Art of storing


A messy house is an eyesore. It is time to address the clutter, writes John Tiong

There’s an art to storing the new things that you’ve bought and tidying old things that you want to keep or throw away.

Proper storing is important because clutter in the house can be disturbing.  

There is always space in the house to keep our things. First, we have to categorise our belongings according to “used regularly”, “occasionally” or “to be donated or thrown away”.

Be clear-headed when it comes to throwing away things. The last thing you need is to be a hoarder who clings on to everything.

When it comes to space, we are blessed. Our houses are almost two or three times larger than those in Tokyo, for instance.

The Japanese learn to utilise space well by sleeping on a futon (a soft mattress that can be folded and stored away, and using multi-tiered drawers to keep and store things.

I used this type of drawers when I was a student in Japan. It helped save space in my small apartment which was less than half the size of a Malaysian terrace house.

Each tier of the wooden drawer was used to store specific items such as toiletries, cosmetics and even kitchenware. As for the desk, you can give yourself extra space by adding a hutch.

There are many ways to maximise space in the bedroom. Bunk beds and collapsible beds are good for singles because they are multifunctional.

You can make use of the empty space below a bunk bed to put your working table. You can sleep, study and watch television on the bed as well as store things if the bed comes with drawers, says Gordan Wimalasiri, assistant manager at Ikea Damansara.

Kingsize beds take up a lot of space, so use the space under it to store jeans, winter clothing (which you will not be using in the near future) and bags of all sizes. Keep items in containers. Ikea and many other furniture shops offer sliding drawer units that fit under beds.

Storage bins with wheels are also useful. Make sure that they have lids to keep the dust out. Gordan says it is advisable to buy boxes, bins and chests with castors so you can move them  around easily.

But it is important to not keep too many things under the bed as these can block air circulation, making the room hot and stuffy.

As for the closet, plan well. Measure the space needed for dresses and suits as well as shirts and jackets before installing rods.

Also make use of a closet organiser. Simple shelves or a collapsible hanger system and collapsible fabric shelves save space. Collapsible fabric shelves are ideal for storing shoes, towels and other toiletries.

Hooks and slide-out tie racks behind the closet door will do wonders to keep your neckties, belts, mufflers and even wigs.

Stackable boxes are ideal for storing things because they can be put under the bed or in the closet.

They need not be expensive. Use hat boxes, shoe boxes or any that’s big enough to hold items such as spare locks, keys, old perfume bottles and old CDs.

Plastic bins come in all shapes and sizes and those with castors can be used to store things in the attic, closet, kitchen or basement. The lids keep moisture and pests out.

Label the boxes to keep track of the things stored in the boxes. Ikea sells special boxes made of paper and plastic. There are also see-through boxes that let you see what’s inside.

The first place to look at for storage space is the wall.

Mount your TV and AV units on the wall to save floor space. A bookcase can also be specially built from floor to ceiling.

Another way to create space without sacrificing aesthetics is to build window seats and install cabinets beneath them. Then there is the space under the stairs. Install shelves here to keep stuff.

• Don’t scatter shoes on the floor. Stash those that you don’t use regularly in boxes and place them on an upper shelf.
• Keep things that don’t fold well — underwear, socks, bras — in drawers.
• For long-term storage, think of keeping items in spaces such as the attic. Install a ladder and span rafters inside the roof with sheets of plywood or boards to form a platform.

For extra space
A SINGAPORE-based self storage company, Extra Space, (, opened a branch in Kuala Lumpur, just off Jalan Chan Sow Lin,  in February.

CEO Michael Hagbeck says customers can use Extra Space to store things such as wines, motorcycles, cars,  comic books, collectibles, Christmas decor and merchandise.

Locker-type storing space costs RM78 a month and walk-in storage space of 23.2 sq m is RM1,260 a month.

There are also air-conditioned units to  store items that are sensitive to temperature and humidity  such as books, wood or leather furniture, winter clothing and  electronics.

Extra Space also has a chiller units specifically  for wine storage.

"The company is able to recommend transportation options to customers, as well as provide boxes for  storage. Customers are encouraged to buy insurance against  fire and theft."

Shelves can take in all the things you wish to keep

A chair that can double up as a bed saves space in the room

Extra Space building off Jalan Chan Sow Lin in Kuala Lumpur

Collapsible fabric shelf like this expand the scope of storage in the bathroom

Fabric containers are great when it comes to keeping tings in the bathroom

Gordan says it is good to store things in boxes because of the humidity of the Malaysian weather

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