Never Enough Shelves — The Importance of Shelving Solutions
Shelving Solutions are an Important Part of Every Home Organization Strategy — Try these ideas to maximize your own home storage
Good shelving is the backbone of every type of home organization and storage. Whether you are looking for help organizing a bedroom closet, kitchen pantry, home office, laundry or other room in the home, your solution will, no doubt, involve some sort of shelving. Shelves make use of vertical as well as horizontal space, thereby maximizing your storage potential. It is a great way to get organized and create storage space for the home. Without shelves, most things would be consigned to forever remain scattered across the floor. My dog loves the scattered across the floor system for storing her toys and resents any of my efforts to organize them differently. For the rest of us who are not dogs, however, some way to put things away is necessary, and that most likely means shelves.
There are as many different kinds of shelves as there are different places to put them. Styles range from strictly utilitarian to elaborate organization systems with convenient pull-outs. Some of the most common places to include storage shelves are the family room, kitchen, laundry room, office and even the bedroom closet — but shelves can be added to almost any room of the home to increase overall space and organization. Bookshelves are one typical application for shelving, and a storage solution that your many places, including your public library, couldn't do without. Applications for shelving are nearly limitless, however. The best application will depend on the kinds of items being stored and the person who needs to access them. For example, shelving for children will be different than that for adults. Shelves designed to organize a kitchen pantry will not be the same as those used in a bedroom closet.
Important Shelving Applications and Storage Ideas:
Family/Living Room Shelving with or without a Fireplace:
Whether you like to use this room to read, watch television, play games, or just sit and relax, shelving in the main lounge area of the home offers big benefits. It can store everything from audio/video media components, to books, toys, and favorite memorabilia in a discreet and organized manner. For households with children, be sure to make the shelving and storage accessible for little ones. Include lower level shelves in your design specifically for toy storage. That way, the kids can access the shelves themselves and put their own things away. These shelves can be either open or covered by cabinet doors. If budget allows, it makes sense to splurge on lower level cabinets with doors for your toy shelving in order to be able to shut the door on the clutter. If the shelves are open, you can achieve a similar clean look by using decorative baskets or bins sized to fit perfectly on the shelf to corral all the mess.
Many family rooms include a fireplace. A fireplace surround is an ideal application for shelving. Whenever a room includes a hearth, it becomes the automatic focal point of the space. Your eye will be drawn to items stored on shelves that surround the fireplace, making it an ideal way to display favorite books, photos and other memorabilia.
Every kitchen needs some sort of shelving. Families often start with simple, utilitarian shelving. However, kitchens are one of the few places in the home where you can splurge and recoup all or most of the investment at resale. This leads many households to upgrade the kitchen with more specialized kitchen storage. A pantry closet is an ideal location for pull-out pantry shelves. These types of shelves pull out like a drawer and include low sides. They are used to store small bottles and cans in the kitchen. The sides prevent the small items from falling or rolling off the shelf, and the pull-out slides enable everything to be easily viewed, ensuring that nothing expires due to getting lost on the back of the shelf. They differ from drawers in that the sides are only a couple of inches high, much shorter than the items stored on them. The contents of the shelf remain visible, enabling the cook to see what he/she has at a glance. Specialized shelves for storing serving trays, cookie sheets, broiler pans and other oversize items are also a popular part of pantry shelving solutions that make the entire food preparation process easier for the cook in the family.
Say the word "closet" and the mind immediately conjures up images of clothing suspended by hangers from clothing rods. Shelves, however, are equally important to closet organization. Whether used for shoes, purses, folded sweaters or something else, every closet needs some sort of shelving system to organize all the accessories and attire that can't or shouldn't hang from a rod. In a child's closet, the proportion of shelving to hanging should favor shelves over rods. Children (and some adults) simply have more possessions suitable for placing on shelves than the typical dress clothes that need to the hung up to prevent wrinkling. Shoes and purses are best kept on shelves, along with delicate knits that could stretch out if left on a hanger. Closet shelves designed specifically for shoes are often slanted slightly towards the front with a small "shoe fence" situated along the top to keep them from sliding off. The slant of the shelves keeps the shoes more visible than they would be on straight shelves. Most shelves, however, are installed straight. Many accessories can be successfully stored on a shelf, especially if decorative baskets or boxes are used to contain the smaller items.
The laundry room is another area of the home that can never have enough shelving. Standard laundry detergent, special laundry detergent for wool and delicates, fabric softener, stain remover, dryer sheets, washing machine cleaner, bleach, dryer balls, clothes pins, laundry baskets and sorters — the number of laundry aides stocked in a modern home seems to keep growing. And that's just the items used to wash clothes. The laundry room often ends up as a catch-all space for many other household cleaning supplies and sundries like paper towels, mops, brooms, vacuum cleaners — all end up being stored in the laundry.
The home office is another space where shelves are essentail to a successful home storage strategy. Even in this digital age of reduced paper, most of us continue to have reference materials, doctor's reports, car maintenance receipts and other paper items that need to be stored somewhere. Scanners, printers and their inherent supplies also need someplace to go. Whether inside a cabinet or along a wall, that place will usually be a shelf.
Whoever coined the term "less is more" did not intend to apply the phrase to storage shelves. Most families, and even some singles, can usually find a need for more storage shelves. Shelving is the key to having a place for everything and everything in its place. It is the cornerstone of all organization systems, whether for family room, pantry, closet, laundry room, home office or some other space. Whenever we need to find someplace to put something we want to save for future use, the first place most people will turn to is a shelf.