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We teamed up with IKEA to find out the storage hacks that parents swear by – whether that's IKEA storage solutions themselves, or a solution you discovered on your own.
If there's one main piece of Mumsnet advice it is: be creative when using storage solutions from retailers. It might say it's for shoe storage, but it could actually be the perfect solution for stowing those toys away that need to be immediately available (you know the ones).
General home storage ideas
1. KALLAX, KALLAX, KALLAX
Image: Five Little Doves
Previously the 'EXPEDIT' model, if you haven't already encountered this simple but stylish storage shelving range from IKEA, you are missing a trick. The KALLAX is a great way to maximise storage space in any room of the house and you can customise the units by changing the storage boxes to suit your style. On this storage hacks discussion alone, KALLAX had over 100 mentions – with several different uses.
“We have KALLAX units bloomin' everywhere; as storage in the backs of built-in cupboards, freestanding in the kitchen, for file storage and even fitted with cat beds. I want a 3×3 one to fit a specific space, though – dear IKEA, please make me one!”
“We have KALLAX in all different sizes in most rooms, they're so versatile and changeable that they look nice anywhere.”
“KALLAX, PAX and MALM. In fact, I'm thinking of calling my triplets after them.”
2. Put a wardrobe in the hallway
So it turns out, wardrobes – not just for bedrooms. We were surprised too. But hey, if the kids say anything, it's just more opportunity for Narnia adventures, right?
“The game-changer for us storage-wise was an IKEA wardrobe we put in the hallway and filled with wire baskets for shoes in the bottom and then a dangly fabric thing with cubby hole (not its actual name) to one side of where all the coats hang. Everyone has one for school bag/lunchbox/gloves/my handbag etc (even DM and MIL's slippers go in one near the bottom) and it keeps the hallway clear. It made such a difference in getting rid of clutter. Well, you know, not getting rid of it, but hiding it more effectively…”
3. Turn a coffee table into a cocktail cart
If we're talking about essential storage solutions, then a portable bar is key. And who needs a globe cocktail cabinet (Google it), when you can customize your own using a coffee table on wheels?
“Obviously not kids' storage but I use one of the LALLERÖD coffee tables as a portable bar/cocktail cart! The storage underneath is perfect for bottles and my cocktail shaker, glasses and other paraphernalia sit on top. I'm planning on spray-painting it gold to match my dining room decor better.”
4. Put everything in boxes and baskets
If it doesn't have a home, then how are you supposed to find it? Shelving units are one thing, but (ideally labelled) boxes or baskets are the real bread and butter of good storage. They can also be easily moved higher to prevent wandering hands finding things they shouldn't.
“Definitely pull-out baskets and boxes for storing stuff. Makes it so much easier to find and sort through. For example, in the utility room we have a sealed box with all shoe cleaning kit in it and a basket with all hats, gloves, scarves and waterproof trousers, all rolled and stored vertically Marie Kondo style for ease of finding stuff.”
“A lot of items in our home are sorted into boxes, wicker baskets or something similar. It means everything has a home itself. Much easier to locate items when you know there's only one place to look for it.”
5. If in doubt, ottoman it
Footstools with storage, such as ottomans, have the advantage of being able to hold bits 'n' bobs as well as being comfy perches for guests – human or animal.
“Soft-covered ottomans everywhere. They make anywhere look cosy and also have the bonus of doubling as chairs when we have extra visitors or thrones for the cat!”
6. Use a bookcase for shoes
Shoe storage can be a tricky one to get right. While there are lots of good specific shoe storage solutions out there, Mumsnet users have found an alternative solution. Just make sure you also have a few more for your actual books.
“We use an IKEA BILLY bookcase near the front door for storing shoes! Each member of the household gets a couple of shelves and there's a larger section at the bottom for boots. Relatively cheap and easy to set up, but it makes it much simpler to find what you need and to tidy shoes away.”
“I highly recommend a BILLY bookcase for family shoe storage. Works a dream and you can readily alter the shelf heights for boots over sandals over trainers. Great depth too for feet belonging to people aged from 5 to 50+.”
Toy storage ideas
7. Store puzzles in sealed plastic bags
Trying to do a puzzle without all the bits is not a happy time for anyone. Solve this by storing them in reusable plastic bags with – essentially – zips.
“I put all those wooden puzzle boards into A4 plastic zippy wallets. It works so well.”
8. Use shoe holders for dolls
While some toys work to put away in boxes, others need to be easily accessible. Plus, you wouldn't want to mess up Barbie's great new haircut.
“She loves Barbies and we put a shoe holder with all the clear pockets on the back of the bedroom door to hold all the dolls!”
Bathroom storage ideas
9. Use appropriately-sized boxes for laundry
Take a leaf out of this Mumsnetter's book and make laundry less painful by storing it in boxes the exact size of your washing machine drum.
“I'm not sure if this is widely known, but the DRÖNA fabric boxes are just the right size for a load of laundry. I have two DRÖNA boxes in a bathroom cupboard – one for colours, one for whites. No more guessing whether the dirty laundry basket is equivalent to a half load or a full load of washing. When the box is full I know that's a full load for the washing machine. (I think it's a 7kg drum.)”
10. Put hooks on the bathroom door
Simple but effective, door hooks are not just for bedrooms – they are very useful in the bathroom too. Bear in mind, dropping the ritual of placing your towel and clothes someplace waterproof might take some getting used to.
“Door hangers on the back of wardrobes and the bathroom door.”
“We have door hooks in our bedrooms and bathroom.”
Bedroom storage ideas
11. Put out-of-season clothes away
Avoid those mornings where you find yourself rifling through summer maxi dresses and cute camisoles just to find a woolly jumper robust enough for a British winter day, with clothes storage bags.
“IKEA DIMPA storage bags have transformed my wardrobe! I pack away the previous season's clothes into one of the DIMPA bags, and put it up in the loft, and then bring down the new season from the loft. Still fresh and clean thanks to the great design of the bags.”
12. Use a spice rack as a shelving unit
Why use a standard shelf when you could use a spice rack? But seriously, wall-mounted racks built specifically for herbs and spices are a great depth for other smaller items. Also, guests will be well impressed.
“DD sleeps on the top bunk. She has a spice rack on her wall for her current books and her torch.”
“We have used the spice racks to put books in our son's room. They don't stick out far from the wall so save space but hold quite a few thin kids' books at a time. Love them!”
13. Get a bed with drawers
It sort of begs the question, how do you cope if your bed doesn't have drawers?
“The ottoman bed in DD's room fits LOADS of toys under. She's 13 but not ready to part with lots of soft toys and doesn't really want games on display.”
“DS2 wanted a bigger bed for his room but we were concerned about lack of storage with a double bed taking up most of the room. That problem was solved by a BRIMNES double bed, which has four massive, deep drawers that we use for spare duvets as well as DS1's bedding and out of season clothes. The headboard with built-in shelves is just the right size for his collection of leaflets and booklets related to his hobbies.”
“Drawers under all the beds = invisible storage for bedding!”
14. Store school uniform separately
Make getting ready in the morning that bit easier, by using hanging storage to separate out different items of school clothing, and keeping them apart from other clothes. Actually getting out of the house on time? Still not guaranteed, sorry.
“We use a hanging toy basket for my daughter's uniform. Each pocket has a different item of clothing in it (cardigans in one, pinafores in another etc) and it helps her be a little more independent in the morning. Plus, it saves drawer space.”
“Hang a plastic shoe holder over your wardrobe door for your socks and underwear. Doesn't take much space and means you can be super-organised – works for the children's wardrobes too.”
Kitchen storage ideas
15. Put a curtain rod inside your kitchen cupboard
And hang your cleaning sprays inside it. So no more excuses of the 'But I can't find the window cleaner' kind. Here's hoping anyway.
“Pressure-fitted curtain rod inside the (yes, IKEA) kitchen cupboard – all the spray bottles hang from it so you can grab the right one easily.”
16. Use reusable food containers
Dividing out different foods into containers might seem like the height of over-organisation, but once you've committed you'll never look back. If you're trying to be plastic-free, glass Kilner type jars work just as well as plastic ones.
“In the kitchen, I have plastic storage containers in all the food cupboards. Really helps to find things easier. It’s also easier to keep the cupboard tidy and clean.
“All food cupboard staples (flour, sugar, pulses, etc) are stored in glass storage jars.”
“I have tubs in the fridge, one for snacks, one for dairy, one for fruit or veg (portioned if necessary), one for mains (sandwiches/leftovers) and separate lunch boxes for the kids. They each get their lunch box and take one main, one dairy, two fruit or veg, and one treat (on Friday). Meaning they pack their own lunch, there is no 'I don't like this, why did he get that and I got this' etc and I know it's a balanced lunch without having to actually pack the lunches myself.”
Related: The best tupperware, according to Mumsnetters
Here's what IKEA has to say:
“The house can often feel crowded after the festive period but a few small changes can make a big difference. Adding hooks and storage solutions at a lower height gives children the freedom to tidy things up by themselves. Remember children love spending time where you are so a small kitchen trolley can make a perfect mobile arts and crafts or play station that can be moved or tidied away quickly.”