Tip #191: The one best small space storage solution.
I can’t help but click on the stories that promise me small space solutions. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve been disappointed, or, more usually, just bored by the solutions, I’ll still click. Even if the story requires scrolling through slides, my personal least favorite design feature of websites, I’ll dutifully make my way to the end. But I’ve never found a small space solution this way.
The only small space solutions I’ve found have been through the passage of time. Time that allows me both the opportunity to understand what kind of solution I actually need in the first place and time that gives me the chance to embark on the hunt itself.
I realize that I might sound like a broken record, but if the internet has limitless room for posts touting the 10 Best Small Space Storage Solutions, each with an only slight variation on the theme of questionably small-sized furniture, than there’s certainly room for one more post reminding us all that best is subjective and finding your personal best takes time and perseverance.
So where to start?
Here’s the story of how I came to find one cupboard, to give an idea of my own quirky process, in case it’s helpful:
As we prepare for the arrival of the new addition to our family, James and I have known that we’d need to find space for the tiny onesies and diapers that make up the majority of my personal list of “baby essentials.” (Even a minimalist baby has a few material needs.)
So we began our search for a cupboard in earnest a few months ago. We measured the space we had and marked out a masking tape outline of dimensions that we thought might be ideal. We texted each other inspiration images. I ripped out a picture from a magazine and tacked it to the wall. We scoured second-hand sites like AptDeco and 1stDibs and pinned anything mildly inspiring to a shared board on Pinterest. We were brutally honest about what we liked and what we didn’t and we nixed (and guffawed at) far more pieces than we ever considered.
Together we tracked down listings on Facebook’s Marketplace and Craigslist, followed leads presented by our neighborhood Buy Nothing Project, and eyed piles of curbed furniture with intense interest. We made like a pair of Goldilocks (minus the breaking and entering) and chased cabinets and cupboards around the neighborhood, wanting to test things out and see them up close.
Finally, we found our fit. A neighborhood woman was moving to a new apartment and she sold us this battered old beauty for a song. On a frigid morning, James and I walked together to pick it up and bring it home in the back of a taxi. It was musty and needed more than a bit of deep cleaning. It was less wide than we’d hoped for, but it fit our very shallow depth requirement and it was the perfect height to fit into the sweet spot of being tall enough to take advantage of wall space without being overbearing in a small space.
To my view, this is what the one best small space storage solution looks like: the one that works best for us and is best for right now. It might not be the best for you, or the best for Sue down the street, but this little cupboard has been perfect for storing my camera and my computer and hard drives, our router and computer cables, and all of my other work supplies, including my maximalist collection of scissors that I’d previously cozied next to the linens in our closet. (Make way for diapers, etc.)