Storage & Organization
50 Organizing Tips You’ll Regret You Didn’t Know Sooner
Conquer clutter once and for all with these brilliant organizing tricks every homeowner should know.
Toss Old Clothing
PVC Curling Iron Holsters
Instant Laundry Room Cubbies
If you don’t have cabinets or shelves in your tiny laundry room, buy inexpensive plastic crates at a discount store and create your own wall of cubbies. Screw 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 your iron from falling over. Here are some more ideas for small space storage solutions.
Storing Important Documents
Use Empty Space
Put that empty space under the stairs to use with a built-in storage solution. If your basement is finished, use the space to store toys or movies. If your basement isn’t finished, see what it takes to finish a basement so you know what to look for during a remodeling project. Or if you feel like hiring the work out, learn how to hire a contractor.
Photo: Courtesy of Houzz
Add some cubbies to store toys, books and art supplies. You can add some bins to hide items, such as remotes and cables that you may not want to see displayed. Depending on your space, you can also use the design as a media console.
Photo: Courtesy of Ana White
Make space in your kitchen by installing a stainless steel rail from which you can hang kitchen utensils, pots, pans, and more. This is a great storage solution if you have unclaimed wall real estate. It doubles as a great place to arrange and/or dry dishtowels and oven mitts. If you’re keen on this idea, you’ll probably love the design for this ceiling-mounted pots and pans organizer, too.
Better in a Basket
When it comes to bin I.D. tags, we like adhesive storage pouches that let you slip index cards in and out easily. You can find these at office supply stores or online retailers.
Find out another reason why three-ring binders come in handy around the house.
Instant Knife Rack
If your spices are jammed into a drawer with only the tops visible, this nifty rack that slips neatly into the drawer will solve the problem. And it only takes an hour to build. Make it with scraps of 1/4-in. and 1/2-in. plywood. Or build a two-tier drawer spice rack.
Cutting Board Storage
Measuring Cup Hang-Up
Plastic Bag Holder
Drawer in a Drawer
Deep drawers often contain a jumbled pile of interlocking utensils. Our solution is a sliding tray that creates two shallower spaces. Make it 1/8 in. narrower than the drawer box, about half the length and any depth you want (ours is 1-3/4 in. deep). When you position the holes for the adjustable shelf supports, don’t rely on measurements and arithmetic. Instead, position the tray inside the drawer box at least 1/8 in. lower than the cabinet opening and make a mark on the tray. Our shelf supports fit tightly into the holes, but yours may require a little super glue. This simple drawer rests on shelf supports.
Flip-Down Paper Tray
This tray is perfect for pens and paper. When closed, it’s mostly hidden by the cabinet face frame. Hinges and magnets hold this tray in place under an upper cabinet. To install the tray, screw on the hinges first. Then open the cabinet door above and clamp the tray to the underside of the cabinet while you screw the hinges to the cabinet. Need a more robust command center? Here’s how to build a message center in your kitchen instead.
Racks for Canned Goods
Keep Your Spray Bottles in Line
Build a Shoe Organizer
For wet shoes and boots, we recommend this attractive, simple-to-make tray.
Skinny Laundry Room Cart
DIY Tiered Hangers
Three-Ring Tool and Appliance File
Store your appliance and tool manuals in three-ring binders so you can find them when you need them. Insert labeled dividers to organize them for quick reference.
Monkey Bars Wall Unit
When you need storage above your wall unit, Monkey Bars has the solution. Engineered of steel for durability, the system offers custom solutions to get tools and materials off the garage floor and out of your way—but still within reach. You can modify the hook-and-bar system to fit changing storage needs in the future.
Image courtesy of Monkey Bars
Corral sports gear
This sturdy ball corral holds a herd of balls and lets kids easily grab the balls at the bottom without unloading all the ones on top. It’s built from 3/4-in. plywood and 2x2s. We made our ball corral 24 in. wide x 33 in. high x 12 in. deep.
The hooks on Bungee cords can be a safety hazard for kids and adults alike. So cut the hooks off the cords (or use elastic cord available at camping, sporting goods and hardware stores). Thread the cord through predrilled holes and secure with knots. Drill the holes slightly larger than the cords to make threading them easier.
We added plumbing hooks and short gutter troughs on the outside of the corral to make it easy for kids to stash smaller balls, helmets and mitts.
Looking for ways to store bikes? Check out eight products that can help.
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.This system also makes it easier to take down the bikes when they’re hanging over a parked car, a boat or a big mess like in my garage. That’s because you can pull or push the bikes clear of the obstruction before you lower it. I’ve been using mine for almost a year now, and I love it. You can buy a Saris Cycle Glide for $245 at bike stores or online.
If this style isn’t to your liking check out other bike storage ideas.
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.
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.
Decorative Backsplash Rack
Backsplash racks offer easy access and stylish storage. Most versions take just a few minutes to install. Backsplash racks have a few disadvantages, though. All your kitchen utensils have to look good, since they’re on display. And if you ever decide to remove the rack, you’ll be left with screw holes in the backsplash; not a big problem with drywall, but ugly and unfixable in tile.
Expand the Counter with a Kitchen Cart
A rolling kitchen cart is the next best thing to adding cabinets and countertop space. The top provides extra work space when you’re preparing that big Thanksgiving dinner. And the shelves below hold items that would otherwise consume countertop space. If you plan to use a cart for food preparation, choose one with a tough top like butcher block, stainless steel or plastic laminate. Some cart tops are glossy finished wood—beautiful, but not very durable. Carts come in a variety of wood finishes, so there’s a good chance you can match your existing cabinets. Or you can go for an eclectic look with a shiny metal or painted cart.
Tucked Away Coffeemaker
For serious coffee drinkers, stowing the coffeemaker inside a cabinet just doesn’t make sense; you’ll only have to pull it out again in a few hours. Here’s a solution: An under-cabinet coffeemaker is always available and doesn’t take up valuable counter space. Plus: here’s how to get those pesky coffee stains out of carpeting.
Under-Cabinet Knife Storage Racks
Pull-down racks give you instant access to kitchen essentials without the clutter of spice racks or knife holders. When the cooking is done, the rack swings up against the underside of the cabinet. The acrylic knife rack like the one shown here, or buy a pair of hinges only and make your own wooden rack to hold knives, spices or other small items that take up counter space.
Tuck the microwave under your cabinets to get it off the counter. Microwave ovens are the biggest space hogs on most countertops. With a few models, manufacturers offer optional mounting kits that let you mount the microwave under cabinets. To raise your old microwave, consider the sturdy brackets shown here. But first measure its height and the height of the space above the countertop; with a larger microwave, you might find that the space under it will be too small to be useful. Plus: check out more quick and clever kitchen storage ideas.
Tidy File Center
Joist Space Storage
Closet Nook Shelves
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.
Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock
Open your mail over your recycling bin
That way, you’ll be less tempted to save unimportant things for later “when you have time.” You’ll keep what’s really important and immediately recycle the rest.
Holder Restaurant Furniture
This cabinet will fit in the back of most SUVs and is a great way to store hunting gear when you travel. The SUV Sportsman Cargo Cabinet features a five-button combination lock (optional) and a pull-out workstation.
Wire Shelving Rack
You don’t have to buy a fancy rack to store your fishing gear. Screw some short sections of wire shelving to your garage or workshop ceiling. Your fishing rods will be organized and out of the way until you need them.
Patio Cushions and Camping Gear Storage
Vacuum Gear Storage
Save that Six-Pack!
To keep all of your condiments under control use an empty six-pack holder to hold and organize the condiments in your refrigerator door.
This organization solution is also great for transporting your condiments for a backyard BBQ or picnic!
Use Slim Bins to Store More
Looking to maximize your shelf space? Look no further. Whether you live in a mansion or studio apartment, keeping dry goods in tall (or flat), skinny containers will help you get more bang for buck. But what about if your kitchen doesn’t have a pantry? Check out these 11 No-Pantry Organization Solutions On a Budget.
Divide Your Pantry Into Zones
Every pantry worth its salt (pun intended) is divvied up into “zones,” or various cooking stations based on your day-to-day needs. Once you settle on the categories—such as weeknight dinners or holiday baking—assign an area in your pantry for each zone and label it. Not only will this trick keep your pantry neat and organized, but it also guarantees you’ll find what you need in a pinch. Need some inspiration? These are the zones every organized pantry should have. Plus, check out these 11 ideas for organizing your kitchen on a budget.
Under-Sink Storage Bins
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. Here’s a great way to store these items right on the door of the sink cabinet. Cut a plastic storage tub in half with a utility knife and screw 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.
Pullout Towel Rack
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.
Use Door Space Intelligently
Don’t forget the door when counting your closet space! Try an over-the-door shoe organizer on the backside of a closet door to organize scarves, belts and other accessories. Or of course, shoes too! Would you rather have your shoes out where you can see them? Make this easy-to-build shoe rack with modern style!