Maintaining Balance: Space Solutions

I don’t know that we can ever have enough space for our family history. For years we rented a small two bedroom house and I made do with an office in the dining room. I used a variety of storage solutions throughout the house to keep my family history. When we bought our house, I was thrilled to have my own office for the first time. It’s a nine by nine room with a closet and a few windows that I like to keep open to hear the birds and catch a nice breeze. It’s my sanctuary and when we moved in I was so excited to have all this space to myself. No, it’s not really that big, but it works.

It seems to be one of those great truths of life, that the more space we have, the more space we seem to need. But even with the smallest spaces, with a little creative thinking, it’s possible to come up with some storage solutions. Here are some ideas:

Shelves are priceless and inexpensive. Yes, I know that’s a contradiction, but it’s true. In my closet, I have four shelves, and it’s amazing how much stuff I manage to store on them. (Trust me, I emptied that closet this weekend and the boxes and files filled my office!) And you don’t have to buy those really fancy organizer type shelving things. Get some wood at the hardware store and use it to build your own. With the heavy boxes and books you’re probably going to load them up with, they’ll be sturdier and last longer than the wire type. We need heavy duty shelves!

Table cloths and skirts can hide a multitude of sins. In the old house, I had an old microwave cart with an open shelf below. I put a table skirt around it and hid plastic file boxes beneath. It was on wheels so I could keep it in a corner and wheel it out to make a sidebar for my desk when I worked.

Gotta have wheels. When you don’t have an “office” so to speak, filing systems and tables with wheels are great. They can be stored in a closet by day, and wheeled to your workplace by night (or whenever it is that you find yourself researching). There are some neat file carts on wheels, with a wire frame to hang folders on. I’ve seen some with the hanging folders on top and shelves below. These would be great for keeping those evil piles at bay. You could wheel it to the TV room and do some filing while you watch TV.

File cabinets. File cabinets can go just about anywhere. There are nice ones that look like fancy furniture or the cheap ones that…well, look like filing cabinets. I have a short two drawer cabinet that fits neatly below the first shelve in my closet. I bought it at a garage sale for $5.00. Not pretty to look at, but that’s what closet doors are for.

A higher end solution. A couple years ago at Christmas, I asked Santa for a rather large gift. He got me a nice armoire for my office. It has several shelves and a small drawer in the cabinet doors and below are two smaller cabinets with shelves. It looks really nice, and holds all my family binders and some books on top, and office supplies in the small drawer and in the cabinets below.

What’s hiding under the bed? I hear from a lot of people who say that their guest room is their working space of choice. This is a great option too, but where does all the family history go when company comes to stay? The above options of course could be considered, but don’t overlook that space under the bed too. Under bed boxes can house binders, books and periodicals and they’re easily accessible when you have an opportunity to research.

These are just a few ideas you can incorporate to help find that balance when it comes to family and family history. I’d be interested to hear what solutions you have found, so if you have an idea please share it on the blog.

Have a good evening!


2 thoughts on “Maintaining Balance: Space Solutions

  1. When using file cabinets, this is a neat thing my sister did. She had a small space, and used two file cabintes, with a board across both of them, leaving a space in the middle for a chair. Put two skirts on the board with velcro, to hide the file cabinets, and put contact paper on the board to give it a finished look. Put her computer tower on the floor between the file cabinets, and the monitor and keyboard on top. Instant office with lots of room for papers and files in the cabinets, with space on top for books, etc.

  2. We had two large bookshelves that were difficult to keep neat enough, so became an eyesore. I moved them to my office, put a long, banquet table in front of them, so now have a wonderful space to work and keep books, and such organized. I use baskets to organize little things, but don’t worry too much about how it looks, because it’s in my office, not in the main living section of our house. The lower shelves underneath the table are a great place to story the multitude of computer literature and software packets, as well as other collections that may not be used as often as those things on the shelves that are easier to reach. Note: I did make sure to plug in a surge protector, so the outlet was still available for all of the electronic things on my desk.

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