Maximize your storage space by working with what you’ve got.
1. Use the top of the fridge
“Over the refrigerator is the most underutilized area in the home, or it’s totally misused,” says Nancy Heller, certified professional organizer and founder of Goodbye Clutter. “People either have a hodgepodge or it’s completely empty.” Make the most of the space by using it as intentional storage. Instead of leaving it empty or throwing on whatever doesn’t have another home (that tiki dish from Hawaii or random doilies), designate it as the permanent home for something you use only occasionally. Because you’re only reaching up a few times a year, it won’t matter that it’s hard to reach, but you’ll know exactly where to find your waffle maker when the time comes. (Don’t make these other sloppy-looking kitchen organizing mistakes.)
2. Adjust your shelves
“That’s the number-one thing I do in almost every home,” says Heller. “They’re too high and have maybe four inches of open vertical space on each shelf. You’ve lost a foot and a half of storage space.” Most shelves are adjustable, so change their heights to suit your needs, rather than becoming a slave to the way they were installed. Mellen suggests measuring the tallest object you’d keep in each space, then adding 1.5 to 2 inches so you have room to slide items out.
3. Create your own shelves
If you still have wasted space after adjusting shelf heights, buy a shelf that suspends under your built-in shelf to create a sliding storage space below. They’re usually only about four or five inches deep, making them a great place to stash flat objects like cookie sheets and placemats. “They won’t interfere unless shelves are not very tall, and won’t bump into stuff in the shelf below,” says Mellen. If you’d rather add space upward, place a tower on top to create a mini shelf above the preexisting one.