It is a fine art that homeowners and apartment-dwellers in big cities like Singapore need to practice every day: we're talking about the eternal strife of keeping your home organised and uncluttered. Not that people in other places don't need or never strive to keep their homes beautiful. But the ever-shrinking space of city homes does not make this process any easier. Making optimal use of every inch of the house is important. So we will examine how can you effectively keep your home free of clutter by:
• using multi-purpose furniture,
• building extra storage spaces,
• keeping storage units well organised
Remember, undertaking such arduous activities has its own sweet rewards. It frees up additional space in your home and makes it look more graceful. Many experts believe in the positive psychological impacts of purging the clutter of our homes. Better flow of light and energy also ensure that you gift a healthier living space to everyone at home—including you!
Contemporary box or divan beds provides us with an excellent storage solution. Box beds, however, are no modern invention; they were frequently used in medieval Europe. These beds come fitted with cupboards and drawers which could be used for storing all the extra bed sheets, blankets, pillows and other household knick-knacks. In warmer cities, it is better to have the cupboard or drawers placed under the bed or at one side of it.
Divan beds act the some way, but only offer the space available under the bed. The head or footboard can be used to create additional storage spaces as well, though you should be extra alert not to have any clutter inside these valuable alcoves. It may adversely affect the sleep pattern and do more harm than good. A chaise lounge is no longer an indispensable item in our bedrooms. But if you have one of its modern avatars, make sure you double that up as a nice-looking storage space as well.
This coffee table from My Italian Living is a classic example of how a fancy piece of furniture can serve the dual purpose of being a smart storage solution. Many homeowners transform their antique chests and ottoman trunks into a centre or side table-cum-storage unit. It is a clever way of remodelling a valuable historic item for modern purposes.
Similarly, think of investing in sofas, couches and benches with storage compartments. Contemporary storage sofas look stylish in modern apartments. They take away much of the headache of creating a living room that is not cramped and, consequently, classy. It is also important to do away with all those items that are no longer needed. Old magazines, faded vases, ceramics and stuffed toys that your children once played with fall into this category. They may have precious memories associated with them, but it is better to move on with life and lessen the clutter in all possible ways.
If you boast a decent home library then buying wall shelves or floor-to-ceiling bookshelves would be a good idea. You can install them in your study, home office or living room. Keep you books arranged in a fashion that looks good and is easily traceable. Otherwise, you may need to rummage the entire shelf to find your favourite detective story book!
You can even use a part of it to store away your office stationery and files. Once again neat arrangement is a necessity, the failure of which will mean you are not making optimal use of your storage space. Bookshelves can also serve the dual purpose of a TV cabinet; that is, if you don’t consider this arrangement to be harmful to your or your child’s reading habit.
Having a separate walk-in wardrobe is a luxury beyond the reach for most of us. But we can attain a wardrobe with separate compartments according to our needs. Most of the time wardrobes occupy the bedroom space, so it is even more essential to buy one that is elegant and purpose built.
Donate your old clothes or upcycle them to become items of necessity. This will free up space inside the closet. Buy one that is bigger than your current requirements, because with time your collection of clothes, purses and other accessories will only grow. Also, have compartments in varying sizes to hang your suits, and keep other items of your clothing folded and neatly stacked on top of one another.
Like wardrobes, a shoe closet or rack is an excellent way of storing you and your family's sneakers, boots and pumps. From wire racks to more sleek custom shoe closets, the choices are many. There are even such options as hanging canvas shoe racks that work well under certain limited conditions. A wardrobe can also have separate partitions to store away the shoes.
If you have a fetish for beautifully designed footwear, then consider buying one in a larger size than your present requirements would warrant. Any closet should be cleaned regularly and be supplied with insect repellents. Keep the delicate velvet shoes and beaded slippers in their own boxes. Having them share the same compartment as rough hiking boots would not be a good idea if you wish to maximise their lifespan!
With space becoming more of a premium, designers are coming up with new ways of creating storage space in places no-one would have thought of a decade ago. Under-stair storage is an excellent example of this. You can reclaim this area for installing a bookshelf, closet or wine rack. Having an under-stair shelf to show off your collection of antiques or memorabilia is also possible.
Areas by the side of the stairs should not be ignored either. Try to use this area to create shelves rather than keeping them free only for hanging family portraits. Perhaps it would be a great idea to have a faux wall full of your favourite paintings and photographs installed to cover the shelves behind. Also, if you wish to declutter your home the proper way, pay heed to William Morris’s words, 'If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'.
For more ingenious ways of creating additional space check interior of this house.