Claiming Space for Yourself in Your Own House


This is not an article about decluttering. Many of us can declutter all day long and still have a crowded house. Instead, this is an article about making better use of space in your home. Perhaps a combination of these approaches will help you get some elbow room. Most of these recommendations can be accomplished by an amateur, although you may want professional advice on some matters.

Think Vertically

Furniture tends to go only so high before it stops. This leaves a lot of space between the top of the bureau and the ceiling. On one wall, you could build shelving that goes up as high as it can.

Basically this is a closet out in the open. If you are able to use even one wall in this way, you’d be surprised at how much stuff can be stored there.

If it can be built in the guestroom or another lightly used room, this may be ideal. Then it can be a storage space for everyone in the household, and no one has to ask permission to access their stuff.

Look in the Attic

Most attics today are not designed to hold boxes, much less furniture. However, you may be able to create a space in your attic that is strong enough to handle some storage. The first thing you need to do is establish how safe your attic is to walk in. Many have strong crossbeams, but they have nothing in between. You don’t want to end up with your legs dangling in the dining room.

To outfit an attic for use, you or a handyman can lay down plywood across the beams closest to the entrance. In most cases, you don’t want to go very far from the ladder in any direction. That’s because ideally you won’t go into the attic. You only will access your boxes from the relative safety of the ladder. If you can’t be sure your attic is safe, you are better off renting a storage unit.

Add Ceiling Storage or an Attic to Your Garage

There are numerous items you can buy that allow you to create storage spaces from the ceiling of your garage. However, you may also be able to construct something yourself that may be cheaper, bigger and more versatile.

When you have a high ceiling in your garage, you may be able to build an attic there. You’ll need to know where the interior trusses are and how much weight they can handle. It may need additional trusses to be able to hold the weight of the wooden floor and the items you plan to store. You may need to consult a structural engineer or architect to be sure that your plans will work.

If the space is big enough, you could build a full attic complete with the drop-down ladder. However, most of us don’t have that much space. To reduce costs and to trim overall weight, you can build an open attic space. Plus, using a ladder you already own will further reduce the expense.

With more places to put seasonal items and memorabilia, you’ll gain some elbow room in your home. Just try not to fill it back up again!