Most of us had at least one, or two, childhood fears. What were yours? Dread of creepy crawlies after the time your brother chased you around the garden, dangling a spider pinched between his fingers? An irrational fear of the dark? A sensation of paralysing terror every time you saw that scary lunch lady? Or, like many, you may have been afraid of what was under the bed.
As we grow older, these fears tend to subside. Spiders might still give you the heebie-jeebies, but as an adult, you’re better equipped to just grab a tumbler and be done with it. And once you’ve grown to the same size as that terrible lunch lady, you realise she’s not so scary after all.
But for many of us, peering under the bed is still a source of untold terror.
What’s under your bed?
Solitary socks, thick with dust. Heavily thumbed books – half finished – which smell distinctly musty. Dense cobwebs with the conspicuous absence of a spider. Or, worst of all, an abandoned plate with mouldy toast cemented to it.
The horrors lurking under your bed might be more, or less, petrifying. But we can imagine few people in history looking under their bed, emitting a delighted squeal and crying “My, isn’t it lovely down here!
However unpleasant the idea of tackling the dark space underneath your bed might seem – there’s no reason this shouldn’t become a handy, and delightfully organised, part of your bedroom. After all, to be a true black-belt in the art of effective organisation, you must be able to transform even the most awkward unused spaces into useful areas of your home.
It begins with boxing
Whether you have a bed with storage, a divan, an ottoman or a classic bed with an elevated base – boxes are your best friends when it comes to controlling the unruly space under your bed.
If under your bed is a cavernous space where stray objects roll, removable under-bed storage has a dual advantage. Firstly, there’s less opportunity for rogue bits and bobs to mysteriously make their way under the bed – boxes, drawers and storage cubes provide handy obstacles for wandering items. Secondly, they provide easy access to your things, and can either be concealed and functional or more decorative to accentuate the look of your bedroom.
There are plenty of smoothly stash-able boxes and drawers on wheels which can slide underneath a bed and keep all your items together. If you’re looking to store things which you need infrequently, like childhood toys or holiday clothing, make sure to choose lidded or zip-able cases to prevent the accumulation of dust.
If it’s something which you want to access on a regular basis – make sure you consider style, as well as practicality.
Design vs Divan
A valance can easily cover up plastic boxes and mismatched containers under beds without built-in storage. But if you need somewhere to keep things you use daily – like make-up, hairdryers, shoes or accessories – it’s better to opt for something a little more aesthetic. The good news is, you can use the storage itself to add another dimension to your design.
Buying a collection of storage units or boxes to sit underneath the edge of your bed is a chance to have some fun with the colours and look of your bedroom. Whatever you go for, make sure it’s a material that you like. You could line the underside of your bed with seagrass woven crates for a nautical look, pine drawers for something more rustic, or use a selection of colourful fabric cubes which are cheap to replace when you want to redecorate.
Streamlined drawer storage - a well-kept secret
Those who’ve purchased storage beds might be thinking that their job is already done. Having a handy set of drawers built into your bed provides the perfect place to store your towels, bed sheets and even electronics. But, much like a desk drawer used to tuck things away in a hurry, without a system for keeping things in place, these drawers can soon become a mess.
This is where soft fabric storage cases, or drawer organisers can come in handy. If your bed comes with more than one drawer, make sure each one is devoted to a single category of items. This makes it easy to remember where to put things, and where to find them again.
For items like bedding, try not to stack too many different pieces on top of each-other. This can cause chaos when it comes to finding the specific item you’re after. Keeping things like matching duvet sets in their own handy zip bag or in one of the set’s pillow cases is a good way of keeping everything together. And if your drawer is full of smaller items, divide the space into small squares or rows using drawer organisers or dividers. Some choose to fold and store items such as pillowcases vertically for greater visibility. However you choose to organise, you’ll find that as soon as everything has a home, it will be much easier to keep your objects in order.
The biggest surprise of all
For true storage efficiency, nothing comes close to the Ottoman bed – the Cadillac of space solutions.
Instead of struggling to reach the furthest end of a drawer, or deep underneath your bed, Ottomans offer the ultimate access from a storage bed. Through a mechanised spring action, part or all of the mattress lifts revealing an easily accessible and generously sized space beneath.
This offers a large and secure storage spot – ideal for items like towels, out-of-season clothing and spare bedding. Unlike drawers, boxes and storage cubes, the Ottoman provides a space which can house bigger items which might otherwise find themselves assigned to the attic, or shoved to the back of a wardrobe.
And while, to your wary pet dog, the piston assisted opening of your Ottoman bed may be akin to the yawning mouth of a great beast, to you it offers easy access to that summer duvet or winter coat.
So, whether you’re looking to take control of the unruly space underneath your bed slats, or simply organise your storage for a little peace of mind, it’s time to act. Like every lurking monster, the only way to defeat disorganisation is to greet it face-to-face.