Store more


Although downsizing is a growing trend, the reality is that, because of financial pressure, many people will now move to a smaller home or even back in with family, making innovative and creative storage solutions a necessity


Many people will be forced to cut costs in the coming months and while downsizing does have advantages, moving to a smaller home goes with enough storage being one of the biggest headaches, says Chris Cilliers, CEO and co-principal, Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Winelands.

“Downsizing a home can cause much stress and anxiety, especially for people who are attached to their belongings but hate living with clutter. However, with a little planning, it’s possible to create a comfortable home and keep your most prized – and essential – items handy without tripping over them.”

She offers the following innovative and functional storage solutions:

Maximise closets

  • Add drawer space: If you have a high hanging rail, place a small chest of drawers underneath the hanging clothes.
  • Double up: Add a second hanging rail to double up on hanging space.
  • Accessible accessories: Door racks and hooks on the inside of closet doors are great for accessories like scarves, belts and even shoes.
  • Hidden hooks: A few adhesive hooks behind the hanging space are perfect for belts, scarves and bags that are used less often


Optimise wall space

  • Perimeter shelving: Install shelves along the perimeter of your bedroom walls above head height. It’s usually the least-used space in a room and will add a good couple of metres of storage space.
  • Install a square floating shelf nightstand: You’ll have two surfaces on which to place things and you can store other goods in attractive baskets or boxes with lids on the floor underneath.
  • Mount colourful hat boxes: Great in bathrooms for loo rolls and rolled-up fresh towels, and in bedrooms for extra jerseys and colourful T-shirts or for kids’ soft toys.
  • Floating shelves: These work especially well in corners in living areas where they won’t be in the way or in small rooms like the bathroom above the toilet cistern.

Think vertical

  • Hang a pot rack on the kitchen wall: Use this for frequently used items like pans and sieves and also mount hooks to the backsplash to keep cooking utensils handy.
  • Think thin and tall: Buy shelving that’s tall and narrow rather than short and wide, which will also add visual variation and interest.
  • Create a vertical herb garden: Enhance your spice collection with a stunning vertical herb garden, which also serves to spruce up a dull space.
  • Slim rolling shelves on wheels: These are perfect for that space on the side of your refrigerator, or between your dishwasher and the wall.

Decorative storage

  • Bookshelves aren’t just for books: They are also perfect for storing attractive baskets filled with things like office supplies, spare toiletries, stationery etc.
  • Bins and baskets: Storing belongings in decorative bins and baskets is one of the most affordable and aesthetically pleasing ways to save space.

Put your doors to work

  • Behind the door: Fill a plastic multi-pocket shoe organiser with cleaning supplies and hang it behind the kitchen door.
  • Install a floating box shelf above a bedroom or bathroom door: This is handy to store rolled up fresh towels and bathroom toiletries or extra jerseys and books.
  • Build deep shelves in the wasted space around a doorway: If the door position allows for it, it’s a great way to add ample shelf space for books, nick knacks and even small plants.
  • Hanging hamper: Your dirty laundry basket doesn’t need to take up a square metre of floor space if you hang a fabric hamper on the back of your bedroom door.

Other nifty tricks

  • Maximise your drawer storage with modular drawer organisers: You already know they work well in the kitchen, so utilise them in the bedroom for small items like hair ties and make-up.
  • Limit your appliances: Do you really need an electric can opener, a bread maker or a toaster oven? Scaling down on appliances can free up loads of space.
  • Suspend the bike: Bicycles take up a lot of room, especially if they have to be kept in your home. So use a hanging or wall-mounted rack.

If you can’t part with all your belongings, consider renting storage space where you know they’ll be safe and protected from damage, says Cilliers.

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