1: Kitchen window plant perch
Store herbs within reach
Do you like having fresh herbs at your fingertips? Keeping them on your counter takes up valuable space and doesn't expose them to enough light. Try this easy storage idea: Install a wire shelf between the upper cabinets flanking your kitchen window. You can set your plants where they'll get plenty of light without blocking the view. This also makes watering easy and keeps them readily available for snipping. Make sure to install the shelf high enough so you don't bump into it when you're working at the sink.
2: Under-sink storage bins
Keep frequently used stuff accessible
What's hiding under your kitchen sink? If the space under your sink is anything like ours, it's an overcrowded jumble of cleaning supplies, sponges and plastic bags. I came up with a great way to store these items right on the door of the sink cabinet. I cut a plastic storage tub in half with a utility knife and screwed it to the inside of the cabinet door through the plastic lip at the top of the tub. Just make sure you position it so you can shut the cabinet door when all your bags and other supplies are in the bin.
Alexy E. Pagan
3: Above the door shelves
Look up for easy storage ideas
The space above a doorway is an overlooked storage bonanza! It's the perfect spot for a cookbook cubby in the kitchen or a towel shelf in the bathroom. Consider adding a shelf or cubby over the doorways in your home office, laundry room and bedrooms too.
4: Instant laundry room cubbies
Mount plastic crates on the wall
We don't have cabinets or shelves in our tiny laundry room, so I bought inexpensive plastic crates at a discount store and created my own wall of cubbies. I just screwed them to the wall studs using a fender washer in the upper corner of each crate for extra strength. The crates hold a lot of supplies, and they keep tippy things like my iron from falling over.
5: Cabinet-end fruit basket
Keep fruit off the counter
Oh, sure, you can just set your fruit bowl anywhere on your countertop. But you'll free up valuable counter space if you put your fruit in a basket on the end of an upper cabinet near your kitchen sink. The fruits and veggies will ripen nicely, and they'll look beautiful too. Wire baskets work well because they allow light and air to circulate for even ripening. You'll find them at discount, office supply and organization stores. The basket shown is from Target.
6: Toilet paper shelf
Find space in overlooked places
I have to credit my wife with this idea. She bought a deep “shadow box” picture frame at a craft store and asked me to make a bathroom shelf. I slapped a couple of coats of white enamel paint on the frame and hung it around our toilet paper holder. It gives us two convenient shelves for small items in our very small bathroom.
7: Clothes hanger holder
If you have shelves or cabinets above your washer or dryer, you've got the perfect spot to store clothes hangers. Just mount a towel bar to the bottom of the cabinets. This puts hangers at your fingertips so you can hang up shirts and slacks fresh from the dryer.
8: Pullout towel rack
Get better access to hidden space
Pullout towel racks are typically meant for kitchens, but they're also perfect for cramped bathrooms. They keep damp hand towels and washcloths off the counter so they can dry out of the way. You can find pullout towel racks at discount stores and online retailers.
9: Charger and cord pockets
Until they make a universal charger...
We got tired of rummaging through drawers and boxes trying to find the right cords and chargers for all of our electronic gadgets. Our solution was to use a clear vinyl over-the-door shoe organizer. We made labels for each pocket and put every item in its new home. Now we can find everything we need without getting frustrated.
Photo: Peggy Kolar
10: Add a spice shelf
Store small stuff up high
Spices are a pain to store. They get easily lost in your cabinets, so you end up buying duplicates when you can't find what you need. Here's a simple solution. Pick up a bag of adjustable shelf supports and a 1x4 board at a home center. Just measure the height of your tallest spices, measure down from your shelf, drill holes and mount your spice shelf on shelf supports. You'll put an end to buying three tins of poultry seasoning and more bay leaves than you'll use in a lifetime.