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Given the limited space of an apartment, what tips do you have for storing your equipment?

Do not consider budget to be a factor.

This is the first question in a series of discussions about small-space brewing. Please keep the discussion limited to equipment storage.

See also: Mashing | Steeping | Boiling | Chilling | Fermentation | Packaging | Cellaring

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Just want to say that I love what you're doing with these questions. –  hookedonwinter Jan 25 '10 at 16:40

6 Answers 6

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I bought a couple of rubbermaid bins. Organized my gear into a pre-boil box, a post-boil box, and a cleaning box. I kept my glass fermentors in cardboard when not in use.

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I live in a 600 sq-ft. apartment with my girlfriend and our stuff. When not in use, I keep my 2 carboys beside the couch and against the wall in their original boxes. They are covered with a sheet, and double as a ghetto end table. I put all the tiny items, airlock, thermometer, hydrometer, iodophor, BLC, stoppers, into the brew pot to minimize how much space it takes. The brew pot then goes under the sink where other cleaning materials live.

While brewing, I move the fermenter to the middle of our apartment, next to the TV. I keep it away from the doors and windows to minimize fluctuations in temperature. I would put it in our bedroom closet, but those are already packed. I still keep it in the box to prevent light from skunking the beer.

Our stove is really weak, so it can take a long time to get to whatever temperature you're trying to reach. I use our tea kettle to have hot water ready for adjusting any temperature we need.

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I have a 750 sq. ft. loft which has no storage aside from a bedroom closet. I got two commercial shelving units from Home Depot, and a leaning bike rack from Target.

The bike rack holds my bike and my girlfriend's bike.

The shelving units are enough to hold my two five gallon carboys, primary fermenting bucket, brew pot, a ton of empty beer bottles, bottled beer, all of the miscellaneous brewing equipment (hydrometer, bottle capper etc.), a healthy supply of DME and specialty grains, board games, tools, and a bunch of other things. I got a few hooks to hang brushes and spoons on the side of the shelving units. The shelving units are positioned in an L so that one unit is jutting out into the open space. In effect, this creates a small "room" in my loft which I refer to as my garage. When I get an extra fridge, it will go in this area as well.

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One thing is to remove the spigots on ale pails. They stack much better that way.

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I never liked stacking pales. I found that I often had really rough exteriors on the base of the buckets from sliding them across garage and basement floors. Those rough edges could scratch up the inside of nested pales pretty easily. –  brewchez Feb 8 '10 at 18:49

I live in a loft. There is zero storage. The only real storage I have is underneath my stairs because I cut a hole in the wall. The space is the size of a large closet. I save boxes from beer to store my empty bottles in, and stack them all under the narrow end of the area where the stairs get closest to the floor. I also bought 2 book shelves from ikea just as shelving storage. The shelves hold my pot, bottle tree, batches of bottled beer, some empties, and whatever other random things can live on them. The best thing I did for the space was I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of random hooks that just screw into the wall that are meant for organizing in a garage. The most common ones are probably the hooks meant from hanging bikes from the ceiling, such as these, but there are tons of other random sizes and shapes at Home Depot. From the hooks I hung my two carboys, bottling bucket, capper, syphons, and anything else I could just to get things off the ground and shelves. This greatly increased my storage and made it a lot easier to get around and use the space.

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I operate my home-brewery in a 700 sq ft apartment with a kitchen that's nearly 15' long but only 2.5' (4-6' without appliances) - apparently, there were only skinny people when the place was built in the 1890's.

Needless to say, my space is painfully small. Consequently, none of my equipment is stored in my kitchen.

It is all organized into a large cardboard box (soon to be upgraded to heavy duty plastic bin). First and foremost, everything is completely dry before returned to storage after use (living in Denver makes this easy). Secondly, all of my cleaning chemicals (organic bleach, Star San, PBW) or sealed in air tight containers, away from all consumable/food items (leftover malt, grains, oak chips, corn sugar, etc.) which are also sealed in air tight containers.

Fortunately, my buckets and kettle stack nicely and hold my other tools (hydrometer, thermometers, racking cane, bottle caps (in sealed container).

The hardest thing to store are my plastic hoses. While I could coil them up and easily keep them in the kettle, they take at least a day to dry after having cleaned them, so I typically hang them near my storage area (currently, the corner of my living room: definitely an area for improvement).

Last, my carboy always has beer in it, so I don't worry about storing it, just making beer!
:)

(I'm going to try and revisit this later with pictures and links to my forthcoming answers)

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So, any pictures? –  Homebrew Holli Feb 1 '10 at 17:47

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