22 Clever Storage Ideas for Stuff That’s Always In the Way

Camping gear, magazines, boots…they can take over your house and garage! Here are some really clever ideas for storing your most challenging stuff.

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joist storage shelving

Under-Joist Shelf

The unused space between overhead joists in a basement or garage is a brilliant place to install a heavy-duty wire shelf. The wire shelving is see-through, so you can easily tell what’s up there, so it’s great for can storage ideas. Store outdoor sports equipment, tackle boxes, coolers and other less-frequently used items out of the way yet still easily accessible. Depending on the width, wire shelves cost from $1 to $3 per foot at home centers.

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Check Out How to Build an Under Bed Storage Drawer

This easy 1-hour project turns unused space into storage space. Here’s how to build it yourself.

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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.

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FH11FEB_HANHIN_01Family Handyman

Tangle-Free Jumper Cable Storage

Having jumper cables at the ready is serious business in cold climates. Store the cables coiled around the spare tire under the false floor of the trunk. You’ll always be able to find them and they’ll never be tangled.

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Family 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.
  • 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.
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Garage Door Extension Cord Storage

Ever wish you had one more garage wall to hang stuff on? Well, you do. Your garage door is a perfect place for extension cord storage. Install screw eyes diagonally about eight inches apart and thread bungee cords (with the ends cut off) through them for perfect extension cord storage. Now you have a perfect bungee “corral” to hold your extra extension cords. (Yes, they’ll stay put when the door opens and closes.)

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Extension Ladder Storage

An extension ladder is one of the most difficult things to store. When you need to use it, it has to be easy to get to. But there are long stretches when it just gets in the way of everything else in your garage. Here’s a good solution: Mount it on your garage ceiling on sturdy racks made of scrap 2x4s that are screwed into the ceiling joists. Use two 3-1/2-in. screws at each joint to make the rack secure. These racks make it easy to slide the ladder out when you need it. Just make sure to position the racks where they won’t interfere with your garage door.

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Coat rack beltsFamily 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 needle-nose pliers. This is a great way to hang small handbags, too.

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Family 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.

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Screws and Other Hardware Storage

If you have lots of small hardware on hand, constantly opening drawers or containers to find what you need is a pain. Here’s one solution: Store hardware in small, sturdy zippered craft bags (thicker than sandwich bags and available at hobby stores). Punch a hole in the bag and hang it on pegboard. The clear bags make finding what you need a snap and keep dust, rust and moisture at bay. If you need to find a matching piece of hardware, just hold it up for a side-by-side comparison.

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add on closet rod organization storageFamily Handyman

Add-On Clothes Rod

Very few people have too much closet space. This DIY closet rod is 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. This system works well in kids’ closets since they grow quickly (and their clothes grow along with them). It also works well in an adult closet—you can hang pants on one rod and shirts on the other.

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FH11FEB_STRAGE_15Family Handyman

Ball Storage

If you have kids, you have balls—basketballs, soccer balls, rubber balls and other round objects that roll around underfoot. Here’s a perfect way to use that narrow gap between a pair of garage doors (if you’re blessed with such an awkward spot). Just install angled “ball ramps” made from scrap wood. The balls fit neatly in the gap, and because the ball ramp is right there at the edge of the garage, kids are more likely to use it.

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FH11FEB_STRAGE_17Family Handyman

 Vacuum Gear Storage

It seems like the vacuum cleaner always ends up in one closet and the vacuum cleaner bags in another, and the attachments get shoved under a bed or permanently misplaced. Here’s a simple tip that will keep everything together and out from underfoot. Screw a hook to the door of your storage closet and hang a mesh or cloth bag on it. You can store all your vacuum cleaner bags and attachments in one place, and the bag lets you carry everything you need from room to room or up and down the stairs in one trip.

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FH11FEB_STRAGE_19 can storage ideasFamily Handyman

Garage Corner Shelves

Who couldn’t use a few more shelves in the garage? You probably already have shelves in the obvious spots, but what about in the corners? This nifty corner shelf unit takes advantage of existing studs, and it’s fast, easy and cheap. And it’s great for can storage ideas. Use scrap plywood or oriented strand board to make shelves that fit snugly between the corner studs and support them with 1×1 cleats. These corner shelves are perfect for storing smaller items such as glues, oils, waxes and polishes, which get lost on larger shelves.

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Family Handyman

Basement Junk Storage

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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Fishing Rod Storage

This is for all you fishing addicts out there. When the season ends and the gear comes out of the truck, where do you store your rods? You can buy a fancy storage rack or make one of your own. But either way, you’re giving up precious wall space until spring. Here’s a quick solution: Screw short sections of wire shelving to your ceiling. If the handles don’t fit, just clip out some of the wire with bolt cutters. Your rods will be safely out of the way until your next fishing trip.

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Spring Clamp Storage

This tray is a nifty way to store spring clamps. It’s a slotted piece of 3/4-in. plywood with 1/4-in. plywood fins glued in the slots. Store the tray on a peg and remove clamps when you need them. When you’re done, stick the clamps back on the fins and hang up the tray.

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Family Handyman

Pegboard Cubbyholes

Here’s a tool storage technique for all those slender tools and shop accessories. Cut short lengths of PVC pipe (1-1/2-in. and 2-in.-dia. pipes work well for most items) and slide them over pegboard hooks. Then load them up with files, hacksaw blades, zip ties, pencils, stir sticks … you get the idea.

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Bike storageFamily Handyman

Efficient Bike Storage

Hanging bicycles from the rafters is a great way to save garage space. But even hanging bikes can take up a bunch of room. Here’s a cool space-saving product that puts a new twist on the humble bike hook. The Saris Cycle Glide is a system of hooks mounted on glides. Once the bikes are on the hooks, they can be slid closer to the wall on the glides that mount perpendicular to the wall. And because the hooks slide back and forth on the lower set of glides, the bikes can be nestled neatly together, taking up a lot less space.

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Go Basic

Nothing is more versatile and cost-effective when it comes to garage storage than basic coated garage hooks. Screw-in hooks to rafters or ceiling beams to hang anything from bikes to tools — just make sure to install properly and not exceed load recommendations.

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The Family Handyman

Double-Duty Shelf Brackets

Shelf brackets designed to support clothes hanger rods aren’t just for closets. The rod-holding hook on these brackets comes in handy in the garage and workshop too. You can bend the hook to suit long tools or cords. Closet brackets are available at home centers and hardware stores.

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FH13SEP_541_55_100-1200x1200 throw and go bins garage toy storageFamily Handyman

Throw and Go

Shelves and cabinets are great, but when you’re in a hurry (and kids always are), it’s nice to just throw and go. Find complete instructions for this project, including diagrams for cutting the wood, here.