I get asked a lot of questions about optimizing storage in your home. This blog post part of a series about great storage solutions in your home. It is important to keep in mind that you should never purchase new items until you are completely done decluttering. And, in general, most of my clients don't *need* additional storage after they go through the decluttering process. However, if you happen to have the opportunity to purchase new furniture for a specific space it is a good idea to keep in mind maximizing storage with the pieces of furniture you choose.
We recently moved our two daughters out of the master bedroom that they shared and into their own bedrooms. Unfortunately when we moved the girls into separate rooms we realized that we didn't have the right furniture for their bedrooms. We had an opportunity to choose new furniture pieces that optimized storage and would grow with the girls. Shortly after we moved them my daughter turned 10 and for her birthday we surprised her with a room makeover. I love the way the room turned out; my absolute favorite part of her new bedroom is her desk.
When children are in grade school a lot of their "office" storage needs include space for craft materials, space for all their collections and treasures, and space for some toys. They also need some space to do their school work. As they get older they they need more space for school work, school books and electronics. This is a desk style that will grow with them and meet their changing needs.
Why this desk works
Eliminating the traditional cutout for the chair = all that extra space for storage.
Many different compartments, and easily dividable compartments, make it simple to create a home for everything.
It is easy for a child to see what is in each drawer, which is critical when it comes to good storage...
...and it is easy to put away items, which is critical to maintaining storage systems
The closed storage keeps all the various items inside out of sight, which is visually more soothing. This can be especially important for children who can be easily overwhelmed by too much visual stimulation.
Let's take a closer look.
A home for everything
There are so many storage options with these types of desk. This particular desk has four large drawers plus a ton of storage compartments under the slant top. I always preach a home for everything and this makes it really easy for my daughter to keep all her little collections and office supplies in their own homes. There is never any question where specific items belong when she is cleaning up.
Large, deep drawers for vertical AND horizontal storage
The large drawers can accommodate large flat pads of paper or oversized books. These big drawing pads had been difficult to properly store previously.
Easily dividable space
The deep drawers can easily be divided further to hold collections of items. The drawer below contains markers, pencils, crayons and pens. The bins make perfect use of the vertical space in the drawer.
No need to purchase new storage bins
We didn't purchase any new bins - everything here was simply repurposed. Shoe boxes are great for this type of storage. As my daughter gets older this drawer will easily be reconfigured to eliminate and combine some of these writing implements and make room for new materials.
Easy to find what you are looking for... and return it to it's home
The remaining office supplies fit well into these dividers which are placed in this drawer. It is easy to see exactly what is stored here and everything has a home so it is very easy to put things away in the correct spot. Additionally, if we are working on a craft project in a different part of the house it is easy to take these bins right out of the drawers and bring them to where they are needed at the time.
More craft storage in the bottom drawer.
How to find a desk like this
This slant top desk goes by a few different names: a secretary desk, a butler desk, a slant-top desk, an empire desk and an escritoire. These desks are really easy to find. I've seen them in tons of antique stores and on craigslist and ebay. We purchased this desk from a local business, Funcycled. Funcycled takes antiques and upcycles them (read more about this desk's transformation on Funcycled's blog). In this case the desk was painted to give it a more modern look. I couldn't believe what a perfect find this was for this room redo.
A side note about environmental impact
The decluttering process can create a lot of waste, and many people feel very guilty about discarding so much when they are decluttering. I always stress to my clients that the very best thing you can do for the environment is simply stop consuming as you move forward. Purchasing as much previously owned goods as possible will have the greatest positive impact on the environment. So, forgive yourself for the items you have to purge, and make a serious commitment to consuming less in the future. I love services like Craigslist, and businesses like Funcycled, because it has never been easier to buy used.
This desk has been a huge hit in my daughter's room. It turns out that it is also her favorite part of her new room too. I can see so many other storage uses for this desk if we needed them: storing clothing, storing legos, storing linens, etc. But, for now, the desk will stay put and be the perfect piece to meet the ever changing storage needs of a tween/teen.