The Life-Changing Magic of IKEA Storage Boxes
So, when I said I’d managed to get Terry on board with the de-cluttering of our house, I don’t think I realised quite HOW “on board” he was going to get.
I mean, Terry is not a naturally tidy person – not even a little bit, in fact. When he decides to do something, though, he goes ALL IN with it, and that was definitely the case here. Guys, he measured cabinets – then he measured them again, just to make sure he’d got it right. He spent most of one evening on the IKEA website, looking at their various storage solutions, and working out which would be best for our needs. He checked the stock levels on the site, in order to decide whether to go to the Edinburgh store or the Glasgow one. (Edinburgh won, just FYI.) He measured again. He made plans:
(My contribution to all of this, by the way, was to just keep going, “I dunno: maybe we could get some more SKUBB boxes, though?” every time he asked me if I had any thoughts on the matter.)
Finally, he declared himself ready, and, armed with an extensive list of storage solutions, we made the all-important trip to IKEA, where we filled an entire cart with storage boxes:
“The most important thing,” Terry kept saying as we joined the slow-moving mass of people wandering around the store as if out for a leisurely stroll, “is that we make sure we forget NOTHING. I don’t care how much it costs, we get everything we need, and we get it NOW, because there is no way in hell we’re coming back here.”
“Sure thing,” I agreed, “NO STORAGE BOX LEFT BEHIND! They came, they saw, they bought AAAALLL the Ikea storage boxes! We will get them ALL!”
So, yeah, we totally forgot, like, half of the stuff we went in for. Yes.
In our defence, the IKEA website had apparently lied about its stock levels, so some of the stuff we’d planned to get wasn’t available. Also in our defence, though, Max decided that being in IKEA was the worst thing that had ever happened to him, and that it could only be made tolerable if he repeatedly removed his shoes and socks, while I sung ‘2002‘ to him on repeat. And, I mean, that was fun for NO ONE, really: and it pains me to have to say that, because I LOVE Ikea, and had been secretly hoping we could stop for lunch in the restaurant, make a proper day out of it, you know?
But it was not to be. So, we headed home, and then, two days later, we were back for more singing, more shoe-and-sock-removing, and, of course, MOAR IKEA STORAGE BOXES:
(Oh yeah, and four packs of white wood hangers which people keep messaging me to tell me I’ll spend the rest of my life regretting, but seriously JE NE REGRETTE REIN. Er, I have another post planned on that, actually…)
And guys? Didn’t get enough boxes, did we? NOPE.
This time, however, the second trip had been on a Sunday afternoon, and had been so relentlessly awful that not even I was willing to go in for a third attempt, so I reluctantly went back to the IKEA website for the rest of the stuff I’d now decided I couldn’t possibly live without:
Honestly? Could be doing with a few more boxes, tbh. Well, how was I to know that “going minimal” would involve buying SO MUCH STUFF? (And, yes, I am very aware of the irony in this situation, so no need to point it out: all I’ll say here is that the theory is that you get your home properly organised once, and then you never need to do it again, apparently. I’m not saying that’s MY theory, you understand, it’s just… A theory. Moving on…)
So! We had our IKEA storage boxes, so now all we had to do was deploy them around the house. And, I mean, I’ve called this post XXXXXXXXXXXXXX in a vague attempt to legitimise this process, but, well, you all know there’s really only ONE thing you can do with IKEA storage boxes, right? It’s “Put stuff inside them.” And here’s how how we did it…
Skubb boxes for hosiery
I’m starting off with my beloved SKUBB boxes, because SKUBB boxes are life for me, basically. I’ve bought so many of them over the years than I feel like I must have more than IKEA do at this point: in fact, it’s reach a stage where any time my parents go to IKEA, they just automatically pick up a set of six for me, because they know I’ll find a use for them. And I always do.
Now, if I’d been using the KonMari method correctly, I’d just have thrown out all of my socks and tights, because, let me tell you, they do NOT spark joy. No siree. Instead, I used the smallest of the boxes from the SKUBB set to organise them by colour and type (trainer socks, ankle socks, fuzzy socks, the detested tights, and so on…), and now it makes me happy to see them, even if it still doesn’t make me happy to wear them.
(I DID actually throw out all of those brightly coloured tights I’d bought over the years in a bid to dress like everyone else at the time. God, I HATED those things.)
I then used the longer boxes from the SKUBB sets (They’re my favourites. Don’t tell the rest…) as bra storage. This is the main reason I now need MORE SKUBB boxes, actually, because, by this point, I’d already used up all of the smaller boxes from about three or four different SKUBB sets, and I still had drawers to fill. Oh, and because I generally find the smaller boxes most useful for lingerie etc, I now had a bunch of the largest boxes left, which I had no real use for. Damn.
(Don’t worry, I found a use for them.. but we’ll get to that.)
I then used similar layouts for the rest of my lingerie and nightwear, but I feel I’ve overshared enough for today, so I’ll leave you to imagine what my lingerie and nightwear looks like in IKEA storage boxes. Please don’t, though.
(These drawers are the IKEA MALM 6 drawer set, by the way. As you can see, the boxes fit inside perfectly, in various combinations, because, well, they were literally made for it, as far as I know…)
Skubb boxes as toy storage
We like to keep some of Max’s toys in the sideboard in our living room, so he has something to play with when he’s down there. (And so we don’t have to keep carrying various toys up and down the stairs all day, let’s be honest.) This isn’t from IKEA (SHOCKER, I know…), so the SKUBB boxes aren’t quite a perfect fit, but it’s close enough, and helps keep things a little more organised. Max also loves rummaging through boxes, so it’s handy to be able to just pull these out and let him have fun with them.
(And yes, that’s a gold credit card in the top left of the photo: what can I say, he’s a high-flyin’ baby.)
(OK, no it’s not, it’s a random playing card he took a shine to. Babies be weird…)
And camera storage
As a full-time blogger, camera equipment takes up a lot of space in our house (And, yes, that admission DOES beg the question, “Why are the photos in this post so bad then?” The answer, of course, is that I have all of this expensive camera equipment, but mostly use my phone these days, because, lazy. Yes.). This is just some of the lenses etc we have, and, wouldn’t you know, no sooner had I finished organising it all, Terry went out and bought a telephoto lens that’s so large I don’t think it would fit in the drawer AT ALL, even without the boxes. Obviously a drawer without SKUBB boxes is like a sky without stars to me (These ones actually weren’t purchased on this particular trip – I’ve had them since we bought the sideboard, otherwise it’s drawers would’ve been all weird and naked…) so I’ve no idea what we’ll do with that lens now. IT HAS RUINED EVERYTHING, THOUGH.
(Also, I’ve just downloaded this photo from my phone, and now all I can think is, “Wait: where is the actual camera?” No, seriously: where IS my camera? I am so confused right now…)
Skubb boxes for changing table organisation
These are actually old photos, as we’ve had these particular boxes for as long as we’ve had the changing table (You can see my original post on it here, because I’ve been being boring about drawer organisation for a long time now, apparently…), but still. Again, our changing table isn’t from IKEA, but this time the boxes did fit really well into it, so we’re still using a similar setup here, although we no longer the burp cloths, and Max has acquired at least 67,986 more socks. I find the that the longer boxes for the set are perfect for storing nappies, though, so well worth considering if you have a baby in the house.
Let’s talk about something other than SKUBB boxes, shall we? How about VARIERA boxes instead? Because we have a LOT of those, too…
Variera boxes for the kitchen cupboards
This is another setup we’ve been using since we remodelled our kitchen in 2017, but we did update it slightly following our most recent trip(s) to IKEA. These are the VARIERA boxes, which come in a couple of different sizes (You can see the “baby” box at the top left of the photo…), and we find them really useful when it comes to organising the kitchen cupboards.
When I first posted a photo of these cupboards, I had a few comments from people asking how on earth we remember what’s in them all, and where everything is, and the answer is that… we just DO, somehow. Our original idea – which I’d actually still like to do – was to put labels on each box with a reminder of the contents, but we finished our kitchen project a few weeks after we found out I was pregnant, and we were so distracted by that, and everything else that happened that year that it just kept getting forgotten. We’ve found it easy enough to just remember where stuff is, though (I guess it helps that we buy more or less the same things every week), and I find it much handier having everything in boxes I can just pull out, rather than arranged on shelves, which I could never reach the back of, so it’s all good.
Glass jars for cereals, etc
One of our biggest organisational challenges in the kitchen has always been stuff like cereal etc, which generally comes in large cardboard boxes which take up a lot of space, and frequently seem to spill – or, at least, they do in our house. We hadn’t really come up with a decent solution to that one until last week, when we cleared out this drawer (Which had previously held a random collection of stuff we didn’t really need…), and bought 9 of IKEA’S glass jars to fill it with.
(Aside: why does this product not have a cute name, I wonder? It’s literally just known on the website as ‘GLASS JAR WITH LID’. I feel sad for it.)
We’ve been using these to store things like cereal, pasta, flour, sugar… er, Midget Gems, in, and so far it’s been working out really well: no spillages, and it’s easy to see what’s in each jar, so it’s quite handy, to.o. Most importantly, though, it looks nice, and makes me feel all calm and zen-like when I look at it. Need to refill that Midget Gem jar soon, though…
Billingen inserts for makeup organisation
I actually think IKEA must have discontinued their Billingen inserts, because I can’t seem to find them on their website, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them in store. Never fear, though – I’ve bought all of mine from eBay, and you can also still find them on Amazon, so they’re still around. I use these to organise the makeup in my Malm dressing table, and much prefer them to the acrylic organisers I originally had – they just look neater and cleaner, I think. I get quite a lot of questions about these – or, I get the SAME question from a lot of different people, rather, so, just to quickly answer that, I have 6 ‘Billingen’ inserts in total, and they’ll fit into the Malm drawer either vertically or horizontally, however you prefer. They don’t fit perfectly, unfortunately, so there’s still a gap at the side, however you choose to arrange them, but they’re still the best solution I’ve found for this drawer, so I’m pretty happy with them. For now.
THIS CLEAR PLASTIC HOLDER FOR CLEANING PRODUCTS
As part of our decluttering mission, we had a big clear-out of the cupboard under the sink, which was previously home to too many cleaning products to mention, most of which were totally inaccessible, as they were tucked away at the back of the cupboard – and, out of sight, out of mind, right?
So, we went through it all and got rid of most of it: that still left us with four bottles of Method Cleaning Spray, obviously, and I have no idea how that happened, but we WILL use them all up, so I decided just to keep them. As for WHERE I decided to keep them, meanwhile, I actually think this plastic caddy is supposed to be an insert for another IKEA storage box, but, well, it’s the perfect size to hold exactly four bottle of Method Cleaning Spray, AND it has a handle, which allows you to carry it from room to room. What more could I ask for?
DRONA BOXES FOR CLOSETS
Max’s closet is also a bit of a challenge when it comes to organisation: he has SO many clothes, but not all of them fit him at the same time, so he has quite a few things at the moment that he hasn’t quite grown into yet, and which we need to find space for. I’d been trying to just cram everything onto the rails and into the drawers in the centre, but that wasn’t leaving a lot of space for the clothes he wears NOW, so we bought three of these DRONA boxes to go on the shelf at the top of the closet, instead.
(I actually wanted to get these in some kind of pattern or print, rather than plain white – because that’s how wild and kerrrazy I am – but white was the only colour available for home delivery when I placed my order, so I’m just having to live with it.)
As I said, I’m using these to store clothes that are currently too big for Max, or which have been bought for his trip to Florida, and which he obviously can’t wear in Scotland in January. These were such a good fit that we ended up getting sets for every closet in the house: Terry’s has had a complete overhaul since our IKEA trip (It previously resembled Monica’s closset-of-shame from Friends…), and is now fully stocked with DRONA boxes, too. As for mine, I managed to fit four of these on the shelf above my clothes, and am using them mostly for holiday stuff, like straw hats, which I only ever use during the summer, the packing cubes I use in my suitcase, the vanity case I take with me when I travel, and so on and so forth. So, things I use often enough to not want to get rid of them, basically, but NOT often enough to need them within easy reach.
(Oh, and the photo of Max’s closet also shows what I ended up doing with all of those spare SKUBB boxes: the ones under the hanging rails contain things like hats, gloves and scarves, and there’s also another shelf above the DRONA boxes which now holds five large SKUBB boxes, filled with some of my own old children’s books which I’m saving for Max, but which he won’t be able to read for a few years yet.)
CONFESSION: We do have more storage boxes in the house. Quite a few more, in fact. But this post is long enough already, so I think I’m going to end it here, and, I don’t know, go and order some more IKEA storage boxes or something? Well, the more the merrier, right?