One of my big design tips for creating a home that works, especially for a family, is to bring a feeling of spaciousness to the way you live. Spaciousness in your home brings spaciousness to your mind … and no, not in an ’empty-head’ way … but instead bringing a sense of peace and calm to how you live, so that your home can become a place that you can you relax and restore. So your mind has room for the stuff that’s really important.
Many people move house because they run out of storage space. From personal experience, I’ve found as our family has grown, so has our stuff. Often what we crave in those magazine images is the uncluttered calmness. My experience shows that sustaining this sense of order relies on having sufficient storage, and a system of how it is arranged.
Step 1: Declutter first
During one of our renovations, we moved into a 2 bed, self-contained flat under the home of some dear friends. Our kids were aged 5, 3 and 4 months when we moved in for a year. I thought we’d kill each other. However, with our limited (but perfectly sufficient) belongings, we found the only thing we missed was a garden.
Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is a confronting instruction in how to declutter. Whilst reading it, I found myself yelling at the pages “You don’t have any kids”. However, when she started to outline why we hang onto our belongings, I was silenced.
The emotional attachment we have to many of our belongings can have very little to do with whether they’re useful or enjoyable to have around. Being ruthless, and editing your belongings first, will certainly help you before you work out where you’ll keep them.
Step 2: Size storage for what it needs to contain
Often I see homeowners wanting to create space for storage without a lot of thought about how it will be used or for what. For the storage to be effective, and for items to be easy to access when needed, it’s best to think about what you’ll store, and size the space accordingly.
For example, pantry cupboards work best when 300mm deep, so items don’t get stacked in front of each other. Linen cupboards can be 500 – 550mm. If creating deeper storage, use drawers or pull-out baskets, so you can access the rear spaces easily.
Step 3: Locate storage where the items are needed
Lots of homeowners like to locate their linen storage near or within their laundry. However, if you’ve ever had 3 kids get sick in the middle of the night and needing a couple of bed changes, you’ll be appreciative to have your bedding stored near the bedrooms. The same goes for towels being near bathrooms. Most items being stored in your home will have a particular relationship or requirement for a space in your home.
Step 4: Use storage to streamlining your daily activities
You’re arriving home with the kids. Schoolbags, lunchboxes, handbag, sports bags, shopping, mail, phone, keys, sunglasses … and sometimes coats, umbrellas, hats. Having a system and a home for how and where these items get stored until they’re required again, can simplify and streamline life so significantly. The same goes for those items you use once a week, once a month, and seasonally. Now there’s just the task of training everyone to use the system!
Creating a well-designed home isn’t always about having more. Sometimes it’s about optimising what you have, so it functions really well, is beautiful to be around and in. Creating spaciousness through effective storage is a great way to optimise your home.