Why do we cellar wine? The short answer is that with time in bottle, wine evolves, gains aromatic complexity and allows for structural elements to more fully integrate.
You don't have to have a cellar to have a cellar. Mine started in a box in the coldest part of my closest...with two bottles. I had tasted a wine at work, REALLY liked it and bought two. I then promptly forgot about them and found the wine a month later. I mean, who cleans closets every week?!? Obviously I opened one, I was BLOWN AWAY by the difference a month had made. Until that point, I thought cellars were for the fancy wine people with wooden cases and verticals of spendy wines. I didn't realize the potential in modest bottles.
What makes a good starter cellar? Somewhere, cool, dark, and annoying to access...it will keep you from drinking the hold bottles. Maybe under your bed? Or couch? At the back of a closet? Store your bottles upside down or on their sides and invest in a pack of coloured dot stickers (red/yellow/green) and use them to keep track of your short, mid and long term bottles.
How to start? Make a budget, forecast your consumption, and shop with purpose. Even if you get ahead of your current consumption with daily drinkers, you will be handsomely rewarded.
What do I do? I have three shelves that house my casual bottles. I open from the top shelf, and fill from the bottom. Every time I (mostly) empty a shelf, I move everything up a level and make room for new wines. I also like to buy doubles, and put one in rotation (green sticker) and one on hold (yellow sticker). When I open the green sticker bottle, I make a decision about keeping the second in yellow or moving it to the "forget about it" section (red sticker). These bottles are usually sub $30, and I have had some amazingly delicious results with a modest amount of patience.
If you want to learn more about getting started or getting organized send me a note. I am happy to help.