By Megan Wild
Winter gear is, to be frank, an obnoxious necessity.
Do you want to stay warm? Obviously. Are you going to make sure your kids don’t succumb to frostbite on snow days? You betcha. Does the prospect of storing all those bulky items make you groan and cringe? Absolutely.
True, you can just grab a few of the biggest, blandest Rubbermaid bins available. But if you’re a visual person with limited storage space, you want a solution with a little more elegance. After all, you spend about one-third of your life in your bedroom, and you probably don’t want to see that awkward clear plastic in your peripherals as your drift off to sleep each night.
If you’re gearing up for a changing-of-the-seasons storage overhaul, here are eight storage suggestions that will check all the boxes for both form and function:
- Woven Baskets | Pottery Barn
Lidded or otherwise, woven baskets are a perfect, no-fuss storage solution. Simply fit, fold or toss items inside, and then slide the basket into a corner, under a console or onto a closet shelf. No muss, no fuss.
As a bonus, woven baskets provide a warm, textured layer to your home décor, breaking up smooth woods, painted surfaces and sleek finishes. You can find them in a variety of sizes and finishes at most major stores.
- Cloth Bins | Martha Stewart
Zippered, lidded or open — cloth bins provide the same functional one-two punch as woven baskets, just with a different aesthetic.
With no woven odds and bobs to snag sweaters, cloth bins are a great option for storing out-of-season winter clothes. By beautifully concealing the contents, cloth bins also provide a glamorous way to stack and conceal vacuum packed clothing like sweaters or snow gear.
- Customized Crates | Michaels
Wooden crates are sturdy options for packing away winter gear in your home or garage.
You can find affordable, unfinished crates at most big-name craft stores. Paint or stain your crates to go with your décor. Then use them to store winter items in closets, on shelves or under dressers and consoles.
- Under-the-Bed Storage | Ikea
Any of the above options can double as under-the-bed options — simply slip your bin of choice under your bed instead of on a shelf. If you have the budget, however, and you want to maximize usable space, consider investing in a storage bed.
Storage beds utilize 100% of the under-bed space, providing a perfect spot to store bulky items like snowsuits, boots, jackets, etc. Below your bed isn’t usually an area that’s on display for guests, either, so you can cram those storage spaces as full as you need — and no one will be the wiser.
- Bed-Adjacent Storage | Amish Outlet
Max out your under-the-bed space? Try looking to the side or the foot of your bed for more inspiration.
Jump on the upcycling, vintage-loving bandwagon and use a stack of stylish suitcases as a nightstand. Devote each ‘case to a specific item: sweaters, boots, winter accessories, etc. When winter rolls back around, bring your gear back out and fill the suitcases with beach towels, swimsuits, shorts and other out-of-season summer items instead.
For a combination end-of-bed storage and seating option, try a steamer trunk, wooden chest or storage ottoman.
- Armoires | Restoration Hardware
Have an awkward, unused niche in your hallway? How about an empty wall in the family room or basement? See if a secondhand armoire will fit the space.
With a little elbow grease, any paint or stain can make a thrift-store find look like an elegant statement piece — all while it hides your unsightly seasonal bulk. With a big enough armoire, you might even be able to tuck the snow saucers and skis in with all the winter coats.
- Under the Stairs | Target
The area under your stairs can be a treasure trove of storage, provided you put a little work into it. Custom stair storage options like built-ins and pull-outs make the most of what can be an awkward, underused spot. On the bright side, if you weren’t utilizing it before, that means you’re not crowding or displacing other items in your quest for winter storage.
- Dedicate a Closet
If you have a closet to spare, consider making it your out-of-season go-to spot. Fill it with patio cushions, beach gear and lawn games in the winter and holiday décor, coats and boots in the summer.
You can spend the big bucks for custom closet setups from lines like ELFA or ClosetMaid, but you can also DIY your own custom setup with bars, shelves and baskets to personalize your storage needs.
Before You Store
No matter what storage options you choose, there are a few universal storage steps to keep in mind:
- Purge first. There’s no point in storing items your kids have outgrown (or completely destroyed). Divide items up into piles to pitch, donate and keep. Make a list of what needs to be replaced so you can make the most of end-of-season sales.
- Plan a labeling system. Why spend the time storing and organizing if you can’t find what you need when you need it? Attach labels directly to boxes and bins. You could also use numbers instead and keep a master list in an easy-to-find location.
- Wash everything before you store it. Scrub boots and snow toys. Launder blankets and long underwear. Send specialty items to the dry cleaners. Don’t give lingering odors, oils and stains a chance to intensify or set over the next year.
Before you wash everything, though, be sure to check all pockets, nooks and crannies for extra items — especially if your kids are prone to hiding snotty tissues or meltable candy in their pockets.
- Eliminate odors for next year. Add a sachet of lavender to boxes of seasonal clothes to keep items fresh.
Unlike that never-ending scarf collection, these storage suggestions aren’t one-size-fits-all. Your budget, floor plan and/or personal tastes may render one or more of the above options moot.
The good news is that even if an idea doesn’t fit your needs, it can still inspire you to brainstorm a new solution that will — and you won’t feel an overwhelming urge to curl up in the fetal position when it’s officially time to put that winter gear away.
Megan Wild is a home improvement and home decor fanatic. When she’s not planning a way to improve the state of her current house, she’s writing on her blog, Your Wild Home.