Have you run out of storage space in your bedroom? Does everything stored under your bed get covered in dust and forgotten about? In today’s post of Ask An Expert, Alison from the U.K. has written to me about getting under her bed organized. I am going to give you all the tips and insights on making the most of under bed storage in just a few easy steps!
PROBLEM: HOW DO I MAKE THE MOST OF THE STORAGE SPACE UNDER MY BED?
Under my bed is full of boxes etc. and I’d love to ‘free’ the space.
From Alison in London, U.K.
How wonderful to hear from you, and of course, I would love to help you. Thank you for sending me photographs and answering the questions I sent you. This all helps me get a clearer picture of your needs and the best path forward on our journey. Based on the answers you sent me, we can determine the following:
- Under your bed is a mixture of memorabilia, craft supplies, technology, reading materials, and music.
- You don’t like the messiness of everything under the bed.
- You would like to have less there.
- You rarely access what is under the bed.
- You are a Nester (I’ll get to this later, but it is one of my Organizational Personality Types©)
Using the space under the bed provides additional options for storage. It is one of the least utilized storage spaces in the bedroom. Having said that, it can also be one of the worst storage areas to maintain. It’s not just that dust bunnies love breeding there; it is hard to reach and access, it is hard to see what is under there, and… well, because it is out of sight…. You can forget about what is under there.
Step 1: WHAT TO STORE UNDER THE BED
Generally, you want to keep less frequently used items under the bed:
- Shoes (special occasion, seasonal)
- Extra pillows and blankets
- Clean extra linens
- Hobby and craft items
- Gift wrap
However, we need to determine what you want to store under your bed. Once you know what you want under the bed, you can then start planning your storage solutions accordingly. Alison, there are two things under your bed that you use more than the others, and they are some of your books and your power cables. Everything else falls under “rarely used items”. If you take a closer look at what these rarely used items represent to you, rather than simply what they are, you will see that quite a number of these items have sentimental connections.
The point here is that quite likely, you put these items under your bed because you weren’t ready to let them go. Putting them under the bed means that you can forget about them (unintentionally, of course). They don’t actually have a purpose being under your bed. If they were put elsewhere in a more obvious storage area, then you would have to continually think about them and what you need to “do” with them. Under the bed, they are “out of sight, out of mind”.
So first off, you are going to take everything out from under the bed. The purpose of this is to review what is there, categorize it appropriately, and either store it back under the bed or purge it.
Step 2: SORT AND SEPARATE
This step is not about organizing your supplies; it is about taking a full inventory of what you have and need. Doing this first means that we can begin the process of then working out what size and style of storage solutions will work.
I am going to have you create some categories to divide up what’s under the bed.
Memorabilia: These are items you want to keep as they have sentimental meaning to you but are not used or accessed often or ever. They are being stored (and not displayed) indefinitely.
Cords/charging equipment: Put all your chargers, extension cords, cables together and assess which ones you use, if you need a longer cable for any of them, or if you have enough room on the extension cord for all your needs.
Clothes: You have a few items of your own clothing and some children’s clothes. If the children’s clothes are not used and are there for memories sake, then add them to Memorabilia.
Crafting supplies: You have a small bin with some crocheting supplies. Do you need to corral other craft projects you are working on (that are elsewhere in your home) and put them all together?
Current: Reading material you are working through, notebook, stationary. Anything that you might refer to when you are sitting in bed.
Now that you have everything out and sorted into categories, you can better determine what you can purge. Before you make any decisions, we are going to take a moment to discuss your(OPT©). I created this system because I wanted to help people understand why they have the kinds of clutter they do and through that avenue of discovery to help them how to find organizational solutions that truly “fit” them and stick.
Step 3: YOUR OPT© IS THE NESTER
I can tell from the photos you sent me that you are aNester’s like to personalize their homes and work environments. You will know more about the personal life of a Nester than any other OPT©. If there is a surface, there is something personal, pretty, or inspirational on it. In their homes, you will find lots of family photos, keepsakes, and memories.
The reason Nesters “humanize” their environments is because they relate emotionally to what they do. Having their family around them as they work helps them focus. Being able to gaze on a loved one’s face also acts as a reminder for them as to why they work as hard as they do. The photographs and things that collect around a Nester ground them, motivate them, and help them focus.
With you, Alison, you have Photographs, music, children’s clothes, and books that all, to varying degrees, fall under the category of memorabilia. As a Nester, you need to be careful how much you keep for memories sake. As you sort and separate everything under the bed, put on your best Marie Kondo voice and ask yourself whether the item sparks joy. If it doesn’t, then perhaps it is time to let the item go.
Photographs, Music, & Books: They are all a cherished, tangible connection to memories and previous generations. I still have a huge album of my CDs. I never ever go near it. Actually, even if I wanted to, my technology no longer has a CD drive. But I keep them. They have followed me through my life. Music is important to me, and as I have the room for my music collection, I choose to keep it. I mention this because your music, photographs, and books might have strong connections for you, and if you have the room, which you do under your bed, then keep them. Just be clear why you are keeping them so that they can be categorized and stored appropriately.
Photographs and books should be stored in a climate-controlled area of your home that is not too hot, cold, or humid. Under your bed is actually a very good place for them you will be glad to hear.
That isn’t to say you shouldn’t store anything else under there. Storage is storage, and if you need the space, under your bed can be excellent. In your case, you are using the space for long-term storage so, just be aware of that and really think about what you want to keep indefinitely. Regardless of what you store under your bed, how you store it and what you store it in will be the marker for how effective and maintainable it is.
Step 4. LET’S GET YOU ORGANIZED!
Now that you have established what you want to keep under the bed and grouped things by category, all you need do now is consider your options for what to store things in.
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If you want even more storage space, you can elevate your bed several inches off the floor with risers. Bed risers have come a long way from being those bulky and awkward-looking blocks that stand out (in all the wrong ways!). Today, they are available in many different colours and finishes so that they can blend right in with the legs of the bed, and you will barely notice them.
The standard height under most beds varies from 18cm to 30.50cm. While there is a large selection of under bed storage ideas that take this differential into consideration, raising your bed frame could potentially double your vertical space without infringing on your square footage.
I am suggesting something like this for any items that are not for long-term storage, like some books and your extension cord and all that’s plugged into it. One of the frustrating aspects of plugging in things under the bed (which EVERYONE does) is when you want to swap one plug out – it’s just awful. This shelf rolls out very easily. It is kind of like an invisible bedside table.
If the roll-out wire shelf is not the answer for you, then cable management boxes are a great solution. I use them in my bedroom, office, and living room, and they are fantastic, particularly now that we have a young dog who just loves to chew on anything and has a specific penchant for cables! These boxes come in different sizes and styles, so consider how long you will need the box to be and whether you will need to plug a mobile phone in there too.
Under-bed Storage with Wheels
Choose attractive containers, baskets, or boxes that reflect your style and your bedroom’s overall design. If you decide to opt for boxes or drawers, either look for models that come with wheels or install wheels on them yourself. A specially designed under-bed wheeled box keeps belongings out of sight but is easy to roll out when you need something.
You should also consider (which I note you already have) boxes that can seal with zips or lids to prevent dust from getting in.
I am going to suggest that you amalgamate everything that is being kept for memories and keepsakes into one large under bed wheeled container. The one I have suggested here can be divided up inside as suits you. So, you can store photos, music, clothes together but separately.
Vacuum Storage Bags
Vacuum storage bags are a great way to maximize storage space underneath the bed. They are great for blankets, winter jackets, and bulky items. The air is removed from the bags to make them smaller, occupying less space and getting large items out of the way. They are also resistant to mould and mildew.
If the clothes under your bed are out of season clothing, I suggest you invest in some vacuum bags. You can place them in an under bed storage container so that they are kept neatly together and easy to wheel out.
And that’s it, Alison. I hope I have helped. It is always a lot easier when it’s face to face, and I am there with you. I think some of the suggestions here will be helpful. Do reach out to me if you need further clarification or suggestions.
I have also created a Pinterest Board for more bedroom organizing ideas… so check it out. You might also like some of my other posts on getting organized:
Free Professional Organizing Advice for you!
We could all use something to look forward to right now. I want to do something that will add value to your life to help you during these confusing and challenging times of lockdowns and working from home. When you are organized there is less chaos, less overwhelm. An organized home and work environment can bring you a sense of calm, ground you, and help you feel more in control. It is one of the things that we can influence and control despite what’s happening in other areas of our lives or communities.
I am offering a “mini organizing consult” for free,with your co-workers, family, or friends. Let everyone know because I want to give back and help you. Now is when people really need it.
All you need to do is complete this, attach a photo of 1 area in your home or office that you need organizing help with. Every month I am going to choose at least one person to work with. Here are a couple of readers I have helped already:
- How to organize a home business stockroom for peak efficiency
- How to organize my students planning notes and supplies while teaching online