Vertical Storage

A reporter asked me today, “What’s the best advice you can give to someone who has a lot of stuff and not a lot of space?” “Go vertical!” I replied.

Get shelving that goes up to the ceiling wherever you can fit it in. Add more shelves above the ones you have, even in the back of the closet. Add them above the bathroom door and along the hallway. Some clients of mine did this in their 12 -foot-ceiling San Francisco home to accommodate their extensive book collection. They realize they’re going to need a ladder to get to the books, but they prefer that to having them in storage somewhere or not having them at all.

Because your arm length is fixed, there’s a fixed amount of stuff that you’ll be able to keep within easy reach. The sooner you can make peace with that, the better! The rest of your stuff will be up high or behind other things or in a far corner of your home. The other option is to keep it out where you’ll trip on it or where it will get obscured under the next wave of stuff and you’ll never be able to eat at the dining table. Your choice.

If you do end up storing a lot at the back of the closet, use transparent
containers and label them too. If you can’t find the stuff you stored, you might as well not have it. A few years ago I saw TV ads for a color printer (HP, maybe?) that showed people taking photos of objects, putting them in boxes and then taping the printed out photo to the front of the box. Steal that idea!

Shelves from Wrote’s photostream. Ladder from habitatgirl’s photostream.