It’s as regular as clockwork. I’m driven to clear out the clutter whenever the season changes. I can’t resist the impulse and I’m not the only one. Many of my female friends feel the same.
How strange. I wonder why we feel such a powerful need to clear the slate at such specific times of year? What’s the evolutionary imperative behind that one?!
Storage can be as dull as dust but it’s essential for making the most of your living space. Here are some cheap-as-chips ideas for cheap, cheerful and funky storage solutions.
Lovely old leather suitcases
For classic shabby chic glamour in any room, pick up lovely, battered leather suitcases from charity shops, boot fairs and antique emporia. The commonest are made from thick card with a faux leather finish, others have a leather skin. The real deal is usually more expensive although it’s reasonably easy to track down bargains. Old fabric-covered cases, in linen and cotton, made between 1900 and 1950-ish, are lovely too. Buy different sizes and stack them up for great-looking and practical storage for clothing, bedlinen and towels, summer clothing, shoes and so on.
Second hand filing cabinets
Take one metal filing cabinet. Paint it with water based eggshell paint and either distress it with scumble glaze or leave it as it is. Add new handles. If it’s a really old aluminium one, strip the paint off and polish it to a high sheen. I’ve seen them in junk shops for as little as £20 and they look amazing when they’re tarted up as well as being enormously useful for kitchen storage, paperwork or all those bits and bobs that don’t belong anywhere else.
Card and plastic storage boxes
Head for your local pound shop and see if they stock plastic or card storage boxes. You can paint and decorate the card ones, ‘wallpaper’ them with newsprint or images from magazines or leave them as they are. And the plastic ones are brilliant for kids’ rooms: colourful, stackable, cheap and sturdy. You can even colour code them to help your children get to grips with the fine art of tidiness!
Wine and fruit crates
Really old, worn wine and fruit crates can cost a bomb in retro and vintage shops. But the newer ones are very cheap, sometimes free from fruit markets and wholesalers. They’re wood so you can paint them, sand them, stain them or varnish them. Sew a simple lining for each crate if you like, in contrasting or toning colours, attaching it with a staple gun.
Indoor hanging baskets
Baskets are wood too, so you can paint and dye them. Or leave them as they are. Buy old baskets from charity shops and junk emporia or buy new. Suspend them from the ceiling with rough rope or chains, hanging them at different heights for a random look or at exactly the same height for a contemporary statement. Perfect in the kitchen for fruit, veg and utensils. Great in the bedroom for clothes, make-up, books and so on. You can also hang groups of different sized tin buckets, suspended by the handles.
Old ‘brown’ furniture
You can still pick up nice looking semi-antique ‘brown’ furniture in salerooms, auctions and house clearance places for next to nothing.
I use a large 1930s French chest of drawers, probably meant for a living room, to store my art and craft stuff in my little office. It has two roomy cupboards each side and four drawers in the middle. It cost me £30 and it’s a million times nicer than something from Ikea, with its heavily carved legs and carved Deco panels in the middle of each cupboard door.
I’ve painted mine but you can also sand brown furniture down if the wood’s good enough, ‘wallpaper’ it with gift wrap or just buff it to a wonderful high sheen with wax polish.
Try scanning Freecycle regularly and you might even pick up exciting storage stuff for nothing.
(Thanks to http://www.sxc.hu/profile/Capgros for the free image)