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Finding the Right Place to Store Everything

With January behind us and spring drawing closer, it’s time to examine how you’re doing on some of your New Year’s resolutions.

If you are like most people, health budget and organization goals top the list of what you plan to tackle in 2017.

As far as the “getting your house in order” part, we thought we’d give you some encouragement and a few tips.


Not only does an organized, clutter-free home invite relaxation and calm, it also promotes safety.

Over the years of writing this column we’ve talked to firefighters who’ve mentioned that good housekeeping can save lives!

When firefighters come to your house, typically you haven’t had a chance to tidy up! So, that means firefighters see the insides of homes in all conditions. And, frankly, stacks of this and that around can lead to residential fires.

It also can make escaping them as well as fighting them, much more difficult and dangerous. Extra clutter can also contribute to falls and other accidents.

There’s no time like the present to make a dent in that To Do list and find or make a place for everything – and sometimes that place might be in the garbage, recycle or charity box.

Now, we know that there are some folks with matching and labeled storage boxes who make the seasonal transition look like an effortless choreographed dance.

And then there are the rest of us.

If you’re like most Americans, you probably have more “stuff” than storage. Some of which you haven’t used in years. It’s time to get organized!

So as you consider where to store things, consider if you even need to store a particular item at all. Is it in working order? Is it something you will really use?

Maybe it feels too good to throw out, but you really don’t have a use for it. Sounds like a perfect item to give to a charity or even sell to make some money for all your new storage totes!


When you get to your goal of ordered storage, not only will you have greater peace of mind, you definitely will end up saving time by eliminating needless last-minute searches.

You’ll likely end up saving money, too, if only because you won’t need to buy things you already have – such as more shoelaces, batteries, extension cords, another new 3/4” wrench or another pair of sunglasses or gardening gloves. The list goes on and on.

There are plenty of folks out there who can show you attractive and clever ways to store things. We’ll leave the matching baskets and burp-seal lids to Pintrest, Martha Stewart and friends. However, knowing houses the way we do, we have some tips about what to store where!

Yes, when it comes to storage, there are some things you may need to know for the safety of your belongings, your house and you. That’s much more our area.


One of the first things to do is figure out the best and most logical uses of the storage areas you have.

Are they properly shelved and stocked as well as being the best place to store the items that are already in there? Snow tires in the food pantry are a bad idea.

Keep in mind that you want to have easy access to items you use frequently or anticipate the need for in the immediate seasonal future and to store them as nearly as possible to their intended use. Rotating seasonal storage works, too.

Save the more remote areas, such as lofts or supported attics for long-term storage or seasonal items in rotation.


Most attics and some basements are considered unconditioned spaces, which refers to the lack of heat and airflow as well as a good chance that there’s harmful moisture.

These are good conditions for bad smells, molds and mildews – and maybe your water-skis, but poor choices for storage of cloth or paper items that can be damaged.

In addition, both for air flow and safety, attics shouldn’t be stuffed to the gills! Often they are not constructed to hold much weight..

By contrast, a basement with a big ole’ furnace and heat ducts is going to provide drier, airier general conditions and be quite suitable for storage of most anything that is properly shelved, but not stacked.

A moist, dank basement isn’t even good for the house (much you’re your prized possessions) and should be properly sealed, insulated and ventilated prior to any use.

Many a disappointed saver has found what the ravages of a hot summer or cold, moist winter can do to certain family heirlooms – like pictures, videos and furniture – in an unconditioned attic or a flood-prone basement.

We don’t want that to be you! Consider carefully which items should go where.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County.

Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.

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