We’re always looking for storage ideas that can help us master decluttering on a large scale, so we are very excited to share tips today for making every space in your home work better.
So please read on if your bathroom is feeling a little crowded, if you’re in need of more storage space in the garage (don’t we all?), or you could use a better storage system in your bedroom.
“On a daily basis I challenge people to look at their space differently,” said Kammie Lisenby, the author of Impact Organizing Method. “How can they maximize storage within their furniture, especially in small spaces?”
Find Storage in Plain Sight (In Your Furniture!)
We might not think about it but there are plenty of opportunities to add storage by using traditional household furniture in unconventional ways, says Lisenby, creative director and CEO of Organizing Experts™.
People often forget that an ottoman or the right coffee table can have storage built in to increase family fun by stashing board games, blankets, toys and more in the living room.
In a bedroom, raising your bed on a platform or just adding storage boxes below can supply much-needed space, whether you need to stash shoe boxes or seasonal clothes.
Then there’s underutilized cabinets or dressers which can be used to store crafts or homeschooling items — depending on the need.
“I encourage my clients to downsize in other areas so that they can better store items as well,” Lisenby said. “During COVID maybe someone will realize ‘I don't need all these clothes, but I am staying home and I want to craft more.’”
An easy solution, she said, would be for that client to put extra clothes in storage at home or rent a storage unit and temporarily convert the dresser as a space to hold all her craft items.
Mastering Kitchen Storage
The number one space clients ask for help organizing is the kitchen and pantry, especially when people want to stretch out their time between grocery store visits with extra food at home, said Neat Method co-founders Ashley Murphy and Marissa Hagmeyer. Their company specializes in luxury home organization and has locations and clients around the country.
With people taking fewer trips to the stores, pantries and refrigerators need to fit more food and supplies than ever before. It’s typically the space that needs to be the most functional because it’s the one true work space that every home has and uses daily, shared Murphy and Hagmeyer.
Photo credit: Stoffer Photography
Both say using more vertical space is the one of the most efficient but most overlooked storage optimizations in homes, including in kitchens. For example, people frequently neglect to take cupboards up to the ceilings, add higher cabinets (and bookcases) in living spaces, or add more shelving in pantries and other closets.
Declutter and Organize to Improve Storage
It’s not always about adding more storage, said Murphy and Hagmeyer, but instead determining whether all the items in that designated space are truly needed where they are. Sometimes you can alleviate storage woes simply by moving a category of items to another space.
For example, moving cleaning products out of the kitchen to a laundry room or garage can free up much-needed cabinet space. Once everything is moved, if the client still needs more storage space then Murphy and Hagmeyer suggest adding a piece of furniture like floor-to-ceiling shelving or a dresser.
Sometimes you need to rethink the space you have, which can mean adding a temporary “office,” for example, at the dining table that can be easily put away to accommodate at-home meals, or homework spaces that can “disappear” when the weekend comes.
DIY Garage Storage Ideas
There’s one thing Lisenby likes to tell her clients who are in need of more storage space: “look up.” This tidbit is especially true when it comes to the garage, the one spot where there’s an abundance of ceiling space for storage.
“It’s really the best hidden storage and it gets overlooked in our homes,” she said.
She suggests putting long-term storage items such as children’s mementos and seasonal items, things that don’t need to be used daily, up top.
Lisenby has another go-to storage option: use plastic storage bins on castor wheels.Not only does plastic add an extra layer of protection in areas like Washington where there's dampness and outdoor critters, Lisenby says taking items off the floor allows you to better see your storage items.
Quick-Fix Bathroom Storage Ideas
With a little creativity, you can add storage space to just about any bathroom.
If children leave all their toys on the tub, then consider buying a tension rod and run it lengthwise between the walls. Add hooks to some plastic storage bins and place them on the rod, giving an easy storage solution kids can learn to use to declutter while keeping their favorite items close at hand. You can place the kids’ toys in the bins to declutter your space while adding storage.
Lisenby suggests you do can something similar to organize a bathroom shared by multiple people. Since cabinet space might be limited, give each person their own shower caddie, hung on a tension rod under the vanity.
Consider also repurposing your linen closet. Take out the towels and use that to store shower items for your family. As a tradeoff, Lisenby suggests you buy a chic basket and put your towels in the bathroom.
Easy Guest Room Storage Ideas
Lisenby is always working with her clients to optimize their use of space, including entire rooms like the guest room. With many of her clients working from home, and in need of work space, she sometimes suggests they consider whether they really need the guest bedroom.
A solution could be to replace the bed with a sofa bed or simply an air mattress to make way for an office desk and storage.
The closet also holds a lot of potential. If there is a lot of space between it and the ceiling then look at storage options, whether getting custom built-in shelves or a something premade.
Mastering Kids Toy Storage Areas
Photo credit: Michelle Drewes
Then there’s the kids room or playroom; in many cases it’s the same space. While it seems like it can easily become an ever-growing pile of toys and books, Murphy and Hagmeyer advise you to sort periodically and do an inventory check to ensure they are still age appropriate and usable. Their pro-tip: Go through inventory before birthdays and holidays, when more comes in as gifts.
Both Murphy and Hagmeyer suggest you implement storage solutions such as labeled bins in a cubby system or stacked bins on shelving that kids can easily access. The simpler the system the more likely children will maintain it, said Murphy and Hagmeyer.
Phew, as you can see, there’s plenty of opportunity to improve on organization. And no time like the present to get started!
Main image Photo Credit: Marisa Belle