Stuff seems to be taking over the world, certainly, it seems so in a small home; lack of storage can push you around. Designing renovations for the older housing neighborhoods of Arlington, Bethesda, McLean, and Chevy Chase, I have often found that the best way to make a smaller footprint live largely is to put stuff away….to make a place for the stuff of life, and de-clutter our living spaces.

Sometimes getting the storage we need is to make better use of the storage we have….often simply enlarging the access to the closet you have gives you use of the hard to reach ends….a lot of older homes have a single 24″ or 30″door to a 4′ or 6′ closet, so widening that opening and putting on a pair of doors gives you full access to the closet you have, without finding new closet space. Then, really thinking about how you best use that space can double its storage ability…double hanging, cubbies & drawers, deep shelving are just some of the ways to really pack it in.

Often good storage is not building an extension on the garage, it is about storing in the space you already have. The garage storage system that lines the wall or the pull-down stair to the garage rafter spaces, the under eves access door or slide-in drawers…or re-capturing the under stair space, the above washer.dryer cabinetry…these are the strategies to de-cluttering and better using the spaces we do have.

I know that pantries are not sexy architecture, but the well placed, thought-out pantry is a gift to the smoothly functioning small home. Carefully planning shelf placement and depth, tailoring your shelving to your storage needs, will maximize your use. And the pantry can be a cabinet or a room, as long as it takes place for stuff.

A place for everything and everything in its place will make your spaces work better for you and make small feel big.

a small house

“Bookshelves storage flanking fireplace holds the tv, wine rack and display.”