10 Ways to Maximize Storage
Stack the Odds in Your Favor
For large, gaping spaces without any shelving (such as a closet with a gap between the top shelf and the ceiling, or an armoire without shelves), modular components may be the best solution, particularly if you need a fast or temporary fix. Transform dead space into useable storage with shelves that can house everyday essentials and baskets. Stackable units are available in a multitude of shapes and sizes, typically cost less than $20, and require only a screwdriver and hammer for easy assembly. Remember to measure before you buy.
A Better Basket
If you store small items on a shelf, try corralling them into a bin or basket, which you can treat as a drawer. For instance, stash your collection of tea boxes, DVDs, or slippers in a basket and access it as needed. The basket lets you see all the contents at the same time as well as maximize use of the entire space.
Put Your Own Spin on It
You already know they're great for parties, but Lazy Susans let you easily access items that would normally be tucked away in the back of a deep shelf or dark corner of a cabinet. Standard 10” sizes are sold at discount stores, while larger sizes, up to 18”, are available at specialty stores. Two-tiered options are terrific for storing smaller pieces like cans and spices.
Double Your (Hanging) Pleasure
Many builders default to “1R1S” or “one rod, one shelf” in closets, while most residents do not have wardrobes dominated by long dresses and coats. If you wear more blouses and pants, try installing a second clothing rod to double your hanging space. For a quick fix, you can buy a rod that hangs off the top one.
Up and Away
The open space below the kitchen ceiling can do more than create a home for plants. The top of cabinets often provides four to five inches of storage that cannot be seen from the floor. (Hidden storage varies depending on the type of your cabinet's molding.) Small items such as light bulbs and vases can be stored up there, freeing up the space inside your cabinets for frequently used items. Afraid you'll forget what you stashed near the ceiling? Just tape a list to the inside of the cabinet door to remind yourself. And if out of sight is out of mind, consider filling up large decorative baskets to place on top of your cabinets instead of hiding items behind the molding.
Few items free up kitchen cabinet space like a hanging pot rack. Not only do pot racks give your kitchen a distinct aesthetic, they also empty entire drawers and cabinets in one fell swoop. Available in wall- and ceiling-mounted versions, racks come in various sizes suited for almost any kitchen.
It may sound obvious, but don't forget about your adjustable shelves. A few minutes of handiwork and some rearranging could rectify your storage problems — at no extra cost. You may also consider having extra shelves made to fit your cabinets, giving you more layers of storage for smaller items like mugs.
Doors Are Walls, Too
Wall space is ideal for hanging shelves and other storage solutions. But the back of the door can also function as a suitable wall. Search online for “over the door” products and you'll find a treasure trove of hooks, racks, and my personal favorite — shoe pockets. Don't be afraid to get creative. Shoe pockets can hold more than just shoes; they are perfect for dolls, toys, or anything else you've run out of room to store.
Stand Up Tall
Trays, cookie sheets, and platters are hard to manage when stacked horizontally on a shelf. Stand these kitchen accouterments up vertically to save space and prevent chipping. Tray divider inserts are available at hardware stores and shops that specialize in organization.
Forget the Feng Shui
Who says under the bed is off limits for storage? Depending on the bed's height, you may be able to hide bulky items like suitcases under the mattress. Many storage products, with wheels and split lids for easy access to off-season clothing, are specifically designed for this space. Some beds even come with built-in storage where you can stash baskets or bins. Just remember to protect important items from dust.