Storage & Organization
75 Best-Ever Storage Tips for Your Home
Some of these storage ideas were submitted by Family Handyman readers, others were dreamed up by the editors, but all will help you get organized ASAP.
DIY Coffee Pod Organizer
Closet to Cabinet
Musical Instrument Storage
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.
Modular Pet Ramp
A Garage Pallet Organization Hack
Looking for more ways to work smarter in your workshop? Here are 19 tips from a seasoned woodworker and do-it-yourselfer.
Custom Truck Bed Drawers
Dorm Room Spinning Storage Unit
New Use for Old Cabinets
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. 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.
Light-Duty Extension Cord Storage
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.
Patio Cushions and Camping Gear Storage
Can you actually find what you’re looking for in your stack of saved magazines? Here’s a great way to archive magazines, a method that one of our editors has been using at work for years. All you need is a bunch of hanging folders and a drawer that’s set up for hanging them. Cut off the bottom of each folder about an inch below the rod. Drape your magazine over the rod and hang it in the drawer. The spines are easy to read, so you can find what you need quickly.
Grand Garden Shed
Garage Door Extension Cord Storage
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.
Belt and Other Hang-Ups
Screws, Doodads 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.
Add-On Clothes Rod
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.
Vacuum Gear Storage
Behind the Door Storage: Closet Glove Rack
Big and Little Storage Lockers
Garage Corner Shelves
Basement Junk Storage
Fishing Rod Storage
Spring Clamp Storage
Heavy-Duty Utility Shelves
Refer to the dimensions shown to mark the location of the horizontal 2×2 on the back of four 2x4s. Also mark the position of the 2×4 uprights on the 2x2s. Then simply line up the marks and screw the 2x2s to the 2x4s with pairs of 2-1/2-in. wood screws. Be sure to keep the 2x2s and 2x4s at right angles. Rip a 4 x 8-ft. sheet of 1/2-in. MDF, plywood or OSB into 16-in.-wide strips and screw it to the 2x2s to connect the two frames and form the shelving unit.
If you choose plastic bins rather than cardboard boxes, label the plastic with a wet-erase marker. When it’s time to relabel the bin, just wipe away the marks with a damp rag. No room for floor-standing shelves? Build this sliding storage system on the ceiling.
Narrow Storage Shelves: Stud Space Cabinet
When you find a good space, mark the perimeter of the opening and use a drywall keyhole saw to cut it out. Measure the opening and subtract 1/4 in. from the height and width to determine the outer dimensions of your behind the door shelves.
For standard 2×4 stud walls with 1/2-in.-thick drywall, build the cabinet frame from 1x4s that measure 3-1/2 in. wide (see illustration). If your walls are different, adjust the depth of the frame accordingly. Then add a 1/4-in. back.We screwed 1/4-in. pegboard to the back so we could hang stuff from pegboard hooks. Add casing that matches the trim in your house. Drill holes into the sides to accept shelf supports. Shelf supports fit in 3mm, 5mm or 1/4-in. holes depending on the style. Install the cabinet by slipping it into the opening, leveling it and nailing through the trim into the studs on each side. Use 6d finish nails placed every 12-in. along both sides. Don’t want to open your walls? Check out these other easy shelving ideas.
Measure the distance between the door hinge and the wall and subtract an inch. This is the maximum depth of the shelves. We used 1x4s for the sides, top and shelves. Screw the sides to the top. Then screw three 1×2 hanging strips to the sides: one top and bottom and one centered. Nail metal shelf standards to the sides. Complete the shelves by nailing a 1×2 trim piece to the sides and top. The 1×2 dresses up the shelf unit and keeps the shelves from falling off the shelf clips.
Locate the studs. Drill clearance holes and screw the shelves to the studs with 2-1/2-in. wood screws. Put a rubber bumper on the frame to protect the door. Don’t have an electronic stud finder handy? Learn how to locate studs without a stud finder here.
Closet Nook Shelves
Shoe Storage Booster Stool
Build this handy stool in one hour and park it in your closet. You can also use it as a step to reach the high shelf. All you need is a 4 x 4-ft. sheet of 3/4-in. plywood, wood glue and a handful of 8d finish nails. Cut the plywood pieces according to the illustration. Spread wood glue on the joints, then nail them together with 8d finish nails. First nail through the sides into the back. Then nail through the top into the sides and back. Finally, mark the location of the two shelves and nail through the sides into the shelves. Don’t have floor space to spare? Build these super simple wall-mounted shoe organizers instead!
Stacked Recycling Tower
Five plastic containers, six 2x2s and screws, and one hour’s work are all it takes to put together this space-saving recycling storage rack. Our frame fits containers that have a top that measures 14-1/2 in. x 10 in. and are 15 in. tall. Our containers were made by Rubbermaid.
If you use different-size containers, adjust the distance between the uprights so the 2x2s will catch the lip of the container. Then adjust the spacing of the horizontal rungs for a snug fit when the container is angled as shown.
Start by cutting the 2x2s to length according to the illustration. Then mark the position of the rungs on the uprights. Drill two 5/32-in. holes through the uprights at each crosspiece position. Drill from the outside to the inside and angle the holes inward slightly to prevent the screws from breaking out the side of the rungs.
Drive 2-1/2-in. screws through the uprights into the rungs. Assemble the front and back frames. Then connect them with the side crosspieces. Want even more space in the garage? Check out these DIY garage storage tips.
In-Wall Kitchen Cabinets
Sandwich Bag Parts Organizer
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.
Clothes storage ideas for small spaces: Double-decker closet rod
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.
Glass Shower Shelf
Tired of the clutter of shampoo and conditioner bottles along the rim of your tub? This tempered safety glass shelf on a cable shelf bracket is an easy solution. The cable shelf bracket requires only two screws for support. If studs aren’t located in the right positions, use toggle bolts to anchor the shelf brackets. The glass hangs on the cables. The cable shelf brackets (No. CSB5B) are available online from expodesigninc.com. Order a tempered glass shelf from a local glass company. We installed a 3/8-in.-thick, 12-in.-deep shelf. Want to add some more flair to your bathroom? Learn how to frame your mirror with glass tile here.
Scrap Wood Brackets
Here’s how to store your lawn and folding chairs so they’re out of your way. Take two pieces of 1×4 lumber (any scrap lumber will do) and create some simple, cheap and useful brackets on the wall. Cut each board 7-3/4 in. long with a 30-degree angle on both ends. Fasten pairs of these brackets with three 2-in. screws to the side of the exposed wall studs, directly across from each other, and you’ve got a perfect place to hang your chairs. You also need to check out these 38 handy hints under $5.
These simple DIY garage shelves can be built in less than a day for less than $300. Here’s how.
Plywood Ceiling Shelves
Tuck medium and lightweight stuff onto shelves suspended from the ceiling. The shelves are designed to fit into that unused space above the garage doors (you need 16 in. of clearance to fit a shelf and standard 12-1/2 in. high plastic bins). However, you can adjust the shelf height and put them anywhere. The only limitation is weight. We designed this 4 x 6-ft. shelf to hold about 160 lbs., a load that typical ceiling framing can safely support. Click here for the full plans.
Yard Tool Organizer
Plastic lattice works well for storing long lengths of miscellaneous pipe, trim, flash-ing and conduit. Just cut matching pieces, then screw 2×4 cleats to the ceiling and screw the lattice to the wall studs and cleats. Now you can quickly find those oddball leftovers instead of going to the hardware store and buying yet another piece. Don’t forget the garage floor. Here are a few upgrade options.
Cord and Hose Hooks
Hanging electrical cords and hoses on thin hooks or nails can cause kinks and damage the sheathing and wires. Use pieces of 3-in. ABS plastic plumbing pipe to make simple, inexpensive hangers. Screw 3-in. end caps to a 2×6 with two 1-5/8-in. screws. Fender washers under the screw heads keep them from pulling through the plastic. Then cement on 8-in. lengths of end-capped pipe. These “hooks” are very strong! Plus: Make your own hideaway for your garden hose with these plans.
Shipshape Storage Wall
For just a few hundred dollars you can re-create this storage system yourself in one weekend. This project covers about 16 ft. of wall space and offers a multitude of ways to organize your garage.
Rotating Corner Shelves
These shelves put a garage corner to maximum storage use. They spin on two lazy Susans, one on the bottom and one at the top (under the top shelf). They can’t tip because the top shelf is screwed to the wall. Get the step-by-step instructions here.
Keep Ladders Out of the Way
Hang ladders from the ceiling so they don’t hog prime storage space. The rollers on this simple carriage let you easily slide in one end of the ladder, then the other. The materials you’ll need are all inexpensive. Fasten the corner braces to ceiling joists with 2-in. lag screws. Secure the ladder with an elastic cord so it can’t roll out and fall.
Classy TV Cabinet
Floor space in most garages is hard to come by—so the best place to find storage space for garage shelves is overhead. You can make your own DIY shelves for the garage easily—go double-decker for twice the storage capacity. Here’s the step-by-step to make this shelf yourself. Plus: Check out these 51 other brilliant tips for organizing your garage.
Easy-to-Make Wine Rack Cabinet
Easy DIY Drawer Organizer
My kitchen drawers used to be an absolute wreck; pans and dishes crammed in however they’d fit. And nearly every time I needed something, it was always at the bottom of the drawer. My solution was to cut a piece of 1/8-in. pegboard to the size of the drawer bottom and attach dowels using screws from underneath. Now my pans are organized and easy to access. The 10 minutes it took to build was easily made up for with how much frustration it has saved me. — Tom Smith
Custom Lego Table
Concrete Form Wrapping Paper Storage
Paper Towel Cord Storage
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Tension Rod Storage Hack
To keep your cleaning supplies upright, hang them from a short tension rod inside your cabinet. Another clever idea is to slide a paper towel roll through the tension rod for easy access. This tension rod organization hack is also a great place to hang dish-drying towels and rubber cleaning gloves.
Wine Box Shoe Storage
Skinny Workshop Cart
Bathroom Drawer Insert from the Kitchen
In a small bathroom, every square inch counts. Use these clever tips to wring extra bathroom storage from unexpected places.
Sheet Metal Magnet Board
How to Hang Bananas Under Cabinets
Check out these 25 Handy Hints for the Home Cook.
Shoe Holder for Spray Product Storage
Organize Your Fridge with a Six-Pack
Cabinet Storage Organizers: Flip-Down Paper Tray
Build closet shelves that double your storage space (really!) with these plans. Take your closet real estate to its full potential and store twice as much stuff in a more organized way. Get the step-by-step plans for building these twin shelves here.
Clothing Storage Solutions: Turn Your Hangers
Find out how to get rid of anything.