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Storage Tips for Cutting Clutter

Need more places to store your stuff? We asked our pro storage gurus for their favorite storage tips and advice.

FH080111_001_STOTIP_04-2Family Handyman
Are your closets and garage overflowing with stuff? Are your kitchen cabinets stuffed to capacity? You don't need to spend a lot of money to find new storage space in your home. You just need these clutter-busting strategies from our organizational gurus to organize every room of your house.

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Maximize closet space

Use a closet organizer system

For economy and quick installation, you can't beat wire-shelving systems; you can outfit a typical closet in an afternoon for less than $200. Home centers have everything you need. But before you go shopping, go online to check out the options, accessories and installation steps. Two good sites to browse are closetmaid.com and rubbermaid.com. For a more elegant “furniture-grade” look, be prepared to spend hundreds more—or build your own. Go to familyhandyman.com and search for “closet organizers.”

More shower shelves

Hang a second shower caddy

The trouble with those shower caddies that hang from the showerhead pipe is that you have only one showerhead. To get more space for your bath potions, hang another caddy on a cabinet knob. With a No. 8-32 hanger screw, you can screw the knob into a stud. To fasten to drywall, use a screw-in drywall anchor along with the hanger screw.

Easy-mount mini bins

Hang electrical junction boxes

Electrical junction boxes can hold a lot more than wiring. You can nail or screw them to just about anything anywhere. In the shop, they're great for those tools that can't hang on hooks—tape measures, markers, chisels, etc. Plastic boxes come in various sizes and shapes and cost 75¢ to $3 each.

Optimize cabinet space

Install rollout shelves

Lower cabinets offer the biggest storage spaces in your kitchen. But the back half of cabinets is usually wasted—it's filled with forgotten stuff or left empty because it's out of sight and out of reach. Rollout shelves reclaim that space. You can buy rollouts or build your own. Learn how to build your own rollout shelves.

Door-back hanging space

Hang items from cabinet doors

Don't let small stuff occupy valuable drawer and shelf space. Equipped with cup hooks, the backs of cabinet doors can hold measuring cups, spoons and other hanging items. With homemade racks, they can hold lids or spices. To see how to take advantage of your cabinet doors, go to familyhandyman.com and search “kitchen storage.” Be sure any protruding items will hang between shelves—or else the doors won't close.

Fill those cavities

Use stud cavities for storage

An unfinished wall or ceiling isn't an eyesore; it's a storage opportunity. With 15 bucks' worth of shelf hardware and 1x4s, you can pack 8 ft. or more of storage into one wall stud cavity.

Use ceiling joist space for storage

For about $2 per ft., you can turn ceiling joist space into storage space with wire shelving, though we discovered that this is a bad place to store basketballs.

Giant twist ties

Use leftover electrical cables

Don't toss out those leftover scraps of electrical cable. They let you bundle up and neatly store all kinds of stuff. To hang up or carry your bundle, twist a loop in the cable.

Boost bathroom storage

Add an extra medicine cabinet

Many bathrooms have wall space, usually next to the door, that's perfect for an extra medicine cabinet—or even two. With “recessed” cabinets that fit between studs, you don't lose an inch of bathroom space. Medicine cabinets are available at home centers starting at about $35. To browse a broad range of styles, search online for “medicine cabinet.” To see how to install one, go to familyhandyman.com and search for “bathroom storage.”

Fewer cabinets, more storage

Leave space between cabinets for shelves

Whether you're building utility cabinets or buying them, you can double the storage you get from each cabinet. Just leave spaces between the cabinets and fill those spaces with shelves. The easiest way to hang the shelves is to drill holes for shelf supports in the cabinet sides. To see how to build a variety of cabinet systems, go to familyhandyman.com. and select “garage storage.”

Add slim spaces to cabinets

Add vertical shelves for flat storage

Every kitchen needs a slot for flat cookware like cookie sheets and pizza pans. The simplest way to create these slots is to add extra shelves spaced a few inches apart. Since most cabinets have adjustable shelves, you just have to pick up a bag of shelf supports at a home center ($3) and cut new shelves from plywood or particleboard. Or make a vertical niche like the one shown here. Just add a plywood divider, drill holes for shelf supports and shorten the existing adjustable shelf.