People tend to grow to fit the space they’re in. Even homes that once seemed large and full of storage can quickly start to feel cramped and cluttered as you accumulate more belongings, expand your family with children or pets, and just generally get too busy with everyday life to stay perfectly neat and organized. Fortunately, there are a number of useful ways you can improve your home storage spaces, from making small, quick adjustments to large renovations.
Here are some useful tips for anyone looking to enhance the amount of storage in their home:
Whenever you’re looking to gain more storage space, the first step should always be to sort through your closets, storage boxes, cabinets, etc. and get rid of anything you haven’t used in more than a year or otherwise don’t need. This can be easier said than done, of course, so try starting with just one small area rather than tackling an entire space at once. It may help to have a trash bag or box you will donate with you to directly thrown in each item rather than forming piles you later have to deal with.
If you find you have a lot to get rid of, you may want to consider renting a roll off dumpster (stored in the street or on any concrete driveway) that can be carted off once you’re done. In addition to avoiding the hassle of making multiple trash runs or scheduling extra pickups yourself, you’ll be able to just get rid of things right away instead of just relocating clutter to other parts of your home.
Remember, if you haven’t used something in longer than a year, you probably aren’t going to use it anytime soon. Only hang on to things you have an active plan for instead of telling yourself you may use it at some point later on.
Stock up on Functional Decor
In today’s modern homes, functional decor really means decor with storage space. Floating shelves can add style and texture to your walls, as well as give you useful places for books and mementos. Wall pegs likewise can add some unique flair while allowing designated spots for things like coats, necklaces, scarves, purses, and headphones. You may also want to look for lamps that are built into vertical shelving units and planters that can hang elegantly from the ceiling rather than take up space down below.
Furniture is especially an area where you can take full advantage of style, function, and storage all in one. Why bother having a big couch or bed in the way if they don’t double as home storage spaces? Putting your bed on risers is a quick and easy way to increase the number of items you can store underneath, but there are also a lot of bed frame designs with built-in drawers or other kinds of storage underneath. Likewise, many modern couches have sections that flip up or pull out to reveal storage drawers underneath. Any footstools or ottomans you have should also be swapped out for storage versions if possible.
While using functional decor and furniture won’t be possible in every situation, you will probably want to stock up as much as possible. Doing so will help keep your home neat and clean-looking in addition to providing you with ample storage space.
Utilize Guest Rooms
Going along with the above, the furniture pieces in any guest rooms don’t have to be traditional mainstays. If you have any guest bedrooms that you don’t use often, you may want to utilize the space more to your personal advantage. Try swapping any existing regular beds out for Murphy beds or futons — or even just leaving room for a good air mattress. Don’t be afraid to install more shelves than usual or put in extra bookcases in guest rooms, since they aren’t used as bedrooms every day.
If there are any closets in guest rooms, these can be great as home storage spaces for linens and blankets. If you find your own bedroom closet is bursting at the seams, guest room closets can also be used for clothing overflow. This can be especially advantageous if you have seasonal clothing you don’t wear year-round.
Rethink Your Kitchen
Kitchens are areas where there never feels like enough storage space exists. If you can relate, it’s time to reevaluate how you’re currently using your kitchen and make more advantageous adjustments. If you aren’t doing so already, for instance, storing cutlery in a tray with dividers will help keep it organized as well as increase the amount of drawer space you have. Putting in additional cabinet shelves and inner door organizers will help keep all of your items more accessible and organized.
While this may not be the aesthetic choice for everyone, removing your cabinet doors will also help you increase the number of items you can store on your shelves. If you do this, however, it’s crucial to keep things as organized as possible else things start to look overly cluttered. For example, putting all your spices in a tray holder or rack will allow you to easily access what you need without knocking things around.
But if you’re really going to expand the number of home storage spaces in your kitchen, you’ll need to do a little thinking outside the box (i.e. beyond just the drawers and cabinets). For example, installing an overhead rack for pots and pans will help to dramatically increase the amount of available storage space on your shelves. Add in a couple of extra hooks, and you can keep spatulas and other large cooking utensils overhead as well.
And instead of looking at new countertop installation to revamp your kitchen, why not go the more functional storage route and get a mobile countertop instead? While this may not increase your storage space that much, its ability to be set up in different places and pushed away against walls when you don’t need it will help keep your kitchen more organized and give you more room for different kinds of activities.
Going a non-traditional route, you may also want to add some magnetic shelves to the side of your fridge. While you’ll need to look closely for designs that are sturdy and won’t slide, these shelves can be great for storing spices and small items that you use regularly for food preparation (like cooking oils and sprays).
Switch to a Tankless Water Heater
If you’re like most people, you probably see your home’s water heater as an essential appliance that can’t be done away with. While you’d be technically correct, the truth is that your water heater doesn’t need to take up so much space. And by upgrading to a smaller model or even doing away with a traditional water heater entirely, you’ll be able to add in shelves or other storage methods where it once sat.
Switching over to a tankless model can help give you back a considerable amount of storage space thanks to its wall-mounted box design. Most can even be mounted on exterior walls to expand your home storage spaces even further, as long as the boxes are within 50 feet of their power source. It’s also worth noting that a tankless water heater uses electricity to heat your water on demand and is over 90 percent efficient, giving you a practically endless supply of hot water no matter how many people take showers back-to-back.
Before you go running to find and install one, however, know that most tankless water heaters are considerably more expensive than traditional models. However, their efficiency can make up for the cost in the long run by reducing your gas and energy bills. There are also some gas-powered models worthy of consideration, though these will need to be vented.
Take Advantage of Under-Used Spaces
Many people have areas or even entire rooms of their home that are under-used. For example, unfinished basements often sit largely empty because they get too cold or hot, as do attics and porches. Garages too may be underutilized if they allow for too much exposure to weather conditions. With a few modifications, these areas could become prime real estate for extra home storage spaces.
For example, many people avoid storing things of value in their basements because they are concerned about moisture and leaks in addition to uncontrolled temperatures. But adding some shelves or pallets in your basement can quickly transform it into a space where you can safely store things high and dry. If you do have the budget, however, you may want to consider at least re-doing the basement waterproofing sealants and putting in a layer of insulation to increase what you can store down below.
A quick fix for porches includes adding in a couple of cabinets or shelves, but you may also want to consider adding some outdoor furniture with storage built-in. There are numerous outdoor benches and lounge chairs designs with storage space underneath, and some large chests may also double well as tables with storage. If you’re looking for a more extensive fix that allows you to spend more time on your porch and store more kinds of things out there, installing a porch enclosure may be the way to go. If you find that you rarely use your porch and would prefer more interior space, you may even want to consider putting in walls and windows and transforming the area completely.
If you have a garage, you may likewise be limiting the kinds of things you store in there because its current design does not shield out hot summers and frigid winters. With the right garage door replacement, however, this can be a relatively easy fix. Look for insulated models (with double-pane glass if they have windows) that are rated for your climate. These kinds of doors won’t totally keep your garage the same temperature as the rest of your house if there are no vents in there, but they will allow you to store a lot more kinds of things in there.
Consider Expanding Your Home
While this isn’t an option for everyone, growing families in particular may want to consider an addition to their home or even a detached unit in the backyard. Doing so can give you both a new living area and an abundance of new home storage spaces.
To help save on costs, you may want to consider adding a security door and making the new space its own mini apartment or bedroom and renting it out to a temporary long-term tenant or vacation renters. Many people turn their extra units into vacation rentals (at least for a few years or so) in order to continue to use them as storage space via locked cabinets or closets.
Always check with local laws and secure any necessary permits before you do so, and consider using a professional accessory dwelling unit builder to make sure things get done right. You may also want to consider enlisting the help of some residential locksmiths to install interior locks that any extra-curious guests will not be able to pick.
The amount of options available to you for enhancing your home storage spaces is going to largely depend on your budget and the amount of time you have to devote to improvement projects. While more extensive renovations can take months, they can help you take full advantage of every area of your home.
In the meantime, there are various quick fixes you can do now to help your space feel less cluttered and more organized. For most people, doing a combination of simple and extensive storage improvements will be key to enjoying a well-maintained, storage-efficient home for many years to come.