WHERE do you put it where you can later find it? How do you keep order and gain calm in a spatially disoriented apartment that seems a warren of small rooms and winding corridors?
If you are Llana - half the New York interior design team of Lemeau and Llana, sisters who specialize in beautiful, but practical and workable interiors - you gut the place and replan the space.
Then you take a year to put it back together again to meet your own living and storage requirements. By eliminating corridors, another whole room was gained.
That seemed the only solution after Llana and her husband Tom Wyman bought their co-op in a sturdy 1910 apartment house in the East Sixties. She is quick to point out that lack of well-planned storage space is a huge problem - not only in city apartments, but in many architect-designed homes as well.
``Half our job as decorators,'' she says, ``is devising ways and means for clients to store their possessions so they will be able to retrieve them quickly and easily. People have lots and lots of things these days. If they can't be put away, they simply lie around the room.
``We all need to be able to find what we want when we need it without having to scramble, bend, stoop, or otherwise contort ourselves. Nor should we have to tear the room apart as we wildly mutter, `Is it there, or under that, or over here?'''
Which is why all double-depth closets disappeared in Llana's apartment revision.
``It is so annoying to have to delve into the back of a deep closet. I really have to have things in much shallower spaces where I can see them and get at them.''
Take shoes, for instance:
``I may have far too many. But when I get up in the morning, I can choose the right ones immediately from my shoe closet because every pair is visible.''
The Wymans put two coat closets off the entrance hall - one for themselves and one, thoughtfully, just for guests.
``After our remodeling plan was complete, we discovered that if we would just shift a wall a few inches one way or another, we could get additional space for storage - such as the closet just deep enough to conceal the leaves for the dining table.
``Another beside it is equipped with a pole over which larger tablecloths can be hung.
``We found that we could utilize every odd leftover space, and every little cranny in which to store things both large and small - all concealed behind doors with easy-to-open magnetic catches or touch latches.''
The little belt nook, she explains, was just wasted space beside the bedroom window opening. When closed, it looks like a structural part of the window. When open, it reveals a battery of belts at one's fingertips.
A Murphy bed for the occasional guest lets down into the dining room from an elegantly paneled wall. Pocket doors slide together to give privacy from the sitting room, and a bathroom nearby was once part of the maid's small suite.
Other storage closets - concealing books, accessories, and all manner of other possessions large and small - are tucked behind paneled walls with their exquisitely outlined moldings that add architectural interest.
Every storage concept carried out confirms Llana's contention that when things are properly stored in the right places, and not awkward to get at, a house has a whole new at-ease feeling.
Asked her recipe for a restful atmosphere, she shared the following:
Use muted colors on the walls, such as the wheat color she used in master bedroom and one sitting room, and the pale duck egg blue used in the other sitting room and dining room.
``Get a gentle sense of spatial flow. It gives a tranquillity that you cannot have if you must rush through six passages and around several corners.''
``Don't use too much furniture, nor too much pattern or intricate design - nor too many objects or pieces of art. It takes discipline to keep an uncrowded environment, but the effort is worth it.''
``Don't go for too much grand and plushy upholstery, like oversized sofas. Have a variety of small chairs that can be easily pulled into different conversation configurations.''
``Don't choose huge pictures that demand enormous rooms, grand ceilings, and long vistas to be appreciated. I like prints very much, and small lithographs, and I use them singly, in pairs, or in clusters.''