Storage Space: Optimize and Maximize It

I recently had a storage space panic attack. In preparing to have an open house on Thanksgiving, I was overwhelmed by all the *stuff* we have. And I scrambled to find storage space for it. Sports stuff. School stuff. Serving dishes. Games. So many shoes. Books and videos. Little appliances and gadgets. Tons of paper. Vases. Dog supplies.

You get the picture. All stored in a little house with three miniature closets and one decent-sized one. Alongside four humans who wear clothes and one big dog who eats them (the clothes, that is).

Some would argue that a minimalist approach to stuff would solve these issues. But I can’t shake the feeling that life is full and chaotic and, as a busy family, we do need a lot of random stuff, if only temporarily. We can always, however, be mindful of purging the unnecessary, maximizing the storage space available, and organizing our stuff more efficiently.

If you're in the same boat, here are some storage tips for organizing your stuff and hiding your clutter.

Closet with drawers, hanging rod all cleanly organized

Shelving units, drawers, bins and hanging rods allow you to utilize all available space

1. Closets: 

The first logical place to start would be your closets. Be sure you are maximizing the vertical storage space. You can purchase expandable shelving systems that accommodate hanging clothes, shelving units, storage baskets and shoe slots.

Another option is to go DIY. Make a bin tower by buying a couple of stackable, plastic bins and store seasonal or rarely worn clothes in them to free up closet space.

2. Cabinet Space: 

In the kitchen, I was struggling to accommodate all my casseroles, pots and pans and their respective lids. So we added stacking shelves on one side, which doubled the usable space.

25" Pantry Door Unit with Hardware

25" Pantry Door Unit

On the other side, we installed a sliding shelf for easier access to the pots in the back. We used a lid holder to stand up lids for easier identification.

3. Use the Backs of Doors: 

Often overlooked real estate, the backs of doors can offer the perfect solution to your clutter issues. There are many great options:

  • Use a hang-over-the-door rack with hooks for backpacks and sports bags.
  • Use a tiered over the door rack for hanging multiple bathroom towels.
  • Insert a wire or fabric shoe organizer on the back of a bedroom door for easy access and storage.
  • Hang a day-of-the-week clothes organizer on the back of a door to help the kids get their clothes organized for the week (not to mention easier mornings).
  • Turn the back of a pantry door or basement door into a dedicated canned goods storage space with wire shelves that hook right on the door.

4. Label Shelves, Drawers and Bins: 

Use a label maker to quickly identify where things need to go. That way, you and your family will be more inclined to consistently organize your stuff and put it where it belongs.

Office Shelf labeled "Office supplies" with label maker

5. Under the Bed: 

Use under-the-bed storage bags for seasonal clothing. Vacuum sealed bags can fit in very tight spaces and your sweaters will be protected and stored out of sight.

So, that’s a start. Take an inventory of your storage space and check out the products on the market to maximize it! In a future post, we'll take a closer look at organizing kitchen cabinets and drawers.

By Bridget Gorman Wendling

Dec 17th 2014 Luis Leonzo

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