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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Under-the-bed storage

Original Article

Hannah here!

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that I would be sharing a little more in-depth about how I set up my longer-term storage under my bed.  I'll warn you, it's not too thrilling - but if I can even give one person some good ideas, it'll be worth it! :)

First, I gathered all my #10 cans of food.  I prefer #10 cans for my longer-term storage because I live in Florida, and the cans keep the pests out!  I sometimes buy my food already canned up, or in the past I have brought food to my mother-in-law's house and used the huge canner that we borrowed from church (we've done flour, beans, oats, sugar, powdered milk, hot cocoa mix).

For a few months, the corner of my bedroom looked like this:

I also had random cans around the house that I gathered together:

We bought bed risers at Walmart for around $7, I think (for the 4-pack).  They are about 7 inches tall and seem sturdy.  I put a square piece of batting under each one so they wouldn't scratch the floors. :)  And, yes, under my bed it's very dusty and messy and just generally unkempt.  Ugh. (I guess the excuse "no one sees under there" doesn't apply to me!)

At first, it made me a little nervous to have laminate floors in my bedroom because I imagined that all those cans would scratch up the floors as I put them underneath or took them out.  Finally, I came up with a great solution (you'll see below)!

I used a permanent marker and labeled the cans all the way around the top so that I would be able to read what is in them, no matter what angle they are at under my bed.

(Side note: #10 cans are the perfect stool height for a two-year-old!)

 First, I slid all the boxes under the bed.  I felt pretty good about where they were, until I discovered that I had a good 8-10 inches of wasted space at the top of the bed!  At first I just figured that I would fill that space with just a line of #10 cans if I needed to, but then I realized that there was just enough space between the risers to push all the boxes up.  So, that's what I did!  They are pretty wedged in there, but I can get to them if I need to.

The boxes pushed up, all the way to the wall:

Next, I found a towel we never use and folded it in half long-wise (this is my solution for not scratching the floors).  This gave me just enough space to line up two rows of #10 cans.  Again, since I have the cans labeled all the way around, I don't have to place them in any particular way.  I did keep groups of foods together, though.

 Once the rows were complete, I simply pushed them all under the bed on the towel.  It didn't matter how heavy they were, because they just slid right in!  They also slide right out by pulling on the end of the towel, so I am thinking that rotation will be a bit easier now that my food is easy to get to!

Halfway there!  As you can see, we have two table leaves under the bed as well, and those are staying for now.  They are also acting as a support for the middle leg of our bed, which didn't get a riser (they came in a 4-pack).

Next, I lined up all my rice on a second towel.  I have more rice than anything else, as you can see!

A couple seconds and a couple pushes later, they were under the bed, neat and orderly.  Easy to slide in and out.

Finally, I made a list of exactly what was under the bed.....

.....and I stuck it between the bed frame and the box spring.  If I ever add anything under the bed, or take anything out, I'll simply edit this list as needed.  I even have a pen in there so that there is no excuse not to keep it updated.

So there you have it - my simple way of organizing my longer-term storage under my bed.  I am hoping that I can even add a second stack of cans on top of the ones I have under there now (I am pretty sure there would be space for some cans, but not as many as the first layer because of the bed frame, box spring beams, etc.).  I am also hoping to get a bed skirt someday so that our bed doesn't look so funny on those risers. :)

This method (using towels to slide food) would probably not be as effective if you have carpet in your bedrooms, but it might be worth a shot, especially if you can get to the other side of your bed and pull the towel under the bed instead of pushing it (does that make sense?).  What about flattened cardboard boxes - would those slide very well on carpet, if there were cans of food on top of them?  I'm just trying to throw out some ideas here!  Has anyone found a good method for under-the-bed storage?  Let us know!