© 1999 Michael S. Hyatt
As you begin stockpiling items in preparation for Y2K, one of the first questions you must answer is, "Where do I put all of this stuff?" This is particularly an issue when it comes to bulky items like food and water.
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Let's assume that you have already "de-junked," reclaiming usable space in closets and cupboards. However, sooner or later, these spaces are going to be full. Now what?
Let me suggest seven storage spaces that you may not have thought of:
- Under the bed. If your house is anything like mine, these spaces are already taken. A quick inventory revealed Christmas wrapping paper, missing books, toys, and the usual junk that, for whatever reason, got shoved into these spaces when the kids were "cleaning." OK, clean 'em out and turn them into extra Y2K storage spaces. These are particularly good for canned goods, dried pasta, etc. If you want to get fancy, you can buy some rectangular plastic containers, fill them up, and slide them under the bed.
- Under furniture. This doesn't offer a lot of space, but it's something. You can fit smaller, soup-size cans under a sofa. If there's not enough room to stand them upright, you can lay them on their side. End tables often have a large space under them where you can stack various items, too.
- On top of shelves. I'm not talking about the shelves themselves -- if yours are like mine, they are already full. But often on the top of bookcases or even kitchen cabinets there is a flat surface that provides a good deal of storage space. Even a refrigerator top can be used. This doesn't have to look tacky. In fact, many restaurants store items on these kinds of spaces as part of the decor (e.g., Macaroni Grill, Cracker Barrel, J. Alexander's, etc.).
- Crawl spaces and "cubby holes." If you don't have a basement, you may still have several spaces that often go unused. In our home, we don't have a basement, but we do have a crawl space under the house. It's about three feet high and difficult to get to, but it's a good source of extra space. (It's also cool and dark, both of which are helpful when you are storing food or water.) In our upstairs recreation room (a.k.a. "wreck room"), we have three large "cubby holes" that are simply the dead space between the exterior and interior walls. These are excellent storage spaces but are also subject to temperature extremes, so be careful what you store there.
- Return air vents. This may not be a usable space, but it's worth checking into. Obviously, you don't want to block the flow of air. But for small items -- especially valuables -- this can be a good choice. It's usually one of the last places thieves will look. Studies show that they will check your dresser drawers, deep freeze, and even closets. But they want to be in and out in ten minutes. As a result, they will not take time to check things like air vents. (False floors and walls are other options, but this will have to wait for another article.)
- Partition off part of a room. You can buy a folding screen and create a partition in the corner of a room. These are generally inexpensive and will allow you to store a number of items in an organized way that is out of view.
- Use a bathtub or shower. OK, admittedly this is a bit radical. However, if you have more than one bathroom and are desperate for storage space, you can convert a bathtub or shower to dry storage. It has the advantage of being out of the way and hidden from view. (If you use a bathtub, you can pull a shower curtain closed.) This will likely create an inconvenience, but it's better than nothing.
Hopefully, this list will get you started. If there are storage spaces I have overlooked, please bring them to my attention storage spaces, and I will add them to the list.