Home decorating

Keeping the mess out of sight

12:13 PM

So yesterday I wrote about decorating your apartment in India, and I pointed out one of the biggest issue one will face here : clutter. In Switzerland apartment building have lockable basement cells allocated to each tenant to store their unused items: suitcases, Christmas decorations, old books, ski gear…so that the inside of the apartment remains fairly clean and organized, and in my family we also had a lockable parking cubicle in our building as well these doubled as storehouse for all other items we used more often but not often enough to keep in the flat.
In India you are going to have to learn to do without that, parking bays in apartment buildings are open so you don’t have a space to store stuff away. Basement cells do not exist either, which means all the stuff you use occasionally need to be crammed into your home. For a lot of people that means buying iron wardrobes commonly referred to as Godrej Almirah, they are functional, lockable, but cost a lot more than they probably used to, and they aren’t always pretty to look at, not to mention that they take space, if your rental property comes with wardrobes already, you won’t have much space left for yours. DH and I never bought a Godrej Almirah, most flats in Bangalore have built in wardrobes, and in Mumbai we always picked out flats that had them.
In our old 600 sq.ft. rooftop apartment we used the top of the wardrobes to store our mess, and our kitchen was big enough and had an overhead concrete shelf close to the ceiling on 3 walls, living a lot of space for all these les frequently used items. In Navi Mumbai our flat had a tiny extra room that was designed as a live in servant room, but like most we used it as a storage room, the problem was it got insanely humid during the monsoon and due to proper ventilation planned in that room things did mold (to show how much care is put into servant’s wellbeing for those who have live ins!)
When we shifted back to Bangalore we agreed a 3BHK was needed so we could have a separate room for our study which also meant extra wardrobes to store all our crap.
The problem arose when we faced a relocation to Mumbai last July, 3BHKs in Mumbai itself are costly, so we were forced to downsize to a 2BHK, and even these are smaller in Mumbai than in Bangalore. Granted the one we live in right now is big by the city standards, it still meant, one wardrobe less to store crap, and we didn’t want to blow money on an eye sore of a Godrej Almirah either.
So we used what we had and came up with this :

DSC02205


Our flat is fortunately well planned enough so that the washing machine area is inside in the narrow hallway, this is the view from my kitchen door, there is a well designed drain and water tap to hook the machine, and some space on the side to put a storage unit, since we didn’t want to blow money out. I thought outside the box a little. In Navi Mumbai we had purchased a ugly looking steel shelf unit to put in the storage room, in Bangalore it migrated in the kitchen to act as a pantry shelf, and in our current place this was the only spot it could fit in, and since DH didn’t get the heart to throw away all of his useless books, we put them in that ugly shelf along with my tool box and other stuff. The problem, is it was even more of an eye sore when loaded, and right smack in front of Ishita’s room, and we didn’t want her to star unloading that shelf every day so we needed to hide the mess.
The 3 BHK we left in Bangalore had 3 bathroom, all with shower curtain rods, so in the common bath we hid the cleaning products and gear as well as the baby pram in the shower behind a colourful curtain. The curtain became useless in the new flat because for the first time ever since I moved to India we have separate wet and dry areas in both bathroom, separated by a glass door, so I used a bit of cloth hanging rope, passed it through the holes of the shower curtain and tied it to the top of the shelf unit, and voila! mess concealed and hallway looking pretty!
The curtains covers only the front of the shelf as you can see:

DSC02204


And we still have some junk on top of the shelf, but the gap on the side is handy to store the laundry detergent on the high shelf and easily accessible when loading the machine while still being out of reach of Ishita. I have plans to do something more functional by asking a carpenter to fit shelves above the washing machine, and Dh swears he’ll get rid of the books one day, so maybe we will end up gaining space in these shelves at one point, the pram and baby gear fit on top of one of the bedroom wardrobe and the other wardrobe has all of our suitcases. The point is we found a cheap innovative way to hide our crap away in our new significantly smaller apartment and it even looks pretty enough, the steel shelf did cost us 3k and is one of these utility shelf that can bear enough weight and is versatile enough to be used in various rooms, should we have gotten a Godrej Almirah we would have had to shell much more money and it would not have been practical in our Bangalore 3 BHK flat anyway, this one did the trick look how functional it was as a pantry shelf:

shelf


And it didn’t eat up all the space in my small kitchen there, it was bad enough the fridge didn’t fit where it should and took space in my living room :

kitchen


Useless disclaimer: You might see a few more decoration post, the Summer has hit, the humidity is peaking and I just refuse to leave the comfort of my home for more than absolute necessary trips in the open air, meaning I won’t have much to say about the Indian outdoor until it cools down a little. Ishi’s school ends this Friday, I don’t get to hang out with the other moms at the playground after school due to the heat and my social activities with other stay at home moms will start again in June. Ishi will be in Sumer Camp until May end though because I still need to get my quiet time and she still needs to be with other kids her age without frying in the sun.
June will see my first hosting of a kitty party, Ishi entering Nursery class, and my Birthday, then the first week of July we will travel to Lucknow for Ishita’s birthday, so with the rain things will look a bit more alive.

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