News & Politics

Storage: Professional Help

Need more help? These people and places know storage.

By the Book

Maybe it's no surprise, but storing all our stuff has become such a challenge, bookstores now carry lots of magazines and books on the subject. (Before reaching for your wallet, consider a trip to the library. It will save money–and storage space.)

Here are ten recent reads stuffed with good storage advice:

Complete Home Storage by Barbara Braasch and Lisa Stockwell Kessler. Lots of photos and illustrations reveal clever storage ideas easily adaptable to any home.

Do It Now, Do It Fast, Do It Right: Storage Solutions, Tim Snyder, editor. Even a first-time do-it-yourselfer can tackle these at-home projects–from shelves to cabinets–in three days or less.

The Organized Home: Design Solutions for Clutter-Free Living by Randall Koll and Casey Ellis. Take a step back from where to stash stuff and read practical advice about how to get–and stay–organized.

Organizing Good Things: 100 Ways to Unclutter Your Home, special issue of Martha Stewart Living magazine, Spring 2004. More than 100 room-by-room ideas for foyers, kitchens, home offices, closets, kids' rooms, bathrooms, and utility spaces.

Pottery Barn Storage & Display. This book features more than 190 pages of ideas and color photos.

Sensational Storage Solutions by the editors of House Beautiful magazine and Sally Clark. Okay, so maybe this is eye candy. Homes from around the globe showcase Parisian libraries and food-editor kitchens. But the ideas can find a home just about anywhere.

Shelf Expression: 70 Projects & Ideas for Creative Storage & Display by Marthe Le Van. Build your own floating boxes or create mounted shelves with stepladders. Affordable materials and doable techniques make it seem easy.

Simple Storage Solutions by Elizabeth Hilliard. The author takes a practical approach to storage, using real homes with real belongings. She stresses not just how to stash them but how to live with and enjoy your possessions.

Storage Solutions, Sarah Yelling, editor. Clear descriptions and photos make do-it-yourself projects look as cool to create as they are to live with.

Taunton's Home Storage Idea Book by Joanne Kellar Bouknight. Written by a licensed architect, this book includes more than 400 project photos and renderings that depict storage solutions in entryways, kitchens, living rooms, workspaces, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

In Store

These retailers stock a wealth of storage supplies, and some sell furniture that can double as storage. Check Web sites for store addresses or online catalogs.

The Container Store, locations in Tenleytown, Rockville, Tysons Corner, and Clarendon; This store bursts at the seams with–you guessed it–containers: bins, bags, boxes, and baskets made out of plastic, metal, wicker, canvas, silk, and cardboard. Also the popular Elfa closet-organization system.

Crate & Barrel, in Northwest DC, Montgomery Mall, Tysons Corner, Market Common at Clarendon, Fashion Centre at Pentagon City, and Alexandria (outlet); Crate & Barrel's furniture stores (Northwest DC, Tysons, Clarendon) sell benches, sideboards, ottomans, and other pieces for serious storage. Every location features smaller solutions for kitchens, bathrooms, home offices, media rooms, and more.

Hold Everything, Chevy Chase Pavilion; Hold Everything looks to be living up to its name–at least more so than in recent years. In addition to closet accoutrements, its inventory includes a fun selection of organizational gear and furniture for the home office, bathroom, laundry area, and living room.

Ikea, College Park and Woodbridge; Ikea's showroom is full of space-saving ideas–from blue laundry baskets that look like bugs to coffee tables with cubbyholes.

Organized Living, Fairfax Corner, This Kansas-based retailer of storage and organization products opened its first Washington-area location last year. Think of it as the Container Store lite.

Pottery Barn, in Georgetown, Chevy Chase Pavilion, White Flint Mall, Tysons Galleria, Market Common at Clarendon, Reston Town Center, and Fair Oaks Mall; Shop Pottery Barn for baskets, coat racks, and wall and media shelving.

Restoration Hardware, in Georgetown, Old Town Alexandria, Tysons Corner Center, and Mall at Columbia; Known for its quirky vintage collection, Restoration Hardware also offers bathroom, kitchen, and living-room furniture and accessories with good storage capabilities.

Scan Furniture, in Bethesda, Rockville, Towson, Columbia, Falls Church, and Sterling; Once limited mostly to contemporary Scandinavian design, Scan now covers more geographic territory. But you can still find simple lines in teak and maple for most every room–and an especially good selection of entertainment and office furniture.

Call a Pro

Pictures of pristine closets got you down? Not sure where to begin? Get one-on-one guidance from a professional organizer.

Most of the 70-plus members of the local chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers zero in on common problem areas such as kitchens, bedrooms, basements, and garages. But in keeping up with the times, organizers have added specialties in home offices, feng shui, identity theft, and more.

You can find a local member at