Storage & Organization
24 Clever Storage Ideas for Hard-to-Store Stuff
Camping gear, magazines, boots…they can take over your house and garage! Here are some really clever ideas for storing your most challenging stuff.
The unused space between overhead joists in a basement or garage is a brilliant place to install a heavy-duty wire shelf. The wire shelving is see-through, so you can easily tell what’s up there. Store outdoor sports equipment, tackle boxes, coolers and other less-frequently used items out of the way yet still easily accessible. Depending on the width, wire shelves cost from $1 to $3 per foot at home centers.
Light-Duty Extension Cord Storage
Patio Cushions and Camping Gear Storage
Can you actually find what you’re looking for in your stack of saved magazines? Here’s a great way to archive magazines, a method that one of our editors has been using at work for years. All you need is a bunch of hanging folders and a drawer that’s set up for hanging them. Cut off the bottom of each folder about an inch below the rod. Drape your magazine over the rod and hang it in the drawer. The spines are easy to read, so you can find what you need quickly.
Garage Door Extension Cord Storage
Extension Ladder Storage
An extension ladder is one of the most difficult things to store. When you need to use it, it has to be easy to get to. But there are long stretches when it just gets in the way of everything else in your garage. Here’s a good solution: Mount it on your garage ceiling on sturdy racks made of scrap 2x4s that are screwed into the ceiling joists. Use two 3-1/2-in. screws at each joint to make the rack secure. These racks make it easy to slide the ladder out when you need it. Just make sure to position the racks where they won’t interfere with your garage door.
Belt and Other Hang-Ups
Musical Instrument Storage
Screws, Doodads and Other Hardware Storage
If you have lots of small hardware on hand, constantly opening drawers or containers to find what you need is a pain. Here’s one solution: Store hardware in small, sturdy zippered craft bags (thicker than sandwich bags and available at hobby stores). Punch a hole in the bag and hang it on pegboard. The clear bags make finding what you need a snap and keep dust, rust and moisture at bay. If you need to find a matching piece of hardware, just hold it up for a side-by-side comparison.
Add-On Clothes Rod
If you have kids, you have balls—basketballs, soccer balls, rubber balls and other round objects that roll around underfoot. Here’s a perfect way to use that narrow gap between a pair of garage doors (if you’re blessed with such an awkward spot). Just install angled “ball ramps” made from scrap wood. The balls fit neatly in the gap, and because the ball ramp is right there at the edge of the garage, kids are more likely to use it.
Vacuum Gear Storage
Closet Glove Rack
Garage Corner Shelves
Basement Junk Storage
OK, maybe junk is too harsh a word. We’re talking about luggage, camping gear, the ugly vase Aunt Martha gave you for your wedding—stuff you need to keep but don’t use all the time. If your house has a set of stairs with a sloped closet underneath, you have a huge amount of space that’s mostly wasted. Here’s how to get the most out of that black hole. Build a custom rolling cart that fits perfectly in the closet. This one is built like a shelf unit and rides on fixed casters so it slides straight out to keep things organized and accessible. When Aunt Martha comes to visit, just roll it out, grab the vase and you’re golden.
Fishing Rod Storage
Spring Clamp Storage
Efficient Bike Storage
This system also makes it easier to take down the bikes when they’re hanging over a parked car, a boat or a big mess like in my garage. That’s because you can pull or push the bikes clear of the obstruction before you lower it. I’ve been using mine for almost a year now, and I love it. You can buy a Saris Cycle Glide for $245 at bike stores or online.
If this style isn’t to your liking check out other bike storage ideas.
Jeff Gorton, Associate Editor
Try Attic-Decking Panels
Double-Duty Shelf Brackets
Throw and go
Shelves and cabinets are great, but when you’re in a hurry (and kids always are), it’s nice to just throw and go. Find complete instructions, including diagrams for cutting the wood, here.