself. This is basically a test to see what items you can live without. Once a week or once a month, you choose one thing to either donate or recycle. In this way, you can ease yourself into a lifestyle of “less”. Perhaps once you are living in a home without ready-made storage, you’ll realize you can live without many of your possessions.
Being creative with where you store your belongings will help to create space where you didn’t see it before. It can be as simple as: look up, look down, look around.
In terms of space, looking up creates avenues of storage not seen before. The area above a door in a bedroom or bathroom can be utilized for storing a myriad of items. By inserting a shelf above the door frame, the wasted space now becomes storage for toilet paper, towels and extra bedding. In the kitchen, by adding baskets and small bins above the fridge, this area can be utilized for storing pantry supplies.
Looking down at the floor opens up an avenue for storage not always utilized. Under the bed is a perfect spot for keeping clothing and shoes. However, a little creativity will go a long way when storing underneath a bed as access is key to being organized. If it isn’t accessible, it will be forgotten and you chance repurchasing and wasting time and money. By attaching wheels to any unused drawers or large bins, your belongings simply slide in and out and can be retrieved easily.
Looking to store your bike? Look around; chances are there is some wall space available. Attach hooks and peg boards wherever possible, and utilize the wall for storage. Hang big and small items, freeing up floor space and keeping your home organized and clutter free.
Often the most chaotic space in a home is the entrance; there are shoes, coats, bags, keys and mail to contend with. For homes without a front hall closet, you once again need to be creative. Install shelving and hooks on the wall, and place baskets on the floor for easy “drop and go” organization. A narrow table takes up a relatively small area, but supplies a clear drop-zone for easy access to keys and sunglasses. By creating dedicated storage space, your entryway will remain organized even without a closet.
Many stores specialize in furniture that doubles as creative storage solutions. Under-the-bed organization becomes even easier if the bed itself has built-in drawers. Ikea for instance, has a bed that opens up for easy access to clothing and extra bedding. Similarly, there are a variety of ottomans that open up for extra space in the living room. Bedside tables can easily be used for storing smaller items, either in drawers or by utilizing small baskets or other containers.
Although built-in closets may not be included in your new home, that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own. There are many open and closed storage solutions that you can purchase that are basically closets on wheels. It can be as simple as a clothing rack with shelving on the bottom; all of the perks of a closet without the built-in factor.
If you would prefer storage with doors, a wardrobe can be purchased and although it takes up space, it acts essentially like a closet. This too harkens back to the pre-move-in organization suggested above: know which items you want visible, and which ones you want hidden.
No closets, no problem; a lack of built-in storage doesn’t have to mean an unorganized home. Adopting a minimalist lifestyle or even simply a few minimalist habits, will mean less storage space is required overall. However, no matter what your personal style is, living in a home bereft of closets doesn’t spell the end of organization. By being creative, storage can be found in spaces not normally utilized.
Look up, look down, look around; storage is all around you!