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Life: Shelve all storage problems.

Byline: SHARON DAVIES

DID Christmas bring a crop of new goodies that are now littering the home with nowhere to go?As homes get smaller and flat life becomes the norm for many, space in the home is increasingly at a premium and the range of options for quick storage solutions -whether under the bed, under the stairs or under the roof -has never been greater.

Home improvement stores stock a bewildering choice of products offering a ``quick fix'' -handy boxes for kids' rooms,lightweight cloth-covered wardrobes for spare rooms and so on. And with a little DIY know-how, you can also easily extend the storage capacity of your home's nooks and crannies.

In the kitchen,for example, the backs of cabinet doors can be pressed into service with wire baskets, shelves,hooks and rails.

Meanwhile,a judiciously located wall-mounted rack in the hallway will house the letters and newspapers that spill onto our doormats each day.

Of course,one of the favourite ways of getting clutter off the floor and out of the way is by installing some shelves. One of the oldest DIY favourites, shelving can be as complex or as basic as you like and it can go virtually anywhere. Maybe there's an alcove that could be revamped,or a cupboard under the stairs that could be used more effectively.

Or how about framing a doorway with shelving that runs up each side and over the top? This can offer a decorative and space- saving option if you've no other wall space for your shelves.

The options for materials are endless. Shelves can be made from blockboard,MDF,plywood and solid wood,but don't stop the re. Other options include glass,acrylic sheet and even brushed aluminium.

Installing shelving is a relatively simple DIY task that doesn't require a considerable level of expertise. The tool list is quite straightforward too -a pipe and cable detector, a straightedge, a pencil, a spirit level, safety goggles, a power drill and a screwdriver.

Materials will include the shelves,brackets and a selection of screws,including fixing screws to fix the shelves to the brackets,and wallplugs.

If you're installing the shelves on masonry walls, you'llneed a hammer action drill and longer screws and wallplugs. For stud walls, the screws should go into the timber joists between the walls -find these by tapping and listening.

The installation covers three stages:

First,decide where the shelves should go. Use the detector to make sure that the wall is free of hidden pipes or cables before you begin drilling, then hold the shelf against the wall and mark where the first bracket should be,as well as the distance to the next bracket. Use the spirit level to check the marks are square.

Second,hold the first bracket up to the shelf mark and mark through the holes to indicate where to drill.

n Third,drill into the wall,insert wall plugs if a masonry wall and screw the brackets in place. Lay the shelf across the brackets and mark through the second set of bracket holes where the shelf fixing screws should go. Remove the shelf and drill shallow pilot holes for the fixing screws, replace the shelf and screw in place.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 5, 2004
Words:540
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