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MailTribune.com
  • Turning dead space into money savings

  • With storage space rentals starting at around $40 per month and running into the hundreds of dollars for the largest, climate-controlled units, keeping all your "stuff" can get expensive. Why not take a closer look around your current dwelling first? You might be surprised at the "hidden" storage spaces starring you in the face.
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    • large and small solutions
      Limited on space? For $50 or less, you can purchase enclosed storage units designed to fit on an apartment balcony or on a deck or patio. Put it in that corner you never use and pick up several cub...
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      large and small solutions
      Limited on space? For $50 or less, you can purchase enclosed storage units designed to fit on an apartment balcony or on a deck or patio. Put it in that corner you never use and pick up several cubic feet of clean, dry storage space.

      If you're one of the few people around with some money to spare, perhaps the ultimate in "outrageous" outdoor storage solutions is an entirely prefabricated, mini-cabin kit with a knotty pine log plank exterior. It has about 12- by 20-feet of floor space and costs close to $10,000 without extras. You can find it among hundreds of other choices at local home improvement stores.

      All those choices mean lots of colors and designs to choose from. And that means you can add outdoor storage capacity that works within your budget and complements rather than detracts from your outdoor decor.
  • With storage space rentals starting at around $40 per month and running into the hundreds of dollars for the largest, climate-controlled units, keeping all your "stuff" can get expensive. Why not take a closer look around your current dwelling first? You might be surprised at the "hidden" storage spaces starring you in the face.
    "Look high, look low," seems to be a summary of the collected wisdom of space planners and interior designers. "Underneath a high bed with a skirt you'll find often overlooked space," suggests Carolyn Allman ASID, owner of Allman Design Group on Grape Street in downtown Medford. Nearly every home remodeling outlet or variety store stocks low cost, dust-free containers in a dizzying array of sizes and even colors. Find ones to fit under your bed and turn dead space into free storage for things like seasonal clothing and bedding, or holiday gift wrap supplies for instance.
    For that matter, go to any home improvement store and you'll encounter hundreds of ready-made cabinets and shelving, hooks, loops and hangers designed specifically for the purpose of turning unused space into neat, tidy storage areas. With only a modest investment, you can clear your garage clutter off the floor and onto wall spaces that are doing nothing for you now.
    Are you utilizing the area under your stairway? If yours is covered in wallboard doing nothing but holding your kids' kindergarten pictures, how about cutting and framing an access door (under the pictures, of course)? It's neither a difficult nor expensive job for a contractor. It's also one you can do yourself if you know which end of a saw goes where. Talk to a local contractor or do an Internet search like "cutting and framing interior doors" and you'll find plenty of "how-to" hits. Or go to one of the local home improvement stores for step-by-step instructions.
    Also consider the space between your roof and the ceiling joists. That's an attic and dandy storage area if you lay some plywood flooring and frame an access portal. Likewise the crawl space underneath the ground floor joists if your home isn't built on a concrete slab. Many so-called "crawl" spaces are actually three feet higher or more in spots. Not a bad place for seasonal decorations, fixtures or seldom-used supplies like paint and caulking tools. If the area is secure from critters and dry, put it to work.
    Allman turns a clever eye to kitchen dead space as well. "There are lots of new ideas coming out for kitchen storage, such as the swing-out shelving in those corner cabinets that just kind of sit there. Check out the local stores and ask about 'blind corner' hardware."
    Another thought for kitchen areas in particular — "We'll remove soffits to make space above eye-level as well," she says. Cabinets, shelving, or even pottery storage can fit where wallboard once lowered the ceiling. Look high, look low.
    Likewise the corners where walls meet ceilings in living, dining and bedroom spaces. Decorative shelving mounted high on the walls in these settings can make room for those knick-knacks and treasures you can't figure out where to place. Hanging plants are a nice touch as well.
    Rented storage units are an unavoidable necessity at times. But before you reach for the Yellow Pages, take a walk around your dwelling and think creatively. You may be surprised at what you find that's been there all along.
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