Discover Extra Storage You Didn’t Know You Had

Discover Extra Storage You Didn’t Know You Had

It is hard to stay organized when there is just not enough space. Buying extra bins and tubs doesn’t help if there is nowhere to put them.

Look around your house. You might be surprised for find space that can be used for storage that you have not even thought of.

Is there enough space for a shelf wide enough for bins?

Space for Bins

Look up. Is there space for a shelf close to the ceiling? If you make it deep enough, it can hold bins. Bins hold more than you could shove up there without them. They look neater and help you control clutter.

Depending on how high your ceiling is, you may even be able to fit two shelves.

If the bins are all the same color, it doesn’t look messy. Put similar things together and label the shelves and the bins so you can find things later without pulling things down.

This isn’t the easiest space to get to, so you might not want to store things you need frequently so high. But perhaps you can move some of the things you don’t need often out of the convenient storage and into bins over your head. Then there is enough space for things you need frequently.

If your book shelves don’t go to the ceiling, you can add some bins there, too.

Large Tubs on the cabinets in the laundry room.

When we put cabinets in the laundry room, I measured to be sure that we could fit standard tubs on top of the cabinets.

You can write on dark tubs with chalk

You can see what is in sheer tubs. Label the tubs if you can’t see what’s in them. Chalk works great on dark-colored tubs.

We put extra support so we could be sure it would bear all the weight.

Cabinets for the Laundry Room >

My kitchen with the soffit removed and the wall and ceiling not very expertly added

Remove Kitchen Soffit

What about in your kitchen? Is there wasted space above the cabinets? If the cabinets don’t go to the ceiling, you can use this space. Measure the height and width, then pick out bins that best use the space.

If you have soffit above your cabinets, it might be more complicated. I have removed the soffit in houses I lived in twice. Once it was really easy. It was like a false wall from the top of the cabinets to the ceiling. I hit it with a hammer and used the claw to pull it off. Then I sanded and cleaned and painted the ceiling and wall to match the rest of the room and I was done.

The second time I was surprised to find that it was all framed in with 2x4s and there was no wall or ceiling behind it. It was a much bigger deal to frame the rest of the wall and ceiling, screw in drywall, tape it, plaster and sand it, (more than a few times because I was not terribly competent). That is the photo above. It looks fine with the baskets I had on top of the cabinets.

Both times the effort was worth it. I added a LOT of storage space.

Here’s a tip, Smaller bins with handles make it easier to handle heavy things like emergency supplies, canned goods or batteries. I don’t mean tiny bins. I find that 12” x 18” or so is really practical and fits in most places.

More Discovered Space

One house had a framed platform with sheetrock walls to hold the indoor air handler for our heat pump. There was absolutely no point to it. I cut the front of the drywall off with a box knife to make sure there was nothing behind it. There wasn’t. So I cut the rest of the front away to the 2x4s at the sides, cleaned them up and painted them. I put some peel and stick floor squares down. It gave me about half a closet. A whole half a closet! Enough space to store all my cleaning supplies including the steamer I had just bought at Sam’s Club clearance and then discovered I had nowhere to keep.

Do your cabinets have any fake doors? Mine were just glued on. I pulled them off, added a couple of hinges and it gave me access to that space. It was only little corners, but they were tall corners. One held the pump for coffee at parties along with all the other stuff I put out when I served coffee at parties. The other had enough space to get the blender off the counter. It was still convenient when I needed it, but when I didn’t I had the counter space and it made it easier to clean. It didn’t use all the space and I planned to put a shelf in there, but I moved before I got around to it.

If I had any photos, I don’t know where they are.

Project: Adding a Drawer Under the Cabinets - The Finished Drawer
Drawer added under the cabinets

I added drawers in the unused space by the floor below my cabinets. I posted about that already.

Project: Adding a Drawer Under the Cabinets >

A door in the hallway gives access to the area next to the washer to have a place to park the vacuum cleaner

I added a door in the hallway to reach the space between the washing machine and the side of the closet. I posted about that, too. I put some wire towel racks on it to hang table cloths—storage that doesn’t let them wrinkle.

Project: Laundry and Storage >

Floor Plan of Dining Room and Hall showing new door

There was already a closet at the end of the dining room to hold the hot water heater and hookups for a washer and dryer.

Doors in the dining room hide a closet

With the doors closed, the dining room looks nice and neat.

Behind the doors I added plenty of sturdy shelves.

With the doors open, there is a convenient laundry area. I added sturdy shelves.

This door from the hallway allows access to the space beside the washer. It is actually bigger than it looks in this plan.

Adding a door off the hallway allows access to the space beside the washer. Perfect for cleaning supplies and an upright vacuum cleaner.