Planning a new storage system

By Professional Organiser Britta Reinecke

Well organised storage systems give the feeling of space, increase functionality and can be very appealing to look at. And believe it or not, a storage system that works well will save you time, money and a whole lot of stress. I have worked with numerous clients to give them their “perfect” storage solution, and one of the most important aspects is in the planning stage. Planning is key!

Before you embark on installing a new storage system anywhere in your home, be clear about what you want and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What does the new storage system need to do?
  • What will it look and feel like?
  • Budget?
  • Timeframe?

The first of these questions is the most important. If your current storage system isn’t working for you, why not? It could be too small, an odd shape, or hard to access. Your new storage system needs to address these issues and provide you with a space that is functional, easy to use and easy to access.

Once you have answered these questions, you will have an outline from which to build your new storage system. This is where the fun part starts!

Here are my tips for planning the perfect storage solution:


Make a list of all the items you need to provide storage for. If you are not able to see all your items, then I recommend taking everything out of the space so you can clearly see it all. You will be amazed at how much you have accumulated without knowing!

Underbench Pantry needs some structure and a system in place to make it more usable.

Adding Tansel Pull-Out Storage as well as some some Evovac Suction Organisers made all the difference to this space.


Consider WHO is using the space? For example, if you are preparing for a new storage solution in a child’s playroom, the system needs to be simple and child friendly. As soon as things get complicated, the end result will be as useless as the previous system!


Simplify the space by recycling or rehoming any broken, unwanted or unused items.


Categorise all your items so you know how many of each item to create storage for. This is particularly important if you are planning a space that contains compartments or dividers


Create a space for everything! If everything has a place, it is easy to access when needed and easy to put away afterwards

Simple organsiers like the Howards Clutter Buster with moveable dividers are ideal for grouping and separating items.


Measure the space where your new storage system is going to go. For example, in kitchen cupboards you will need to know the internal dimensions of drawers and cupboards so you can plan the correct storage system. Some systems are fully customisable, while others are not. In a garage, be sure to measure how much space you might need for a car. Then plan your storage solution around this space.


Design your space! Based on the needs of your space, the look and feel you are aiming for, sketch up exactly what you want the space to look like. It doesn’t need to be a professional drawing, a rough outline with full measurements will be fine. Include in your sketch, the exact parts you will need to house everything. What additional items do you need? Consider tubs/containers/jars/hooks/clips that might be needed.


Budget according to your “ideal” storage solution. This will allow you to understand the full cost of your perfect system. If the price is not within your budget, consider what items you can live without, and possibly add at a later date, or consider an alternative. If you are up for a challenge, there are several DIY options available that are fairly easy to install and can be customised to suit your space and budget, including Elfa and Tansel. Remember to include installation costs in your budget if you need a professional for the job.


Allow enough time. Installing your new storage solution is very exciting and as you start to see the space come together, make sure not to rush. If you rush, you will make mistakes and this will cost you more in the long-run.


Try to label everything! Well, maybe not everything, just the garage storage, pantry storage, and children’s toy storage. I find labels really helpful in garage because most tubs don’t need to be accessed too often, pantries so my husband and children know where things need to go, and my children’s bedrooms so they can take control of their mess instead of me!

As a Professional Organiser, I love to work with people to help them create their perfect storage system in any part of their home. The end result is so satisfying and rewarding. Just remember that your storage solution doesn’t need to be the “perfect storage solution”, it just needs to be perfect for you and your home.

Britta Reinecke is a Professional Organiser runs The Urban Organiser, based in Melbourne.

Britta is also a Professional Member of the IOPO – Institute of Professional Organisers.

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