By Erik J. Martin.
Face the facts: Your home has a finite footprint for holding your possessions. Considering the sheer amount of stuff you can accrue over your lifetime, it’s easy to run out of interior storage space quickly if you’re not careful.
But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to a claustrophobic domicile overloaded with clutter and chaos. The pros are in simpatico: Every home has underutilized or overlooked spots for storage that can make it easier to organize, sort, and find those belongings you want concealed or tucked away.
“Humans tend to live by the out-of-sight, out-of-mind rule, and if something has been shoved in an unseen closet or far corner it will likely be forgotten about,” says Alexandra Peña with RealtyHop in New York City. “Unfortunately, if you have no system in place to manage all the stuff you accumulate, you’ll quickly run out of space.”
It’s in your long-term best interests, therefore, to prioritize space-saving measures and implement creative solutions when your property lacks storage capabilities.
“Anytime you increase storage, as long as it doesn’t make your space feel cramped or crowded, you are improving your home and increasing its value. And designing a better layout for those nooks and crannies will help the space feel more organized, clean, and de-cluttered, too,” notes architect, Alex Varela.
Peña subscribes to that theory.
“Creating additional storage and organizing your space provides opportunities to maximize your productivity by spending less time looking for stuff and knowing what you have so that you are less likely to purchase duplicates of things,” she says.
One of the first areas that experts recommend reevaluating is bedroom closets, where DIY organizer systems – which commonly include wire shelves, rods, dividers, drawers, cubes, and other components – can be installed, resulting in a dramatic and spatially efficient transformation.
One often-bypassed area that can be ideal for extra storage is beneath a staircase, where a small closet or nook with the door can be built, assuming there’s enough real estate there.
“If this below-the-stairs area is near your kitchen, it can become a pantry or regular countertop space with open shelves,” Varela suggests.
Many homeowners also undervalue the square footage below beds and some pieces of furniture, where low-profile storage containers can be hidden and kept.
“I often use vacuum-sealed bags to store stuff under my beds,” Peña says.
Floating shelves come in extra handy, as well.
Any available wall or area around the house can be quickly equipped with floating shelves, ideal for books, framed photos, tchotchkes, and decor that are taking up space elsewhere.
The voids behind closet and bedroom doors are also opportune areas for storage; over-the-door products with pockets and/or pouches where you can nestle shoes, clothes, or cleaning supplies are popular options here.
The upper ceilings and walls of garages and closets can prove to be prime locations for this initiative, too – areas where shelves, pegboards, and hooks can be fastened.
If you want to be extra-resourceful, consider utilizing the recesses in your walls by, for instance, making a cutout between the studs and creating wall niches with shelving for additional storage, a viable strategy in bathrooms and laundry areas.
Wherever you decide to add a storage solution, be sure to measure the area carefully so that you can ensure that your contents will actually fit in the space long-term. There’s no use in converting and under-the-stairs space, for example, if the things you want to store there can’t fit.
Of course, if you’ve exhausted all your interior options, consider spots beyond your back door.
“Sheds are a good option if you truly need more space. Just be sure to store things in weatherproof containers, as sheds are often susceptible to the elements,” Peña advises.