Suzie Q: Making the Most of Your Storage Spaces
In honor of our spotlight on the Under the Bed FRS, I’ve been thinking about food storage options for people who don’t have a lot of space. I know I’ve never lived in a place that’s had enough storage—it always seems like no matter how much storage space I have, it’s not quite enough. So I’ve been scouring the internet for innovative ways to get more storage out of the spaces you have. Here are some of the best ideas I was able to find for the parts of the house that are most conducive to storing food:
Kitchen: This is the most important area to focus on if you’re looking to increase storage space for your food, so that you can have your food within reach while you’re cooking.
- By hanging bulky pots and pans from hooks or racks on your kitchen wall, you can free up valuable cabinet space for food. A magnetic strip for knives and other metal cooking gadgets can also give you some more drawer room.
- Use your counter space. If you get a decorative holder for your cooking utensils and keep it on the counter, it will free up drawer space without cluttering your kitchen too much. Another idea is keeping basic cooking supplies like flour and sugar in decorative canisters on the counter, making a fun display while being functional and freeing up your cabinets.
- Make use of every inch of cupboard space. You might want to install pull-out shelves in cupboards that are very narrow or deep to make use of room that’s hard to access. Building a lazy Susan into your corner cabinet will utilize every bit of that space and make it easy to access. You can also attach wire shelves or baskets to the underside of existing shelves to add shelving and organization to cabinets that are too big and become cluttered. Mounting lid racks on the inside of cabinet doors will keep lids out of the way.
- If you have hanging cabinets, you can mount things underneath them to increase your counter space. There are attachments for tin foil and plastic wrap, plastic bags, paper plates, and even appliances like electric can openers and coffee pots.
Garage/outdoor storage spaces: The garage is one of the best places for extra food, and organizing the space better can make room for whole shelves of food.
- Utilize your walls. A wall of pegboard will keep tools and even larger items like bikes out of the way.
- Use ceiling space. If your garage has rafters, you can store bulky items like canoes, skis, the pod for your car, etc., across them. You can even attach a large piece of sturdy plywood across them to create a high-up shelf for items you don’t need to get to very often, or ones you only use during a certain time of year.
- You might want to think about getting a small outdoor shed to store garden tools and other things that won’t be affected by the cold. That way you can keep more food in the garage.
Under the stairs: This can be valuable space for storing extra food, especially if it’s close to the kitchen.
- Cubbies or bins that can stack on top of each other are great for this space, since you can fit them under each stair step to maximize storage space. If you have lighting and the space is accessible enough, you can even turn it into a walk-in pantry.
- For tight nooks and crannies where shelves or boxes just won’t fit, install hooks and hang things from them.
- Here are some amazing pictures of what people have done with their under-the-stairs areas. Most of these look pretty costly, but I loved how inventive people got, so maybe it will give you some inspiration on thinking outside the box to get more space out of a hard-to-use area.
Closets: closets can be a great place to store overflow food, and many people don’t use closet space efficiently. With some organization, you can free up the top shelves and bottom area of your closet for storing extra food or emergency supplies.
- Installing a second rod lower in your closet instantly doubles your clothing storage space and frees up some shelf space. Hang longer clothing items on the top rod and shorter ones on the bottom.
- Tiered hanging baskets can also maximize closet space by holding items like socks, ties, belts, or shoes.
- An over-the-door shoe rack can clear the floor of your closet and is great for holding other small items as well.
Living room/hallways: Even if the space you free up in these rooms might not work for storing food, these tips will help organize some of the most visible places in your house.
- These days a lot of furniture comes with built-in storage. If you need to buy a coffee table, entertainment center, etc., make sure to get one with lots of shelves or inner storage that isn’t visible, so you have somewhere to keep books and magazines without the room looking cluttered. You can even get couches that have built-in storage, like this neat banquette I found online.
- If you’re willing to shave a foot or so off your room’s width, you can put in bookshelves or cubbies ceiling to floor. As long as you keep the books or knick knacks you’re storing organized, it will give your room a fun, unique look without seeming cluttered. If you want to store food without it being visible, you can put shelving against the wall, install a rod across the length of the room, and pull curtains across it. For an even more invisible look you can attach panels of fabric to the ceiling that reach down to the floor, creating a layer of hidden shelving behind what looks like wallpaper.
- Corner shelving makes great use of places that get little traffic, especially in places like behind the door. In a tight entryway, just pad or upholster the top of a sturdy corner shelf to create an extra seat for putting on shoes.
- Adding shelves high up on the walls can store things out of the way of traffic while drawing the eye upwards, which makes the room appear larger. This can be a good way to display knick knacks and clear more space on shelves for things that are used on a regular basis.
Have any great storage tips of your own you’d like to share, or pictures of how you’ve made the most of your storage spaces? Post them here!