Building or renovating a home is a large undertaking. The excitement of having something new and improved is often tempered by the pressure of having to make a lot of decisions. Professionals often can offer valuable information…
→ Realtors know what sells
→ Architects know what flows
→ Designers know what appeals
As a professional organizer, I’ve learned a few lessons of my own about what works. Here are my thoughts on how to maximize the functionality of a new space.
BE SURE TO INCLUDE:
Closet Organizing Systems
Yes, these are expensive, and when you are in the middle of a renovation, it may seem like a luxury that can be postponed. But a closet that has nothing more than a single shelf and a bar across the top means wasted space. If possible, hire a company to consult with you and install a system before you move in.
Cabinetry is lovely, but if you have to bend down and crawl around to access items, it can be frustrating. Before you move in, call a company such as Shelf Genie to talk about optimizing lower cabinetry, the space under the sink, and the corner cabinet of a kitchen. A small investment now can make a world of difference in an area you touch every day.
I’ve been in many homes where a desk was part of the design, but file drawers were not. Even in this age of “paperless”, everyone needs at least one file drawer, preferably more.
If possible, include a mudroom space somewhere in your home. A few cubbies with hooks and drawers will pay dividends for years to come. This space is so valuable that it may be worth sacrificing square footage elsewhere to ensure you have it.
At some point, pantries unfortunately went out of style. While kitchen cabinetry can certainly accommodate food, there is something so functional about a separate closet that can hold food, appliances, and bulk items. Build a pantry if you possibly can, and then get a closet company to install adequate shelving.
A Garage Organizing System
If you have a garage, you might as well make it work well. Think about this when you are in the design phase, and pick a solution that fits your budget. It can be anything from simple home supply store shelving up to a custom design from a company like Monkey Bars. The key is to include this expense in your budget so you can unpack efficiently right from the start.
A Laundry Room
Everyone has laundry, and having a nice space in which to work is a real plus. If you can, make space for a laundry room that is clean and well-lit, has space for some storage and an ironing board (one that folds down from the wall is even better!) and a flat surface for folding. A stack unit in a closet works if this is all you have space for, but consider all alternatives before making a final decision.
There are code requirements for outlet spacing, but these are often insufficient. Plan now for extra outlets while the walls are opened up. For example, most people benefit from double outlets underneath a desk. Or if you like to put electric candles in the windows at Christmas, put an outlet under each windowsill. The idea is to minimize the need for extension cords and outlet multipliers.
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Renovating or building requires a lot of planning, patience and money. An investment in functionality will ensure that your space functions as well as it looks.
What area or aspect of your home are you most thankful for?