Making the most of storage in a shared house

Storage, or lack of, is a huge issue for householders. Houses just aren’t built to accommodate all our belongings.

The issue is more intense for house shares where residents often own similar items and flatmates bring with them more baggage than Terminal 5. There’s also the alarming trend for communal areas used as extra bedrooms to help keep rental prices affordable.

Shared communal space is fast becoming a thing of the past. This is down to unscrupulous landlords and estate agents advertising expensive house shares, suggesting turning the living room into another bedroom.

Being a generation renter means you have to economise if you want a decent pad but there’s no need to ditch your belongings too. Combining items and creating more storage space should make life a little more comfortable for you and your flatmates.

If you’re struggling for room to house all your kit try these 3 popular ways to increase your space.

Don’t double up in the kitchen

Agree to only have one of each appliance i.e. one kettle, one toaster. Split the cost of buying these items if they need replacing and agree to share out the goods if you plan to move on and go your separate ways.

Lockable fridge storage box
Lockabox Fridge Storage Container
If your housemates are in the habit of helping themselves to your food supplies then this lockable container may be the ideal solution?

Do the same with pots, pans and plates. Buy a bigger set and keep them for communal use. This also saves you money by not having to buy everything when you move into a house.

If you all use similar food items regularly – sauces or spices for example, then share it. Have a kitty for topping up and set a ground rule that everyone must contribute.

If you’re struggling with endless arguments over fridge space, use stackable (and lockable) fridge boxes for each flatmate so you each get an equal share. Or look out for new style fridges suited to house shares.

Maximise your shelf space

Invest in a good set of floor to ceiling shelving for remaining communal spaces such as hallways. Each housemate can have one or two shelves each. Small extendable shelves for kitchen cupboards will also come in handy.

Low level grey-painted bookcase
Habitat Deon Shelving
For organising small spaces, such as hallways, a set of shelves that can accommodate various sizes of baskets and boxes will prove invaluable in a shared home

These little shelves will become your best friend in the bathroom where inevitably there’s an abundance of hair, bath and beauty products. Sharing these items isn’t really an option.

Instead, to keep things tidy, use baskets that hang over showers and over-door organisers. If you’re out of shelf space install a towel rail and store products with hanging lids such as shower gel bottles.

Try to come to an arrangement where everyone has fair shelf-space. It’s no fun being the last one to move in and find that your house-mates have commandeered all the shelves because ‘they’ve been there longer’.

Get it out of the house

Go a lot of bulky or seasonal stuff and no loft or garage space? Consider hiring a self-storage unit and splitting the cost with housemates. You can free up tons of space by not having that boxed Christmas tree or surf-board leaning against the side of the fridge.

Storage units
Renting a storage unit could be cost-effective if you all have too much stuff for the space you live in?

Agree on how long you’ll rent the unit for, perhaps for the same length as your rental contract to avoid arguments about people paying more if the other is moving out.

Work together with your flatmates to use these tips and make your home life more comfortable. You might even reduce those arguments you’ve been having!

See Also
Cramped living space
When a Bedroom is Not Just for Sleeping
A cramped bedroom space
Storage for Small Spaces