Tag Archives: storage

Boxed Up

Antique boxes from Tibet featuring hand painted tigers

Hand painted antique storage chests from Greentea Design

My partner is King of Clutter.  It can be so disheartening because while I don’t like a mess, the stuff can be hard to battle as it piles up and up and up.  But I am happy to say that I think I have finally won the heart and mind of the king vis-a-vis this crap,  and together we waged war against it, tackling the clutter pile by pile.  Several trips to Goodwill later, many hours at the shredder, this place is looking fresh!

Here’s how we did it:

The Closets

organized closet via Simplified BeeSuper organized closet via Simplified Bee

boxes in a closetImage via BHG

Clothes ClosetImage via I Heart Organizing

We started by cleaning out the closets which seems counter-intuitive.  But it’s a step I can’t recommend highly enough if you’re like us and stuff your closets with the stuff you rarely use.  We set a stale-date for the closet discoveries:  if it hasn’t been used (and in many cases even thought about) in a year, can we really make a case for keeping it?  So this is how we started the giveaway pile: toys, books, CDs, furniture, clothes, kitchen gadgets.

The next step was to get on with organizing the closets, which included putting up extra shelving so to best maximize space.

While this closet purging created waaaaay more chaos in the already chaotic apartment, it was necessary.  Not only do we have more storage space in the closets, it got us in the right Get-Rid-Of-It frame of mind, which is how you want the stage set. No namby-pamby sentimentality about that TTC transfer from that “special day”.

The Do-We-Need-It? Box

The next step, which we return to in a couple of weeks, was to go through the kitchen drawers, the “miscellaneous” drawers, the counter and renegade surface piles.  We filed what needed to filed, returned home the articles that had a designated space.  The rest we boxed and will return to in 4-6 weeks.  If in that time we don’t go in the box for it, then it gets tossed. Whatever we do use gets a permanent home.

Organizing The Rest With Pretty Boxes

It turns out that boxes are my best friend! (Or at least in the inanimate category.) Lidded ones and decorative ones especially.  They are beautiful and functional and hide the crazy so perfectly.  Greentea Design has the most amazing collection of antique storage boxes from all over Asia.  I’ve got one that sits prettily in a display nook, hiding of all things, tools, lightbulbs, tape and batteries (hey it’s out of reach of tiny curious hands, but still easy to access).

Here are some others in the showroom right now:

Tibetan fur chest

Tibetan chest adorned with fur

Antique Tibetan Box

Handpainted antique storage box

Tibetan Skin ChestChest from Tibet adorned with leather

We stocked up on boxes of various sizes from IKEA, office supply places, etc.  There seems to be no better time to find this stuff then during this Back-to-School season. Many of the things that were sitting out now have permanent homes in these boxes that are stored neatly on top of our bookcases, in closets, and the loveliest of them in plain sight.

It’s been a lot of work, but well worth it.  Home should be relaxing, the place to recharge, and your environment needs to reflect this.  And finally ours does.

How do you control clutter?

Storage Solutions for Every Room

staircase bookcasebookcase staircase via Apartment Therapy

Seeing as we are nearing the end of our steps and storage event here at the store I thought I would put together a little roundup of storage ideas for every room in the house. Is adequate storage something you struggle with in your home? I know around my house it’s in short supply and I am always thankful when I see a new organizational solution that I haven’t seen before. Hopefully these storage ideas will bring a little inspiration your way.

suspended storage for the hallwayimage via housetohome


If you have a large family trying to keep track of whose stuff goes where is a never ending battle. This hallway cubby idea gives each person in the house a spot for stashing keys, mail, homework or anything else. You could recreate this idea by painting letters on larger containers or cubbies if you need more storage.

kitchen island storageimage via Design Mom


Industrial touches in the kitchen always get my attention, and that is why I am digging this locker island. The deep stainless steel shelves are practical and easy to access. I imagine this would be an island that you could easily DIY.

bedroom built-insimage via Young House Love


Who would have thought romantic ambience and oodles of storage could go together so seamlessly? I am over the moon in love with these around-the-bed built-ins by Sherry and John of Young House Love. As usual, they provide step-by-step instructions on how to complete this project on their blog if you want to try recreating it in your home.

Playful clothes treeClothes Tree by Pkolino


If you have kids who are dress-up fanatics, or maybe just kids who need a little encouragement to pick their clothes up off the floor, then this clothes tree could be a welcome edition to your child’s bedroom or playroom. The tangerine orange colour and fun shape make this perfect for little ones.

Elm Burl Step Chest by Greentea DesignElm Burl Step Chest from Greentea Design

Living Room

One of these step chests really could go anywhere, but it would be especially useful for hiding media and odds and ends in the living room. The best thing about this piece of furniture is that it gives you plenty of room for displaying as well as storing.

Secret Spaces

I spent much of my childhood reading Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie mysteries, dreaming of living in a stately English manor filled with secret passageways hidden behind library shelves and fireplaces. That fantasy has given way to a slightly more practical aesthetic but I still yearn for a home with a few cool clandestine spaces.

Swing Door Bookcase(Photo: O Hello Friend)

Everyone wants to conceal their messy bedrooms from guests, so why not go all the way and really hide the bedroom? Replacing the door with a swinging bookcase is a win-win solution: the bedroom becomes a truly private oasis and the door provides a place to display that murder mystery collection.

Murphy Library via Dornob(Photo: Dornob)

I’ve seen Murphy beds before but never a Murphy library. This is a perfect way to create separate zones in a studio apartment without taking up valuable floor space.

Office in a closet(Photo: Apartment Therapy)

This closet-office is another (and super-cute) way to create a second “room” that can be hidden on a whim. However, I can’t imagine having an “extra” closet to devote to this project!

Bank Door Pantry(Photo: My Home Ideas: Cottage Living)

I love kitchens with open storage but am not enough of a neatnik to pull it off in my own home. The owners of this house used a door from an old bank safe to hide the pantry and create a cool, vintage vibe.

Trap Door Wine Cellar(Photo: The Kitchn)

Looking for even more kitchen space? Think down. This trap door covers an impressive wine cellar that is sure to make oenophiles drool, though I wouldn’t want to climb these stairs after indulging in a few glasses.

Staircase storage(Photo: The Kitchn)

In my small condo, staircases take up about a quarter of the square footage without providing much of a wow factor. But imagine if each one opened to reveal a secret hidey hole, like something out of a James Bond movie. And I would finally have a place to store my off-season clothing!

drawer stairs(Photo: Pinterest)

As to my childhood dream of secret passageways behind bookshelves, this is about as close as it gets in modern design: the owners of this Portland home hid their stairs between two elegantly curved bookcases, helping to focus the eye on their impressive library and not the utilitarian passageway inside.

hidden stairs(Photo: Ready Made)

I may never live in English manor but at least I know that a secret space isn’t completely out of the question in my future.

Posted in Design | Tagged ,

Hidden Gems: Furniture for Hiding

bright and airy living room with innovative storage

We have a small downtown apartment and a new baby. We are space challenged. We thought it would work itself out, that the solution would present itself naturally as we developed a rhythm with our new little one, or at the very least some deus ex machina event would swoop in and sweep out the mess. So far intuition, the baby, fate and God have been quiet with their small space revelations. So I’ve been busy seeking answers online.

Few people living in urban areas feel as though they have enough space. Minimalist design is as much a state of mind as it is a design aesthetic. Like my yoga practice, it’s a process. Today’s living spaces often serve a multitude of purposes, from home office to playroom to guest room in a single space. As much as we strive to de-clutter, to own only what we need, it seems increasingly that we need a lot to keep up with the daily grind’s demands. In this post, you’ll find ideas for multifunctional furniture that helps keep spaces neat and streamlined – having the junk that can’t be parted with at least hidden away. And you don’t even need a baby to make use of these.

Home office with a tansu step chest

Step Chests –Tansu to the Rescue

These multi-functional pieces offer fabulous storage, are great as room dividers and can be at home in many different decor concepts. Greentea Design Step Chests (pictured) are stunning custom made pieces constructed as three distinct units that can be reconfigured as your lifestyle demands (or when the mood strikes). This feature is key. As I searched organizational blogs I nearly drowned in advice for planning my small multi-purpose room. But life brings changes and we need to retrofit our current space. We aren’t going to toss everything and begin again. Rather we want to reuse current pieces and invest in a couple solid pieces that can be reinvented when our life takes another exciting turn.

Check out the cool 3D guide to step chests here: http://www.greenteadesign.com/step-chest-guide.html

Moving Up – Artful Shelving

Each step of these stairs continues on to become part of the side shelf

Anyone know who makes this? Drop us a line in the comments!

Whether it’s a full wall, floor to ceiling, or making the most of a wasted-space nook, shelving is a great solution for tucking away clutter and showcasing your library or special artifacts. There are many options – from floating shelves, custom built-ins, and even lots of out-of-the-box units at every price point, and all in your choice of wood, glass or metal. Here are some tips on how best to incorporate the right shelving in your space:

What’s the purpose for your shelving?

an entire wall of shelving

If you’re hiding clutter, you might want to opt for something with doors or drawers, that discreetly tucks away mess. This option is perfect for families that want to conceal toys, gaming systems, art supplies, etc. If you prefer a space to showcase your objets d’artyou’ll want to keep shelving uncluttered and let your pieces speak for themselves. When displaying unique items, you may consider a unit that includes lighting to give the space a gallery feel. Mixing and matching these techniques works too – just be mindful of the visual proportions.

Safety first

If your shelving will function as a multipurpose piece, say as your entertainment center and bookshelf, its essential that the unit be designed to support sufficient weight (this is not the time for press board!) Cords need to be safely tucked away from prying hands and paws.

Free-floating Shelves

Arty floating shelves

These offer so many configuration possibilities and are a great choice for use in what otherwise might be wasted space. Also ideal for use in very small spaces, floating shelves do just that, where a freestanding unit, like a bookshelf, would seem clunky. Free standing shelves can also add loads of visual interest to your space.

Under Bed Storage

Hidden drawer under bed

Again, there are many options – from the lowly plastic boxes, wicker baskets, or wooden crates that fit under standard frames, to unique pieces that incorporate storage into the design. The right sort of multifunctional bed might let you forgo a dresser or even better, stand in as a linen closet substitute, allowing that closet space to be used as extra storage. Just remember, when faced with drawers and cubbies, don’t just stuff them full. Spend some time planning out what goes where and ask yourself how often you’ll need access to each compartment. Keep each space organized for easy finding and tidying. Also for those out of the box units designed to slip under your standard frame, attaching some castors to the bottom will go along way to simplifying the finding and the tidying.

Decorative Room Dividers

Divider panels

Room dividers and folding screens are versatile pieces that will serve you well over time. Beautiful painted screens and handcrafted wood versions are art in their own right. Great for both large and small spaces, dividers and screens can help delineate a small space that serves multiple functions. They can separate your home office from your living space, help create a closet and dressing area in the bedroom, or hide a mess like laundry or home gym equipment. Wooden dividers can have a second life mounted in the window as an alternative to drapery. You’ll benefit from privacy as well as the glorious patterned lighting effect. Folding screens can also be mounted to the wall, giving you the drama of a mural.








Posted in Design | Tagged , ,