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 ...and thanks for stopping by. I'm Claire Douglas,  DIY and home interiors writer specialising in money-saving and creative home interior projects. I've spent years developing my 'bespoke on a budget' approach to DIY and home interiors and I love sharing all my tips and tricks in tutorials and posts here on my blog, in articles I write for some of the leading titles, in the press, on Instagram, Tiktok and my online course

Handy home storage to save space & time.

Updated: Apr 17

Make room for Christmas gifts by upping your storage game.

brown cardboard storage box
Photo by Lia Trevarthen on Unsplash

The gap between Christmas & New Year (aka the 'Chrimbo Limbo' or the 'Merry-neum' ) is a weird old time... fact.

No-one knows what day it is or what to do with themselves on a 'normal' year, and this year brings the added complication of avoiding anything too 'peoply' due to the pandemic.

If like me, you're having a bit of a panic about having no free cupboard space to put the newly acquired Christmas gifts , then fear not, I've been researching storage ideas. When you've eaten all the chocs, completed Netflix & Amazon Prime and feel ready to attack the clutter, this one's for you...

Toy Storage

I don't know about you, but the influx of kids' Christmas presents fills me with dread. We struggled to fit them all in cupboards before the festive period so God knows what we are going to do with lego mountain now that Santa has been. I fully intended to have a good old toy sort out pre-Christmas, but got distracted by planning my next decorating project (the Living Room, if you're interested...but more on that soon!).

Three piles

It's worth having a bit of a sort out before buying more storage otherwise I find you just end up with boxes of permanently stored toys, which never get used again which is a waste of money and space. (Talking from experience, as we currently have at least two under-bed storage boxes full of toddler toys which I need to attack!).

When sorting I always have three piles, keep, chuck and donate. There are always toys which don't fair well with the 'hands-on' (violently destructive) approach to playing preferred by my kids and are beyond repair, so these get thrown out, or recycled where possible. All useable toys in good condition get donated to charity. I used to be really good at painstakingly listing items on ebay or Facebook Marketplace, but these days I just cant face the cliffhanger tension of whether the supposed buyer will actually come to collect on their designated day and it always drives me mad when they don't want to pay more than 10p for anything, so everything is donated rather than sold.

Decluttering, recluttering, tripping & a big swear...

When I say donated, I actually mean that I chuck everything in bags destined for the charity shop, which go on to clutter up the tiny bit of space just inside our front door for 4-6 weeks on average before I trip over them for the final time, have a big swear and get my act together enough to actually drop them off. I of course learn nothing from the whole process and repeat it in approx 3-6 months.

Once the decluttering, tripping & swearing steps have been completed then you are ready to purchase pretty new storage that will in all likeliness spend 80% of the time empty (as the toys are all over the floor obvs). Here are some ideas...

Pro Tip: Storage boxes without lids can make tidying up quicker and kids are less likely to empty every box out if they can see what is inside.

Pro Tip: Remove toys from their boxes and packaging as they can be bulky to store. Cut out and keep the picture of built sets from the box and keep with any instructions. Small pieces can be kept in reusable bags to save them getting lost as these take up little room.

More clothes than Carrie Bradshaw?

I'm quite good at hoarding clothes (as I write this I'm wearing a 20 year old Ralph Lauren hoodie that I picked up on a sixth form trip to the Clothes Show Live at Birmingham NEC in 2001!) and we don't have any loft space, so clever storage is key. I find vacuum storage clothes bags really helpful as they really do save a lot of space and can either be hung up or stored flat under a bed.

When wardrobe and cupboard space is limited, under-bed storage can be a game changer...

Creative Clothes Storage

As practical as the above examples are they aren't that exciting or beautiful, so here are some more creative and interesting ideas which could easily be adapted to work in most rooms.

Pro Tip: If hanging space is limited, make sure every garment deserves its place. Sort clothing by type or colour and use space underneath for folded items like sweaters, scarves and wraps.

Beautiful Books

Did you get books for Christmas? They've had a bit of a revival in our house over the last couple of years as we found that Kindle books just aren't the same and cant replace that real book smell and feel, especially coffee table books and beautifully illustrated interior design books for example.

On the subject of storage, you might like to read my 15 pantry ideas post packed full of creative kitchen storage inspo. Or pop over to my home storage and organisation page

Storage woes?

Lots of books need lots of storage space, but this isn't a big problem for us as my IKEA Hack - Billy Bookcases to bespoke looking built-ins provided ALL the storage and more. Alternatively, you could stack books on the floor to make a funky side table.

Pro tip: Sort books according to colour for a cool aesthetic and coordinate with your paint shades for a considered look.

Thanks for reading. I'd love to keep you up to date with future DIY, decorating, interior styling, and upcycling projects, if you would like to receive my (not more than weekly & no spamming I promise) emails then please subscribe (scroll down to the box at the bottom of the page). I've got lots more tips that I hope you'll love just click on one of the links below to be taken straight to the relevant page..

This year I've been busy revamping my kitchen DIY Kitchen Makeover - part 1 shows the before and the ideas and DIY kitchen revamp has the results.

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