One solution to prevent clutter at home consistently is to ensure that you have a place for everything you choose to retain. I prioritised storage during renovation, and had grand visions of how we would be able to move our belongings in and place them in their right place. The reality of unpacking while living a life was unexpected. At times, all we did was to find a place, any place, for whatever we couldn’t put in the right place, just so we could move on.
Now that we’ve been living at our home for a while, I have a good idea of our specific storage requirements. I’ve finally mustered the courage to resolve our storage problems once and for all and here they are to share.
Storage space for toys and Working surfaces
New homes are small but toys do not care. They come in various shapes and sizes and desperately need a resting place so that Joy can find them easily and we get to see the floor on a regular basis. I used the IKEA TROFAST (93x21x30 cm) and IKEA TROFAST (94×52 cm) in Pine, plus a combination of the IKEA TROFAST Storage Box (42x30x23 cm), IKEA TROFAST Storage Box (42x30x10 cm) and IKEA TROFAST Storage Box (42x30x10 cm), all in white, to build the storage system in Joy’s playroom. It’s more than sufficient for us and in fact, that some of the boxes are still empty.
Each box in our IKEA TROFAST system hold items that can be categorised together. All the play pretend accessories in one box, all the board games / old school games in one box, all the LEGO in one box and, most importantly, all the random toys in one box, amongst others. The random box is most important box of all, because it holds all the toys that don’t belong or toys which we can’t find time to handle at the moment. If we find one piece of something and don’t have time (or the mood) to return it to its home, we leave it in the random box and know exactly where to find it when we need it.
The truth is I abhor soft toys and would choose not to have a single one at home if I could help it, but Joy loves all her babies. They reside in the IKEA CIRKUSTÄLT Children’s tent which Joy and I acknowledge as their home, so that she willingly returns them at the end of a day.
Our common rooms are not very big but I wanted to give Joy as much surface space to work on or play her toys with. The IKEA Trofast system is both our storage and our work surface. Joy can go to whichever box she wants and then have surface space to work on right there. All she needs to do is to pull out one of the boxes and sit comfortably on her IKEA MAMMUT Children’s stool in White. I picked the IKEA STICKAT Stool cover in yellow to go with the white stool and it brightens up the space so much!
My requirements for Joy’s wardrobe were very specific. It has to be of a comfortable height and configuration so that Joy can maintain it herself. We pick the IKEA STUVA Storage System as our storage solution.
I know that it is a very effective storage solution to fold t-shirts and have them kept standing up in drawers, but that would mean that Joy might not be able to manage it by herself. Our solution was to hang all T-shirts and dresses in child sized wardrobes (the IKEA STUVA Storage combination with doors 60x50x128 cm, used with IKEA STUVA GRUNDLIG Wire basket in white for the dresses and used with the IKEA STUVA GRUNDLIG Clothes rail in white, for the T-shirts and Tops) and only keep leggings, skirts, shorts, swimwear and underwear in drawers.
Joy retrieves her clothing by herself and mantain her drawers (the IKEA STUVA Storage combination with drawers 60x50x64 cm) by herself. I love the drawer system, because it doesn’t really matter if she messes it up, we still know where to find each type of clothing. When the mess exceeds Joy’s tolerance level, she sits down on the floor and folds her clothing.
This system is also great for us because Joy packs her own luggage when we travel. All I do is to look over what she has picked and let her know which items we need to add or remove. She’s really good at it, especially for short trips, and it gives her a boast of confidence when I praise her for packing independently.
Plastic bags & Shopping Bags
Plastic bags are the bane of my life. I don’t like them, but I can’t live without them because I use those I get from buying things to line my bins and pack waste. However, they get out of hand so quickly, I normally do not have the time to deal with it. Same goes for the recycle bags that I now receive pretty often from shopping and blog events.
My solution is the IKEA SKUBB Shoe box in white. I find that they are good when you have larger quantities of the same item to organise. Like plastic bags and tissue. They come in a pack of 4 and I only needed 3 to contain all of my plastic bags, plus have them sorted by size – Large, Medium and Small. When I need a large one, I’ll tell Joy and she doesn’t need to sieve through all our plastic bags to find the right size. All she needs to do is to go to the right shoe box (you can gauge size from the see through gauze) and retrieve what I need. You only need to open the shoe box at the corner to retrieve and the gauze prevents other plastic bags from falling out while we retrieve our bags. So much win.
Our recycle bags are folded and stored in the IKEA SOCKERBIT Box in white. I can see where each bag is at a glance and retrieving one of them no longer mean that I have to topple the rest.
Need for more drawers
Drawers are expensive. We had our carpenters build drawers where we absolutely needed them and I have to find solutions for other locations where it would be good to have drawers. Turns out, it’s pretty easy to solve – just get the IKEA SVIRA Box, set of 3 (Grey with white flowers). They have handles, which made them feel like drawers to me and we’re so lucky that an entire pack + one additional “drawer” from another pack fits into our built-in cabinet perfectly.
Dried Goods and Beverage Ingredients
I make Chinese soups and desserts regularly. That means I have a lot of dried goods to store. I have a pantry with a lot of storage space but the space is not so useful if you don’t use it wisely. It’s not easy to achieve my goal of being able to see everything at one glance, if you think about just how many different types of dried goods I would need to make soups and desserts. Fortunately, I found the IKEA TILLSLUTA Series of food containers.
The IKEA TILLSULTA containers have a transparent lid and if I arrange them standing up in the drawers, I really can see everything at one glance. Plus, these containers are so compact, they take up much less space than my previous storage options. I found that the most useful sizes for me are the IKEA TILLSLUTA Dry food jar with lid (23x15x6 cm) and the IKEA TILLSLUTA Dry food jar with lid (31x23x12 cm).
Coffee gives me a headache, so I’m an avid tea drinker. I like the aroma of teas and have about 6 varieties of tea at home, at any one time. The IKEA TILLSLUTA Dry food jar with lid (23x15x6 cm) are just the right size for my portions of tea as you can see. After the pineapple tarts and sun biscuits from our recent holiday are demolished, I will have so much space in my drawer.
My other problem is storage of spaghetti, soba, sugar and the two types of flour that I use. I prefer that they be kept in my wet kitchen, rather than the pantry but I only have 2 drawers in the wet kitchen for cooking condiments and stuff. The new IKEA KORKEN Jar with lid (2L) in clear glass are very useful, because they are tall enough to enable me to store up to 2 litres and see through at the top so I can see exactly what I have and how much I have.
The IKEA containers freed up space in my cabinet above my food drawer in the wet kitchen and I was able to move what I stored in my drawers there. Ta-dah! I can see where everything is at one glance!
It was really, really hard, but I’m glad I chose to face my trickiest storage problems. They’ve been solved with some really simple storage solutions and I hope you try them out too if you’re facing the same problems! May we spend less time searching for things and more time on the important stuff!
Disclosure: This post is part of a series of posts from my collaboration with IKEA Singapore. Some products used in this post as indicated are sponsored by IKEA but all ideas, creativity and experiences are my own.
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