Storage planning

From weights and exercise equipment through to board games and computer gear, we all have piles of gizmos. But where to store them all?

ARTICLE Duncan Stuart

I think it’s called the Ab-Flex. Or the Twist’N’Burn Abserciser. Or is it the WorkOut Pro All-In-One Gym Machine? It doesn’t matter. Almost every home in Australia has one of these miracle gizmos. They’re promoted to us 90 percent of adults who are challenged in the willpower department. And they get us not with subtlety but with blatant TV commercials that feature Lara Croft in a skimpy singlet.
Apparently she and her co-hunk got this way with just five minutes a day of the amazing Twist’N’Burn exercise that works-out all the major muscle groups. One sight of Lara’s abs and we’re dialing 0800 FAT BURN NOW like panting puppies.
Why I’m thinking about these machines is that I’ve just come back from an evening walk around my suburb. I’ll be honest; I’m walking for two reasons.
One, I could do with a spot of exercise myself. But the main reason is that I’ve been touring the neighbourhood to pick up home-improvement ideas.
I’m like Google’s Street Cam. There, in the apartment up the road, can you see them? Through the venetians on the second level. You see them now? Brand new LED light fittings. Nice! Further up the road, ah yes, the lounge has finally been painted. Interesting colour!
But tonight I’ve walked past not one, not two but three open garages. And what a mess they’re in. It must be spring cleaning season.
All three garages are piled high with boxes and drying racks, and house cleaning brushes and used computer gear and there, see them?
There in the cluttered corner, tangled up with the broken shoe racks: the dreaded Twist’N’Burn. Even in this age of TradeMe our garages become a graveyard for unused, unloved objects.
Or are they unused because they’re lost in the Bermuda Triangle they call our garage? There you are, wondering, as you tip the bathroom scales to a new high: “How about a few minutes on the Twist’N’Burn?” But what’s the point when it’s going to take half an hour to even find the damned thing?
Which brings me to my main point. Storage. Homes are universally useless when it comes to storage. You go to a friend’s house and the entire lounge has become an open-plan container for soft toys, old magazines and stray Lego. The sofa serves as shelving for more toys. And crayons. “Make yourself at home,” your host gamely tells you as she clears a spot to put your feet.
I tell you, if you’re planning a new house or some house extensions, start with this question: where will everything go? Look around at all your stuff and either plan to biff it, or store it.
Scandinavian homes devote around 20 per cent of their floor space to storage. In New Zealand you’re lucky to find a home with a dedicated cupboard for the vacuum cleaner.
My partner had lived for 12 months in Finland and came away mighty impressed with their house designs.
So our plans included four must haves:
- A walk-in wardrobe for our bedroom.
- A small home office so we can file and store all the paperwork we need these days – those bank statements and tax forms.
- We surveyed our collections of photos, of DVDs and CD’s (and vinyl) and we built a wall unit about the size of the SS Lusitania to actually store all these media.
- We even built a kind of walk-in wardrobe for ‘random stuff’ like Christmas decorations, household tools and the Monopoly set.
I’m particularly proud of that last one. It is brilliant because you can walk in and retrieve things without causing a mudslide of bric a brac. The result of our storage fixation has been, frankly, a lifestyle improvement. For the first time in my life I know where the screwdriver is when I need it.
When you open our front door you are not greeted by my motley collection of shoes. The lounge looks like a room you could actually live in. Guests remark on how uncluttered, clean and simple our house feels. So come now on the grand tour! That door to the left of the entrance? Oh that’s the internal garage. You really needn’t look there…
But too late. I’ve been sprung. My garage is filled with boxes and old shoe racks and there, snarled up with the hedge trimmer. Can you see it? The Twist’N’Burn. Near new. Scarcely used.
You can never have enough storage. But get some willpower too, mate. Get the willpower to have a good biff-out.

You might be interested in reading: Clever storage tricks to declutter your home.

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This column by Duncan Stuart featured on page 119 of Issue 011 of Renovate Magazine. Renovate Magazine is an easy to use resource providing fresh inspiration and motivation at every turn of the page.


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*All information is believed to be true at time of publishing and is subject to change.

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