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80 of the Best Space-Saving and Cleaning Tips

Get your home sparkling clean and completely organized with these creative tips for organizing your home. You'll be amazed with the results.

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Bathroom Shelving UnitFamily Handyman

Bathroom Shelving Unit

In a small bathroom, every single square inch counts. These space-saving shelves make the most of wall space by going vertical. The version shown here, made of cherry, cost about $100. But you can build one for $50 or less if you choose a more economical wood like oak or pine. All you need is a 6-ft. 1x4, a 6-ft. 1x6 and a 6-ft. 1x8. Find out how to build it.

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Spice Shelf Inside CabinetFamily Handyman

Spice Shelf Inside Cabinet

This in-cabinet spice shelf puts small containers at eye level and still leaves room in the cabinet for tall items. The materials will cost you less than $10. See how to build a spice shelf inside a cabinet.

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Cabinet Door Message BoardFamily Handyman

Cabinet Door Message Board

A sheet of metal and a dry-erase board can turn any cabinet door into a convenient message center. Learn how to make a message board inside a cabinet.

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Cutting Board RackFamily Handyman

Cutting Board Rack

You can make this nifty, inexpensive rack and mount it inside a cabinet door to stash your cutting board out of sight. It goes together in a snap. Check out how to get it done.

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Magnetic Office Supplies HolderFamily Handyman

Magnetic Office Supplies Holder

Organize your small office supplies in this great-looking holder. Here's a perfect way to organize all those paper clips, rubber bands and pushpins. All it takes is a magnetic knife/tool holder strip, small jars with lids and a few fender washers. Check out the complete plans for a magnetic office supplies holder.

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Tie, Scarf and Belt OrganizerFamily Handyman

Tie, Scarf and Belt Organizer

Customize this organizer to suit your accessories. Clean up a messy closet by hanging your ties, belts and scarves on our 3-in-1 closet organizer! Find out how to clean up your closet with this organizer.

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Skinny Laundry Room CartFamily Handyman

Skinny Laundry Room Cart

A lot of laundry rooms have a narrow wasted space either next to or between the washing machine and dryer, and it's usually a hideout for socks and lint. To take advantage of this space, build a simple plywood laundry room cart on fixed casters to hold detergents and other laundry supplies. Get more easy organizing ideas.

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Above Door Shelf

Above Door Shelf

The space above a doorway is an overlooked storage bonanza! It's the perfect spot for towels, blankets or a small suitcase. Consider adding a shelf or cubby over the doorway, as long as it's okay with your dorm's management. Plus: Build a Shoe Organizer

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Turn-of-the-century office supply holderFamily Handyman

Turn-of-the-century office supply holder

It's easy to find stuff stored in jars. Screw hose clamps to a board and mount it on the wall in your home office. Secure mason jars in the hose clamps to create clever storage for office supplies such as stamps, paper clips and string. The clear jars let you immediately see where everything is. This is also a great idea for bathrooms and workshops. Check out a really clever cleaning hack you can do with a mason jar.

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Keep Your Spray Bottles in LineFamily Handyman

Keep Your Spray Bottles in Line

Hang spray bottles from a rod to keep them upright. It can be hard to keep spray bottles from falling over and making a mess under your bathroom and kitchen sink. To keep them upright, hang them from a short tension rod (about $12 at discount stores) in your cabinet. An old rod can come in handy in a number of spots in the house.

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Put a Lazy Susan in Your FridgeFamily Handyman

Put a Lazy Susan in Your Fridge

A lazy Susan in your fridge keeps small items close at hand. If your refrigerator door shelves are filled with salad dressing and mustard and the rest of the condiments get lost behind leftovers on the top shelf. Keep everything in plain view by storing overflow condiments on a lazy Susan on one of your fridge shelves. One spin and that small jar of capers will be a cinch to spot. See why you should put a lazy Susan in the workshop, too.

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Single Folding Hanger RodFamily Handyman

Single Folding Hanger Rod

Folding hanger rods collapse against the wall when they're not in use, saving valuable space in tiny rooms. They're great for wet clothes and hunting gear. The Arrow Hanger single and double-hanger versions shown (about $15 and $39) are available at amazon.com.

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Use a Bookshelf

Use a Bookshelf

Here's a clever IKEA hack that uses an IKEA bookshelf in the closet for extra storage. Try using multiple bookcases if you have the space to store items such as bags, shoes and folded clothing. Photo: Courtesy of Ikeahackers

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Add-On Clothes RodFamily Handyman

Add-On Clothes Rod

Here's an easy way to add space for hanging clothes (or at least clothes that don't require a tall space). Hang a second clothes rod from the upper rod with lightweight chain. Attach the chain to screw eyes directly or use S-hooks or carabiners. Carabiners make adjusting the height of the extra rod a snap. Plus: 18 Life-Changing Organizing Ideas for Hard-to-Store Stuff

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Wine DividersFamily Handyman

Wine Dividers

Don't throw those cardboard wine dividers in the recycling bin just yet! If you struggle to keep shoes organized in your child's closet, try inserting those dividers into a basket or tub and use it as a clever DIY shoe storage solution.

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Clothing Storage Solutions: Turn Your HangersFamily Handyman

Clothing Storage Solutions: Turn Your Hangers

Once you're gone through your closet and weeded out the unused items, turn all hanging clothing with the hanger facing outward. After wearing an item, return it to the hanging rod with the hanger facing the back of the closet. After one year, all articles of clothing still facing outwards were not worn, and you can consider getting rid of them. Find out how to get rid of anything.

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Tight-Space ShelvesFamily Handyman

Tight-Space Shelves

Wire pantry shelves aren't just for pantries. They're perfect for any wall where full-depth shelves won't fit: garages, laundry rooms, utility rooms, etc. The perfect space-saving shelves solution. Need more room for your stuff in general? Here are simple storage solutions for small spaces.

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Nesting TablesJodie Johnson/Shutterstock

Nesting Tables

Nesting tables work great for small spaces and cutting clutter. Use them as an end table and set a lamp on top, then pull out the shorter tables when you need more tables for guests.

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Baskets and OttomansAlena Ozerova/Shutterstock

Baskets and Ottomans

Some well-placed baskets and ottomans will help organize your living room. Store blankets, toys, crafting supplies, movies and even books inside.

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Use a TableclothS_Photo/Shutterstock

Use a Tablecloth

Hide items you don't want out all the time with a tablecloth. Just place the cloth over an end table and store items in storage bins or baskets underneath. This is a great storage space for craft items you work on while watching television.

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Stacked CratesPhotographee.eu/Shutterstock

Stacked Crates

You know those old fruit crates you see at resale and vintage shops? Use them to your advantage! Organize your living room by painting or staining them and then stack them up and use them to store books and pillows, and place a lamp or two on top.

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Big BookcasesDGArt3D/Shutterstock

Big Bookcases

Try creating a floor-to-ceiling bookcase, then place furniture in front of the bookcase. This will help organize your living room and give you more room to store books, movies, and lots of other small items. You can use bins to store toys on the lower shelves.

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Dorm Room Spinning Storage Unit

Dorm Room Spinning Storage Unit

Reader Michael Kirby created this spinning storage unit out of necessity for his daughter, who is a dorm-dwelling college student. Space is at a premium for his daughter, so this storage unit features four hardworking sides - cubbies with bins, small shelves, a full-length mirror and a magnetic board for hanging photos. Plus, the unit spins on a turntable, which is genius!

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Couch ShelfLittle House Design

Couch Shelf

Try making a shelf that runs between your couch and the wall. That space can be used as a spot to place a lamp or plants and store the remotes, books and candles.

Photo: Courtesy of littlehousedesign.com

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Make the Most of Skinny SpacesFamily Handyman

Make the Most of Skinny Spaces

In a small kitchen with little storage space, you can make even narrow filler spaces work harder by installing a vertical pegboard rollout. Kitchen designer Mary Jane Pappas typically recommends 18- to 30-in.-wide rollout drawers for cabinets: 'Any larger and they're too clumsy. Any smaller and too much of the space is used by the rollouts themselves.' But there is one type of rollout that makes good use of narrow spaces, even those only 3 to 6 in. wide. Pappas says that pullout pantries– single tall, narrow drawers with long, shelves, drawers, baskets or even pegboard – can be an efficient way to put skinny spaces to work. Shown is the 434 Series 6-in. Base Filler with stainless steel panel from Rev-a-Shelf, the perfect pull out drawers for cabinets.

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New Use for Old Cabinets

New Use for Old Cabinets

Reader Janet Johnson turned two secondhand kitchen cabinets into one tall and trendy bathroom cabinet. Click here to find out what she did to transform the cabinets into a new stellar storage piece.

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Pallet Wine RackJARwoodcraft/Etsy

Pallet Wine Rack

Here's a simple woodworking project  on how to build a wine rack — use some old pallet wood to make a wine rack. The rack would make a great addition to an outdoor patio area.

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Drawer BookshelfPhoto: Courtesy of Small Town DIY

Drawer Bookshelf

Turn those old dresser or nightstand drawers into a bookshelf. This DIY repurposed bookshelf is made from two drawers hung on the wall. Photo: Courtesy of Small Town DIY

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Stuffed Animal StoragePhoto: Courtesy of DIY Inspired

Stuffed Animal Storage

All those stuffed animals can be difficult to keep corralled. Try cleaning up an old plant hanger, painting it and hanging it in your child's room to keep the animals off the floor.

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Window ShutterMy Repurposed Life

Window Shutter

Next time you see old window shutters at the resale shop, pick one up. Screw on some small baskets and use it as a seasonal decoration or to store items such as garlic, onions and potatoes in your pantry.

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Ladder Pot RackPhoto: Courtesy of Old House Crazy

Ladder Pot Rack

Storing pots and pans can be a challenge because they are bulky and take up a lot of space. Use an old ladder or even a wheel to hang pots from your kitchen ceiling. Photo: Courtesy of Old House Crazy

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Dresser to BenchPhoto: Courtesy of My Repurposed Life

Dresser to Bench

This tired, old dresser was turned into a sleek bench complete with plenty of storage by a clever DIYer. This bench would work well in an entryway or mudroom. See the transformation at myrepurposedlife.com. Photo: Courtesy of My Repurposed Life

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Light-Duty Extension Cord StorageFamily Handyman

Light-Duty Extension Cord Storage

To keep light-duty extension cords organized, slide them into toilet paper or paper towel tubes. Write the length of the cord on the tubes before you put them in a drawer or bin. You'll be able to find the right cord easily with this extension cord storage hack, plus you've made good use of the tubes. Check out these other cardboard tube hacks.

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Under-Cabinet Wine RackFamily Handyman

Under-Cabinet Wine Rack

There's a lot of usable space below many upper kitchen cabinets, and it's the perfect place to store your favorite vintages. This easy-to-build wine rack requires just two 1x4s the length of the under-cabinet bay and a strip of 3/4-in. plywood that same length and 8 in. wide. Click here to get the full build a wine rack project plans.

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Fill GapsCourtesy of Door Sixteen

Fill Gaps

If you happen to have dead space between cabinets in your kitchen, but don't want the expense of replacing your countertop, consider filling it with butcher block, cut to size and supported by legs. Butcher block will look right at home paired with any countertop. And you'll love the extra kitchen counter space you gain. Photo: Courtesy of Door Sixteen

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shutterstock_505513378 vacuum storage bagsStockPhoto Video/Shutterstock

Pack Seasonal Clothing

One simple way to make extra closet space is to store seasonal clothing and accessories somewhere else, leaving you more space for the items you need now. Put clothes, accessories, shoes and purses in a vacuum storage bag—you’ll be surprised how compact it all becomes once the air is removed. Insert a list of what’s in each bag where you can read it, so you can locate something if you find you need it unexpectedly. Store the bags in your attic, under your bed in a self-made storage box, or in another accessible place.

Photo: StockPhoto Video/Shutterstock

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Closet storageFamily Handyman

Store Multiple Items on One Hanger

You can cheat significantly on the 40-hanger rule if you get hangers designed to store multiple items. Some versions let you hang as many as five items on one hook, which saves on rod space. There are many commercial multiple-hangers available, with different design features to suit your taste. But if you’re on a budget, use soda can ring-pulls over the hook and use another standard hanger. But be careful not to cram too much in, or your clothes will get rumpled and creased.

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Shoe organizerFamily Handyman

Organize Shoes and Boots

Shoes and boots take up a lot of space and are often awkward to store, but leaving them in a jumble on your closet floor is a nightmare when you’re looking for a matching pair. If you have enough shelf space, using stacking shoe boxes. Transparent ones let you see what’s inside at a glance. Hanging pockets are another option, either on the clothes rod, or attached to the wall or door. A shoe rack is also simple to make and can be wall-mounted to save floor space.

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Patio Cushions and Camping Gear StorageFamily Handyman

Patio Cushions and Camping Gear Storage

Extra-large Ziploc bags (about $2 each at home centers and online) are great for storing camping gear, patio cushions and out-of-season clothes. Here's a slick trick for getting all the air out of the bag before you seal it. Put your items inside and push out all the air you can by hand. Then seal the bag but leave an opening large enough to fit a drinking straw. Use the straw to suck out the remaining air and then finish sealing the bag. You've got to see these 16 genius camping hacks.

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Belt and Other Hang-UpsFamily Handyman

Belt and Other Hang-Ups

Where do you store your belts? How about on this inexpensive and easy-to-make belt holder? All you need is a wooden hanger and some cup hooks. If some of your belts have unusually thick buckles, just widen the cup hook slightly with a needle-nose pliers. This is a great way to hang small handbags, too. We also have tons of storage ideas for the kitchen.

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Musical Instrument StorageFamily Handyman

Musical Instrument Storage

If you occasionally put your hammer down to strum a guitar or banjo, you know how tricky it can be to store them. Floor stands are pricey and they leave your instrument accessible to curious children, rambunctious pets and people who can't carry a tune. It's a better idea to hang your instruments on the wall, but instrument wall hangers cost $20 a pop. Instead of hitting the music store, hit the home center. Plastic-coated utility hooks will hold most instruments at a fraction of the cost ($2 to $4), and they're just as tough. A musical instrument is never something you want to store in your car, find out the other eight things you need to keep out of the car.

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Behind the Door Storage: Closet Glove RackFamily Handyman

Behind the Door Storage: Closet Glove Rack

If you don't have radiators, finding a good spot to dry wet hats and mittens can be tough. Tossing them into a plastic bin gets them out of the way, but they never dry and it's no fun putting on damp mittens in the morning. This simple back-of-the-door glove and cap rack allows wet things to dry and keeps easily misplaced items organized. Just string clothespins on aluminum wire (it won't rust) and stretch it between screw eyes on the back of a closet door. This also works great out in the garage for drying garden and work gloves. Make your own mitten drying rack with these inspirational ideas.

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Basement Junk StorageFamily Handyman

Basement Junk Storage

OK, maybe junk is too harsh a word. We're talking about luggage, camping gear, the ugly vase Aunt Martha gave you for your wedding—stuff you need to keep but don't use all the time. If your house has a set of stairs with a sloped closet underneath, you have a huge amount of space that's mostly wasted. Here's how to get the most out of that black hole. Build a custom rolling cart that fits perfectly in the closet. This one is built like a shelf unit and rides on fixed casters so it slides straight out to keep things organized and accessible. When Aunt Martha comes to visit, just roll it out, grab the vase and you're golden. Take a look around and see what you can throw out before tossing it in storage.

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Clean the Exhaust FanFamily Handyman

Clean the Exhaust Fan

If the grille on your bathroom exhaust fan is clogged with dust, try a trick that's faster and more effective than vacuuming. Here's how to clean a bathroom fan: Turn on the fan and blast out the dust with "canned air." The fan will blow the dust outside. This works on the return air grilles of your central heating/cooling system too. Run the system so that the return airflow will carry the dust to the filter. You'll find canned air at home centers and hardware stores, usually in the electrical supplies aisle. Caution: The cans contain chemical propellants, not just air. Don't let children play with them.

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Ditch Your CarpetingFamily Handyman

Ditch Your Carpeting

In most homes, carpet is by far the biggest dust reservoir. It's a huge source of fibers and absorbs dust like a giant sponge. Even the padding underneath holds dust, which goes airborne with each footstep. Although ripping out your wall-to-wall carpet may sound radical, it's the best thing you can do if you suffer from serious allergies. For how to remove dust from air the best thing you can do is to replace carpeting with hard floorings like laminate, wood or tile, and wet mop it regularly (with a microfiber cloth) instead of sweeping. Sweeping is more likely to stir up dust than to remove it. Keeping it? Here are some carpet cleaning tips for long-lasting carpet.

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Closet Nook ShelvesFamily Handyman

Closet Nook Shelves

Don't let the recessed space at the ends of a closet go to waste. One of our favorite ways to maximize the space you already have is to install wire shelving to hold blankets, towels or bedding.

Wire shelves are available in a variety of widths. Measure the width and depth of the space. Then choose the correct shelving and ask the salesperson to cut the shelves to length for you. Subtract 3/8 in. from the actual width to determine the shelf length. Buy a pair of end mounting brackets and a pair of plastic clips for each shelf.

Plus: Learn how to triple your closet space.

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Hang Overheadbiancardi/Shutterstock

Hang Overhead

Hanging pots and pans is a great way to save cabinet space while also keeping everyday items within reach. Hang a pots and pans organizer over the kitchen island. You can make one yourself with lengths of copper pipe and S-hooks. >Here are 9 Space-Saving Kitchen Storage Ideas to help you save even more space.

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Add-On Clothes RodFamily Handyman

Add-On Clothes Rod

Here's an easy way to add space for hanging clothes (or at least clothes that don't require a tall space). Hang a second clothes rod from the upper rod with lightweight chain. Attach the chain to screw eyes directly or use S-hooks or carabiners. Carabiners make adjusting the height of the extra rod a snap. Plus: 18 Life-Changing Organizing Ideas for Hard-to-Store Stuff

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Hang Under the Islandpics721/Shutterstock

Hang Under the Island

If you don't have the cupboard space and don't want to hang your pots and pans overhead, the island is a good solution. You may give up some sitting space, but you will have your pots and pans organizer within easy reach. Anchor some S-hooks under your island counter and hang away.

Learn Easy Solutions for Everyday Organization Problems.

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Storage for Small Spaces: Two-Story Closet ShelvesFamily Handyman

Storage for Small Spaces: Two-Story Closet Shelves

There's a lot of space above the shelf in most closets. Even though it's a little hard to reach, it's a great place to store seldom-used items. Make use of this wasted space by adding a second shelf above the existing one. Buy enough closet shelving material to match the length of the existing shelf plus enough for two end supports and middle supports over each bracket. Twelve-inch-wide shelving is available in various lengths and finishes at home centers and lumberyards. We cut the supports 16 in. long, but you can place the second shelf at whatever height you like. Screw the end supports to the walls at each end. Use drywall anchors if you can't hit a stud. Then mark the position of the middle supports onto the top and bottom shelves with a square and drill 5/32-in. clearance holes through the shelves. Drive 1-5/8-in. screws through the shelf into the supports. You can apply this same concept to garage storage. See how to build double-decker garage storage shelves here.

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Magnetic Knife Stripsirtravelalot/Shutterstock

Magnetic Knife Strip

This is a good solution for small kitchens with too many pot lids. You can buy magnetic knife strips at home stores. Leave some space on the end for smaller pot lids. Discover how a magnetic knife strip can help organize your office supplies with these home organization tips.

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Clothes storage ideas for small spaces: Double-decker closet rod

Clothes storage ideas for small spaces: Double-decker closet rod

All you need to gain a lot of hanging space in your closet is two metal closet brackets and a length of closet rod. If your existing closet rod is at least 66 in. from the floor, there's enough space to add a second rod below it and still hang shirts and slacks. We placed the top of the rod 35 in. from the floor, which allowed just enough room to hang two levels of pants. Locate studs on the back wall of the closet with a stud finder. Then attach metal brackets to the studs. Use a level to align the brackets along the top. Space the brackets no more than 32 in. apart. Need even more storage? Check out these easy ways to expand your closet space.

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Open Cabinet ShelvesIgor Zvencom/Shutterstock

Open Cabinet Shelves

If you don't mind having your cookware visible, try some open cabinet shelves. Open shelves can be sized to fit your kitchen and will allow you to stack your pots and pans. Learn How to Hang Shelves.

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Clean the Air While You Clean the HouseFamily Handyman

Clean the Air While You Clean the House

Your vacuum's agitator brush and exhaust whip up dust that eventually settles on the surfaces you've just cleaned. Filter out some of that dust before it settles by switching your thermostat to 'fan on.' This turns on the blower inside your furnace and filters the air even while the system isn't heating or cooling. Leave the blower on for about 15 minutes after you're done cleaning forhow to remove dust from air. But don't forget to switch it back to 'auto.' Most blowers aren't designed to run constantly. Plus: Here are 8 simple furnace fixes you can do yourself.

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Clean a Vacuum with a VacuumFamily Handyman

Clean a Vacuum with a Vacuum

The typical way to clean the filter of a bagless vacuum is to tap it against the inside of a trash can until most of the dust falls off. But that raises a cloud of dust and doesn't get the filter completely clean. For faster, neater, more effective filter cleaning, use your shop vacuum. Clean prefilter screens and post-filters the same way. Just remember to be gentle with the shop vacuum's nozzle. Some filters have a coating that you can scrape off if you press too hard. Are you skeptical about whether or not those robot vacuums really work? Here's what we think.

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Cover the SinkCourtesy of IKEA

Cover the Sink

One of the most cost-effective ways of creating more kitchen counter space is to place a large cutting board over the sink. This additional space is perfect for food washing and prep. Photo: Courtesy of IKEA

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Pantry PegboardMyimagine/Shutterstock

Pantry Pegboard

Your pantry may be the best spot for your pots and pans organizer. Just hang a basic pegboard on the inside of the pantry door and add some pegs. You can hang your pots and pans, and other kitchen gear as well. Organize Anything with Pegboard: 11 Ideas and Tips.

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Collapsible CountersCourtesy of IKEA

Collapsible Counters

Part countertop and part table, a drop leaf surface is a great way to maximize kitchen counter space. And install on the wall or on the side of a base cabinet to extend the length of your fixed countertop. Photo: Courtesy of IKEA

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Dust with Your DryerFamily Handyman

Dust with Your Dryer

Blankets, pillows, slipcovers, drapes and other textiles not only trap household dust, but they create it as they shed and disintegrate. Curtains and drapes, in particular, get dusty because they absorb moisture and dirt from the outside and act as a landing pad for dust from ceiling fans and air vents. The best idea for how to clean dust is to buy machine-washable items and launder them twice a year (OK, at least once). For non-machine-washable textiles, throw them in the dryer on the air-fluff setting (no heat) for 20 minutes with a damp towel. The damp towel will attract pet hair, and the tumbling movement and airflow will remove the smaller particles for you. Keep towels out of the way with a space-saving towel rack on a cabinet door.

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Synthetic Soap Simplifies Bathroom Cleaning

Synthetic Soap Simplifies Bathroom Cleaning

In terms of chemistry, some soaps aren't really true soap. Any soap in a liquid or gel form and some bar soaps, such as Zest and Ivory, are synthetic soap. These non-soap soaps are much less likely to form that dreaded layer of tough scum on your sink or tub and will allow you to clean house fast. Learn more about the best cleaning supplies for your home.

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Buff Off Heavy GrimeFamily Handyman

Buff Off Heavy Grime

If you have glass shower doors in your bathroom and don't keep on top of the cleaning, you can end up with soap scum so tough that it's nearly impossible to remove. Here's how to clean your bathroom better — bring out the heavy equipment. Pick up some polishing compound at a home center or an auto parts store and use an auto buffer to polish off the offending scum. If you don't own a buffer, you can buy one for as little as $20 or borrow one from a gearhead friend. If possible, remove the doors and take them out to the garage to avoid messing up the bathroom. Find out why brass polish is the surefire method to cleaning glass scratches. 

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Duster for the Vertically Challenged

Duster for the Vertically Challenged

Unless you play in the NBA, dusting ceiling fans and other high, out-of-reach objects is a real chore. Wrap a dryer sheet around a clean painting roller and secure the ends with rubber bands. Attach an extension handle to the roller and dust away for the fastest way to clean house.

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Clean Grout with a Bleach PenFamily Handyman

Clean Grout with a Bleach Pen

Associate editor Elisa Bernick recommends using a bleach pen to transform your grout from grungy to great. This method is tedious, but the payoff is crisp, clean grout lines. Use the pen to 'draw' bleach across the grout lines. The pen allows you to target the grout without getting bleach all over the tile. Wait 10 minutes and then rinse. For really mildewed grout, you may need a second application, and it can help to gently scrub the bleach into the grout with a toothbrush before allowing it to work for 10 minutes. Make sure to run the fan in the bathroom and to avoid skin contact. This method is best for light or white grout. If you have colored grout, test a small area first. It might fade. Instead of trying to find a bleach pen at the store, the cleaning solution to grout might already be in the bathroom.

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Clean with Microfiber ProductsFamily Handyman

Clean with Microfiber Products

Microfiber products attract and hold dust with an electrostatic charge which make them one of the best tools for how to clean dust. Microfiber cloths are unlike dry rags and feather dusters, which just spread dust around. Machine washable microfiber products can save you money over disposable brands because you can use them over and over. Just make sure to let them air dry (so they'll stay soft), and don't use bleach or fabric softener, which degrades the fibers and reduces their ability to attract and hold dust. Microfiber dusting tools for blinds, ceiling fans, floors and general cleaning are available online and at many stores. Buy your microfiber cloths in the automotive section. 'Cleaning' and 'detailing' towels are the same as 'dusting' cloths, and they're often a lot cheaper. Get Microfiber Cloths on Amazon.

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Make Your Own Greener Cleaning SolutionFamily Handyman

Make Your Own Greener Cleaning Solution

Professional housecleaner Maggie Orth likes to make her own cleaning products. Here's her recipe for an all-purpose cleaning solution, modified from a recipe she found in the book Clean House, Clean Planet by Karen Logan. In a 5-quart bucket, mix: 1 cup of distilled vinegar, 3 tablespoons of borax, 1 gallon of hot water and 1/2 cup of soap (Maggie uses Dr. Bronner's Sal Suds). Maggie likes to add 10 or 15 drops of tea tree, lavender or lemon oil for a nice fragrance. Mix the ingredients and then pour some of the mixture into a spray bottle. Save the rest in a gallon jug. This is enough all-purpose cleaner to last for years! Use this mixture to clean tile, countertops and painted woodwork. It's a good all-purpose cleaner, but it's not the best for cleaning glass. Maggie uses club soda to clean glass. Sometimes home remedies are great at keeping pests out of the garden as well.

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Nylon Scrubber

Nylon Scrubber

Put your car-washing sponge inside a pair of old pantyhose for a great nonabrasive, paint-friendly scrubber. The threads act like thousands of little scrapers that rub off insects and gunk with every swipe. Get more car cleaning tips and tricks to speed up the whole process.

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Clean a Sluggish ToiletFamily Handyman

Clean a Sluggish Toilet

If your toilet flushes slowly, the rinse holes under the rim may be clogged with mineral deposits. (Get a refresher on the parts of a toilet.) Use a hand mirror to see the holes under the rim of the toilet. Bend a coat hanger flat and probe the tip into the holes to poke out any deposits. You can clean out those clogged holes without ever getting your hands dirty.

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Easier Bottle Cleaning

Easier Bottle Cleaning

Clean those narrow-necked jars and vases with small gravel (aquarium gravel works the best). Fill one-third of the jar with water. Add a handful of gravel, and then stir and shake the jar. The gravel will scour the inside of the jar clean. Dump the gravel into a strainer, give it a quick rinse (so it doesn't stink!) and save it for next time. You'll wonder why you didn't think of that yourself!

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Vacuum First, Then ScrubFamily Handyman

Vacuum First, Then Scrub

Do you ever find yourself chasing strands of wet hair or running into dust balls in the corners with your sponge or cleaning rag? You can learn how to clean your bathroom better and eliminate this nuisance by vacuuming the bathroom before you get out your cleaning solutions. For a really thorough cleaning, start at the top, vacuuming the dust from light fixtures and the top of window casings. Then work your way down. And finally, vacuum the floor methodically so you cover every inch. You don't want to leave any stray hair or dust bunnies to muck up your cleaning water. A soft-bristle upholstery brush works best for this type of vacuuming. Figure out what vacuum to use here.

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Protect Your Shower Doors from Mineral BuildupFamily Handyman

Protect Your Shower Doors from Mineral Buildup

When the beads of water left on your glass shower door dry out, they leave minerals behind that are at best unsightly, and at worst can be tough as nails to remove if you let them build up. You can avoid beading water altogether by coating the glass with an auto-glass treatment. Two brands are Aquapel and Rain-X. Follow the instructions on the package to apply the treatment to your shower door glass. You can buy Aquapel or find a local dealer online. You'll find Rain-X at any auto parts store. Let a showerhead amaze you with the comfort it can provide and check out 10 showerheads for a better shower experience.

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Trash Can Cleanup

Trash Can Cleanup

Try using a liquid toilet bowl cleaner to wash the inside of a dirty trash can. It will cling to the sides for better cleaning. A toilet brush will help you reach down inside. Rinse well for a clean can. Get rid of a lot of trash after a project in one fell swoop with one giant bag.

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Clean Your Bagless Vacuum FilterFamily Handyman

Clean Your Bagless Vacuum Filter

'Bagless vacuums are good for business,' according to one vacuum repairman. The problem isn't design or manufacturing but user negligence. Vacuum owners empty the dirt canister but often don't clean the filters. Plugged filters lead to an overworked motor. And sooner or later, the motor burns out. Motor replacement costs at least $100. People avoid cleaning filters because it's a messy job. The typical method is to tap the filter against the inside of a trash can until most of the dust falls off. But this raises a thick cloud of dust and doesn't get the filter completely clean. Here's a faster, neater, more thorough approach: Take the vacuum out to the garage and clean the pleated filter with a shop vacuum. Some pleated filters have a special coating that you can damage, so be gentle with the shop vacuum nozzle. Clean prefilter screens and post-filters the same way. Learn what the experts say on how often to change filters on bagless vacuums. 

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Citrus Peels and Ice Cubes for a Stinky Disposer

Citrus Peels and Ice Cubes for a Stinky Disposer

If your disposer has developed an odor, it may contain bits of rotted food. Here's how to clean them out:
  1. With the water running at about half throttle, drop in orange or lemon peels. Run the disposer for five seconds. Citric acid from the peels softens crusty waste and attacks smelly bacteria. Give the acid about 15 minutes to do its work.
  2. Turn on the water and the disposer and drop in a few ice cubes. Flying shards of ice work like a sandblaster inside the disposer.
  3. Run the water until the bowl is about half full. Then pull the stopper and turn on the disposer to flush it out.
Plus: Bad Smell in the House?

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Garbage Bag Holder-Upper

Garbage Bag Holder-Upper

Tired of the garbage bag slipping down into the trash can? Cut out the middle of the lid with a utility knife and just snap the outer rim over the bag to keep it in place. This works great for recycling, not so great for stinky stuff! Check out another garbage hack that involves poking holes in the trash can.

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Flashlight Glass FinderFamily Handyman

Flashlight Glass Finder

Cleaning up broken glass is a real pain, but it's nothing compared with a glass shard in the foot. Get a flashlight and turn off the overhead lights. Scan the floor with the flashlight from a low angle and the shards will glisten, making even the littlest piece stand out. Besides being an all-time great Parliament song, a glow-in-the-dark flashlight might be a light saver in a blackout.

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Long-Reach VacuumFamily Handyman

Long-Reach Vacuum

A PVC pipe connected to a vacuum hose lets you reach up to high spots or into narrow crannies, so you can suck up those cobwebs around skylights or exterminate dust bunnies behind radiators. A 10-ft. piece of PVC pipe is inexpensive. Here's another vacuum attachment hack. In the plumbing aisle, you'll also find PVC and rubber 'reducer' couplings that let you connect your vacuum hose to a different-size pipe.

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Beat the Dust out of CushionsFamily Handyman

Beat the Dust out of Cushions

Upholstery absorbs lots of dust?and then sends it airborne every time you sit down. Routine vacuuming reduces the problem, but can't suck out the deep-down dust. So take cushions outside a couple times each year, preferably on a windy day, and spank the dust out of them. An old tennis racket makes a great upholstery beater (and improves your swing)

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Renew Wood with Mineral SpiritsFamily Handyman

Renew Wood with Mineral Spirits

If the finish on your furniture or woodwork is dull and murky, it may need refinishing. But before you take on that project, take a tip from furniture restorers and clean it with mineral spirits. Mineral spirits—sometimes labeled "paint thinner"—is a gentle solvent that dissolves years of grime and residue from cleaners or polishes without harming wood finishes. Get it at a home center or paint store. Just soak a soft cloth and keep rubbing until the cloth no longer picks up grime. Work in a well-ventilated area and remember that the fumes are flammable. Hang the cloth outdoors to dry before throwing it in the trash.

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Remove Pet Hair with Duct TapeFamily Handyman

Remove Pet Hair with Duct Tape

That's right. We've found another use for duct tape—cleaning. The stickiness of duct tape makes it perfect for a makeshift pet hair remover and this method is faster than vacuuming. It also works on seats in vehicles. A sponge or cloth wrapped with duct tape works great for getting into corners. Wrap duct tape around a paint roller cover, sticky side out. Roll the paint cover over furniture or carpet to pick up the pet hair. Add more tape as the surface gets full of hair. Once you're done removing hair, learn how to clean a microfiber couch here. Plus: Kitchen Cleaning Checklist: 11 Tips for a Clean Kitchen

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Microwave CleanerFamily Handyman

Microwave Cleaner

It's easy to clean baked-on food and spills from your microwave Here's how: Partially fill a measuring or coffee cup with water and add a slice of lemon. Boil the water for a minute, and then leave the door closed and let the steam loosen the mess. After 10 minutes, open the door and wipe away the grime. Plus: Best Household Cleaning Supplies & Products