Organise your happy place

We have been sorting out draws, re-organising shelves and colour-coding our wardrobe for the last eight weeks and while we can now venture outside thanks to relaxed lockdown rules, I think good storage and organisation in the house is a pretty good habit to keep.

Colour-coded bookshelves in Ingrid Fetell Lee’s home – The Aesthetics of Joy

I recently worked with a tenant in Zürich moving from a 2-bedroom flat to a 1-bedroom one. It can be tricky, especially when you have been enjoying large, functional fitted wardrobes in practically every room and move to a flat which no storage as such.

How can I create more storage space?

In all honesty, we usually have enough space but just too much stuff. I would start with sorting out your belongings in keep, give away or upcycle piles. Any method applies, you can keep ‘what brings you joy’ or give away anything that hasn’t been used in the last 18 months –  the end game here is shrinking the volume we have to put away. 

When we can start to see the floorboards again, it is time to organise: separate piles for what is needed daily, in the summer or for that yoga retreat once a year, … To achieve that super-efficient-and-zen state, you simply keep the stuff you use all the time nearby (what I call the ‘active volume’) and you tidily pack away the items you really need only once a year: trust me, it will make your life so much easier!

For a stellar KonMari Coach here in Zürich, I would recommend

You then need to estimate the active volume you are left with. Two wardrobes, a chest of drawers and a couple of trunks? Perfect, we can start narrowing down stylish storage options.

Every nook is potential storage gold dust

Now you need to look at your space and think outside the box. Let’s say you already have a small console table under a staircase, that’s a good start but you could look into really maximising that space with a purpose-built unit (custom-made solution that fits beautifully and offers you ideal storage space). A cheaper option would be to choose one of the numerous modular storage systems out there to really fill that space and give you a more efficient storage solution. Good old Ikea excels at this (check out Kallax).

Design: Mariane Evennou

If you have a room with weird angles or the space on the floor is pretty full already, how about wall shelves or a row of coat pegs?

Pegboard by Kreisdesign

And, if you buy wardrobes, make sure they go all the way up to the ceiling to make the most of that potential storage volume. If that’s not possible, invest in a couple of boxes or baskets that you can place on top of your wardrobes to store winter clothes away for instance.

Basket, pillows and blanket nicely folded away

And then style it

Storage systems like the Ikea Pax are a godsend for many people renting. The combinations are endless, with a good choice of different finishes. They offer good value for money. Having said that, I have had many clients admit that while this worked for a while, they are now tired of it and want something a bit different. So, first thing first if you have a similar storage unit: can you upgrade it? Coat of paint, new door handles? This could be just what it needs! 

Upcycled Ikea Pax wardrobe with moulded doors and brass handles

If not, you could look around the local Brocki houses (to see if an old nice wardrobe, console table, chest of drawers could be just the ticket). You would add instant style and help the planet too, bravo! If this is still not working for you, then there are a few good options out there:

La Redoute – Eugenie

Eugenie wardrobe –

Pomax – Tiga

Tiga cabinet –

Maisons du Monde – Canopy

Canopy dressing –

In summary, declutter ruthlessly, sort out and organise your belongings. Then do a proper Hercule Poirot investigation of every nook and cranny / potential storage area you didn’t spot before in your apartment. What type of storage solution could you fit there? Finally, the fun part: look at what stylish storage option you could go for – and remember it doesn’t need to be new! Take the time to rethink the whole space in a much more practical way and see it as an opportunity to refresh your interior and bring your interior decor together. Have fun!

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