Maximizing Your Space

Maximizing Your Space

No matter how big (or small) your house is, one thing homeowners always seem to want is more storage. While we can’t wave a magic wand and create extra walk-in closets or add an attic, we do have some tips for maximizing the space you’ve got.

When opening your cupboards feels like plunging into a deep dark jungle, it’s time to pull everything out, sort, toss, and reorganize. If it’s expired, throw it out; if you’re never going to use it, donate it. Everything else can now be better organized. Use glass jars or clear plastic containers, clearly labeled, for items like sugar, flour, and cereal. Group like items in baskets, such as bags of beans and rice. Empty big boxes of individually packaged cookies and snacks into labeled bins. Put items you use most at eye and hand level. Storage and recycling bins can be on the floor and less-used specialty items on top shelves.

The key to an uncluttered closet is keeping things off the floor and on hangers and shelves — unless you’ve got labeled bins with lids. If you can go that route, an even better tip is to stay seasonal: pack up sweaters, scarves and gloves each spring and swimsuits and shorts each fall, and stow them in their neatly labeled bins in the basement, garage or attic, giving you more room to see and access what you use every day. Try keeping shoes in their lidded boxes with one end cut off so you can see what’s inside and the boxes stack neatly.

An over-the-door shoe pocket storage bag is great for dryers, curling irons and corded items. Other hair-care items will fit there too. Use trays and baskets labeled with each family member’s name to avoid mix-ups and ensure you can find what you need right away. Specialized shelving for over the toilet or around a pedestal sink makes accessing everyday items easy. Clear the counter by choosing hanging or shelf organizers for dental care items and frequently used cosmetics.

Use wall space as much as possible to clear floor clutter and stay organized. Hooks for coats, scarves and gardening aprons, shelves with baskets for gloves and hats and separate shelves for gardening or mud boots and shoes will keep your floor clear. A bench with storage in the seat is handy for changing shoes and stowing away outdoor items such as umbrellas as well.

In every instance, one of the most important tips we can give you is to purge: reduce, recycle and donate what you know you’re not using. You may surprise yourself with the “extra” space you’ll find