Sunday, June 1, 2014

A New Version of Storage Wars...

When Alma at The Tablescaper announced her link party entitled, Where Do You Keep it All? Part 5  I knew I wanted to participate.  I thought it would be eye-opening to me to really evaluate where I have been storing all my tablescaping items.  I'm fairly new to the hobby (my Blogaversary of One Year won't be until September), but I've LOVED plates and crystal for forever, so my collection had a pretty good head start.  I've got to tell you, this post has totally inspired me to get a handle on my organizational flaws!! When I took an honest look at the pictures I had taken, I thought, "I can't possibly post these pictures on my blog! It's too embarrassing! Even if all my storage areas are surreptitiously hidden behind closet doors, others will look at the chaos and enter my name as a contestant on the show, Hoaders: Buried Alive! But, I'll take a chance, and if nothing else, please know this blog entry will hopefully serve as a "BEFORE" series. Stay posted for the "AFTER" series of photos when I can come up with a better system. So, here goes!

Before we did renovations about ten years ago and added a new kitchen, dining area and family room (better known as a Great Room), we had a small dining area off a small galley kitchen. I had an antique cabinet I called my sideboard where I could store linens and placemats and use for additional serving space during a holiday dinner. I had one closet that served as an appliance garage and held the zippered china storage sets with my "good" china and Christmas dishes.   I also had a corner cabinet that served as my "hutch". This held some serving pieces and my crystal stemware.  Here's how the corner cabinet looks today where it's been relocated to my living room.  I have collectibles in it now, and some crystal and porcelain serving pieces.

After the new addition was added, I began with one closet in my Great Room area. At first, I had a shelf for Spring/Easter plates, one shelf for Fall/Thanksgiving plates, and one shelf for Christmas dishes. Other shelves held serving platters and bowls, boxed cups and glasses and some table decorations. As you can see, the original plan has morphed into more of a "just put it wherever there is room!" type of organization:

The original appliance garage now has shelves added for stemware storage. It is also sorely in need of re-organization!

This is the hutch that is a part of the dining set we purchased after our new dining area was added. The top section serves as a display area for holiday and season changes (and also adds some badly needed space for plates and crystal. Flatware, linens (tablecloths and napkins) and accent pieces for my tablescaping are stored in the bottom cabinets.


Once I got my blog started last year, I began earnestly perusing antique stores, swapmeets and discount stores for plates and accent pieces. It was glorious!!  However, it quickly became apparent that more storage was needed for all my purchases.  After my oldest daughter went to college, her room became my office and our guest room. We had a desk unit and cabinets installed and that became the place I spent my years as a High School English teacher: MANY hours of lesson planning and grading essays!! I've been retired almost six years now, and haven't really emptied my cabinets of teaching supplies yet! But, the closet was perfect for storage.  It started out so well organized. One industrial strength storage rack:  shelves for plates; one shelf for chargers and round placemats; a plastic bin for flatware and lots of room left over for lanterns and other accent pieces. Then I added a shoe organizer that worked perfectly for napkins.  I kept the clothing rod in the closet and that became storage for tablecloths! However, the frenzy of collecting tablescaping components has now made my organized shelving unit and closet now look like this:

(Pretty scary, huh?)

I then had to look at the desk unit for additional storage and started adding tall pitchers, teapots and faux flowers to my collection of family photos!

Then I moved across the room to my book shelf for additional storage. The top shelf houses stemware and tumblers.....

Finally, I got some plastic bins for the overflow (they are located UNDER my desk unit!) I recently found these handled baskets at the Dollar Tree store.  They work perfectly for my flatware.  Now I want to find a way to close off this storage area. Any ideas?  I thought about curtains on spring rods as well as some type of shutter.

I now have filled up the room except for one other area: my book cabinets (remember: they're still full of teaching materials!) So.....I have to make some decisions. The elimination of these remnants of my teaching career is a daunting task.  I keep thinking...what if I want to tutor? what if my grandkids need extra learning support? what if....what if.....? Bottom line is I have to be willing to "LET IT GO!! LET IT GO....."( start hearing the swelling of an orchestra and the voice of Idina Menzel!)  It's so hard to say good-bye to these things that filled my waking hours for so many years.  But, there is no where else to turn for storage.

So----this is where I store my tablescaping items, and where my future "dish room" will be.  Like I said, please consider this post a BEFORE glimpse.  Hopefully, once life calms down a bit, I can work on the AFTER product. I still keep my eyes open for successful storage unit ideas.  That is why I am looking forward to Alma's link party.  I'm hoping I'll see what other tablescapers have done to keep their stash under control!  Any suggestions you can offer are appreciated.  Just leave a comment and I will take your suggestions to heart!

I'll be linking to Alma's "Where Do You Keep It All, Part 5" at
and Dawn's History and Home Link party at   Thank you, Alma and Dawn for hosting these parties!

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