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One of the by-products of our consumer-based society is that we all accumulate “stuff,” from sports equipment and garden tools to holiday decorations, craft and hobby gear, and clothing we seldom wear. Some of us gather so much stuff that it commandeers our closets, attics and garages and then overflows to outdoor sheds and rented storage units. Over time, we become increasingly disorganized, stressed and inconvenienced.
Remodeling contractors, along with design professionals and product manufacturers, recognize that homeowners are looking for some relief to their storage woes. To that end, a variety of products and organizational ideas have developed for every nook and cranny of the house to add capacity and organization.
The most popular trend in storage is the use of adjustable modular systems that can be configured to accommodate changing storage needs. In any storage setting, from a garage to a walk-in master suite closet, these systems employ a simple backbone of tracks or channels on which a wide variety of components attach.
In a clothes closet, for example, the system includes open shelves, door and drawer cabinets, tilted shoe and sweater racks, hanger rods, hooks, and laundry hampers. These parts can be assembled and arranged according to a homeowner’s particular needs. As those needs change — as children grow older, for example — the pieces can be moved, replaced, or supplemented.
Modular storage systems for the garage are often constructed from heavier materials in order to carry extra weight. In addition to wall-hung cabinets, shelving, hooks, and other handy components, garage storage systems feature cabinets and work surfaces with lock-in-place castors. Owners can roll those elements out into the open, or even to the outside, for larger projects and safer access.
These storage systems typically suspend the wall-hung components above the floor, making it much easier to vacuum the carpet or sweep out the garage. A clear space underneath also reduces the perception (or reality) of clutter. In addition, many closet and garage storage components come with light fixtures and electrical outlet strips to provide both general and task lighting, further enhancing the flexibility and value of the system and parts.
In the kitchen and laundry room, cabinet and appliance manufacturers offer numerous options to increase storage capacity and organization. In addition to handy drop-down drawers and roll-out shelves, many cabinet companies provide in-drawer organizers, dedicated trash and recycling bins, and adjustable shelving to suit a variety of needs. In the laundry room, pedestal drawers provide extra storage while raising the height of the washer and dryer, making them easier to use as well.
Modern storage systems are, of course, perfectly suited to home remodeling. Making better use of existing space is more cost-efficient than adding square footage to the house or tacking on an extra garage bay. The design and selection of storage components is more precise and affordable in a remodeling project. The backbone elements rarely require additional structural support or electrical services. In most cases, they simply attach to the home’s existing structural members to create a matrix for whichever storage pieces a homeowner requires.
Today’s modular storage systems are available in a wide variety of styles and prices, from luxurious, all-wood components that enhance any master suite to ventilated coated wire sections that make sense for kids rooms and utility areas. Even if there is enough land and budget to add square footage to an existing house, it only makes sense to make every inch — in old rooms as well as new — as space-efficient as possible.
Todd Allen Miller, AIA
QMA Design+Build, LLC
5000 Boardwalk, Suite 2
Ventnor, NJ 08406
NJ New Home Builder License #037561
NJ Home Improvement Contractor #13VH01107300
(609) 822-4949 – phone
(609) 822-4429 – fax
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