When we moved into our home almost six years ago, we were so excited to have more space and storage. We had been living for over four years in a charming 100 year-old home with no storage. We quickly learned however that even though we now had more square footage and more closets, we still lacked storage in key areas.
Just off of the kitchen in our new home was the dining room. It was a great space to entertain, but with four young kids we actually needed more space to store backpacks, shoes, school work, and also some additional kitchen supplies. We decided that the room would be better utilized as an office/homework station/storage room/kids lockers space, with a pantry!
Here is a picture of what the dining room once looked like.
Here is what the office looks like today. The space is kind of tight so we couldn’t get a real good shot of the whole room. Piece these photos together and you get the whole picture!
We love the new room and it works so much better for our needs. However setting up the bones of the room was just the first step. There needs to be a smart system to help keep things organized behind closed doors. In our case here is what we did.
The lower cabinets were designated as lockers. We divided them into two areas: an area to hang things and a shelf area to hold books and schoolwork.
We used one of our favorite things, removable hooks, to keep the backpacks, jackets, and hats off of the bottom of the cabinet. The shelf itself doesn’t help keep things organized so we purchased bins to hold school projects that we want to keep. When the kids get home from school with a special project they want to keep, we throw them in the bins and then quarterly clean the bins out and transfer those projects to bigger bins in the storage room.
We added a magazine rack to the side of the cabinet for homework that still needs to be finished.
The lower cabinets take care of the kid’s schoolwork but what about their shoes? We were always searching for shoes when we were ready to leave. The bedrooms in our house are on the second floor so it made more sense for us to create a space for shoes on the main floor instead of up in the bedrooms. We added drawers at the bottom of each of the cabinets to store the kid’s shoes and it works like a charm.
The upper cabinets are used to hold crafts, games, and other “stuff”.
Even though they are organized on the inside, we prefer the closed-door look!
We also needed some additional storage for kitchen supplies. The new office is next to the kitchen so it made perfect sense to add a pantry in the office. We did a combo of pull-out shelves and stationary shelves.
Oh and don’t forget the much-needed homework station. We found this remnant piece of marble that is perfect for two kiddos to do homework on.
Here are a few tips that we think are important when thinking about getting organized.
Have a place for everything, and everything in its place.
We are strong believers that if you have a designated space for things then you are much more likely to keep things clean and organized. You need to be able to clean up quickly when you are juggling four kids. This is much easier when you know exactly where to put things. Just having closed door cabinets doesn’t solve that problem. You need to know where you will put things once you open those cabinet doors.
Storage space needs to be adequate for your needs.
Storage isn’t really helpful if it isn’t the right size or shape for your needs. In our case we wanted our cabinets to be 24” deep so that we could store larger bins holding games, crafts, school supplies, etc. If you are building cabinets make sure you design them to your perfect specifications. The same thing applies if you are purchasing storage of any kind whether it be small bins or big cabinets. Make sure the size fits.
Hide the ugly, showcase the pretty.
We strongly believe you should have a good mix of closed and open storage to meet both your storage needs and your design aesthetic. We wanted to hide the kid’s backpacks, jackets, games, craft supplies, and other things behind closed doors. We also wanted to showcase some of our cool books and other accessories. We used baskets to add a bit of texture to the room but still be able to hide away some of our “ugly”.
Now that you’re organized don’t forget to add some style and personality to the room!
Posted by Andrea and Greg