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How to Find Hidden Storage Space in Your Home

Is your house lacking storage? Is your stuff starting to pile up? Domestic CEO has 3 simple yet innovative ideas on how to find hidden storage spaces in your home.

By
Amanda Thomas,
August 23, 2012
Episode #025

How to Find Hidden Storage Space in Your Home

by Amanda Thomas

When your home was being built, there’s a good chance the general contractor or builder wasn’t thinking much about how they could maximize your storage space in the home. Oftentimes, builders use the least expensive options and simply put in the bare minimum amount of storage a person could need. If your home is driving you nuts because you can’t seem to find any more space to store your stuff, this episode is for you. Together, we’ll find hidden storage you didn’t even know you were missing out on!

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Just one caveat: These are tips for us normal people. I have seen organizing gurus demonstrate how easy it is to cut a piece of your floor and use the crawl space under your home to store your luggage; or cut out part of your wall to use the space under your stairs for those golf clubs. While those may be good options, I prefer to look for the least invasive, more common-sense options before getting out my power tools. If you’re ambitious and eager to grab a mallet and demolish a portion of your home to “find” additional storage, this is not the episode for you. If, on the other hand, you want some simple, often-overlooked alternatives, keep reading.

Hidden Storage Option #1: Tops of Closets

One of the most underutilized spaces in homes is the space above the top shelf of closets. Go into any closet in your home and look up. For most people, there is likely 3-6 feet of vertical storage space above that top shelf. Do you see it? Now, if you’re lucky and the closet is a walk-in, there are lots of options to create more storage space. Even if the closet isn’t a walk-in, there are still things you can do to use that hidden space. Here’s how:

First, if it’s a walk-in closet, the most obvious choice of storage would be boxes. You can fill the boxes, cardboard or plastic bins, and stack them to the ceiling. As long as you have a sturdy ladder and a strong back, you can usually get a number of boxes in that space. Just make sure to label them on the front so you know exactly what’s in each box. The only downside to this method is that, if you want to get something out of the bottom box on that shelf, you will need to remove every box above it, so stack wisely, or choose something else for that space, something you’ll only rarely need.

The best use of this space in a walk-in closet is to add another bar. Yes, it will be super high, and you will have to get on a ladder to move things up there. But this is a great place to store your skinny or fat clothes, or clothes that are out of season (but you suspect will come back into style soon – as most things do), or if you live in Arizona like I do, your winter coats that you only use when you go to the east coast every other winter. If you aren’t willing to part with these items through donations or consignment, do the next best thing and move them to this currently wasted space. You can still get them, but they won’t be taking up the most valuable space in your closet.

If the closet isn’t a walk-in, you can still utilize some of that vertical space. Use flat, vacuum-sealed storage bags to pack away your extra blankets and pillows. Then, once you suck all the air out of the bags, store them vertically instead of stacking them. Just like books on a shelf, you will be able to pull out the one bag you need, and the others will stay upright.

Hidden Storage Option #2: Under the Bed

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I am constantly amazed at how many people neglect to use this space. The biggest objection I hear to storing things under the bed is that it gets too dusty under there. There are a few things you can do (other than just cleaning it more often) to make this storage area dust bunny-free. First, use those vacuumed sealed bags again. Pack away any of your squishy stuff (sweaters, blankets, extra pillows), and suck all the air out. You will suddenly have flat bricks that can easily slide under any bed.

Or, if you need more functional storage, put drawers under the bed. Go to Youtube and search for under bed storage boxes and you will get hundreds of videos on how to build a wood box to go under your bed. If you want to take the cheap, easy way though, just get some long, flat baskets or plastic boxes. Attach casters to all 4 corners, and you suddenly have a rolling box for shoes, clothes, and more. If your bed is pretty low to the ground, consider getting bed risers to lift it up 4-6 inches. They are common for college dorm rooms, but work just as well in grown-up homes too.

Hidden Storage Option #3: Behind Doors (and Other Small Spaces)

Never underestimate the amount of space you can find behind doors. Purchasing a few hanging pocket shoe organizers, hanging shower caddies, and self-adhesive hooks can open up a whole new world of options for your storage issues.

Pocket shoe organizers are great for storing shoes, of course, but how about putting one on the back of your laundry room door to store your cleaning supplies? Each bottle and brush can have its own pocket, so you can always find and grab the product or tool you need, when you need it. If you have a kitchen that’s lacking space, try using one of these for your measuring cups, cloth napkins, hot pads, and any other small item that you want to keep handy.

And those shower caddies? They can be great for storing ribbon, wrapping paper, and other craft supplies. Just hang one on the back of the door and you’ll start seeing far less clutter in your home.

And finally, those adhesive hooks can work miracles. They are not permanent, so there’s no risk in putting them all over your home. Plus, since they’re hung with adhesive instead of hardware, you can easily install them in small bits of normally unusable space. I have them right inside my pantry door to hold my aprons, in a little “dead space” between the shelves, and on the wall in my master closet to hang my purses. I’ve also hung them on the back of the laundry room door to hold the bag we put our dry cleaning in.

Now, you may be thinking that these spaces are all so little, they can’t possibly make a difference. I will tell you from personal experience, both in my home and in my clients’ homes, that by taking advantage of all the little nooks and crannies, you’ll be amazed at how much extra storage space you can open up in your home. It’s much cheaper, easier, and less dangerous than using power tools, and will likely create just as much room. Try it for yourself and let me know what you think!

Post your successes (and failures) on the Domestic CEO Facebook wall or Twitter feed.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.

Closet, Bed  and Hook images from Shutterstock

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