Last week I wrote about utilizing the space under the guest bed for storing items used when you have guests. An alternative idea is to use a dresser (if you have one in the room) to hold the things needed to prepare the room, and as you empty it, you are creating space for your guests to store their personal articles.
Many people don’t have a dedicated guest room. If you have an office that doubles as a guest room that still has a traditional bed in it, I have some ideas for under-bed storage for you today.
Extra stationery, business forms, and office supplies can go under the bed.
One option is to make use of short plastic containers.
Another option is to attach furniture glides to the bottom of an unused shelf and set your items on the shelf. It will easily slide out from under the bed – even on carpet – so you can make use of the space under the middle of the bed without having to crawl under there. An added touch would be to put a drawer pull on the edge of the shelf so you have an easy handle for pulling the shelf out or pushing it back under the bed.
You can use the board-on-furniture-glide idea to store infrequently-used files, resource materials, or even low-profile printers, scanners, or other electronic devices. You can also add small plastic baskets to hold extra pens, pencils, highlighters, paper clips… you get the idea.
It’s like having an extra shelf that tucks away under the bed.
Easy access to even the far reaches of your under-bed space can actually save you money. With adequate storage space, you can take advantage of sales or buy in bulk for those items you regularly use.
When company comes and needs to use your office for a bedroom, all the office supplies and equipment slide under the bed to make the room feel more like home.
All the convenience of a well-stocked office, without the clutter!
We all know children who are convinced a monster lives under the bed. Monsters are definitely unwelcome guests! What if we commandeer the monster’s living quarters to make space for welcome guests?
In a child’s room, it’s awfully handy to have an extra mattress slipped under the bed for sleepovers (where you anticipate actual sleep going on – lol). There is usually enough room, depending upon the height of the bed, for extra sheets and towels to sit on top of the mattress, too. When you need to make the bed for company, all the supplies are together. Unless you use them a lot, I would suggest you do like we do with out-of-season bedding, and wrap the extra sheets/towels in an old pillowcase to protect them from dust.
Sorry monster, there’s no more room for you! Under this bed is space for welcome guests.
In a parent’s room, an extra mattress can be nice, too. For one thing, it’s a space where kids can sleep when they are sick that doesn’t involve elbows in your ribs. It can also be hauled out and taken to another room for overnight guests to have a comfortable space to sleep in a kid’s room or other room with a little more privacy. If you have a queen- or king-size bed, a twin mattress can easily fit beneath it, with room to store other items as well (like suitcases and out-of-season bedding).
If you have a guest room, a mattress under the bed is usually a welcome addition, too. Sometimes when a family travels, little ones prefer to stay close to the parents instead of mixing in with the other kids in the house. Or, if you welcome a steady stream of college students, an extra mattress won’t go unused!
Other things we like to store under the queen-size guest bed in our house include:
An extra porta-crib, with it’s sheets.
A plastic bin full of the sheets and blankets to make up the guest bed. We also keep a small bag of chocolates in this bin so we can leave a “kiss” on the pillow when we make the bed.
A plastic bin with extra towels, travel sized toiletries (we collect these from hotels when we travel), disposable razors, inexpensive combs, tissues, a spare hair dryer, etc.
A plastic bin with air mattresses, pumps, and the sheets that fit the air mattresses.
A plastic bin of extra quilts, blankets, and pillows.
Oh – and if you don’t use these items a whole lot, it doesn’t hurt to put a cedar block or a bar of soap in the bin with linens to keep them smelling nice and fresh. You can always pull out the soap for the guest bathroom when you are getting the room ready for guests.
Spring really is coming (Friday!!!) – and at our house that means quilts and comforters come off the beds. With nine beds, I’m sure you can imagine the pile of out-of-season bedding gets a bit large. Our storage cupboards and closets are already bursting at the seams!
Once again I look under the beds for quick and easy storage for out-of-season bedding.
We wash and dry each of the blankets/quilts/comforters we want to store. Maybe it’s just a throw back to pioneer days and spring cleaning, but it feels good to get them all washed!
Once they are completely dry, we fold up quilts and blankets by person and stash them in a pillowcase. Each person has their own pillowcase (or pillowcases) of bedding.
Since my husband and I share a king bed, we actually have room under our bed for all the bedding packages AND the suitcases we talked about last week. And that is exactly where we put it – under the bed. (And our bed still has room for more!)
Another option, if you don’t have room under the bed in the master bedroom for everyone, is to put the bedding packets under each person’s bed. That keeps them handy for when they are needed. It also takes up space under the bed that might otherwise be used for dirty clothes, toys, and all the little scraps of paper kids collect. 🙂
Come fall weather and cooler temperatures, as individuals decide they are ready for their warm bed things, we can pull out individual pillowcases. Everything is fresh and clean and ready to use – and the pillow cases, which have collected all the dust, are easy to wash. They are environmentally friendly, too. (No plastic bags to discard!)
When the bedding goes out, you just found room to store something else for the winter!
Last week I promised to start talking about what we can *legitimately* stash under our beds.
Today I’d like to talk about how to store travel supplies.
I don’t know about you, but when I travel I often need to pack, which means I need a suitcase (or nine, if the whole family is going…). So where do I keep all those suitcases? You guessed it, under my bed.
OK, so there’s nothing blatantly genius about keeping suitcases under the bed, BUT I don’t store the suitcases empty.
See, when you travel with kids – or if they head out to a sleep-over or week at camp – they often need sleeping bags. Suitcases are a great place to store sleeping bags and under the bed is a great place to store suitcases.
This is starting to sound like that song, “there’s a fly on the leaf on the limb on the bump on the log in the middle of the sea…”
When you start thinking about the things you need when you travel, you’ll find a great way to make use of the space inside the suitcase you plan to store under the bed.
May I suggest:
- A sleeping bag.
- An old pillow case or laundry bag for dirty clothes in each suitcase.
- Toiletry bag (with travel toiletries restocked after each trip to make packing easier!).
- Your carry on bag/laptop bag/backpack – whatever way you carry the little things on your trip.
- That item you need to return the next time you head to your parent’s house.
- Extra charging cords for your phone or other devices (you’ll thank me when you get to your destination and have one handy).
- Anything else you frequently use when you travel.
When you are ready to pack, everything you need is handy and together. Anything you don’t need for a particular trip can stash back under the bed while you are gone.
Do you remember when you were a kid and your parents asked you to clean your room… how you quickly stuffed everything in the closet and under your bed and then ran off to play?
Do you remember what happened when your mom looked under your bed? Do you remember the guilt and shame of getting caught?
Maybe I’m the only one who obeyed the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law when it came to “cleaning” my room, but somehow I doubt it.
The thing is, for a long time living with the memory of having cheated by stuffing things under the bed kept me from recognizing the under-bed space as a legitimate storage space.
If you are still stuffing things under the bed to get them out of the way… if you still carry a negative weight when you put something else under the bed… let me liberate you today.
ANY area of dead space is a great candidate for storage – even the space under the bed.
But it feels a little more legitimate if you intentionally plan how to use the space. There are those who use their under bed space for things like table leaves, gift wrap, out of season clothes, and shoes. There are people who still hide their money under the mattress, too.
And yet, there are so many more interesting options.
Lets take a few weeks to explore them together. While we are at it, we can teach our kids how to clean their rooms by making effective use of the space under the bed, rather “cheating” by jamming things under there!
So there are likely any number of things in your closet spilling out of bins, refusing to hang on hangers, and falling off of shelves. Some things simply don’t lend themselves to typical storage methods, and when we try to stick with “closet organizers” we end up with a mess. Or, we have to give up precious hanging or shelf space for a bulky solution which simultaneously decreases our existing storage for things that could go on a shelf or hanging rod.
These are situations when I like to explore storage options intended for other spaces. Maybe it’s time to break out of your box.
I use an office drawer organizer to hold small items on a closet shelf – change and small items I’ve collected through the day go in one spot as I undress at night, with a standing commitment to deal with the items the next morning when I am not tired and ready for bed. I have a bottle of lotion in there, small jewelry that doesn’t hang on the hooks on the wall, a list of combinations for outfits, in case I can’t decide what to wear…., a spot to keep the medical tape I need for my knee when I run. Since we have wire shelves, little things would fall right through, if I didn’t have something there, and the low edges keep small items from rolling off the edge.
I have a multi-use hanger from Ikea (KOMPLEMENT $7.99) which contains my growing scarf collection and belts.
I use office bins with labels to hold my clean pjs, slips & hose, “unmentionables,” socks, and running clothes.
We upcycled a popcorn bin as a trashcan in the closet (you wouldn’t believe how handy it is to have a trash can in the closet!).
I use a paint liner tray to keep sweaters from getting snagged on the wire shelves.
The point is, you don’t have to limit yourself to closet organization products to organize your closet.
Go to the hardware store and look at tool organizers if you need something for small accessories.
Head to the office supply store to see what options might work for containing stacked shirts or piles of athletic shorts (they can be slippery sometimes and refuse to stay in a neat pile!).
Go to a kitchen store to check out utensil bins, silverware trays, even tea storage chests, all of which make great potential storage for closet items.
Craft stores have a great selection of decorative knobs which work well as hooks that don’t leave a little dimple in items hung over them without a loop.
You never know what you’ll find!
Canvas lined fruit baskets make great containers for delicates.
Old pillow cases are great dust covers for out of season shoes and boots. You can even store clothes in them, on upper shelves, if you keep your out-of-season clothes in the closet.
Robe hooks mounted under a shelf are great for holding purses.
A file box on wheels could slide under a low shelf to contain winter scarves and gloves.
Really, the options are endless, just break out of the closet-organization aisle and get creative! (Likewise, closet organization products can work wonders in a pantry – think shoe bag + pasta bags OR hanging shelves + paper products. Don’t worry, we’ll get into the kitchen and pantry soon!)