From Iron to Soup

There is never enough storage in any home built before the 1990’s, especially when you take into account that women and men now have a room dedicated to all of their clothes. When homes began being built in New Britain, women only had a few dresses and men a few suits, so closets were very tiny.  When my house was built, there were only two very small closets in the bedroom. In 1967 when my parents bought the house, my mom had the foresight to put in two more closets. So, I have four closets in my bedroom—one for clothes—winter-jackets and some of my mother’s clothing I will use for art projects.  I use one for summer clothes, one for shoes and one for purses. Therefore, my closets are not filled to the brim, and have lots of space in them.  This is not usually the case.

Now, people need to know how to make more storage using the same square footage in their homes. “Where do I find storage space?”  Is one of the questions I receive most often from my clients.  One solution is to go up, using vertical space, if at all possible.  In your kitchen you might have cabinets right up to the ceiling, but in many homes there might be empty space above the kitchen cabinets. I hate the dust up there, but you can use this open storage for items you don’t use on a monthly basis. Think of having your Christmas and Thanksgiving platters up there, and baskets you don’t use. You could also put plants up there, but I would recommend the artificial variety – who wants to go up and down a ladder just to water your plants!

In my home I have a 1960’s kitchen with cabinets up to the ceiling for all of my cookware, glasses, mugs and pots and pans.  In the past I didn’t cook; and so I was set.  Now I am slowly teaching myself some good recipes.  When you don’t cook, you don’t know how to use spices, so you don’t need much space to store them.  I mean salt, pepper etc. are all good—but there are hundreds of spices to use when you cook—I still only use about ten.

Before with ironing board in cabinet.

Before with ironing board in cabinet.

This is the empty cabinet after I took the iron board out.

This is the empty cabinet after I took the ironing board out.

Now I’m one of those people who do laundry when I have the time to take my clothes out from the dryer when the bell chimes.  It’s one way that I get non-wrinkled clothes to wear.  I do not iron. With that in mind, I decided to overhaul my ironing cabinet.  Many older homes have a cabinet that specifically and only stores an ironing board. Why not turn this long narrow cabinet into a canned goods or spice closet? It’s easy to do! Here’s how I made the transformation.

Take the ironing board out of the closet and store it, in case, when you sell your home, the new homeowners want the space for an ironing board.  Then go to a home improvement store and buy one 8 ft. 2×4 and one 8 ft. trim piece, quarter round.  Measure and cut the boards for each shelf.  It’s much easier to paint them before you cut them. I went an even easier route and let them be

With the door closed so no one is the wiser...

With the door closed so no one is the wiser…

After, with all of my canned goods and spices.

After, with all of my canned goods and spices.

natural.  The inside of the cabinet was not painted either…so it really didn’t matter.

After you have put in the shelves, fill them up and enjoy your new found space!