Perhaps your home is very small, or perhaps your collection of stuff is very large. At any rate, you need to maximize every square inch of your storage space. You’ve jammed every closet, filled every shelf and stuffed every drawer. What more can you do?
As a professional organizer and designer of custom storage systems I’ve learned that the first step in maximizing space is to minimize useless clutter, but let’s say you’ve pared down your collection of items to the truly useful, sentimental and/or necessary. If that’s the case then it’s time to become a bit of an explorer. Your goal is not exotic artifacts or chests of gold but another hidden treasure– extra storage space! Start with the 5 “hidden” storage areas listed below, and then see how many more storage treasures you can find in your own home.
1. The back of the closet door– One of the more obvious hidden storage areas is also one of the least used. Approximately 50% of all clients I work with fail to use this space. The back of your closet door is an excellent place to hang and store everything from shoes, to clothes, to hats and accessories. A wide variety of door-mounted systems are available to make the most of this usually hidden space– from simple robe hooks to canvas bags capable of holding dozens of pairs of shoes.
2. Under the bed– There’s a whole closet of space under your bed! Under-bed space is often either overlooked or poorly utilized. Rather than treat the space as a large hidden junk drawer (Let’s find another space for your college bowling trophies and the 5-year old tax returns!), purchase plastic under-bed storage containers particularly designed for the task. Look for ones with secure, snap-on lids that open on both ends and small wheels to make placing and removing the containers easier. This is an excellent idea when your lack of closet space requires you to rotate your clothes from season to season.
3. Above the toilet– Rather than a single towel-bar or framed picture above the toilet consider additional storage in the form of an étagère or space-saver cabinet. These handy shelving units that fit over and above your toilet can be found in almost any style to match your décor and offer everything from simple open shelving to glass-inset cabinet doors. Depending on the style purchased they can be used to store towels, toiletries, make-up and more.
4. The garage ceiling– Most people tend to utilize only one surface in their garage- the floor. Newer storage systems and cabinets have begun to make use of vertical wall space, but there’s still one area that is almost always overlooked and underused- the garage ceiling. Many homes have garages with 9-10 foot ceilings, and for most, the two or three feet above their vehicle is simply empty space. Many storage product manufacturers now sale overhead storage racks designed to hold everything from boxes of Christmas decorations to lawnmowers. Some even come equipped with electric motors to raise and lower the platform making this solution ladder-free and lower-back friendly.
5. Stored luggage– This has been my secret storage weapon for years. My wife and I purchased a full set of large suitcases to travel overseas years ago, and while they worked wonderfully on vacation, they became a huge waste of precious space back home. Our solution– use them as additional storage! Over the years we have used our largest, rarely-used suitcases to store out-of-season clothing, Christmas gifts, books, and during one move, we even stored dishes in them.
Now that you’ve been giving a beginner’s field guide to finding hidden storage treasures, lace up your boots, grab your binoculars, and see what uncharted storage space you can discover in your own home!