What is the best storage system for a small apartment?
I recently got a roommate, and had to move a bunch of stuff I once kept in a spare bedroom into my main bedroom. Now I have stuff overload. I've sold/gotten rid of what I can, but there is still a bunch of seasonal stuff that I need to keep around (winter/summer clothes, boots, inflatable bed, camera gear, etc...). I am looking for a relatively affordable (I'm willing to spend a bit more for quality) storage system that works. Any ideas?
In the past I've used plastic bins, but they all seem to crack over time. Also, I'd prefer to use vertical as well as horizontal space if possible, and this brings up the question of access when stacked. Finally, I'm probably going to be moving in the next year, and I would ideally like something that can be easily transported/moved.
Has anybody implemented a system that they really love?0
Believe it or not, I use real milk crates that I've purchased legally over the internet directly from a manufacturer (source available upon request, oh and they're only 'illegal' when stolen, there's no law prohibiting you from purchasing them). They're about $10 each when bought in quantities of 6 (this includes shipping), but the manufacturer has stated there's a discount when purchasing in full pallet loads. (They can also hot-stamp them for an extra fee).
The crates themselves are black, and I can stack a maximum of 9 floor-to-ceiling (though I'm not that tall, and stop around 6). I use masking tape and a sharpie for labels. The crate floor is sturdy enough to handle a lot of weight (I've stacked them full of canned soup with minimal sag), and they're small enough that they can be lifted and moved, even when full, with little effort. Small items that might slip through the holes are packed inside ziplocks or other small bags.
For larger items (such as my backpacking tents/poles, backpacks, etc) that can still reasonably fit within boxes/totes, I use the larger 18-gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck totes, which can also be stacked pretty tall and remain sturdy. These can be bought from nearly any large retailer for about $9 each. One wall of one room is also fitted with wooden storage shelves from ikea in combination with these roughneck totes, for larger items that I need frequent access to.
For even larger items, such as long guns, some longer tools, etc, I custom build sturdy wooden crates with matching dimensions to the milk crates. These are built with an eye for portability, durability, and compatibility. In fact, the "long gun crate" sits on its side in a closet with milk crates stacked on top of it (the front panel is hinged and is still fully accessible). The wooden crates I build average out to about $6 per cubic foot.
Anyways, this is my system. I love milk crates because they're super sturdy, fully stackable, and super portable. They also last forever (but can crack and break if struck with hard objects in cold temperatures).
As an alternative to the milk crates mentioned here, what about the Samla boxes sold by Ikea? They're see-through, reasonably priced, stackable, come in a variety of sizes, and can be tightly closed with a lid and clip-locks. We store all our stuff in them, including things like photo albums, to prevent critters from getting to it.
You can't access the boxes when they're stacked though, but in spite of that we absolutely love them.
Oh, and while I don't know about the really long term, we've had a few of these for several years now, and they remain sturdy and not prone to cracking.
Every room in my house has at least one open book-case which is used for storing assorted boxes of stuff, beds have plastic cases stored under, and the spare room now has an amazing corner consisting of four cardboard banana trays stacked on a wooden tea-trolley, large enough to store A2 papers safely. Costs were minimal, everything's transportable and a throw covers trolley neatly when visitors stay.
I've had good luck with wire shelving units over the years - i bought a wide variety of pieces, and whenever I move I end up re-configuring them somehow to suit the space. The big casters look good and allow you to store things two or three units deep if you're so inclined. They break down for moving or work well for stacking stuff in a moving van.
I've not used this retailer, but it looks like they have a wide variety of the stuff. http://www.theshelvingstore.com/Chrome_Wire_Shelving_s/934.htm
My sister-in-law solves this problem in a stylish way: she buys old luggage and stacks it right in the room. It'll never travel, but it's actually really excellent storage for seasonal clothing, right out in the open.
For sports equipment or other seasonal items, you still can't beat foot lockers. They are huge boxes with metal corners, never really been functionally replaced by plastic bins.
Does anybody know of anything a little classier than milk crates and wire shelving? I've been out of college for a long time now.
Ikea Expedit shelving. Not typical shelves, though as it provides an array of cubical spaces. It looks good, each section is roughly a cubic foot in shape and size (there can be some variation. It's inexpensive (probably less per unit space as milk cartons) and it comes in a lot of variations. You can fill your whole wall or use as a room divider. They have inserts, sized boxes and baskets that provide privacy and stylishness. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/search/?query=expedit&search_button.x=0&search_button.y=0
The boxs for 5 liter "bag-in-box" wine make excellent storage containers. Remove the empty bag and cut off the side of the box with the spout. The box is substantial, will fit nicely on a book shelf, in a milk carton, or in a file cabinet drawer. The height can be cut down to fit in a shorter drawer. Several boxes attached together are stable enough to serve as a car seat filing system.
I prefer IKEA they have lots of furniture that you can assemble yourself and its pretty cheap and modular.
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