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Storage space needn't look stuffy

Out of sight isn't necessarily out of mind when it comes to storing household and personal items that are frequently used yet need a place of their own. When planning storage space for everything from kitchen utensils to seasonal clothing, accessibility and organization should be top-priority considerations. Help ease storage problems with the following tips:

* Create unique and inexpensive storage bins using old toy chests, cabinets, and stackable wooden crates. Bring out the best in old wood furniture with a new coat of paint, or let the natural beauty come through with stains and varnishes. Crates can be spray-painted to match room decor. Arrange them attractively against a wall or use them as night stands and end tables.

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* Color-code drawers in a child's room for easy reference. Stencil words or symbols on the drawers so that you can ''see'' the contents of each drawer before you open it.

* Brightly colored hinges and drawer knobs painted to match or blend with a piece of furniture will complement your storage area beautifully. Camouflage shelving units with curtains hung from a rod painted to match and use Lazy Susans and shelf dividers to help you keep track of small containers.

* Open storage areas a problem? Spray-painted wooden shutters will hide open storage shelving and are especially attractive in kitchens and pantries.