Allow Storage Solutions and Stystems to Evolve with Your Lifestyle

One thing I've learned as a professional organizer is that storage solutions in a home are generally not always permanent. Our lives are always in motion, our responsibilities and interests change over time and old ones are set aside. You'll find that storage solutions and systems may need to be re-evaluated and allowed to evolve in order to better suit these changes in different seasons and stages of life.

Be on the lookout for ways to re-purpose the furniture and materials you stow items in/with so they are more suitable for the life you are living right now.

I always enjoy seeing how other people organize their belonging in real life, so, I thought I'd share an example of storage evolution that has taken place in our home/s over the years...

My husband and I inherited this simple hutch from my parents as newly weds about 11 years ago. (we were both fresh out of college with not much furniture.)  I suppose you could consider it a family heirloom as it was hand made by my great uncle.  It was a natural pine color that I eventually painted.

It's been moved from one home to another many times over and has landed in several different types of rooms to suit the needs of our family for that particular season of life.

Our first year of marriage it was in an extra bedroom of our first apartment that we utilized as an office space.  At that time it held a few extra office supplies like paper, file folders plus a few crafting materials.

When we moved on to a new city and state a few years later it would land in another extra bedroom that I was able to utilize as a scrapbooking studio (lucky me, right?).

A year later, it found it's way to the dining room in a small 1 bedroom apartment. I then used it to store games for a while and eventually baby clothes as our first born child entered our lives and the rest of the baby gear (portable crib and changing table) shared space in a nearby office nook just off the dining room for a short while.

We soon moved yet again to another new city and state and it landed in our living room. It housed a few toys for our growing babe in the bottom cabinet, drawers were utilized to contain library books and movies that needed to be returned as well as a small portion of our music collection on CD.  Each my husband and I used one of the smaller top drawers to hold loose change and cell phones/wallet etc.

A few years later, we added yet another child to our crew and our extra bedroom/office was destined to become a nursery.  The hutch then held a good portion of our personal book library for a season.

 Fast forward about 2 years and it found it's way to our present home in our dining room (a-joined to our living room)  Initially it held our dvd collection and acted as a homework/chore station for our eldest child.

At present it is still in that same location in our dining room, but the dvd collection has been re-located so the bottom half can now be Operation Organization Command central:

 I office out of the home since most of my organizing work takes place on location in clients homes and/or small business.  We have a family desktop computer on the opposite side of the room, but it is on a surface with no storage.  The magazine files hold inspiration and idea files and magazines.  The black bag is what I use to hold my organizing tools (label maker, tape measure, clip board, notebook, camera, business cards and active client files etc). for my 'on location' consultations.  The white bin houses printables and various checklists that I like to have copies of to provide to my current clients and to offer as hand-outs at my organizing presentations and workshops.  The blue box is a hanging file box that houses all my client files plus general business resources.

One top drawer holds mints, an extra cartridge + manual for my label maker, a pocket filer to house business related receipts on one side, and a stock of business cards:

Extra change, back up camera, GPS + charging cords/devices for everything is stowed in the other.

Onto the bottom drawers - one is used to house a binder that I collect and organize various blog article ideas.  That scroll of paper is a vinyl quote that I won on a blog has a future nearby this piece of furniture eventually...

The second drawer is still a homework station for my eldest child that is currently in first grade.  He brings a homework packet home every Monday and is required to turn it back in on Friday.  We keep it here so he always knows where to find and return it after completing a page or so a day at the dining room table.  Our dining table has a handy drawer on either end that holds pencils and sharpeners.

There you have it!

I know we still have another move (or two) coming in our future, so this ol' hutch may still have a few more evolutions yet...

Do you have a piece of furniture that has been re-purposed one or more times over the years to  better suit your family needs?   Do you see potential for evolution in others?


  1. Heidi, this is one of my favorite posts of yours so far! Let me tell you why! This very always changing, always needing new ways to organize, is what has frustrated me most in my life. Most organized friends of mine go out and spend hundreds of dollars on shelving and storage when they organize a room. I just can't afford that. I was always repurposing things I already had. Sometimes it doesn't look all matchy matchy, but it works. THANK YOU so much for this affirmation! :)

    1. Thanks for your note! :) I'm so glad this article encouraged you!!

  2. Love this post, I totally agree! We are military and so we have several pieces of furniture that have roamed from base to base with us serving a new purpose in each house. I blogged about it here:


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