Ever caught yourself browsing through the pages of a home decor magazine, wondering “how people manage to live in these spaces without stuff?” After all, once you’ve survived in a storage-deprived home, you begin to realize how no amount of Kondo-ing is ever going to get you to zero stuff. Whatever is left over has to go somewhere—and when you have little-to-no closet space, it usually winds up in a heap in the spare bedroom or on the laundry room floor.
But whether you’re a decluttering addict or live in a permanent state of junk-overload, you probably wish your home was a little bit better organized. After all, there’s plenty of evidence that too much clutter inhibits our ability to think clearly, ultimately lowering our health and happiness in our homes.
Luckily, this is one place where the Internet has your back. The archives of the web are stuffed (one might even say “cluttered!”) with techniques to solve your worst storage woes, from niche tips like this clever bookshelf hack, to more whimsical approaches, like this test tube spice rack. We scoured the web for the most practical answers to your biggest storage nightmares and came up with seven fixes for even the most space-strapped homes. Check out our favorites below!
Install a Pegboard Backsplash
Pegboard is one of those miracle inventions, better than cheese in a can or sliced bread. The reason it’s so great is that it’s incredibly versatile; you can use pegboard hangers, shelves, and other accessories to hold just about anything that needs to be held. Pegboard makes a great addition to a garage or shed wall, but in this cool tutorial, DIY Network teaches you how to install one right under your kitchen cabinets for a multi-functional backsplash that’s as practical as it is pretty!
Make Your Cabinets Do Double Duty
Cabinets are a lifesaver when you live in a tiny, space-starved home. But when you have to duck an avalanche every time you open the doors, they sort of lose their usefulness. Get yours organized by making them do extra work. Add custom pullouts to store pots, pans, and baking sheets, instead of rummaging through a heap of loose cookware to make dinner. Or install a few sliding tiered organizers—they’ll let you finally catalog your cleaners and other under-the-sink detritus. Lastly, slap a few command hooks on the back of a cabinet door. They make a handy place to store spoons, pots, pans or basically anything that can be hung up.
Hang Shelves High and Long
Standing bookshelves can easily become space wasters when you don’t have the square footage to begin with. Shelves installed just below the ceiling look nicer—and give you back some of that coveted floorspace. Try them in a bedroom, closet or kitchen for a convenient spot to stow books, games, platters and other infrequently-used items. Take that, clutter!
Add an Open Closet System to Your Bedroom
A home with no closets? It may sound impossible, but it happens. For these spaces, an open closet system is a godsend. At once stylish and highly functional, open closet systems fulfill the role of a shuttered closet space, they just sit in a corner of your bedroom instead of behind a door. Open closet systems are as individual as fingerprints, but most include some kind of permanent shelving and racks for hanging clothes. To get you the full 411, we love this article from A Beautiful Mess about how to design one for your home.
Turn the Backs of Doors into Storage Mainstays
This takes the cabinet storage idea one step further by applying it to your closet doors, as well. This under-utilized space is the perfect place to hold a shoe hanger, a set of lightweight shelves, a clothes rack—or just a nice spot to hang your scarf or hat collection. Just think about what you can do with all that extra closet space!
Take Advantage of Unused Space in Your Garage: the Ceiling
Garage must be French for “mess,” judging by the state of most carports. We get it—organizing one is no picnic, which is why many stay in a permanent state of disarray for years. However, if you’re looking to tackle a garage cleanup soon, you’ll appreciate the extra space afforded by a ceiling-mounted storage rack. It’s a great place to keep seasonal items like outdoor gear and sports equipment. Once you get one of these up, you may even have enough room to park your car in there again!
Make the Most of Your Drawer Space
This tip comes straight from our friends in the United States military. To make the most of every square inch of your drawers, try employing the “six-inch military roll,” explained here by LifeHacker. This technique not only lets you fit more tee shirts in your dresser, it also makes it easier to find the shirt you want without taking everything out of the drawers. It takes a couple of tries to master it, but anything that will keep those unruly shirts in line is definitely worth the effort. Eat your heart out, interior design mags!