5 Ways to Increase Storage

By Jill M. Banks
Happily Better After Room Redesign & Home Staging

Finding a home with enough storage space can be a challenge, especially when you move often. If your current home has insufficient closet or storage space, there are ways to create a bit more if you do a little planning, and get products to create storage where you need it. 

Here are five ways to add space where there is none:

1. Get furniture that multitasks. Furnishings that look great and provide extra storage space are a smart choice when your home lacks closet space. Pieces like storage ottomans, tables with drawers and/or shelves, small chests, trunks, or freestanding cabinets offer perfect places to stash throws, games, magazines, extra linens, or other items that you use often.  

Even though e-readers are becoming increasingly popular and there’s less need for book storage, bookcases are still great for displaying and storing other items. Some modular units have compatible drawer inserts and doors, so you can customize your bookcase to keep parts open for display, and create hidden storage for other items.

2. Use accents that are pretty and functional. Decorative boxes, lidded jars, bowls, and baskets add style when placed on a table or shelf, but they’re also ideal for storing remote controls, keys, pet supplies, and other small items that are hard to keep track of and need to be contained. If you plan to use woven baskets for storage as part of a display on a shelf or bookcase, get multiples of the same style and color to create several separate storage areas and a neat look.

3. Put unused spaces to use.  When storage space is limited, think outside the closet. Add risers to raise your bed frame a couple of inches, and use the space underneath to store seasonal linens or clothes in low-profile soft-sided or hard plastic containers. In kids’ rooms, under the bed is a great place to store board games or other flat, bulky toys. There are a variety of racks, organizers, and hooks to add storage behind doors, and unused space in deep cabinets or closets can be made accessible with Lazy Susans or totes on wheels.

4. Divide and conquer. When dealing with open storage spaces, everything often ends up in a big heap, and valuable space is wasted. In these areas, use containers to help break up and define storage spaces to make them more user-friendly. Adding wire shelving to create specific sections in your closet maximizes the space you have, so you can store more. Use stackable totes or boxes to take advantage of tall, wide, or deep spaces in closets or garages. Shelf dividers allow you to securely stack soft items like sweaters, towels or blankets and efficiently use vertical space, and small baskets or organizers create more room in drawers, and keep them neat.

5. Hang it up. Think vertical when looking for additional storage space. Bulletin boards not only hold notes, but they are great for storing items like necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, which tend to tangle when stored horizontally. Similarly, use special hangers to store ties, scarves, and belts to save closet or drawer space.

When it comes to buying products to help increase storage around your home, they don’t have to be expensive; dollar stores often have a good selection of small basic baskets and organizers, and discount chains like Marshalls, HomeGoods, Target, IKEA, and Walmart have a wide variety of containers and organizing products that can help increase your storage space without breaking your budget. If you need organizers for specific purposes or areas, a specialty retailer like The Container Store is your best bet.

Jill M. Banks is the owner of Happily Better After Room Redesign & Home Staging (www.happilybetterafter.com), an award-winning firm specializing in home staging, room makeover, and professional organizing services. Since 2009, she has helped clients throughout southern NJ reveal the fabulous potential in their homes and offices, whether they plan to sell or stay. Her expert advice has been featured in Burlington County Woman and Camden County Woman magazines, "The Joyful Organizer" podcast, MSN Real Estate, AOL Real Estate, BHG.com, and several decorating blogs and websites.