In the late 1990s, a chain email made the rounds among teens and tweens in the form of a survey. (For all I know, it may STILL be making the rounds.) The idea was to send your answers to all your friends in the hope that they’d write back with their own answers. Questions ranged from “What’s the last thing you ate?” to “Have you ever been in love?” My favorite question in the survey was: “What’s under your bed?”
In my case, what was under my bed was a bunch of artwork, including dozens of fake ski area maps I’d drawn, and more often than not my dog. Other answers were “books,” “toys,” “dirty clothes,” and “another bed” (i.e. a trundle). Nobody, not one, claimed to have an empty space there.
I’ve written previously about beds that do double duty, including sofa beds/futons and Murphy beds. The majority of us sleep in traditional beds, raised off the floor for ease of getting in and out (and also for ventilation). That means anywhere from 6 to 20 inches of storage space that’s permanently available and easy to hide. Kids know this right up through college; a lot of adults seem to forget.
If just jamming stuff under there seems yucky, you could invest in some shallow plastic boxes to store out-of-season clothing and extra linens. My bed has built-in drawers underneath; an overhang on all sides hides the storage and gives the bed an appearance of floating. Bedworks in Cambridge, MA offers a beautiful platform bed in a similar style, although it doesn’t come cheap. Captain’s beds, raised higher with drawers below like on a ship, are available in grownup styles from Resource Furniture and IKEA. If you want to keep more things in a small house, under the bed is one place not to ignore.