Bespoke Storage Pin Image

How Practical Is Your Storage?

Author: Lauren Coleman

I’ve had storage on my mind for a while, even more so after the practical nursery post earlier this week. Thank you for all the very helpful comments by the way.

After living in the world’s smallest house where limited kitchen cupboard space meant we had to put the biscuit tin in the loft, (it does wonders for the waistline I tell you) storage has always been a high priority for me. But, my friends, it has to be practical. My sister-in-law has a cupboard in her hall with no shelves so once the hoover’s in there’s no utilisable storage above for anything else. This would drive me crackers! I remember going to a friends house once and as her clothing collection grew so did the amount of furniture. Left, right and centre there were small chests of drawers, lined up next to bedside sized tables. Really she just needed one large chest with a cavernous capacity rather than cluttering her house with lots of small pieces of furniture.

I mentioned before about the bespoke shoe cabinet we had made for our hall using the service from Jali. Two years on it’s still perfect for our requirements mainly because we ensured the measurements perfectly fitted the height of my favourite boots!

The same is true in our living room where the shelves inside the alcove cupboard perfectly fit around our amp and sound system.

James also built the shelving for our laundry cupboard from scratch and it perfectly fits the two appliances. The bottom shelf on the right-hand side is set back slightly to allow for the hoover to slot in and I made sure there was room to display the vintage laundry box I found in an antique shop. To the right, we have our ironing board and to the left, heaps of coat hooks.
Utility cupboard with storage
Yes, I’d love a huge utility room with a sink but this clever solution means all the essentials are in one place and out of the kitchen.
Again when we built the shelving units in our snug we got out the largest coffee table book we owned to make sure it would slide easily on to the shelf.

You get the idea what I’m harping on about here. While I believe storage is super important I believe it has to be practical and has to suit your needs. After a huge clear out in my bathroom I realised I needed far less storage than I anticipated and so I urge you to determine what you’re storing BEFORE you buy or make any storage solution. Obviously you do need to think ahead and allow for any collections to expand but I do think some storage options just allow us to hoard rather than live more minimally. In my opinion too many things get put away into neatly lidded baskets when they should be sent down the charity shop or recycled. My friend was saying earlier this week she used to have multiple felt baskets for odds and sods but all they collected was dust.

I am a huge fan of an Ikea belly basket for this purpose. If you can see it, you’ll use it, plus the handles make it so practical. I regularly cart one out of my dressing room with all my hair products into the hallway when I dry my hair. To contradict myself I love the Wilko storage cubes mainly because they’re functional as a perching spot as well as a great place to store magazines. This has made me think though, do I really need all those magazines?

Don’t worry I realise this only applies to adult-related spaces and when it comes to littles, maximum storage is required and they’ll be heaps of it in the nursery and playroom. (We’ve got a carpenter in mind to build fitted cupboards who charges £90 a day plus materials). However, I intend to have a huge purge over the next few months. Recently life has become very cluttered all over again and I feel the need to pare back and empty those baskets! I need to revist all those Marie Kondo methods.

Does anyone agree, it’s not the amount of storage, it’s how you use it? What are your favourite methods of storing? Do you think there are any refinements that could be made to the way you store all your bits and pieces?


Hallway images by Little Beanies | Snug images by WE ARE // THE CLARKES | Header wardrobe and utility cupboard image by Adam Crohill

Lauren likes Paris, Prosecco and Paint Charts
Follow Lauren on instagram @mrslaurencoleman
This post may include affiliate links.

20 thoughts on “How Practical Is Your Storage?

  1. Lauren I want to ask more about your utility! We are buying a house with a little utility room, I feel so grown up! I’d like to stack the washing machine and tumble drier. Obviously the washer goes at the bottom but is your drier sat on a “normal” shelf or super strength?!

    1. James is currently in the air flying back from a work trip in South Africa so I’d need to check with him, but as far as I remember he just used a few extra brackets to make it super secure. If I remember rightly the tumble dryer isn’t as heavy as the washing machine and doesn’t shake as much either! Congrats on the utility room! x

      1. I’d second this – our old house had a tiny utility / downstairs loo which had the washing machine and tumble dryer stacked. I don’t think there was anything between the two. The washing machine sat on the floor, the tumbler directly on top of it. This worked perfectly. We have recently moved to a house with the biggest utility room ever (well, compared to what i’m used to!). I’ve LOVE for it to be kitted out like a luxury boot room…..but its going to have to stay in its full 1970’s original glory for a looooong time until we can afford to replace it all. Gah!

    2. as long as you put a bit of wood between in it just to reduce any major movement, stack on top 🙂

  2. Totally agree on this Lauren!

    One of the best things about doing our kitchen was being able to plan how each space was going to be used and make sure we had the right cupboard/pullout/shelves for the job. It’s made a huge difference, and we’ve ended up with more storage than we need.

    Elsewhere in the house is a different story. Our understairs cupboard is a mess and needs a clear out, our utility room has already become a dumping ground that needs better storage solutions, and for some reason all of the built in storage was added to what has become our daughters room, which houses the only wardrobe in the house, a hideous, built in, mirrored monstrosity. She has far more storage than she needs, right now, but I imagine it will be useful as she grows. The only trouble is it’s housing a lot of our stuff too, which we need to find another home for/ get rid of.

    Upstairs in our room we have the inherited furniture situation – dressers moved from previous flats, bought for specific problems, that we might love, but are not really working for us right now. And I also have a stubborn husband who doesn’t quite get it.

    1. Ahh yes the husband who doesn’t get it. Sometimes I have one of those too 😉 Show him your kitchen cupboards and remind him how good the rest of your storage could be! x

  3. I couldn’t agree more with planning what you’re putting in your cupboards before building them. When we had our new kitchen designed I wrote on top of the kitchen plan what was going in which cupboard and tweaked it accordingly. The kitchen designer thought I was mental (as did my husband!) but if only she could see my beautifully organised cupboards now, she’d disagree!

    Now I just have to try and apply that logic to my ‘utility room of doom’. To be cheap we reused our old kitchen in here, and it’s such a hodge podge mess. My husband seems to think a utility is for storing tools & computer bits and the buggy has taken up permanent residence in front of the washing machine so it’s like an assault course to load the thing. Then again on a plus side the best thing about a utility is being able to shut the door and ignore it all!

    1. Totally agree Sara, I have to say mine doesn’t look quite so tidy as the pic at the moment. Thank goodness for doors!

  4. Flexibility is the key I think. Storage that can be reconfigured as needs change. Thats why I love the big yellow and blue shop. I know its not the most eco or stylish but can’t be beaten for flexibility. Its all well and good getting something to house a particular item but what about when you no longer have said item and end up scouring the shops for a one the same size to fit the space allocated for it.

    Also keep stuff where you use it so avoid unnecessary cart around and piles of stuff to be put away. For years the ironing board was in the kitchen where there was a big cupboard for it, but I iron most when I am sewing so now its stored in my sewing room.

    1. That’s a really good point Rachel about storing things in the room you use them. Cuts down so much time!

  5. Hello! Loving the storage chat! I wondered where your lovely lights are from though in the main picture though? We are having our loft converted and these would look fab in the new stairwell. Thank you!

  6. Our storage is pretty sorted except for toys. They are horrendous. I feel like I can’t even plan storage for them because they are all different sizes and awkward shapes. I hate the things. My plan is to build a big plywood bench the length of the conservatory with a flip up lid to house some of them. We’re going to get some built in cupboards from jali for the alcoves in the living room too. My relatives think I am insane to be spending so much on our house when it’s not really worth it but I can’t feel at home in a room that I don’t like and isn’t working. Do you remember the sims and the way they had that diamond over their heads which turned red when they walked into a messy room? That’s how I feel when I walk into the living room.

    1. Ha ha yes me too. We have decided we are moving in 5-7 years but are still making out current home how we want it despite the cost as I find a nice home so important to my mental wellbeing

    2. This bench sounds like a great idea Jade, and love that you can sit on it too. Like you say it’s all about making a space that really works for you.

  7. Some awesome ideas here, Lauren – we love seeing the clever ways people come up with to maximise small spaces; this is especially important if they are communal/shared ones (family or housemates)! When it comes to storage we like to make use of wall space wherever possible – floating shelves are generally pretty straightforward to put up and they add a place for knick-knacks without taking up valuable floor footprint in small rooms.

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *