Make a Fresh Start – Day 18

Seana pointing at the back of a door, a place where you can store things.

Hello and welcome back to “Make A Fresh Start.” All month long we are talking about simple habits and tips for improving your life in 2021.

Keeping with the theme of starting fresh with your space, today I am suggesting that you add storage to an under-utilized space. Here are commonly overlooked storage locations:

  • Back of a door
  • Corners and awkward spaces
  • Under the bed
  • Walls
  • Overhead space in a room with high ceilings
  • Unused space in a cabinet with too few shelves
  • Behind or under large furniture
  • Between the studs

If you feel like you are out of space, the challenge today is to do a quick walk around your space and identify a location that isn’t being used to its maximum potential. Then, consider adding storage to that space.  For example:

  • Hang an over-the-door rack to the back of a door
  • Add hooks, shelving, or a piece of furniture to a corner and awkward spaces
  • Slide a few shallow bins under the bed
  • Hang hooks, towel bars, or a bulletin board on a wall
  • Install shelving or hang a rack in an overhead space
  • Add shelves to a cabinet or closet, either built-in or with a free-standing shelf riser
  • Tuck large and flat items behind or under large furniture (e.g. table leaves, poster board, artwork, etc.)
  • Store tall/ thin items between the studs in a garage and anchor them in place with a bungee cord.

These are just a few ideas. As you look around, you may identify more.

One caution: I always say don’t waste time organizing what you should be shedding. Taking advantage of every inch is terrific, but don’t keep what you don’t love and/or use. Remember, too much of anything is hard to enjoy.

Too much of anything is hard to enjoy.

Where could you gain a bit of storage today?

Make a Fresh Start logo, a plant with a fresh green leaf.

22 thoughts on “Make a Fresh Start – Day 18”

  1. When I think about underutilized space, I can’t help but think of our spare room. It was originally our son’s room, but he moved out well over 10 years ago, and although it’s not the junk-collector it used to be, I have no doubt that we could get more use out of it if we set it up for crafts, yoga, or some other activity.

    1. Fun to dream a little bit about what a space might become. Often, simply setting up for a hobby or activity – making it easy to sit down and work on something – is enough to get us going. For instance, I find when I pull out a puzzle and spread the pieces out on the table, whoever is in the house can’t resist sitting down and working on it every now and then. However, if I leave the pieces in a box in the closet, it will likely remain untouched.

  2. This is one of your best tips, Seana! Just yesterday, i worked with a client to make the best use of underutilized space in her home. She wanted some frequently used items to be put away but they also had to be easy to access. We installed a couple of hooks here and there on the inside of closets. The items were easy to access and put away. She was thrilled.

    1. I love a well-placed hook:) What a wonderful thing that you were able to bring her joy by using your talents and skills to “use every inch.” Don’t you love what we do?

  3. I love that you gave several suggestions on where to find new storage spaces. With a smaller home, we had to do this several times over the years. We had a bump out in our bathroom. It turns out there was only one pipe in it. We ended up knocking the wall down and created cubbies for towels. The towels are closer to the shower instead of all the way in the other part of the bathroom. It’s so useful!
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…31 Days of Loves ChallengeMy Profile

    1. I love this idea, Sabrina! We did something similar in a previous home. There was space at the end of the bathtub/shower, and turns out it was mostly just boxed in to match the length of the tub. We installed cubbies in that space for towels, and even a few decorative things. I loved it!

  4. I am loving all your fun photos on Instagram. You’re a ham with personality!
    Finding new storage space is creative fun for me. It’s right there, if you look for it. Like you said, above doorways is a good one and often overlooked.
    I just posted, on Instagram, storage underneath a staircase. It was the brainchild of amazing designers who are a few steps ahead.

    1. I loved that photo of storage underneath the staircase. I was thinking as I looked at it how much more accessible and practical that was than putting a walk-in closet from the backside could ever be. Brilliant!

  5. Your final qualifier is key-don’t spend time finding space for things that you need to release. But once you’ve gone through the editing process, it will be even easier to identify those underutilized storage spaces. My mother-in-law was the master and “finding” storage space. Whenever I’d visit her, she loved showing me how she organized and utilized small space in a clever way. She took shelf risers and attached them using twist ties to create more cabinet levels.

    1. I love to hear about your mother-in-law. My grandmother was the same. She had quite the storage system running down the wall of the stairs to the basement. I thought this was clever because this wasn’t a space that needed to be “showy,” just functional!

  6. These are all good ideas. I have utilized many of them.I also have under the bed storage which is made for that purpose and is on wheels. However I need to go through them and sort them again.I especially like the idea of between the studs in the garage-never thought of that.

    1. The space between the studs is particularly easy to use if you happen to have no sheetrock on your walls. Even if you do, cutting out a spot between studs isn’t difficult!

  7. Excellent points, Seana! We can have more storage if we just see beyond cabinets and the usual storage.

    My favorite storage solution is to “look UP, not in” when we think we’ve run out of storage. For general use, a 24-pocket over-the-door shoe organizer works miracles. For specifics? There’s a product called HangTite that creates vertical storage along the interior wall of the fridge to store insulin pens. Talk about under-utilized storage the space — the WALL of the fridge!
    Julie Bestry recently posted…Ask Paper Doll: How And Where Can I Donate Lots of Books?My Profile

    1. Wow, need to check out that HangTite. I love need-specific storage solutions. I used to love the toy Mr. Potato Head because it came with built-in storage for the pieces. It really is the little things that make us happy, right Julie?

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