The Ultimate Storage Solution


This week I had to spend two hours in the dentist’s chair. And if that wasn’t bad enough, I was “Clockwork Orange-d” into watching two hours of a TV program about creative storage solutions for the home.

Some of the examples I remember over the whirring of the dental Dremel:

  • Hinge your steps and create trap doors on the landings of your stairs to make small bins in the wasted space between your stringers.
  • Find stud walls that are used for utilities and turn them into built-in chests of drawers.
  • In attic spaces, create sliding racks on the interior of a high-pitched roof. You slide giant plastic bins into the racks – it’s a bit like a top-hanging drawer.

Through the entire program I wanted to throw up – but that was mostly because I have a sensitive gag reflex. But it was also because these “storage solution” programs neglect to mention the easiest way to control clutter: Get rid of it.

Take your excess clothes, books and nicknacks to a worthy charity so the items can plague the homes of others. Give your excess tools away to Habitat for Humanity’s Re-Store or a local tool-sharing co-op. Burn your scraps for heat. List your excess machinery on Craigslist. It can all be done in a day, which is easier and better than building some lame hidey-hole in your house that will require three trips to the home center, four screaming fits and five bad words to complete.

Possessions are like fingernails – they need to be constantly trimmed (or else this).

— Christopher Schwarz

About Lost Art Press

Publisher of woodworking books and videos specializing in hand tool techniques.
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12 Responses to The Ultimate Storage Solution

  1. Erik Pearson says:

    You Anarchist!

  2. Eric R says:

    The older I get, and the closer I get to the point where woodworking becomes more difficult, the more tools, machines and extra items from the craft get donated to charity.
    I believe, like Chris, that you can only use so much and that the extra things should be given to those who can use them but are unable to obtain them themselves.
    I feel good knowing that someone who may have the passion for carrying on our wonderful craft may benefit from what I have given them.
    When I se photos of these guys who have 500 planes just because they are obsessively compulsive collectors, I wonder what those planes would say if they could only talk. Like “Hey, how about giving us to someone who will actually use us instead of just putting us on a shelf to be looked at:.
    Good post-Chris.

  3. sugardoc says:

    I very much enjoy these articles Chris. I look forward to meeting you. It feels good to rid yourself of the burden of clutter. Sell it or give it away (I wonder if the annual 400 mile yard sale takes donations?). The avoidance of clutter is equally rewarding. It’s alarming at how much money we spend on stuff we can easily live happily without. Plus you get the warm fuzzy feeling of preserving resources while watching your savings grow.

    I had to click on the link… My first thought was to not throw up in my mouth. My second thought was how does he get his shirts on?

    • Oh, good! You clicked on the link. I wasn’t going to, for fear it was the scene from Syriana or some such thing. Sounds like it went the opposite direction, though.

  4. Just might be the best picture of the tool chest yet – I love how the stepped trays and the gorgeous grain in the lid stand out.

  5. I really need to get rid of my old books. Let someone else enjoy them. I think we tend to keep them as part of an ego-trip. “Look how cultured and well-read I am!” Whatever, dude. It’s The DaVinci Code. Give it to Goodwill.

    • artisandcw says:

      I am fascinated by the “tiny house”” movement as a concept, but find it and almost all of its analogues nonsensical and books are my fulcrum in this conclusion. I regularly pass along books I will never read again, but I do own hundreds of books, perhaps thousands, many being large or esoteric technical reference or furniture history books, that I refer to on a regular basis. Hence a dedicated space in my barn that is a library, 3 or 4 times larger than any tiny house. My “problem” isn’t really books but workbenches, but since I have several thousand square feet of space, it’s no problem to own a dozen or so, or maybe a dozen and a half….

  6. Chris Decker says:

    So, is that a box of sawdust on the wall?

  7. Steve Carey says:

    So, great article by the way. But I clicked the link and was astonished and mortified by what I saw.
    If this dude lives in India, they only use one hand for everything, because the other is used to, how shall I say it, clean themselves after they defecate. So is he literally eating from the hand that he wipes himself with?

  8. What in the world is an “excess book”?

  9. Joe Alpeza says:

    Having just moved – after many trips to Goodwill – I could not agree with you more.

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