Finding a place for everything is sometimes the hardest part of keeping a home looking neat and tidy. Luckily, gaining some extra space around the house doesn’t have to mean adding square footage. A small footprint can mean big storage issues. With limited floor space, it pays to look up to your “air space.” By thinking vertically, you’ll find a whole world of opportunities for stowing items, saving the floor for essential furniture and traffic movement.
Check out these ideas that find room up high in tight spaces.
Get Rid of Stuff
The first step in creating more storage space in your home is to get rid of the stuff that you’re not using. The best way to maximize your space is to learn how to declutter. Clutter drains energy and costs time and money–so there are many reasons to declutter. Regularly decluttering is a key step in maximizing storage spaces. The best way to declutter your home is to go room-by-room. And, if rooms are large, or complicated, you should start by breaking them up into zones. Work quickly and decides which items to toss and which to keep.
For the items you’re getting rid of, there are several good options other than just trashing them; consider donation or consignment.
Most people think in terms of left to right, but don’t discount that space above your head and at your feet. These are great places to store out-of-season, holiday, or little-used and worn items. In order to take advantage of higher spaces, invest in a sturdy step ladder to allow you to reach this area. Also, don’t store anything too heavy up above–no boxes full of books or large appliances! It’s better to use small containers so that if they happen to come crashing down on you. They are not too heavy.
As for the space near the floor, our old friend the plastic storage container is still the way to go. They stack well and make everything from shoes to gift wrap easier to find.
Reach the Upper Echelons
In an ideal world, there would be no out-of-reach cabinetry. But there’s an awful lot of wasted space up there, so don’t dismiss it. Many of our items go untouched during the course of a week, a day or even months, so keep these seldom-used items up top. When needed, a stepladder or basketball player will come in handy. Store the rest at human height.
Get Your Hooks In
The hook is the savior of the spatially challenged — didn’t someone once say, “You can’t be too thin or have too many hooks”? Embrace the hook all over the house — hallway, kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, playroom, bedroom, living areas — to add heaps of handy storage. This entrance forgoes a space-hogging cupboard or shelving unit in favor of hooks, a big basket and a couple of chairs for taking off shoes.
Make Use of Every Square Foot
Whether you own a tiny home lacking closet storage, or you are trying to organize the space you have—the first step is to get building. Here are 37 home storage solutions that are sure to help you manage your messes or conceal items out of use. From putting together your own built-in window seat to making an outdoor bench that hides tools, TOH brings you detailed step-by-step instructions, shopping lists, and tool lists to do it all yourself and get the extra storage space you need!
The bedroom is often the room with the most need for maximum storage but the least amount of space for putting stuff away. Enter this bed—suggested by a reader who saw one featured in a recent issue of This Old House magazine; it has 23 cubic feet of storage but no room for dust bunnies. This home storage solution is every bit as practical as it is handsome.
The space behind a door is a storage spot that’s often overlooked. Build a set of shallow shelves and mount it to the wall behind your laundry room door. The materials are inexpensive. Measure the distance between the door hinge and the wall and subtract an inch. This is the maximum depth of the shelves. We used 1x4s for the sides, top and shelves. Screw the sides to the top. Then screw three 1×2 hanging strips to the sides: one top and bottom and one centered. Nail metal shelf standards to the sides. Complete the shelves by nailing a 1×2 trim piece to the sides and top. The 1×2 dresses up the shelf unit and keeps the shelves from falling off the shelf clips.
Locate the studs. Drill clearance holes and screw the shelves to the studs with 2-1/2-in. wood screws. Put a rubber bumper on the frame to protect the door.
Make the Most of Skinny Spaces
In a small kitchen with little storage space, you can make even narrow filler spaces work harder by installing a vertical pegboard rollout. Kitchen designer Mary Jane Pappas typically recommends 18- to 30-in.-wide rollout drawers for cabinets: ‘Any larger and they’re too clumsy. Any smaller and too much of the space is used by the rollouts themselves.’ But there is one type of rollout that makes good use of narrow spaces, even those only 3 to 6 in. wide. Pappas says that pullout pantries– single tall, narrow drawers with long, shelves, drawers, baskets or even pegboard – can be an efficient way to put skinny spaces to work. Shown is the 434 Series 6-in. Base Filler with stainless steel panel from Rev-a-Shelf.
Take Advantage of Off-Site Storage
There’s a reason you should always organize your storage spaces before you organize your living spaces. You want to be able to take advantage of as much room in your storage spaces as possible. So if you have a ton of extra items crammed into your tiny kitchen, a well organized and neat storage space in a basement or a hall closet is helpful.
Similarly, if you’re dealing with a ton of items you need to store, like say if you’re in between moves or recently downsized and are waiting to host an epic tag sale or estate sale, an off-site storage unit could be your best bet.
Vertical gardens are a growing trend. Even a postage-stamp-size outdoor space offers a chance to try your green thumb. Use fences, hangers or wooden frames to get your garden off the ground and double your growing area. Herbs, vegetables and flowers will enjoy the rarified atmosphere above the crawling bugs and are at a perfect height for picking.