When the unavoidable clutter of a family, pets, and a job starts to pile up, you may long for a few more rooms in your home just to contain it all. But if a move or an addition isn’t on the horizon anytime soon, the next best bet is to maximize the storage space your home already has. By reconsidering areas you’ve overlooked as potential storage spots—the backs of cabinet doors or that empty space under the stairs—you may find that your home can hold much more than you thought. Rather than simply piling belongings in a closet, these creative storage spots are strategically placed so items are close at hand and easy to find. A playset that slides under the bed in your kid’s room will end the daily hunt for lost toys, while a shelf under your kitchen cabinets frees up counter space, yet leaves cookbooks and spices within reach. When you put all of these hidden storage spots to use, it may suddenly feel as though your home gained an extra room or two.
1. On the Backs of Cabinet Doors
If you’re a baker, you likely have a kitchen drawer filled with a jumble of mixer attachments, measuring cups, and rubber spatulas. To avoid rummaging through this drawer while your hands are covered in cookie dough, take a cue from Jenny Steffens Hobick of Everyday Occasions and make use of the backs of your kitchen cabinet doors. To adopt the idea in your own kitchen, screw cup hooks into the back of the door, spacing them so that the hanging items won’t interfere with the shelves when the door is closed. Another storage tip to steal: Let painted pieces of molding stand in for shelf risers so you can see all of the contents at a glance and save time searching for the allspice.
2. Under Your Child’s Bed
Turns out there’s a lot more than monsters hiding under your kid’s bed—there’s also plenty of unused storage space. Spotted in a tour of a beautiful 1950s home on Wit & Delight, a shallow wooden tray with wheels turns an ordinary train set into a trundle playset. To make your own, attach small casters to the bottom of a large wooden tray or bin. During playtime, your little ones can wheel it into the center of the room. When bedtime rolls around, they can simply stash it under the bed for easy cleanup. To make building a wheeled storage bin even easier, check out The Heathered Nest’s tutorial for adding casters to an IKEA basket.
3. Beneath Your Kitchen Cabinets
If you wish you could free up counter space in your kitchen, but every square inch of cabinet space is occupied, consider installing some bracketed shelves just below the cabinets, as Nicole Lamac of The House Diaries did. “When I renovated this house, I built in storage areas wherever possible,” she explains, including adding bracketed shelves for holding the overflow of dishes and cookbooks from the cabinets above. When deciding where to place the shelves, measure the height of the dishes or canisters you plan to store. Make sure there is enough clearance between the shelf and the bottom of the cabinets, but that the shelves don’t sit so low that they block the work surface.