Home organization and storage experts at the International Builders Show recently showcased the latest trends in building products and home design, including an array of ideas for home storage and organization that would make Marie Kondo proud.
Laundry room. A laundry room with space for cabinets and counters for folding clean clothes is ideal, but even a smaller laundry room can be outfitted for greater function. Closets with hanging space and a fold-out ironing board can be built-in, along with space for storing detergent and bins for clean and dirty clothes. A small laundry room can be enhanced with some wall shelves for storage. Home storage experts focus on using vertical space, so look up to see if there are areas where you can add storage for rarely used items.
Family entrance. The entrance off the garage or the back of the house is prime space for a variety of storage solutions.
"I call this the family dump zone, where you can put baskets, hooks and cubbies that fit your family," said Michaelle Bradford, editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine in Chicago. "Think about what each family member has, such as a backpack or a briefcase or sports equipment. Make sure the hooks and cubbies are low enough for the kids to reach on their own, too."
Kitchen. Center islands seem to get larger in every new home and include lots of storage cabinets and open shelving to replace the upper cabinets that are disappearing in favor of big windows, said Lita Dirks, owner of Lita Dirks & Co., a model home merchandising company in Greenwood Village, Colorado. Walk-in pantries with adjustable shelves for customization and pull-out storage solutions can maximize storage of bulk items and kitchen staples as well as rarely used items. Bins, baskets and even shoe storage solutions can be repurposed in the pantry to hold canned goods and other items neatly.
Hobby or play room. A small bedroom, a closet or a basement nook accessed by a barn door can be converted into a hobby room with storage for wrapping paper or crafts or into a kids play area, said Dirks.
"You can design and decorate a fun little play station for the kids with some paint and creativity and built-in cubbies with bins for toys and boxes for games," said Dirks.
Depending on the available space, you can add a small table and ottomans with extra storage inside. If there’s room for a bench, buy one with a lid so that you can store more items such as clothes for playing dress-up inside.
Master bedroom. Coordinating the color scheme in your master bedroom, closet and bathroom can provide a cohesive look that looks less cluttered, said Theresa Finnigin, a storage and organization expert and owner of Organized Living in Cincinnati. Depending on how much space you have in your closet, she recommends adding closed and open shelving and a bench to turn the space into a dressing room.
"The most important thing is to make your closet as functional as possible so you have easy access to the items you need daily and so things are easy to put away," said Finnigin. "Lighting in your closets is really important and makes the space feel brighter and happier."
Installing light that turns on with a motion sensor can be helpful, says Finnigin, who also recommends lighted clothing rods and lights underneath shelves as well as overhead.
Home organization solutions don’t necessarily need to be costly. In fact, they can be inexpensive – just look at the array of products available online and at big box stores.