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Winning the War on Clutter

Whether you own your home or rent, chances are it suffers from the curse of clutter. Sports equipment, electronics, clothes, tools, cleaning supplies and more all compete for limited space in closets, cabinets, pantries, the garage and even the floor while leaving increasingly less room for you and your loved ones.

Photo provided by Garage Design Works

So, what’s a clutter-crazed family to do? According to local experts, you don’t need to move into a bigger place to declutter your life—you just need to get smarter about how you store everything. From bathrooms to garages, kitchens to closets, and just about every space in between, there’s likely a custom home-storage solution that’s perfect for your needs.

Arguably the easiest place to create more room is the garage. “The Orlando family is demanding both highly functional and adaptable storage systems,” says Nick St. George of Garage Design Works in Orlando and Winter Park. “The trends that we see in the garage are cabinets up off the floor and smart wall systems.”

According to St. George, bringing cabinets up provides two major benefits: a feeling of more space, and a lack of hiding places for dirt and pests. “In order to have an organized garage,” he says, “over time, the storage system must have the ability to be easily changed.”

To that end, Garage Design Works sees much demand for wall systems that make it easy to rearrange cabinets, baskets, shelves, bike mounts and more. “Since Orlando families cannot have basements,” St. George adds, “there is a very high demand for smart storage in our garages.”

Getting back to the garage floor, St. George says his customers’ most common request is to lift everything off of it save their vehicles. “Consumers want their floor to be void of any clutter and easy to clean,” he says. “More than half of our garage storage business involves decorative polymer floor coatings. The floor coatings are very durable and are essentially maintenance-free, but more importantly, convert the space into a ‘room’ that is still appropriate for the cars. … The garage is no longer a shed but an addition to the home.”

Photo provided by ShelfGenie of Central Florida

A second location that’s perfect for a custom storage solution is the kitchen, particularly when it comes to the pantry. “Most homeowners do not like their pantry space,” says Michael P. Grothe, owner of ShelfGenie of Central Florida and ShelfGenie of The Gulf Coast, who adds that the typical pantry is just about 12 inches deep with small wire shelves that allow items to tip over easily. Furthermore, pantries are usually much deeper than the shelves, resulting in lot of wasted space.

“By removing the wire racks and designing a custom storage solution for our clients, we are able to eliminate that wasted space,” says Grothe. The shelves installed by Grothe and his team utilize the pantry’s full depth and width, and they can be pulled completely out of the pantry for easy access. As a result, homeowners are often able to increase their usable pantry storage space by up to 50 percent, and Grothe further helps clients save space by organizing their pantries based on the height of the products they buy.

Chances are your bathroom storage could use some reconfiguring, too, especially when you consider how much unused space is available in most bathrooms. For example, says Grothe, “The large majority of bathroom vanities are just giant boxes with storage only in the bottom level of the cabinet. This leaves a significant amount of space wasted above, largely due to the sink and plumbing.” The best way to turn that unused space into valuable storage, says Grothe, is a custom solution that works around the plumbing.

And as Grothe notes, “This also eliminates the need for our clients to bend over and pick up their frequently used items from the bottom of the cabinet.” More convenience and more room? That’s a win-win scenario in anyone’s book.