Storage spaces are at a premium in most homes. Have you ever heard someone complain, "I just have too many closets?" No, you haven't. That’s why it’s important to learn how to work with the spaces you already have.
01 of 07
Get Rid of Stuff
The first step in creating more storage space in your home is to get rid of the stuff that you’re not using. The best way to maximize your space is to learn how to declutter. Clutter drains energy and costs time and money–so there are many reasons to declutter. Regularly decluttering is a key step in maximizing storage spaces. The best way to declutter your home is to go room-by-room. And, if rooms are large, or complicated, you should start by breaking them up into zones. Work quickly and decides which items to toss and which to keep.
For the items you’re getting rid of, there are several good options other than just trashing them; consider donation or consignment.
02 of 07
Find the Best Storage Solutions
There are some truly wacky storage solutions out there "As Seen on TV," but some storage solutions really do work. A good storage solution accomplishes the following:
- It helps create more space
- It streamlines your organization by grouping like items together
- It makes thing easier to find by creating a proper "home"
Professional organizers recommend using clear plastic containers. Clear storage containers will allow you to see inside the container, easily saving you precious time when quickly trying to retrieve an item from storage. A more decorative basket is great for your living spaces like dens and bedrooms. Make sure you label these containers for easy retrieval later, especially if you’re using them in a storage space like the basement, attic, or in the back of a closet. Even if your storage containers are clear, a label will speed up item retrieval.
03 of 07
Maximize Your Prime Real Estate
Your prime real estate is the space in between your knees and your shoulders says professional organizer Lisa Zaslow of Gotham Organizers: in other words, the easiest places to reach. The old rules apply here. If something is out of sight, it's out of mind, so keep your most frequently used items in zones matching your prime real estate. Think about what you reach for most often. Those go in your prime real estate storage spaces. If you want something to remain part of your life, store it where you see it often.
04 of 07
Most people think in terms of left to right, but don't discount that space above your head and at your feet. These are great places to store out-of-season, holiday, or little-used and worn items. In order to take advantage of higher spaces, invest in a sturdy step ladder to allow you to reach this area. Also, don't store anything too heavy up above–no boxes full of books or large appliances! It’s better to use small containers so that if they happen to come crashing down on you. They are not too heavy.
As for the space near the floor, our old friend the plastic storage container is still the way to go. They stack well and make everything from shoes to gift wrap easier to find.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
Choose the Right Products for Your Spaces
Triple measure your storage spaces (like the inside of a closet door) before buying bins, trays, or racks. There's nothing more frustrating than getting home and having to shove a container into a closet to make it fit. Storage products should fit your stuff; your stuff shouldn't have to fit whatever you buy on a whim. Plan ahead and carry a note card with the measurements of your closets and other storage space in your wallet. Also, try to buy products that nest together. They will stack more easily.
06 of 07
Always Label for Easy Retrieval
Label makers are not only for the organization freaks among us. They are endlessly useful and gives home organization a very polished and professional look. Plus, if you have bad handwriting it will save you time. If you don’t own a label maker, a set of sharpie pens, tape, and some note cards will work just as well.
When labeling storage items, start with broad categories to begin ("socks"), then adjust to more narrow labels ("black socks") as you see fit.
07 of 07
Take Advantage of Off-Site Storage
There’s a reason you should always organize your storage spaces before you organize your living spaces. You want to be able to take advantage of as much room in your storage spaces as possible. So if you have a ton of extra items crammed into your tiny kitchen, a well organized and neat storage space in a basement or a hall closet is helpful.
Similarly, if you're dealing with a ton of items you need to store, like say if you're in between moves or recently downsized and are waiting to host an epic tag sale or estate sale, an off-site storage unit could be your best bet.