No matter how many square feet of living space you have, it feels like you can always use more storage space. Instead of wondering if you should move to bigger digs, sometimes the best thing to do is get a little creative about where—and how—you stash your stuff. By taking advantage of unused corners and out-of-the-way spots, you can keep extra items out of sight. Doubling down on clever storage is an easy way to take care of that promise to get organized, too!
Best of all, making sure that everything has a place doesn’t have to be expensive. You can customize your existing storage space with some easy tips and tricks to keep everything from socks to snowshoes organized and neat. In fact, you probably already have the best storage spots for certain items—they’ve been hiding right under your nose this whole time! Whether you live in a home where space is at a premium or you’re just looking to hide away some of your less-then-lovely belongings, here are some excellent storage hacks to organize your stuff on the cheap.
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If you have tank tops spilling out of your dresser drawers, you might be tempted to think you need additional closet space to accommodate your wardrobe. Not so! You can make an easy, space-saving hanger for your tank tops with just a regular clothes hanger and a set of shower curtain rings. Simply put the ring through the tank top straps and attach to the crossbar of your hanger, and you’ll have room for two dozen tank tops in the amount of space usually taken up by just one shirt. Hang your clever new invention in your closet to pull out whenever you need that cool base layer—bonus points for arranging your tanks in rainbow order to find them fast.
Did your home miss the memo about needing a linen closet? If you don’t have a hall closet to store spare sheets and towels, they could be taking up precious closet space in your bedroom—or worse, sitting in a rumpled pile in a corner until you need them. When storage is tight, it’s easy to keep your sheets folded flat and tucked away between your mattress and box spring. This is ultra-convenient when it comes time to change your sheets—just don’t stack them so high that you throw your mattress off kilter for sleeping.
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In almost every home, there’s a little bit of wasted space above a bedroom door, but below the ceiling that’s perfect for extra storage. if you have space around the door, simply head to your local home improvement store for shelf brackets to mount on each side of the door frame. Have a shelf cut to fit that will span the space above your door and use it to store out-of-season gloves and hats in decorative boxes. For a narrow bathroom without space for the brackets, consider a cubby instead—it’s perfect for those extra bath towels!
If you’re an avid cyclist living in a small space, the best thing you can do is to hang your bike up off the floor to keep it out of the way. A pulley system that hangs from your ceiling is an inexpensive (and very cool!) way to show off your ride. You can also simply screw bike hooks into a stud of your ceiling or wall for easy storage if your bike is lightweight. These ideas work just as well in the garage as they do in a studio apartment, so there’s no reason to trip over your bicycle ever again.
Did you know that you can purchase sturdy risers for your bed? These are an easy way to raise your bed to pack in more under-bed storage boxes for out-of-season clothing and other rarely-used items. To keep things tidy inside those large, flat boxes, try adding shoe boxes—with or without their lids—to create miniature “drawers” for smaller items like mittens, socks and bathing suits. Clear bins make it easy to find what you’re looking for, and you can hide the whole area with a bed skirt for a clean look.
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Baskets have long reigned supreme as a way to corral clutter on shelves for a neat look. They’re also perfect for adding storage to that dead space just below your shelf, too. Simply choose a matching set of several baskets with handles and purchase some cup hooks with sharp screw tips. Attach the hooks below your shelf and hang your baskets to double that shelf’s usefulness. This great trick also works in cupboards and under the sink to maximize storage while keeping small items neatly contained.
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You can make good use of that odd, shallow dresser drawer by using it for your jewelry. To keep items organized, use an ice cube tray or two to hold pairs of earrings, rings and other tiny items. You get to tuck jewelry out of sight when you close the drawer, but everything is easy to see when you need to, since the trays don’t have lids. Spend a half hour organizing your items in these clever cups, and you’ll never have to wonder what’s inside that dusty jewelry box again.
A magnetic knife holder is a great way to keep your kitchen knives handy while making sure they aren’t dulled by sliding around loose in a drawer. You can also use these in the bathroom to hold bobby pins, barrettes and other lightweight hair styling implements. If you have makeup brushes with a metal ferrule, you might also be able to line them up at attention on your magnet bar, which will help keep the bristles from being crushed by other items.
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Sometimes all you need to do is divide your existing storage space into smaller, more specialized areas to hold your stuff. In the kitchen, plastic tension rods can be almost magical. These inexpensive curtain rods can be found at any hardware or home goods store and come in a variety of sizes. Add one under the sink to hold a row of spray bottles by their handles, or place a series of rods vertically as dividers to hold baking sheets, cutting boards and pot lids in neat rows.
With a little money and a healthy dose of imagination, you can work some storage hacks into your home to keep every room perfectly organized. Many of these ideas can be used all over the house, so feel free to experiment! When you get your items in order, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a neater home and faster cleanups all year long.