Author Topic: Old houses - Where do you stash stuff/what do you store in each non-bedroom room?  (Read 5701 times)

MBot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
Living in a house built 100 years ago, there aren't a lot of closets. So everything we want to keep in each room means we need to move furniture into the room or build furniture to hold it. We are fairly minimal - no DVDs, no desktop computer, etc.

I'm wondering how to optimize what's stored where, and I'd like to hear how you store "odd" items like a printer, gift wrap, files, tape, etc. I do have some leatherworking supplies too.

Right now from what I see around me it's not ideal. Some parts work well (the entry way, hooks and bins) and some is just an eyesore (the printer)

Living room - 2 trunks that hold file folders, DVDs, fabric and sewing items, gift wrap and outdoor tablecloths. Hooks on the wall for coats and scarves, wire baskets mounted to hold gloves/scarves, wood wall-mounted mail holder.

Bathroom - all towels, sheets, toiletries, bathroom cleaning supplies

Dining room - suitcase that holds farmers market stall supplies/leatherworking supplies. A plastic parts box to hold grommets etc. A very overstuffed barrister bookcase with books, mail and tablecloths. A side table holds the printer and has a recycling bin behind it.

Kitchen - holds kitchen stuff,  medications, pots and pans, tape/scissors, batteries, cleaning supplies under the sink + dead batteries/lightbulbs waiting for disposal, pet food, food dishes, garbage can. Board games are above the fridge and a pegboard holds pots and pans.

(In the basement stairwell we mounted a wall organizer that holds most cleaning supplies  + we keep paint, a vacuum, mop/broom, plastic bags, etc.

Possible solutions I've thought of:
ShelvesI've got some free live-edge lumber and I want to build some bookshelves/floating shelves with it to hold items like books and the electronics by the TV.
Built-ins Possibly building built-ins in the dining room and a bench on the back wall; the dining table and chairs in front of it
Kitchen base cabinets If we open up one wall, we can add another row of base cabinets and make a "peninsula" with a countertop to separate the kitchen from the dining room. This requires a beam and is a 10-years-down-the-road solution.

Anyone else in an old house? What has helped?
« Last Edit: January 03, 2015, 06:19:13 PM by MBot »

WESTOFTHEHUDSON

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 91
We also live in a century + old home. We have ample closet space from renovations the previous owner made. They added cabinets alongside one wall in kitchen and it stores food but also odds/ends. I am from NYC though and from living there, I made liberal use of ottoman, baskets and storage benches as I had no closets and minimal room for storage. I love the ottomans because they fish leg as a table as will. I used to store amazing quantities of everything in there.

cheapbutchic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
I live in a 900 sq ft home built in 1890.  Only one closet inside and no garage.  We do have a 6x10 basement which is where we keep our camping equipment and sports gear and things like that.  The only thing that really worked for us was a massive declutter.  Letting go was not easy but now that it is done I'm so happy.  I can hardly remember what it was that I clung too.  Wicker baskets work great too.  I have them in the bathrooms holding towels and in the living room holding throws for the winter.  I do a monthly declutter just to keep things from getting out of control.

homehandymum

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 551
  • Location: New Zealand
The house I grew up in, and our current house, are both about that age.

If there's room in the bedrooms, I'd opt for built in wardrobes, free-standing tall-boys or dressers, and bookshelves of some sort (either wall mounted or free-standing).

The living area, if there's a nook beside the fireplace or something, you can build-in a combined shelving/cupboard unit (like a built-in Welsh Dresser), But I'd personally opt for furniture pieces, like an actual Welsh Dresser, or an old fashioned writing desk, bookshelves etc.  A sideboard or linen-press type piece can hold a multitude of sins while having beautiful doors that shut and hide the clutter.  And for a coffee-table type thing, opt for a wooden tea chest, or a low coffee table with drawers underneath.


MBot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
For those who replied, what do you actually keep in each room? What goes where in your old house?

Josiecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 303
They used armoires back then instead of closets.  I also store things under my bed.

starbuck

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Age: 35
  • Location: Small Town Connecticut
Our house turns 175 this year. Despite it's age, we have a freakish amount of storage space partially because of the renovation that happened in the 1940s. But hopefully you can utilize some of what we've done in our space.

I make liberal use of storing things in the open in a visually appealing way (or at least I try to.) Dog food is stored in a large metal 'dog food' tin in the dining room. Cookbooks, wine, and candlesticks are stored on the fireplace mantle in the dining room. Our pots and pans are also on pegboard in the kitchen! I have another wall rack for lids. Wall hooks in the bathroom for his and hers bath towels. Cat food (dry and canned) is stored in the beehive oven. We added another dowel to my closet to have double the hanging space. We have several bookcases (one built in) throughout the house that hold more than just books. A box of 'junk drawer' type stuff is tucked away in one, along with a few boxes from IKEA with household goods (lightbulbs, batteries, plug adapters and extension cords, etc.) Shoes are stored in a wooden crate that you can then sit on to put your shoes on. A row of coat hooks in our entryway with a shelf on top of it for more storage.

One way to think of furniture is what is it's storage potential. We have a bunch of trunks and storage benches/otttomans. My friend even has a couch with a storage space built in that I really like. We converted a corner cabinet that we pulled out of the kitchen into a bar that stores all the drinking glassware inside, and all the liquors on top. (Well, most of the liquors.) We also have an antique bedroom dresser that acts as the 'landing strip' when we come in the house. Household odds and ends are stored in the drawers, and on top is a phone charging station, a mail sorter with stamps, envelopes, etc, and a bowl for keys.

Basically, we let it all hang out in a not hideous way. It makes our house feel lived in without being cluttered, and everything is easy to grab and put away!

No advice on the printer, sorry. We've got a wireless model so it's kind of tucked behind a wingback chair, but that's the best I've done so far with it.

Lily

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
I grew up in a house like that and my parents made liberal use of thrift-store dressers for miscellaneous storage and flat spaces. Our TV sat on a dresser which contained giftwrap, children's art supplies, and board games. My mother had a bookshelf full of plastic bins for her craft supplies. The dining room had a kid-sized dresser which held table linens.  Sheets and towels lived on shelves over the washing machine, but that wasn't ideal, as you needed a stepstool to get at them. We had a storage bench (basically a wooden box with a top that lifted up) by the front door for out of season stuff. I currently use a bookshelf with doors (originally IKEA, I think) as a sort of stand-alone pantry, to store canned goods and plates in the hallway outside of the kitchen.

MBot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 509
Thanks Starbuck and Lily - that helps me picture some possibilities.

I want to avoid just buying things to store items - without thinking exactly what has to stay in each room.

I come from a family that holds onto stuff - everything from encyclopedia sets to craft supplies to books to family photos. Sometimes I get rid of too much, but I really like having the freedom of less stuff here.

I can keep most of my books at my office; we just keep paperbacks/fiction here mostly. And three cookbooks above the stove.

Thankfully the bedroom (and bathroom) have had closets added at some point; so we can stash just about every cleaning supply/towel/linen in the bathroom; and the bedroom has 2 tiny closets (his and hers). I guess I could store the leatherworking supplies in the bedroom closet. My husband has his golf clubs and yoga mat in his!

 There's also side crawl spaces accessible from the attic bedroom. There's a tenant in the bedroom, but we can access it a few times a year to store seasonal items like Christmas decorations and camping gear in the crawlspaces.

I've heard one of the "tricks" to open up a space is to put things on legs - perhaps add some legs to the trunks to make a table, thrift a leggy dresser/console for under the TV that could also hold the printer. Then it would look "open" instead of having furniture everywhere.

Emilyngh

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 892
Our house was built in 1905, is about 2100 sq ft and there are 3 of us + black lab here fulltime and stepdaughter on weekends.

My number one tip: get rid of stuff!!!!! 

I worried about storage when we first moved in and bought two extra wardrobes that used to be crammed, but now after getting rig of a ton, we could probably get rid of at least one, as well as other now-empty storage units.   We already have gotten rid of several previously full storage units including a desk and dresser after decluttering.

My next big tip: built-ins!   We have a large built in cabinet in the playroom, a built in bookshelf in the living room and nice to-the-ceiling cabinets in the kitchen.   As I've been decluttering I've been getting rid of smaller pieces of furniture b/c these built-ins are far more attractive and efficient.

This is our current storage sitch:

kitchen: 1.5 walls of floor to ceiling cabinets hold all of our kitchen stuff.   We also have a butler's pantry with cabinets and a counter that we use for small appliances (nuwave oven, crockpot, etc).   There is a small built-in desk area where I keep bills, mail, a file cabinet and safe underneath.   We have a small to medium amount of counter space, so we keep counters clear.

dining room: one small cabinet holds serving dishes and bowls, exra cloth napkins, etc.   We have a side table where we have a few more bowls and keep mounds of fresh produce ontop for storage/decoration.   That's it for dining room things.

living room: we have a built-in bookshelf for books, decorative items, DH's records and player, and a small stereo, and one wardrobe that we use to store all office stuff (stores laptops, paper, printer, office supplies, all chargers, craft stuff, etc).   We have an ottoman with storage inside and DD's toys inside, although I could move them to the playroom and have that for other storage if needed-but nothing else to put in it now.

playroom: large built-in cabinet holds: all board games and puzzles, books, fish tank and supplies, all wrapping paper and boxes, few DVDs and CDs we own, and an old stereo that we need to get rid of as soon as DH can bear to.   Two short bookcases with books and bins for toys for DD.

master bedroom: small closet holds DH's clothes and my off-season clothes.   I have a wardrobe in there that I bought before thinking I'd absolutely need it, but since doing project 333 I keep only one season of clothes in it, so it's very empty and could probably get rid of if I wanted to.   DH and I each also have one dresser with our work-out clothes, pjs, socks, etc.

DD's room: one dresser with her current season's clothes in it and her books on-top, a second dresser with off-season clothing.   Her small closet has a few hanging clothes, some toys that I have stashed away, a shelf with her extra bedding, and two completely empty drawer storage things that I should get rid of.

DSD's room/guest room: A large dresser with vanity, half holds DD's clothing and half has some of DH's workout supplies and video games.   A small closet holds our extra blankets, beach towels, extra off-season coats, etc.

Mudroom/laundry: above the washer/dryer: one shelf with baskets and bins with: laundry supplies, all cleaning supplies, random household things like lightbulbs, rags, and our iron.   We have hooks for coats and bags and above it one shelf with a basket for each of us to hold our scarves, gloves, and small outdoor items.  We have a shoe thing, and in the corner or hanging have our mop, brooms, and vacuum.

Downstairs bath: one vanity with extra toilet paper, hand towels and dog shampoo.

upstairs bath: nice sized closet with baskets with all meds, extra sheets for master bedroom, extra towels, first aid things, bath toys, q-tips, etc.

We have an old barn and unfinished basement for yard, garden, and car items, but I try to go through those areas once a year or so to keep them under control.


cheapbutchic

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
This is the main storage for our small kitchen.  Top drawer has silverware and utensils.  Middle drawer has dish clothes and Bottom drawer has a set of mixing bowls and a few food storage bowls.  Under the sink is where the trashcan is and cleaning supplies.  Note no dishwasher!

Christof

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 607
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Germany
That really looks like in one of those magazines...

Only one kind of plates, the last time, that was true for me was in my early 20ties and I only had two of them. Still have them with a variety of other plates we inherited, received, or otherwise managed to accumulate.

ScienceSexSavings

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
  • Location: Montréal
I highly recommend the built-ins, 10/10 fantastic, it's like magical extra space appears for free because you get more storage without a footprint in the room (and old houses tend to have small rooms). Armoirs are also great, even for things other than clothes. A writing desk is a great solution for the printer since you can hide the ugly technology :) I hardly ever use my printer and keep my clothes in a dresser, so it goes on a closet shelf.

deborah

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8780
  • Location: Australia or another awesome area
We had a large number of books  and I estimated we needed 150 yards of bookshelf. We made built in floor to ceiling bookcases down both sides of the wide central passage - with 12 foot ceilings, there was bookshelf space left over! We designated one room as a storage room, and designed drawers and shelves to fit everything (it is amazing how much a properly designed set of shelves and drawers can contain). The printer was relegated to the store room, with a plug on both sides of the wall (lounge room and store room) to connect it to the computer. We made the storage ourselves, and as it was a store room we chose cheap materials. Like others, the "coffee table" was a box (nicely carved).

smalllife

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 983
+1 on getting rid of stuff, it's the simplest solution.

Storage beds are your friend: our bedroom and the catchall/guest room both have underbed storage.  There are no dressers as these take care of all the clothes.  Our out of season clothes go into a drawer in the guest room and the closet in the living room (we turned a bedroom into the living room).

1940s house - came with a deep but narrow linen closet, one 18 in closet in what is now the living room, and one 4 ft closet in the now master bedroom.  Finished the attic and put in a total of 3 ft of closet space so there's still not much in the way of normal houses but plenty for our needs.

Cheap built ins: shelves in between the studs as deep as they go can hold a surprising amount of stuff.  Our bathroom storage is where the old radiator used to be, we just put a shelf in the hole it left.

Store up: pot racks on the ceiling, open shelves for mason jar food storage (food is pretty!).  Useful items go on display - who says something can't be beautiful AND useful? 

Pretty, multi functional storage spaces: we have two of those cubby bookshelves where you can get drawer or bin inserts.  True workhorses!  In the dining room I store napkins, kitchen appliances, reusable bags, milk containers, and beer glasses.  In the front room I store board games, dog stuff, cards/hand games, books and with the addition of two more drawers will add office supplies, batteries, and matches/candles to be rid of the junk drawer and make some room in the linen closet.  We painted the back of the bookshelves so they are sturdier and more attractive . . .  and they hold a surprising amount of stuff.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
1910 house checking in here. It was completely gutted and rebuilt inside in 2011, so the bedrooms have closets (and they reduced the bedroom count to put in two full baths - awesome).

That said, it's smaller than we lived in before. We use rails and S-hooks from Ikea in the mud room and on the door to the basement to hold our outside and basement shoes.

The closet in the powder room holds cleaning supplies, and the vanity holds medicines.

Outside the kitchen, laundry room, and powder room, the rest of the first floor is one big open space. We have a buffet and a china cabinet. The upper part of the china cabinet holds dishes of sentimental value to my wife, but the bottom portion of it and the buffet hold office supplies, placemats/napkins, and candles.

Under a bench in the portion of the first floor we call the living room are four wicker-ish baskets that hold small toys for our one-year-old.

Upstairs, in our bedroom we do use under-bed storage, and a closet in the master bathroom stores extra toothpaste/soap/razors/shampoo. The vanities in both full baths are carefully organized to conveniently hold in-use or available toiletries.

A hall closet holds towels and linens, and the hall bathroom closet holds baby-bath supplies.

The office/guest room holds my workstation and a guest bed, with some off-season hanging clothes and luggage in the closet.

The third floor, a finished attic, has one closet that's about three-quarters height where we store fabric. We are working on getting more of the toys up here onto the walls with shelves, hooks, and book-slings. It's hard to find studs when there's drywall over plaster so you get wood wherever you drill.

K-ice

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 931
  • Location: Canada
For gift wrap, (well more like tissue &  bows), is in an antique suite case that is decoration in the corner of the guest room. Our 100y old house has ok closets upstairs but none on the main floor. For jackets we have about 10 hooks out of site in the stairwell leading to the basement.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4015
We are moving this weekend from a 10 year old, 2400 sq ft house with unfinished basement and two car garage and tons of huge closets, to a 1900's farmhouse with about 2000 sq ft, but no garage and no basement.  So there is plenty of sq footage, but basically no closets. 

Since it's a rental, and we will likely only be there a year, we don't want to buy furniture pieces that we don't already own for storage. 

My ideas so far:

For kids bedrooms, they own a tiny amount of clothes, plus a tub each of out of season clothes, so if it sits out on a shelf in their room it will be fine.

In each of the bedrooms, there will be tubs slid under the beds. 

We have a dresser as a TV stand, that holds board games, and we de littered the board games so hopefully one drawer can hold other misc. items. 

Our computer desk will go in the large dining room, probably with a file cabinet next to it, and a book shelf.  H has lots of technical books he can't/won't get rid of, but I got rid of virtually all my books, and also decluttered the kids books.

Kitchen is good sized but not many cabinets.  Not sure how that will work. 

We have a large laundry room/bathroom, the only bathroom.  That room is big, it obviously was not originally a bathroom.  It has room for a drying rack, and all the towels and sheets may end up just sitting in a tub, looking ugly.  Oh well, it's a bathroom. 

The house has a sort of enclosed porch that is not completely weatherproof.  Tubs (waterproof-ish?) with Christmas stuff and tools will go there, I guess.  And hopefully bikes if there is room.  I really don't want bikes in dining room. 

deborah

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8780
  • Location: Australia or another awesome area
You will have boxes for the move. Hopefully they are strong boxes. They may only be cardboard, but they will last for a few months, and if any become decrepit within a year, they can always be replaced from the supermarket or other store. You could use one box for a base, and another on top for shelves in the bathroom for your towels and sheets (you may drape a colourful sheet on top to make it prettier, or get your children to decorate the boxes if you like).

teen persuasion

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
Our house is probably ~ 1840s, at least the original section.  It doesn't have original bedroom closets, but it does have storage rooms.  One, off the living room we have dubbed the tool room (maybe 5' x 5' under stairs so sloped) - tools, games, puzzles, vacuum, etc live there.  An upstairs narrow windowless room is a communal walk in closet for the kids (it had been a funky apartment kitchen).  A few bedroom closets have been added (badly) and future unremuddling plans may eliminate them, so other closet plans are being developed (one wall in future master bedroom will be a giant his/hers closet). One ridiculously tiny bedroom may become a library.

Go up as much as possible.  Full height bookcases, tall cabinets, stacked shelving, hutches on desks, etc.

We are always swapping rooms around, we bought the place as a 4 unit (with two kids), and have been converting it back to a single family home piecemeal, as our family grew to 5 kids.  That means nothing is ever permanent, and storage furniture moves and changes purpose frequently, and even our kitchen is "unfitted".  I have a Hoosier cabinet that stores tons of things: baking ingredients and supplies like pans, racks, measuring spoons & cups, daily dishes.  I also have a huge wire rack (industrial style) that holds large things: stockpots on top, canned goods stash, dry goods stash, jars and bottles, scale, cookbooks etc.  Hooks on the side hold pots and pans.  Two small freestanding cabinets store baking pans, small appliances (blender, waffle iron, popcorn popper, mandolin, and my kitchenaid mixer), with the toaster oven on top of one, and microwave on top of other.

Othe rooms have desks, washstands, trunks, dressers, file cabinets(turned sideways behind the sofa and topped with a board for lamp surface), blanket chests, armoire, dining set china cabinets and sideboards.
 
« Last Edit: July 02, 2015, 07:22:19 AM by teen persuasion »

WildHare

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 20
We built into the attic space.  For example, in the hall bath we broke through the interior wall and installed a cabinet with drawers and shelves. The face of it is flush with the interior walll.  Has big, deep, pullout drawers on modern slides.   We did the same thing in one if the bedrooms along an entire wall , eliminating the need for freestanding furniture. In that bedroom we also moved the wall back about three feet , which gave us plenty of room for a queen size bed
I enlarged every closet I could that was adjacent to unused attic space, had them insulated and drywalled.

forummm

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7396
  • Senior Mustachian
What about a shed outside? They are pretty cheap.

Bracken_Joy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8897
  • Location: Oregon
Super helpful timing! I'm moving into a 1000 sqft old home (1930's?), which is larger than where we live now (500-600sqft), but we're living with one other person now. Kitchen has very little usable storage, neither does bathroom, so those are the main brainstorming points right now!

Mrs.LC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 226
    • Loose Change Living
Take a trip to Ikea for idea shopping. The store has many innovative products for storage solutions for any size or age of home. 

DeltaBond

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 526
  • Location: U.S.
I bought a 3 bedroom ranch home built in 1965.  There are closets, but they aren't large.  We turned the "master" bedroom (not much bigger than the other bedrooms) into a big closet room.  My husband lined the walls with 2 layers of clothing hanger racks, and with the bathroom there, we can just shower and get dressed in there.  Everyone's clothes are in there, so we use the other rooms' closets for other stuff.

laughing_paddler

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
  • Age: 37
  • Location: MN
We've got a 1250 sqft 1915 (100 years old!, need to have a partAY) and I've been working on some of this stuff too.

Kitchen was updated/bumped-out in the 90s, so we've got lots of storage there, but a couple of ideas for other spaces.

1) Bathroom door conversion from hinged door to 'wall-mount' door (I used a kit by johnson hardware). Instead of the door swinging INTO the small, narrow bathroom, it now slides along the wall- makes the bathroom feel more spacious.

2) Bathroom knee-wall built-ins. We have knee-walls on the upper floor and as a part of the air-seal and insulation project I was working on last year, I decided to bury a dresser (off CL of course) into the knee-wall in the bathroom so we could move our bathroom stuff off the floor shelf, again saving precious square feet. I'm still planning to do something similar on the other side of the bathroom but for linens/towels.

3) I'm probably taking the RTA kitchen cabinets idea into an office remodel/update I'm working on too- one whole wall will be the cabinets/desk and with 9.5 foot ceilings, I'm going to try to go nearly all the way up- if you have high ceilings, why not use them?

Planning to do some purging too...