By Laura Firszt, Networx
In desperate need of more room to stash your stuff? You’re not alone. Approximately half of home improvement projects in the US focus on increasing available storage. Here’s the good news: Often you’ll have no need for a major remodel, like adding a shed or spare room, to organize your extra possessions. Examine your home from every angle -- under, over, up, behind, and in -- and you are likely to find snippets of unused space, just there for the taking. All you need to do is make the most of their potential.
Bed. Typically there’s about a 7 inch gap between the bottom of your box spring and the floor. Although many folks use this area for cultivating dust bunnies, it is actually an ideal spot for storage. There are a wide range of containers purpose-built for under-bed stowage. Look for a type that is mounted on wheels for easy access – or construct your own sturdy pull-out drawer to the exact dimensions you desire.
Banquette/window seat. If you’re already planning to install a banquette or window seat in your dinette or living room, consider including a storage niche, accessed via a pull-out front or pull-up top.
Cabinets. Shallow drawers, just a few inches high, can maximize the dead space under your kitchen cabinets which is usually fronted by “toe kicks.”
Cabinets. Speaking of kitchen cabinets, if yours are not built all the way up to the ceiling, you’ve got yourself another treasure trove of usable room. Buy or make a set of storage containers to fit on top. Be sure they are easy to clean, particularly if they’ll be close to your stove.
Head. Overhead shelves, above all atop a door, are a handy, out-of-the-way option for stacking up Minnesota winter clothing or other seasonal stuff. This type of shelving is a simple project that even beginning carpenters can hone their skills on.
Wall. When you run out of room on your floor, make use of the walls. Add shelves (consider placing them at an angle to keep fragile dishes or bric-a-brac safe) or, even simpler, hooks. Don’t forget the expanse of wall adjacent to your staircase.
Ladder. Upcycled vintage ladders are in very much in vogue right now and will work as cool towel holders, shoe racks, or planter caddies.
Door. The back of a door (whether to a room or a cabinet) is just right for hanging up a whole variety of practical containers – a shoe organizer or a spice rack, to name just two.
Couch. Particularly suitable for families with toddlers, a behind-the-couch storage console will keep essentials like the TV remote conveniently close, yet out of reach of tiny hands.
Kitchen island. A kitchen island provides a handy surface for food prep and meal service. Increase its usefulness still more by planning for storage shelving and drawers on the inside. Mini wine bar, anyone?
Coffee table or ottoman. Why not let your living room furniture do double duty? A coffee table or ottoman that opens up for storage can be used to hold little luxuries like an afghan or a stack of glossy magazines. A fashionably repurposed old trunk or suitcase is excellent for this.
Pantry or closet. An existing storage area can be made even more functional when you customize it with shelves that suit both your space and the stuff you’d like to store. In the master bedroom closet, separating his ‘n’ hers sections can streamline your morning routine.
Fridge and wall. Perhaps most ingenious of all, a slide-out pantry is an outstanding kitchen organizing solution that utilizes the narrow gap between your refrigerator and the kitchen wall with efficiency and flair. It’s just the right size for neatly arranging non-perishables and cans or jars of food, plus it offers a clear view of your stockpile.