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Home storage solutions

A clutter-free home office

Storage space is at a premium for nearly everyone these days. Since 87% of Americans live in small or medium-size homes, finding additional storage has become a hot topic. The good news is that every home, no matter its size, has potential storage space that goes unnoticed. These simple but creative solutions can help you gain extra storage in unexpected places.

After you read through the tips, take a second look around your home for hidden storage space.

Try these home office solutions

  • Tuck an armoire into a corner for a one-stop office that becomes a pretty piece of furniture with its doors closed. Look for one with a foldout desk for even more usable space.
  • Use a corner desk to convert an area of the bedroom or guest room into a home office. A small corner desk only needs space to accommodate 30″ on each side, and a 14″ depth to accommodate a computer monitor and accessories. Corner desk units that include a hutch require about 52″ of height. Look for one with a raised shelf for the monitor and a slide-out keyboard shelf.
  • Buy office equipment that can be rolled out of the way when not in use. Also, place inexpensive casters on file cabinets to create moveable storage space.
  • Free up floor space with shelving units that hang on the wall. Wall hooks or pegs can also provide additional off-the-floor storage in your home office area.
  • Remove doors from a closet to transform it into a home office, complete with desk, computer, file cabinet and shelves.

Buy double-duty furniture

  • Look for furniture that serves more than one purpose, such as a coffee table with built-in drawers, a side table that also functions as a display case for collectibles, or chests and tables with enclosed cabinets.
  • Buy benches and ottomans with hinged tops for out-of-sight and easily accessible storage.
  • Find an armoire or entertainment center designed to fit smaller rooms and create enough extra space to store everything from old photo albums to linens or electronic equipment. Or look for one that fits into a corner. Multiple drawers and shelves maximize their holding capacity.
  • Use a sleeper sofa and chair as perfect multi-use furniture in bedrooms or other living areas of your home.
  • Look for a couch made with built-in drawers hidden beneath the seat cushions.

Find free storage containers

  • Save your disposable butter and margarine containers to store small items in the kitchen, hobby area or workshop.
  • Use cans with plastic lids or plastic baby-wipe boxes to hold buttons, threads, nuts, nails, screws, washers and small project items.
  • Recycle baby food jars and empty mint tins by using them to organize the smallest shelf or drawer.
  • Cut plastic milk containers in half to hold small toy accessories or puzzle parts in your child’s room.
  • Store paintbrushes (with the brush end up) in tall potato chip containers.
  • Keep spools of ribbon on a paper towel holder. Cut centers from spools if needed to fit.
  • Place magazines in recycled laundry detergent boxes decorated with magazine covers.
  • Keep just about everything in hanging shoe bags with clear pockets.
  • Use an empty rectangular tissue box as a convenient holder and dispenser for small garbage bags, plastic grocery bags and small rags. Secure it to the inside of a cabinet door with thumbtacks.

Control your closet

  • Save space in your closet by adding hooks to the door for belts, ties, or shoe organizers.
  • Use shelf organizers and dividers to keep things neat and easy to find.
  • Put an inexpensive cardboard or plastic drawer unit in your closet to increase storage space.
  • Hang your clothes by style and color and give the clothes to charity that you haven’t worn in over a year.
  • Install tiered double-hanging rods to accommodate shirts and pants. This way, they can hang above and below each other, taking up less space than hanging side by side.

Save space in the bedroom

  • Under-the-bed storage boxes fit in tight, narrow spots; some even have wheels for easier access. Just slide the boxes under a bed frame to store out-of-season clothes, gift wrap, kids games or just about anything else.
  • Increase the space in a child’s room by using a bed platform with built-in drawers.
  • Kids will help keep things out of the way and off the floor if a row of wooden pegs line one wall of their room. Make sure the pegs are within the child’s reach.
  • Store toys and books in low shelves and secure bins that won’t fall over. Old chests and trunks also make creative tables with toy-storage capability.
  • Use a wall hanging with storage pockets as a great space saver for keeping coloring books, pencils, rulers and other small items together in one place. Buttoned pockets help keep sharp scissors or glue out of reach of a toddler who shares a room with an older child.
  • Canvas and wooden clothes hampers make excellent, easy-access containers for toys. Use a large hamper for stuffed toys and a smaller one for books and puzzles.
  • Store seldom used clothing or other materials inside your luggage and travel bags rather than just storing them empty.

Maximize kitchen space

  • Fit space-wasting corner cabinets with lazy Susan carousels or three-fourths circle shape shelves.
  • Install pullout shelves or baskets that use up all of the space in a deep cabinet.
  • Place stacking platforms in taller shelf spaces to save room.
  • Buy drawer partitions, turntables and other organizers specially designed for kitchens, at a large discount store. These inexpensive and ready-made organizers fit into your existing cabinets.
  • Consider hanging pot racks, a grid system or a few hooks to make the most of vertical wall space.
  • Free up drawer space by using a decorative canister or crock to hold often-used utensils, such as spatulas and spoons.
  • Mount under-cabinet racks to display your prettiest stemware or teacups. You can also mount paper plate holders, electric can-openers and automatic coffeepots under kitchen cabinets to leave extra room on your countertops.
  • Clip wire inserts onto the undersides of shelves to turn unused space into valuable storage.
  • Use your oven for hiding seldom-used pots and pans, but remember to remove them before turning on your oven.
  • Choose a sturdy folding step stool to help you access out-of-reach storage space without requiring much of its own.
  • Reduce paper clutter in the kitchen by hanging a bulletin board or magnet board on an unused wall.
  • Save space in your freezer with lightweight, vinyl-coated wire units, designed to double stack things on a pantry shelf. Just lean the units against a side or back wall to store small juice cans and large frozen items in the same vertical space.
  • Place small jars like spices on inexpensive plastic turntables, so they’ll be at your fingertips with just one spin.
  • Transform a jumble of pan lids by mounting lid racks on cabinet doors or the inside of a pantry door.

Organize your bathroom

  • Hang a mesh organizer over shower curtain rings. Stash shampoo and conditioner in large pockets, and place soap, razor and other bath accessories in the smaller pockets.
  • Look for a toilet tank magazine rack that fits on the side of standard tanks without hooks. It’s great for keeping books, magazines and catalogs handy, but off the floor.
  • Use acrylic bath canisters to organize cotton balls, makeup, hair accessories and other everyday grooming articles.
  • Fit an unused corner with a high cabinet that features adjustable shelves to accommodate towels and other bath accessories.
  • Mount storage racks to the inside of cabinet doors. Those used for plastic wrap and tin foil work fine for small bathroom items.
  • Consider buying or building a small, wall-mounted cabinet for use above the vanity, toilet or tub.
  • Put your bathroom door to work with hooks that can be used to hold towels, robes, or mesh bags filled with toiletries or bath toys.
  • Baskets, boxes, or other containers work well for your prettiest towels and other bathroom linens.
  • Rolled-up towels fit beautifully in an inexpensive wine rack. Each curved bottle holder stores a towel and saves under-counter storage space. Attach two wine racks to the bathroom wall to hold even more towels.

Check out storage shed or garage tips

  • Get rid of clutter in your storage shed or garage by organizing yard tools. Fasten 16-inch scrap 2 X 4s at a slight upward angle to each side of a wall stud. This allows you to hang a wide variety of tools within easy reach.
  • Tack an old leather belt along the edge of a shelf to store hand tools.
  • Keep socket wrenches easily accessible by securing them to a lightweight chain, and hang them on the garage or shed wall.
  • Use empty bleach bottles as nail organizers. Just cut out a section of the top and store them on their side or upright. The handles make for easy carrying.
  • Recycle blackened, neglected muffin tins in the garage as holders for small fasteners, nails, eye-screws, washers, electrical parts and more.
  • Mount pegboard wherever you can in a shed or garage, including the inside faces of cupboard doors. Hang items like paintbrushes, adjustable wrenches, extension cords, hand tools and much more.

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