x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Free up more storage space with smart furniture and some tough love

Clear up your clutter and find storage solutions you never knew you had with these tips and tricks.

Nesting pans like this set from Lakeland conserve space. Courtesy of Lakeland
Nesting pans like this set from Lakeland conserve space. Courtesy of Lakeland

Living room

Invest in a few lidded pouffes that can be used as foot stools or extra seating but have storage space hidden inside. Fill them with DVDs, CDs, books and magazines. If you choose smart, boxy ones and put trays on top of them, you can use them as small side tables, too.

Store laptops, phone chargers and remote controls on plastic tea trays that you can slide quickly and easily under your sofa to tidy up quickly when guests come around.

Consider built-in storage systems that make the most of every available inch of space. Contact local carpentry firms for a few quotes and consider a bespoke shelving and drawers unit. These are particularly handy if you have an awkward space.

Shop for a coffee table that has plenty of storage space inside it. Ikea's acacia Hol design is perfect because you can quickly lift the lid and fill it with junk in a flash.


Use wall space. Fit hanging rails and magnetic strips for utensils and knives so you can free up space in drawers and on the worktop surfaces.

Choose stacking saucepans that fit neatly inside one another and look for clever folding items such as the nifty Fold Flat grater from Joseph Joseph (try Lakeland for these), which collapses when not in use.

Use wasted space inside your oven to store spare baking trays and roasting dishes - but remember to take them out before turning the oven on.

Keep a small step stool in your kitchen (Ikea's Bekvam stool is great value for money) so you can reach high shelves with ease. Don't forget to use the top of your kitchen cupboards, too, for trays, platters and lidded serving pots.

For awkward corner cupboards, consider installing a revolving unit that makes full use of the space but lets you access your items easily. Speak to your kitchen fitter to find out what options are available for tight corners.

Maximise your shelf space. Place pop-up shelves on existing shelves to double your storage area. Lakeland's Add-a-Shelf is a handy solution.

If you're redesigning your kitchen and have the space, consider including a kitchen island unit. It will provide a useful extra work surface area and can double as a breakfast bar. Most have useful shelves where you can keep your tableware or cookbook collection.

Awkward, difficult-to-reach cupboard corners such as the bottom shelf underneath the kitchen sink are often ignored or full of muddled clutter. A gliding drawer unit on castors makes it easy to reach items that would otherwise be inaccessible at the back, and you'll be able to use the whole of the space with ease.


Store bulky out-of-season clothing and spare duvets, pillows and bed linen sets under your bed in vacuum-totes (from Dh114 at Lakeland). Fill the bags, then use your vacuum cleaner to suck out the air from the pack and watch the contents compress to a quarter of its original volume. As an added bonus, your items will be protected from dust, moths and moisture.

Choose totes with transparent plastic windows so you can see at a glance what you stored without having to unpack and re-vacuum. Make sure they have handles so it's easy to slide them under the bed and back out.

Instead of small bedside tables, buy two taller units with shelves and drawers. You can still have your alarm clock and book within reach, but can use the full height of the room, too.

Fit a shelf above door frame level all around your room for books and storage baskets.

Find extra storage space on top of wardrobes. Treat yourself to a few vintage suitcases or stylish boxes and stack them up high. Who says storage can't be stylish?

Don't forget to use the back of your bedroom door. Fit hooks or an over-door rack for hanging scarves, jewellery and coats. It will free up space elsewhere.

Buy smart storage boxes and place them in usually wasted space such as inside your wardrobe underneath your clothes. Fill the boxes with shoes and accessories.


Look for an under-basin wire shelving unit that will wrap around your sink's base and provide handy extra storage space for toiletries and bottles.

Consult other family members or housemates and consider sharing large bottles of everyday products such as shampoo, shower gel and conditioner. This limits the bottles and clutter on the side of the bath or shower.

Fit hooks and extra shelving units to tiles with suckers for temporary solutions.

Place a basket beside the toilet for storing spare toilet rolls, and put another beside the basin with rolled up towels and flannels, thus freeing up precious shelf or cupboard space elsewhere.

Consider asking a carpenter to fit a sliding door as a bath panel beneath your tub so you can use the wasted space underneath for storing cleaning products and new toiletries.

Fit three small shelves on the wall above the toilet tank for stacks of towels, using the full height of the room.

If you have kids, tie a net bag to your shower curtain rail and use it to store bath toys when not in use.


Clutter busters

You've increased your storage space but your home still feels crowded and messy. It's time to cut down on clutter.

Toss it

Every week, throw out, recycle or donate anything you don't use regularly.

Take time

Tidy up frequently. Decluttering can be daunting, so keep on top of it by tidying every day for at least five minutes.


Keep a visible cardboard box of items you want to get rid of. It gives you time to emotionally let go of the object, or retrieve it if you really need to.

Use spare moments

When you're boiling the kettle or waiting for food to cook, tidy a kitchen cupboard, throwing out unwanted or old food that is past the use-by date.

Get help

Get a friend or family member to help you sort your belongings. They're not emotionally attached to the stuff and will be more ruthless.