It’s easy to overlook the need for in-home storage until your stuff starts taking over your house. So make sure you plan for adequate storage.

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Q: Any storage tips for the clutter-ly clueless among us?

A: When prospective homeowners think about building a home, their thoughts go to the cool stuff. They plan how the kitchen will look. They think about how their family room can be designed to make it a place that family and friends will be comfortable. They may focus a lot of attention on the master bathroom to make it a tranquil place to get ready to face the day or relax before retiring for the evening.

Those are all great things to think about and to pursue. But in the daily living of life, there is something that affects every aspect of home living. It’s storage space, and it may be the final frontier in homebuilding. You’ve got to have adequate space in which to store your stuff. Here are a few examples.


The most beautiful kitchen won’t look or feel nearly as great if it’s cluttered. And kitchens are full of items of an awkward size.

A good design-build builder can help you find space that you didn’t even think was available for those unusual items. It could be a lazy Susan in a “dead” corner. It might be taking advantage of a narrow space for storing baking pans. Or it could be a creative use of cabinet space for storing spices.

Thinking through your storage needs up front can keep your kitchen looking elegant and uncluttered. It can also make it much more useable.


Closets can be much more than cramped spaces where you store your clothes. Properly designed, they can help you organize clothing items to make it a whole lot more pleasant to get ready for the day. If your closets are designed properly (in a way that makes it easier to see and access what you want), you can eliminate a lot of stress.

Miscellaneous stuff

We all have items around the house that we use only occasionally. It could be blankets or pillows or linens or knick-knacks. But where do you put them when they’re not in use?

You probably want to reserve your linen closets for bed linens and towels. What do you do with the other items? A creative design-build builder may be able to create spaces in places you hadn’t thought of, such as under stairs. It’s a great way to take advantage of space that would otherwise go unused. And don’t forget about tapping into the extra space in your garage, either.

It’s crucial to talk to your builder about storage space early in the process when you’re drawing up the design for your home. If your stuff has a home, then your actual home will feel more open, uncluttered and relaxing for you and your guests.

Brooks Powell is the general manager of  Powell Homes and Renovations and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the MBA’s weekly column. If you have a home  improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to