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Managing clutter

Bookshelves with neatly stacked books

Is clutter overpowering your manufactured home? Here's a list of some things you can do to optimize the space you have.

Use bookshelves as dividers

You can divide one room into two without making structural changes by making use of a free-standing bookcase – and at the same time, gain added space not only for books but for utilitarian, decorative and collectible items. For example, a bedroom can be divided to retain the sleeping area on one side and a study on the other. Since most bookcases are meant to be placed against a wall, the backs may be unfinished. Solve the problem by coverage the back with panels of colorful fabric that coordinate with your room's d├ęcor.

Create a multi-purpose room

Even available 6 x 9 space can be converted into a combination office, hobby, sewing and ironing room. Set one side apart for the office, to include a desk built of 2x4s and Mylar-covered hard-board. You can store account books and business papers in stackable plastic vegetable bins above the desk and in a plastic storage box beneath the desk. Mylar-covered work surfaces are also used on the sewing/laundry side of the space, along with additional plastic storage drawers (using contrasting colors for opposite sides of the room) for fabrics, patterns and thread. Hang the ironing board from the wall hooks when not in use; poles can be positioned above the work surfaces from which to hang laundry.

Make use of screens

A folding floor-to-ceiling screen can serve both a decorative and a practical purpose. For example, a three-panel screen designed with picture frames can display family memories and conceal storage space.

Guest towel display

If having plenty of hand towels available for guests is a problem, here's an idea you may find useful. Roll up the towels like magazines and store them in a wine rack. It's a colorful way to display towels and they're always handy. Depending on the weight of the wine rack you choose, the rack can be hung from the wall, or simply set on the toilet tank.

Enjoying your memories

If you have a drawer or box filled with memorabilia, but never seem to get around to organizing it, here's a tip that will make the project fun. Put the items in a photograph album or scrap book. Whatever kind of book you use, make sure the pages are acid free so your memorabilia will be safe.

Not only will assembling the book be fun, but then you can share the scraps of family history with guests and friends!

Storage trunk

An antique trunk is a sure bet for great storage. Trunks are available at antique dealers and estate sales, sometimes quite reasonably priced. You might need to paint or refinish the trunk. If the inside needs attention, clean it and put adhesive-backed vinyl or wallpaper in as a liner. Add a couple of sachets, and you can store blankets, spare bedding for a fold-out sofa, off-season clothing or hobby and crafts materials. Depending on its size, the trunk can be used to hold a television, stereo components, plants, or even as a coffee table.

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