How to Create More Storage Space in Your Home

Clutter-free living is easier than you think

storage cube fixture

The Spruce / Gene Yoon

Extra storage space is often toward the top of people's lists when they think about must-haves in a home. If you have a small house or simply one without ideal places to organize and store your stuff, it still is possible to make more storage. You just need to learn how to work with the spaces you already have.

Here are tips and tricks for how to make extra storage space in your home.

  • 01 of 07

    Get Rid of Stuff

    Clothing donation box

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    The first step to make more storage space in your home is to get rid of stuff you're not using. After all, the best way to have organized and maximized storage is to declutter.

    There are many reasons to declutter. You'll spend less time looking for things, and you'll be less likely to buy duplicate items because you didn't know you already had something (or couldn't find it).

    The best method to declutter your home is to go room by room. Break up large or complicated rooms into zones to help you stay organized. Then, work quickly to decide which items to get rid of or keep. Consider donation or consignment for items you're not keeping instead of tossing them in the trash.

  • 02 of 07

    Use Better Storage Solutions

    Mother and daughters organize with plastic containers

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    A good storage solution creates more space and organizes by grouping like items together. That way, everything has a proper "home."

    Professional organizers recommend using clear plastic storage containers. Clear containers allow you to see inside, saving you time when you're trying to find something in storage.

    Moreover, decorative baskets and bins are great for living spaces where you want attractive and functional storage solutions. Coordinating decorative baskets can be a simple but effective way to make storage shelves look nice. Likewise, fabric storage bins that match the rest of the space can make cube shelves look nice.

  • 03 of 07

    Maximize Your Prime Real Estate

    Woman reaching in shelf in well-organized closet

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    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 best storage spaces are the easiest places for you to reach. Maximizing your prime storage real estate is a great way to organize a small room with a lot of stuff because it keeps the items you need at your fingertips.

    If something is out of sight, it's often out of mind. So keep your most frequently used items in your prime real estate zones. For example, place the shoes you wear most often in a hanging shoe organizer in your closet rather than keeping them in boxes on a high shelf or piled on the floor.

    On the flip side, if you have items stored in your prime real estate that you don't use often, consider finding a different storage space. For instance, move off-season clothing from your easily accessible hanging spots and drawers to more out-of-the-way areas, such as bins under your bed.

  • 04 of 07

    Think Vertically

    Entryway Clutter

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    Don't discount the space above your head and at your feet. They are great places to store off-season, holiday, and seldom-used items.

    Thinking vertically is a great way to build storage space in a small house. You might not have existing vertical storage solutions, but you can easily create them. For instance, you can make cheap storage shelves with plywood and brackets. Add a shelf above the clothing rod in your closet to take advantage of the vertical space.

    On the floor, consider adding a shoe rack, rolling storage containers, or a set of drawers that you can easily access. For storage space under stairs, a small dresser or custom shelves can be a great way to utilize otherwise dead space. And don't forget about the vertical space on doors and walls where you can add hooks or pocket organizers for various items.

    Invest in a sturdy step ladder, so accessing high storage spaces is easy. And don't store anything too heavy up high, such as boxes full of books or large appliances. You don't want anything to come tumbling down when you're on a ladder lifting it off a shelf.

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Choose the Right Products for Your Spaces

    Man measures closet space

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    Triple measure your storage spaces (e.g., the inside area of a closet, cabinet, or wall nook) before buying bins, trays, or racks. Don't forget to bring your measurements with you when you shop.

    Storage products should fit the space snugly and be easy to access. They shouldn't create dead space by cutting off areas that could otherwise be used for storage. Be mindful of how different storage items will stack or sit side by side if that's your plan, so you don't inadvertently create dead spaces with them.

    Furthermore, think about what you need to store before buying storage products. A storage bin set might be functional for someone. But if you don't have items to fit in it, it might just end up becoming clutter for you.

  • 06 of 07

    Label for Easy Retrieval

    Label for Later
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    Labels can give home organization efforts a polished and professional look. If you don't own a label maker, permanent marker on tape can work just as well.

    Consider labeling storage containers, especially if they're opaque, to help remind you what's in them. This also can help any other members of your household or guests know where to find and return items. Drawers and even shelves can benefit from labels as well.

    How to Label

    When labeling storage items, start with broad categories, like "socks." Then, adjust labels to more narrow categories, such as "black socks" as you see fit.

  • 07 of 07

    Take Advantage of Off-Site Storage

    DIY storage unit alternatives
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    Sometimes, even when you've gotten extra creative with your storage space ideas, you still don't have enough storage. That especially might be the case if you're trying to organize a house without closets (or with tiny closets).

    While there are many storage solutions you can use instead of a closet—such as hanging racks, hooks, dressers, cube organizers, and more—you also might want to consider an off-site storage unit.

    You can rent a unit for as long as you need. Maybe you're in the process of moving and need extra storage as you show your home. Or perhaps you'd like extra storage space for items you ultimately plan to sell or give away. Just keep an eye on the rental fees to make sure that extra storage is worth it for you.