The thing about... storage

Storage: the very word is un-sexy. It has that deathly ring of solemnity. And yet it's one of those inevitabilities that gradually creep up: one day you buy a pencil case, the next thing you're leafing through catalogues trying to find the perfect way of organising your drill bits.

The thing about storage is that, despite the fact that it's as inevitable as late trains, few serious improvements have surfaced over the past couple of centuries. The situation in many houses around the country has reached crisis point with home-working; spare-rooms lie knee- deep in paper these days for want of a filing cabinet that doesn't look like a filling cabinet. I still don't understand why even those cabinets where some attempt at disguise has been made have to have label holders. The average punter needs no more than two drawers. What are you supposed to put on the labels? "Top Drawer" and "Bottom Drawer?"

Storage divides into two categories: the absolutely useless and the absolutely expensive. The primary considerations of storage are that it should only take up space that is either occupied or redundant, that it should be instantly accessible, that it should protect your belongings from dust and that it should spare you from having to look your cleaning products in the eye. Storage space is completely wasted if putting things into it is hard work.

Every company producing "ideas" seems to fall into at least one of these traps. Even The Holding Company (slogan: "Who says storage can't be fun?"), which launched a mail order catalogue last November (free on 0171-610 9160), is filled with fabric-covered boxes, retailing between pounds 10.50 and pounds 22.50. IKEA do their own paper-covered cardboard versions at pounds 7.50 for two and pounds 10.50 a pair in metal. And you know what? They all open at the top, which means that stacking is a complete no-no. How many times have you been tempted by those ubiquitous primary coloured mini-dustbins? Same problem, only they clash with everything as well.

"Fun", in many cases, seems to consist of varying the materials used. Actually, you can't beat wood or metal. Cardboard scuffs in no time; those sisal baskets look great until they've accrued a buildup of grime in their rough surfaces. Wicker actually seems to attract dust. Lakeland Plastics' Storage Solutions catalogue (015394 88100) is great on kitchen stuff, but filling your bedroom with a thousand takes on Tupperware is the kind of thing you do in the grip of depression. Calico, fabric of the decade, looks great for about five minutes. After that, it sags.

There is, of course, a simple solution. You could always throw things away, or give them to a charity shop. Treat your belongings as though you're going to disappear tomorrow and your relations are going to get stuck with sorting your stuff out. Those photographs of Marbella will probably end up in the bin, you know. Might as well put them there before someone else does.

Serena Mackesy

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Actor and director Zach Braff
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
Life and Style
i100

Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Business Analyst – 2 year fixed term contract – Kent – Circa £55k

    £45000 - £55000 Per Annum 31 days holiday, pension, healthcare, annual bonus: ...

    Experienced Foundation Teacher

    £100 - £222 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting f...

    SEN Learning Support Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: SEN TA's apply now! West Midlands

    Network Infrastructure Technical Lead - up to £45k DOE - Surrey

    £35000 - £45000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week