Do you feel like you’ve run out of storage space? For many, trying to fit belongings into existing space is a challenge. Of course, the first and best way to alleviate the storage burden is to declutter. I’ve got lots of tips on decluttering on this blog, so if you are looking for help here, just check out the “Decluttering” category in the blog menu. Nevertheless, even after we have shed we what can, we may still be feeling the need for some additional storage. Whether you live in a cramped urban studio, are working from a tiny office (or corner of the kitchen), or simply feel like your drawers and closets are bursting at the seams, here are some places you may have overlooked.
Behind The Door
If you have a hinged door, you have a storage space. A plethora of options are available for storing everything from shoes to cans to paperwork on the backs of doors. Most of these are very simple to install. Some hang on hooks over the top of the door. [Note: if you are thinking about one of these, make sure you have sufficient clearance between the top of your door and the door frame before ordering.] There are also options that install to the back of the door itself, either with adhesives or screws.
When considering which option is best, think about what you want to store in this location. Here are a few ideas.
A rigid wire rack to hold cans and small food items on a the back of a door near the kitchen.
An over-the-door rack for shoes, hats, gloves, and other mudroom items near the door you most commonly use.
An over-the-door strip with hooks for baseball hats inside a clothing closet.
A rack to hold wrapping supplies on a door near the laundry room or other space where you have a flat surface for wrapping.
A pocketed “shoe” rack to hold toiletries in a bathroom or toys in a playroom (clear pockets are best so children can see what is inside).
Hooks on the back of doors to hold robes, pajamas, and towels.
Not only do doors offer an instant bit of storage, they also have the added benefit of potentially “hiding” the contents by simply swinging the door open or closed.
On the Wall
Believe it or not, the wall is a great storage location. You need to be careful to ensure that anything you hang is well anchored and that you aren’t creating a cluttered look, but there are lots of great options, such as:
Decorative hooks or a shelf with hooks in a hallway for an instant mudroom.
A couple of narrow racks in the kitchen for spices and cookbooks.
A foldaway ironing board in the laundry room.
A rack for holding brooms and mops.
Wall pockets for paperwork and magazines.
Pegboard to store tools or craft supplies.
Need some more ideas for using your walls? Check out The Seana Method’s Pinterest page.
Dead Shelf Space
A common problem is shelving that is either too deep or too tall. As a result, we often fill the bottom of the shelf, but fail to successfully use the full height or depth of the space.
For shelves that are deep or dark, you can add “drawers” by using bins or baskets that can be pulled forward. This enables you to reach the items stored in the back. They can be free-standing or installed.
Another option is to use turntables or “lazy susans” to more easily see and access items that would otherwise get lost hiding behind other belongings.
If your shelves are spaced far apart vertically, either add more shelves or buy some affordable organizing products to use the space more efficiently. For example, you can get a shelf that hangs off of the shelf above it.
Another option is to use a shelf riser to graduate your storage for easy viewing.
Or a free-standing riser that creates a “mini shelf” on top of your larger one.
Not all storage needs to be at eye level. Walk through your space and look up to see where you could add some storage.
For example, consider adding a shelf over your bathroom door to hold extra towels. You can buy one that fits your space, or try this handy little DIY project.
A triangular net can be hung in a child’s room to hold stuffed animals.
Another idea is to use a hanging pot rack over a kitchen island or counter to hang needed items.
Garages often have high ceilings, where a ceiling mounted rack can provide a lot of storage, especially for out-of-season items.
On the Side
Frequently we think we need to buy more storage containers and overlook the storage space on the side of furniture we already have.
For instance, a hook on the side of a desk can be the perfect place to hang a purse.
Or add some hooks to the back of the headrests in your car to keep items organized and off the floor.
Many racks now exist for hanging items such as towels, foil and supplies from the inside of cabinet doors.
Don’t like the mess of computer cables at your feet under the desk? How about an under-the-desk cable management basket that can hold your surge suppressor?
In a crowded bathroom, hang a shower curtain liner with storage alongside your existing shower curtain.
Between The Studs
Many homes have hollow space between the studs in unfinished basements, attics, and garages. If you need some extra storage, take advantage of this space! Some narrow shelves cut to fit can provide nice shelving for small containers, such as spray paint, jars of nails, or cans of tennis balls. Attach a bungee cord or strip of wood to each side of the space between the studs to store tall items, such as fishing poles, hockey sticks, and garden stakes.
Finding storage can often be as simple as giving a fresh and creative look around your space. Have you found a way for creating storage in a surprising space?
41 thoughts on “Overlooked Storage Spaces”
I love all these great spaces!
Fun to see what we can find it we use “fresh eyes,” right Ellen?
Wow! A plethora of storage options is often missed. I LOVE that under the desk cable storage. What a clever idea! The clear shoe bags are versatile and great for so many categories, from classic…shoes to toys, device cables and chargers, hair accessories, hats, gloves, and scarves. It’s getting to be that time of year when we’ll need a place to store the warm weather gear.
My daughter asked me about ideas for creating more storage in a supply closet. There was plenty of space, but a lot was wasted space. We discussed using risers or stackable storage drawers to make better use of the vertical space.
One of the things I love about closet systems is that it can be fairly easy to add extra shelves that can just slide in with a few pins. Nevertheless, if you have a traditional closet, it is nice to know there are “aftermarket” options available. My daughter is in NYC right now with a tiny closet so we are using every inch we can find!
What great ideas and I have to tell you I totally got my kids the hammock for stuffed animals when they were kids. So, couldn’t agree more with that tip from prior experience here 🥰
Janine Huldie recently posted…6 Surprising Health and Safety Applications of a Dog Bandana
I’m so glad to hear that you used the toy hammock with success, Janine. Stuffed animals particularly can be bulky, so tossing them into some unused overhead space can be a nice option!
Until I read your article, I never thought of using a behind-the-door organizer in my home office! That could definitely free up space and/or move some items out of view.
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They work well in a home office, as they can provide easy access for smaller things. In an office, you could go with one that is a little more decorative, and perhaps even conceals the contents of each pocket and then add some nice labels!
So many wonderful ideas! I have always hated the Lazy Susan because things would fall off – but the one you show takes care of that problem. Thanks for researching all of these great ideas.
I’m in love with the divided lazy susans. That particular one is very large, with an impressive amount of storage!
I love all these ideas! Your pictures showing how to use the various spaces are fabulous and are really helpful for people who know they need to find new ways to store their things.
Just the other day, I was talking with a client about gift wrap storage and telling about the Elfa system to maximize the space in her utility closet.
The gift wrapping station is one of my favorites. It makes such terrific use of a space for a purpose that most people need!
Some of these are so much fun, like that shower curtain! We have some fun spaces in our home, including an under the stairwell cupboard closet, that’s like Harry Potter’s bedroom!
Tamara recently posted…Now The Reason We’re Here
I can picture that space right now, Tamara! I bet the kids love it:)
Great suggestions here. I really like the options for wall storage. Since it’s out in the open, I think it needs to be pretty.
I have one of the rigid pantry door units. It adds much more storage space to my tiny 15″ wide pantry closet. I love it.
That pantry rack holds so much, and in some ways, more effectively than a deep-shelved pantry when items get hidden!
I like to say my superpower is finding space where others think there is none, so I love this post! I’ve seen all of these ideas, and used many of them either in clients’ homes or my own. Like you said right up front, “Of course, the first and best way to alleviate the storage burden is to declutter.” Often it’s vertical space that no one has thought to use, or space that can be easily freed up by decluttering, gathering like items together, and rearranging existing storage containers.
Hazel Thornton recently posted…If you can’t find something, clean up
We know there is always a way to make better use of the space, right Hazel?
Thank you for showing all the pictures of thees options, Seana! I once had a friendly competition with another organizer to see how many uses we could come up with for the over-the-door shoe hangers. It’s amazing how versatile those things are and I totally agree, clear, see-through is the way to go.
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I love the options for those over-the-door racks. Clear is so great to help you see what is inside, but if the rack will be visible and you don’t like the like, the opaque ones might work too. Maybe with some attractive labels on each pocket!
Excellent ideas for adding versatile storage. I love coming up with better ways to use the space. My husband and I have become experts at it after moving 17 times. Nothing ever seems to work exactly the same from one house to another. Learning to see the potential and maximize the space is satisfying as well as helpful. Some of my favorite suggestions are the various hooks you mentioned and the over the door options.
Wow- 17 times! You must have moving down to a science. It is always a challenge to start over in a new space. Having that vision is a gift that helps you make the most of whatever space you have.
OMG, Seana, this could have been something like FIVE blog posts, there’s so much great stuff. I love how you broke everything down by what/where it’s used. It’s hard to pick, but my favorites are:
The Unjumbly over-the-door hooks
The N&Y Home shower curtain with the pockets!!!
The iDesign Large Divided Lazy Susan, especially because it’s being used in an open cabinet space rather than behind closed doors
The TreeLen Cabinet Organizer, because I always figure there has to be a better way to use in the inside of kitchen cabinets.
And I’m a huge fan of pegboard, which I think is vastly underused outside of garages and tool/work spaces.
This is a STELLAR post!
Julie Bestry recently posted…A Professional Organizer’s Take on National Library Card Sign-up Month
Aww, thanks for the affirmation Julie! It’s hopeful to know you might be able to find some more storage space if you look around. I would have loved that shower curtain back when we were all sharing one bathroom. I would have faced it inside and put all the kids toys in there.
Totally agree on the pegboard, and I liked that this was a little more attractive than the standard garage offering. Today you can all sorts of racks, hook, and even shelves to fit these!
I’m so glad you included the overhead storage racks for the garage. We put these up after we discovered that our crawlspace was too damp for storage. While it’s not easy accessing these, we’ve learned to just put things that we’ll only need to get at occasionally. We put up suitcases, seasonal decorations, camping stuff, and memorabilia boxes.
John Q recently posted…Emergency Preparedness: 3 Tips for RVers
That space up high can be very helpful, with the additional benefit of being dry!
Thank you for this wonderful post! You’ve gathered so many great product ideas and images together to help anyone in need of creating more storage. I’ve always been a fan of behind the door, inside the cabinet and along the wall storage. Some of these ideas and products are very innovative. I especially like the under the desk cable management basket. Your tip for making storage between the studs with a piece of wood or a bungee cord can make a big difference in garages, basements or attics.
Nancy Haworth recently posted…How to Prepare for a COVID-19 Case in Your Home
I once saw a person who used hooks along a wall for her extensive hat collection – it was so pretty! You never know what you can do when you think creatively, right?
I like the hooks on the headrest. I haven’t seen this product before. Using vertical space is an important way to make more space. That is what a lot of these products do.
I just like keeping things off the floor of the car, which gets dirty on “foul weather” days. So helpful!
I love the behind-the-door racks and have several in my house. They really do help me organize stuff!
So great to use this space, right? The variety of options make them quite versatile!
All great places to carve out a little extra storage. Behind doors is my favorite because it’s almost like hiding something in plain sight. Above my head, not so much since I’m on the vertically challenged side and would probably need a stool! LOL
I’m vertically challenged as well, Deb. I do keep fold-up stools in a few strategic locations, but try to avoid putting anything up high that I need too often!
Wonderful ideas. I have some of them and they are really helpful. Some i had never thought of so thanks for the tips.
Glad you found them helpful, Dianne!
You know that feeling when you think of something brilliant but can’t find the right words to explain it to someone else? That’s how I felt when I first started this post. I wanted to talk about one of my personal favorite aspects of storage spaces, but it’s not something that comes up very often (if ever). So I began writing this blog post, which essentially became an ode to the overlooked.
Nia Hayes – ShunCy recently posted…How to grow a magnolia tree from seed
Wow! This is just chock-full of ideas. It’s inspiring to see all of the little nooks, crannies, and other spaces other people use to make the most of every inch of space. Good job on this post!
I checked out your site and can see that you are on the same page as I am!
Very nice! Hooks and hanging things on the walls and behind doors (or car headrests!) are a great idea to keep surfaces clear.
Hang It Up Closets recently posted…Home Office Arrangement Ideas for Two
A clear work surface is your best productivity tool, so well worth it!