Buying Your 1st House: Storage
Most first time homebuyers know to look for good bedroom closets. But whether you are a single or a couple or a growing family, you should also look for a variety of other storage capabilities throughout your prospective new house. Here are some tips:
Does the kitchen have ample cabinetry and pantry space? Is it sufficient for storing all of your day-to-day dishes, as well as any holiday serving pieces, family silver, and supplies of foils and wraps and bags and food storage bins? What about bulk staples, such as sugar, salt, spices, flour, coffee, tea, rice, beans, cereals, and baking items? Will a pantry accommodate all of your needs for stockpiles of canned, bottled and boxed items that you purchase infrequently? Does the freezer capacity match your shopping and freezing patterns? Can you find storage or set-up space for all of your portable (or not-so-portable) appliances: microwave, toaster, toaster oven, coffeemaker, mixer, blender, can opener, bread maker? And don’t forget you may need space for such dining-related items as coasters, candles, napkins, placemats, pitchers, grilling utensils, and vases, as well as a high-chair or booster seat.
Also, be sure to check whether your kitchen storage space is conveniently located — day-to-day dishes near the dishwasher, wraps and containers near the refrigerator or freezer, bulk baking items near the oven, and so on.
In or near the dining area, look for storage places for tablecloths, removable table leafs, table pads, and such items as napkins, napkin rings, coasters and candles.
Living rooms, family rooms and dens must also be supported by ample close-at-hand storage, whether provided in closets, cabinetry, shelving or wardrobe-like furniture. Books, magazines, board games, cassettes, DVDs, video- and computer-game systems, laptops, and remotes all need places to reside, as do cushions, throw pillows, afghans, blankets and heating pads not always in use.
Foyers and front halls will typically have an entry or ‘guest’ closet for outdoor gear, such as coats, hats, scarves, gloves, boots, umbrellas, etc. Be sure that closet capacity will suit your family, its lifestyle, and your likely quantity and frequency of guests. It can sometimes be quite difficult handling a regular overflow of winter wear or boots spreading through the house, for example.
Bulk, long-term household supplies and appliances — such as a vacuum cleaner, duster, broom, mop, bucket, cleaning supplies, paper towels, toilet paper, facial tissue, etc. — are often best stored in a central hall closet or other similar storage area. A laundry room or laundry area must store laundry detergents and miscellaneous cleaning supplies, and may offer additional space for stored linens, seasonal clothing, beachwear, or other infrequently worn clothing. Older homes may have a separate hall or bathroom linen closet for the storage of day-to-day linen and personal hygiene supplies. Each bathroom should have some close-at-hand storage area for medicines as well as linens, soaps, shampoos, blow dryers and other personal hygiene products or appliances.
Each bedroom is best served by at least 5 lineal feet (preferably 8 lineal feet) of full height closet, suitable for hanging clothes full length, with shelving for folded items, and floor space for shoes. Typically a master bedroom will command a greater amount of storage, with Dad having perhaps 8 lineal feet of full height hanging space, and Mom having perhaps 12 feet or more. It is also important that the lady of the house have a suitable place for applying make-up and doing hair, with all of the attendant storage, shelf or countertop area required.
But the storage demands placed on the family garage (perhaps plus an outdoor yard shed) may exceed those placed on any other zone of the house, for we tend to consign everything else we accumulate in life to our garage at one time or another: cars, trucks, bikes, ATVs, snowmobiles, skis, golf clubs, pet supplies, lawn and deck furniture, grills, lawnmowers, yard maintenance and gardening tools and supplies, gardening and landscaping materials, yard gear, yard play and sport equipment, household tools, hardware and household repair supplies, automotive repair supplies, pest control supplies, trash receptacles, recyclables, and stockpiled bulk staples, snack foods or drinks. So be sure that your prospective new garage can handle all that you’ll be throwing at it.
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