Okay, a few weeks ago we made the monsters leave the space under the bed to make room for welcome guests.
Today I’d like to look at a lot more ideas to make use of the space under the bed in a kid’s room.
If you aren’t already using it for a mattress for overnight guests, you might like to consider one of these ideas.
- Simple, large drawers on wheels are a great way to contain & store toys in a child’s room.
- Single-tower, cube-style shelves can be installed sideways the full length of the bed to house books – it’s easy to reach a book from bed, and blocks kids from stuffing stuff way in the back.
- If your child has a high bed, there may be space for a secret hide-out under the bed. A shoe shelf can be placed under the bed along the headboard for treasure maps, flashlights, books, games, and other treasures needed in a hide-out. You could install under-cabinet lighting or the little battery-operated touch disks to make it extra fun. Some throw pillows and a blanket will comfortably furnish it, too. And if you don’t like looking at the hide-out, you can use a cable-style curtain rod attached to the bed frame to hang a curtain that can close the whole thing off to the outside world. From a kid’s perspective, that only adds to the coolness factor.
- You can also do a take-off on my office/guest bedroom storage idea: Affix furniture glides to the underside of a large board. Also attach drawer pulls to the side of the board that will face out from the bed. Make sure you sand any rough edges, since this will be used by children. Cover the whole surface with felt, and you have a great pull-out play space for board games, puzzles, train tracks, or low-profile lego cities. The felt helps keep the noise down. 🙂
- You could use the under-bed board idea covered with Lego base plates for a great building surface. Or paint it with roads and buildings as a city or race track for boys who like to play with cars. You could paint farmland for the child who enjoys animals, a jungle for the dinosaur lover, or a pretty garden with walkways and buildings just the right size for her hand-held dolls and animals.
- By keeping it painted and not raised, it really can be used for anything. Throw on a table cloth and you are all set for playing restaurant or having a tea party.
Of course, no children’s room storage idea would be complete if we didn’t suggest a couple of options for clothes.
- Short, but spacious plastic bins really do pull out nicely from beneath a bed, making “drawers” without a dresser. They are all floor level, so even toddlers can safely reach the clothes. You could add pictures to the front of the bin so they can identify which clothes go in which bin, too. Then they can find what they need and help put clean clothes away.
- You could also store dirty clothes baskets beneath the bed.If they are going to stuff dirty clothes under there anyway, you could give them a way to do it that’s actually helpful! However you sort, you could have a different basket for each load (whether it’s whites/lights/darks or one for each person).
- And last, but not least, you could use the space for out-of-season or next-size up clothes. (I’d encourage you to just go ahead and get rid of the ones no one will be able to wear again.) Well labeled bins will keep you from missing clothes at the right size. Storing them in the kid’s room gives access so even the kids can get into the bins when they discover their pants no longer fit.
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!
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!
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!
Last week we talked about storing clothes in outfits to save space and time. That’s a great option if you have items you only wear in one outfit. Of course, you can hang mix-and-match outfits together, and still benefit from that method, but chances are there are some things in your closet that defy “outfit” type grouping. Think: t-shirts, undies, athletic wear, and jeans.
We have actually gone to storing undergarments in the bathroom instead of in a closet or dresser. After all, where are you when you need the under clothes most, right? (In a different house, we had room for the hamper in the bathroom, too, which was really awesome! We could do that in our current house, but then there wouldn’t be room for toilet paper in the bathroom, and toilet paper seemed to be a higher priority…)
Anyway, to get my husband’s undies and undershirts to share the same bin nicely, I had to learn a different way to fold shirts. This is really cool and it saves space by helping us store shirts efficiently. The one drawback is that it only works for short-sleeved shirts (I’m still trying to figure out how to adapt it for long sleeves and hoodies).
I didn’t invent this method, you can actually find dozens of videos online that show you how to do it. Here’s mine:
Pretty cool, huh?
By the way, when it comes to the “flat surface,” I don’t actually fold shirts on my dining room table, I fold them right on my lap in the living room.
Now this whole stack of undershirts can fit into just half of this bin, which saves space for undies in the other half.
And look what you can do with regular t-shirts, folded the same way, if you store your clothes in a dresser (we don’t use a dresser for clothes, so I had to borrow a drawer to take this picture – that’s how much I love y’all!):
Can you see how little room the shirts need? And you can see all of them at once, without having to dig through the drawer to find your favorite one!
For storing t-shirts on a shelf, I just eliminate the last half-fold so the stack doesn’t topple:
This quick-fold method not only saves space in the closet, it also saves time on laundry day and when you are getting dressed, not to mention the time you won’t need to spend straightening the closet or dresser.
One solution to a crowded closet is to get rid of clothes. It can be a good option, and likely, we could all make use of de-cluttering techniques where our clothes are concerned.
But sometimes the problem isn’t how much stuff we keep, but where to put it. A place for everything and everything in its place is a great motto, but you have to have someplace to put everything, and that can be tricky.
I have found experimenting with different ways to store clothes can help identify a space where everything can have a home. Fashion and organization experts both recommend hanging clothes in outfits – so the scarf hangs with the pants, shirt, and jacket with which you generally pair it. This idea saves time in the mornings, since less thinking is involved in figuring out what to wear, and it can save space, since you don’t need a separate storage item for hanging clothes, accessories, etc. Another twist on this idea is to fold outfits together, if you have items you don’t hang.
For years I’ve used a similar technique for my youngest children. On laundry day we fold their clothes in outfits before putting them on the shelf. Even a toddler can get an “outfit packet” off of the shelf to bring to you at dressing time. School-aged children benefit from outfits that (1) match, (2) have all the parts available, and (3) are easily accessible. Just think about how much time you could save in the morning by not having to send kids back to the bedroom for pants that match… socks… a long-sleeved shirt (why do they always pick short sleeves when it’s 26 degrees outside?!).
My folding method works better for us than just setting the pieces of outfits in a stack together. When we stack them together they seem to be more “guidelines” than “intentional choices” and everything gets all mixed up on the shelf as they tear the shirt from one outfit to pair with a hidden pair of shorts they found under the mattress…
So here’s how I fold our “outfit packets”:
(I’m going to go through a multi-layered outfit, since it’s the most involved)
Lay the jacket or sweater out, face down on your folding surface, like so:
Lay out the shirt or other under-layer for the top face down on top of the jacket this way:
Fold the pants (or skirt) to fit the width of the shirt between the sleeves, like this:
Add socks (or tights, or leggings and socks) on top of the pants:
Next, fold the bottom half of the layered shirt/jacket/sweater combo up over the pants/skirt/socks/tights combo, as shown here:
If there’s a hood, fold it down over the pants/skirt/socks/tights this way:
Then fold the sleeves across the whole packet, one at a time, to “close” it up. See?
Now flip it over and you have an outfit ready to stack.
Single layer outfits and summer clothes are even easier. For short sleeves, I lay the shirt face down, set the folded shorts between the shoulders, and add socks (if necessary). Then I fold the sleeves over the shorts first, followed by the tail of the shirt up over the shorts (the short sleeves simply aren’t long enough to “close” the packet and end up unfolding when you flip the outfit up so you can see the shirt). You still have a neat packet of clothes, and your child can see the design on the shirt, so they know what they are getting.
Incidentally, these little clothing packets save a lot of space on the shelf or in the drawer. You don’t have to have a separate place for socks, tights, shirts, and pants. While the clothes still have the same mass, folding them together will save space on the shelf, in the drawer, and in the margins of your morning.