Stuff, stuff, stuff. It is amazing how quickly we accumulate things. From clothes to knick-knacks, furniture to keepsakes, we have an innate ability to find things we must have. Throw in two boxes of Bronco’s Super Bowl souvenirs and now we are starting to build small castles of items. Our suburban friends simply fill up their garages. You know the ones; they have their cars parked outside because there is no room in the designated spots. As Denver urban loft and condo owners, we must be creative in order to keep those invaluable mementos.
If You Don’t Use it, Lose it!
I have to start here. I know it pains us all, but it has to be done. I have a friend that had the privilege of working with hoarders on a regular basis. Not the typical too much stuff in the junk drawer variety, but the 18” path through the house type. He mentioned that 99% of the time over 90% of the items were either donated to charity or simply thrown away. While most of the things were “valuable” to the owner they rarely had street cred. It was often difficult, but it was the only way to make the home livable.
Here is the rule, if you don’t use or wear something, donate it. Even if you do lose those 15 lbs. over the summer, make your reward a new pair of pants. The old ones are probably out of date anyway. Old magazines are rarely collectibles. If there are articles that are important, cut them out and put them in a binder, better yet, scan them and recycle the magazine. If it’s really important, have one page framed and put it on the wall.
An easy way to sort is to make 3 piles. First pile is absolutely must keep, like mom’s favorite music box. Second pile is, I would like to keep but it is not important as the first pile and finally the last pile is stuff that must go. The trick is you only get to keep the first pile, and it must fit in one or two boxes. You will find yourself trading back and forth between piles. If you need help, find a pragmatic, unemotional friend. Often just the look of “are you really keeping that” will help you purge unneeded items.
Still Have Stuff?
Look around your loft or condo. If you have tall ceilings think tall bookcases. You can use nice cloth or wicker baskets to store items high without revealing to the world your love for sappy, 1940 movies. You can also install a high shelf that displays those special treasures that would ordinarily end up in a box in storage unit somewhere. This saves you space to store other items.
Think multipurpose -- there is an inexhaustible supply of ottomans and small chests that can double as coffee tables that also contain storage for blankets, games, movies or even movie snacks. Look for containers that allow you to store items under your beds. This is perfect for seasonal clothes and items that you don’t use all the time. In fact, store your off season clothes in your suitcase. If you only travel a few times a year this is a great place to store items and when you traveling having the items sitting on your bed won’t bother you.
Be Creative with Space
My final advice is to be creative with space you have. Open areas under stairs, corner cabinets and decorative armoires provide great opportunities to store items. Hang pots and pans from the ceiling in the kitchen or create racks in your closets to maximize space. Get online and check out all the other great ideas from people that live in lofts, condos and mini houses from around the world. Here’s a good site to get you started. If you need more ideas, give us a call. We would love to share ideas, before those piles start building and I have to call my friend to come help you.