When I was designing my first bathroom, my contractor nicknamed me “shelving Seana” because I was always adding shelves. Shelves are the perfect blend of form and function, and maximize the efficiency of vertical space. Unfortunately, figuring out how to get the most of your shelves can be challenging. Here are a few tricks.
Many shelves are adjustable. We frequently set the shelves up once, and then forget that they can be moved to accommodate shifting storage needs. Every now and then, pull everything out and look at what you need to store, and then move the shelves accordingly.
Shelves = instant storage, so consider adding a shelf or two, either to an existing bookcase/closet, or to a wall.
- If you are adding to an adjustable shelving unit, ask your home supply store to cut a piece of birch plywood to your specifications. This can be installed either with some extra peg supports (if you have pre-drilled holes) or with with wooden cleats or brackets.
- If the shelf is behind closed doors in a closet/cabinet, it doesn’t matter if the finish matches. If you want to try and match it, you can either paint it, stain it or use veneer tape along the front edge.
- Decorative shelves can be added to any wall, making an instant command center, mudroom, linen “closet,” etc. When adding shelves to a wall, always be sure to secure into studs with proper hardware, and be aware of any weight limitations.
One problem I frequently run across is very tiny items sitting loose on a deep/tall shelf. This is no good. Deep shelves are great for storing very large items (quilts pillows, stand mixers, etc.) not loose bottles of nail polish. When filling any storage area, it is always good to put the largest items away first. Then, if you have tiny items….
If you only have a large space and want to put little items inside, create small storage areas inside the broader space. Affordable and effective solutions include graduated “stairs,” slip-on hanging wire shelves, and smaller bins which can serve as “drawers.” Subdivide anywhere you can: the fridge, the pantry, the closet, under the sink, in a playroom closet, etc. Also, remember to label smaller bins so coworkers and family members know where to find (and where to replace) belongings.
MAXIMIZE EYE LEVEL
Put the items you use most on the shelves that are either at eye level, or directly above or below. Leave the top shelves for rarely needed items. Consider putting bins or baskets on the floor to create a bottom drawer.
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Shelves are one of my favorite “accessories” because they provide space to store and display what matters most to you. What shelf do you use most in your space?