Posted by Sheela Cooper
Extra storage – it’s like the unicorn of home organization; so coveted, yet so elusive. But I’m here to tell you that there really is a way to find extra storage in your home. You just need to use a bit of creativity.
I’m sure that many of you, like me, have tried in vain to find a good solution for storing your wrapping paper. I realize that this is, indeed, a first world problem, but hey, it’s there! I used to use a Rubbermaid gift wrap storage bin, and it did hold a lot of wrapping paper. But sometimes the rolls would get crunched and crumpled, and eventually the lid hinge broke so the lid kept falling off. The bin was also quite bulky and took up too much precious closet space. Wrapping accessories like bows and ribbon would also get smashed into the bottom of the bin, so they were not only lost but also ruined. Definitely not my idea of useful storage.
I thought about it for a while, and once again turned to my beloved 3M Command hooks. (I have no affiliation with 3M, but I definitely admire their genius!) The wire hook was the perfect solution. But before I could even hang the hooks, I needed to clean out the wrapping paper bin. I recycled whatever was too crumpled to use and consolidated small pieces of wrapping paper by rolling them tightly and placing them inside the cardboard tubes of other rolls of paper. When I was done, I was left with seven rolls of wrapping paper and one roll of kraft paper. Some rolls are all-purpose and reversible, so I have twice the options. My holiday paper comes on rather large rolls and is also reversible (thank you, Costco!), so seven rolls of paper is plenty for my needs.
I then scoped out an empty wall in my laundry closet (note that I said closet and not room, because it truly is a closet, which means that there isn’t much space) next to the dryer, and hung eight wire hooks. The bonus is that if I ever get tired of them, they will come off without damaging the wall. I attached a small binder clip to each roll of wrapping paper and hung the clip on the Command hook. (The binder clip could also hold the small pieces of paper that I had stored inside the cardboard roll.) Instant wrapping paper storage! I also put binder clips on a small plastic bin and hung it from two nails right above the wrapping paper; the bin stores tape, scissors, and gift tags. I even have a small spool of ribbon in there. (I have mostly given up on bows, since they just seem extraneous to me.) I made sure to place the nails into a wooden board so that they could properly support the weight of the bin. Here’s the result:
I was able to re-purpose the wrapping paper bin to hold scrap wood in the garage (more found storage), so it was a win all around!
You can also add some stand-alone shelves on your existing shelves to increase your vertical storage in closets like this. I added some to help me store smaller items (in baskets) on top:
Another great storage spot in your home is the backs of doors. We have a very small coat closet in our home’s entry, so we need to maximize space for shoes. There’s very little space for an on-the-floor shoe organizer, so I turned to an over-the-door shoe organizer. The problem was that the original one I had stored very few shoes, so it didn’t really add a lot of value.
Then I discovered this beauty:
Shoe rack source: The Container Store
This rack holds 30 pairs of women’s shoes, or 15 pairs of men’s shoes. So if the bulk of the shoes in your household are women’s shoes and children’s shoes, this shoe organizer provides excellent storage! And it’s hidden away behind the door, so your shoes won’t be on display the second anyone walks into your home. We added shelves to the top of this closet to gain lots of game storage:
I also use the back of another closet door to hold my plastic bag holder, like this:
This closet is tiny (see how narrow the door is?), but I’m able to store 2 vacuums, my steam cleaner, mop and broom, and even gift bags, in here. It takes some strategic maneuvering, but it all fits. We added shelves to the top of this closet to maximize on vertical space (always consider the vertical space!). I’m able to fit all of our Halloween décor up there, plus our coolers and a few other miscellaneous things. Finding some storage on the back of the door to this closet is a bonus. The plastic bag on the bottom holds plastic bags that need to be recycled. I just grab the whole bag (usually every couple of weeks) before I head to the grocery store so I can recycle them there. (Looks like I need to go soon!)
I’ve even been able to find extra storage in the smallest sliver of wall in my mom’s pantry. Her pantry is just a closet-style (not walk-in), so space is tight. I put a plastic bag holder in there (just like mine), so she can store her bags out of sight.
Of course I used Command hooks to hang these bag holders! Don't forget about adding hooks to the front of your doors too, especially coat closet doors. I added some to ours so that we could easily hang coats and hats without the trouble of finding a hanger in the closet.
Finally, consider finding smaller holders to store items like CDs and DVDs. I’ve recently begun a project to make storing these items easier. I bought ultra-slim jewel cases and moved our DVDs into these cases. Fifty DVDs now take up a fraction of the space they used to. All of our CDs are now stored as MP3s, so I took the CDs out of their cases and stored them and the inserts in binders with CD storage sleeves. This allows you to store more like items in the same amount of space. I recycled my old CD and DVD cases at a Best Buy store at no cost to me.
See how much space 50 traditional DVD cases take (on the left), versus the 50 slim jewel cases (on the right?) You can preserve the cover art by simply cutting it out from the original case insert and pasting it into the slimmer case, like this:
I hope that these ideas have inspired you to look at your space in a new way to discover more storage. Keep in mind that you will automatically gain storage space if you get rid of excess clutter, but it’s always nice to find a little bit of new storage without any intense clean-up sessions!
Have you found new storage in your home lately? We’d love to hear about your creativity. Leave us a comment below.
NOTE: I do not have any affiliation with any retailers or products mentioned in this post.