21 Smart Storage Hacks That Solve So Many Annoying Problems

published Aug 8, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

Our storage stories change over time. In one season of life, you might find yourself having to keep a dresser in the closet because the bedroom is too small for it. Then in the next phase, you’re wondering if you should decant your pantry staples into matching modular canisters. All along the way, no matter what storage problem you’re facing, you will find yourself looking for and investing in bins, boxes, and nifty little units that promise to tie up all your loose ends. There’s no need for that, though.

If you find yourself constantly outgrowing containers (and sending money down the drain with every re-organizing project), you can try two things. One: stick to storage solutions that can be used in multiple ways (a plastic shoe box bin comes to mind). Two (and more importantly): Try to use what you already have to store your stuff and organize your life.

Using what you have requires thinking out of the box. But you don’t have to reinvent the storage solution wheel. Instead, here is a round-up of some of the most clever storage hacks there are:

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

1. Hang Chip Bags from Wire Shelves With Plastic Pants Hangers

Next time you’re looking for a chip clip, consider repurposing a pants hanger from the closet instead. When your chips are suspended in the air, you have more space to store other things underneath the bags on the actual shelf part. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Use Storage Bins on the Inside of Bathroom Cabinet Doors

Doors are such a good place to carve out more storage space. In this case, adding bins to the insides of bathroom cabinet doors gives you a space to store items you need to grab often, such as a hair straightener or styling products. If you can’t screw anything into the doors because you’re renting or you don’t want to mar them, try an over-the-door shelving unit.

3. Use Lazy Susans to Prevent Pantry Corner Dead Space

Lining things up near the corners of the pantry leaves a square of empty space or an awkward configuration of items that are hard to reach. Transform this no-man’s land into one of the most useful spots in your pantry with a lazy Susan that will turn each thing on it right to your finger tips.

Credit: Kaitlin Garske

4. Put Small Appliances on Rolling Plant Stands

Tired of bending down and shuffling through rows of Instant Pots, slow cookers, and air fryers? This brilliant hack—putting them on simple, cheap rolling plant stands—makes undoing and redoing your small appliance storage space a thing of the past.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Use a Hanging Closet Organizer to Store Board Games

If you don’t have extra shelves in your place to store your collection of board games, make some with a few dollars and exactly zero tools. A hanging closet organizer gives you instant shelves in any closet and lets you stack board games off the floor and all in once place.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

6. Hang a Silverware Organizer on the Wall to Store Jewelry

Look up! If you have an old drawer organizer lying around, try adding a few mug hooks on the inside of the compartments, wall-mounting it, and using it to stash your necklaces, earrings, and other jewelry.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

7. Stack Hand Weights in a Wine Rack

Exercise equipment is bulky and tricky to store in a small apartment. A wine rack offers an unobtrusive and perfectly-sized storage solution for the weights you use when you do your workout videos. Camouflage them among the bottles (or vice versa).

Credit: Joe Lingeman

8. Store Christmas Ornaments in Egg Cartons

Small ornaments fit perfectly in egg cartons. They’re cushioned and separated from each other, and the firm box keeps them from getting squished. Being able to stack multiple egg cartons on top of each other is extra nice, as is the fact that this Christmas decor storage won’t cost you a thing.

9. Use an IKEA Shoe Rack as a “Linen Closet”

Short on storage space for towels and extra linens? The IKEA Hemnes shoe cabinet is a slim profile, nice-looking, and inexpensive solution for organizing them. Try rolling your towels for the best use of space.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

10. Use IKEA’s Bag Holder to Store Rolls of Wrapping Paper

Yes, you could use an under bed storage bin or lean them up against the wall in a corner of your closet, but filing your rolls of wrapping paper in IKEA’s VARIERA keeps them within easy reach, prevents them from toppling over, and can be placed on an otherwise underutilized wall space in your closet.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

11. Use Tension Rods to Store Baking Sheets Vertically

Stacked cookware is never ideal. Using tension rods to create slots in your kitchen cabinets allows you to store baking sheets, muffin tins, and platters vertically so you can see what you have and grab it without having to unstack everything on top of it.

Credit: Igor Sh

12. Repurpose Cookie Tins as (Very Traditional) Sewing Boxes

Join the thousands of households who remember a relative storing sewing notions in a cookie tin. If you ever felt that, once the cookies were all gone, that tin was too good to throw away, you were right. Store thread, needles, buttons, and basic household sewing supplies in this sturdy and ideally shaped storage solution. Of course, it’d also be great for storing other small household items, such as first aid supplies or batteries.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

13. Make a Food Storage Lid Organizer With a Bin and a Cooling Rack

Travel down the aisles of your favorite organizing store to find a right-sized pair of this unique combo: a drying/cooling rack and a plastic storage bin, which will allow you to store all those messy, mismatched food storage lids in one tidy, easy-to-grab spot.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

14. Store Cleaning Supplies in a VARIERA

Next time you’re at IKEA, grab a few of these $3 wonders. Not only can you use them for housing yoga mats and wrangling wrapping paper (oh yeah, and storing plastic grocery bags!), but VARIERAs are also great for corralling cleaning supplies, including dusters, scrub brushes, rags, and spray bottles of cleaning product. One piece to organize all those different objects is a hack worth putting into practice; you can even use a different VARIERA to separate various cleaning chores and the specific supplies each needs.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

15. Separate Tiny Items with Silicone Cupcake Liners

I use them in my kids’ lunchboxes to keep the peeled orange wedges from getting the veggie straws soggy, but silicone cupcake liners are also perfect for corralling small items like push pins, safety pins, paper clips, or bobby pins in drawers.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

16. Use Hanging Closet Organizers to Store Paper Products

That economy pack of paper towels from Costco isn’t going to store itself. And you probably don’t want to brace against a paper product avalanche every time you need a new roll. A hanging closet organizer with narrow slots puts paper towel rolls out of the way but within (safe) reach.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

17. Use a Kitchen Sink Sponge Holder to Store Small Packets in the Fridge

This unobtrusive, less than $4 plastic sponge holder can be stuck on virtually any smooth surface, including the inside of your refrigerator. Use it to corral take-out sauce packets in a cool and convenient place.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

18. Snag Bonus Shower or Vanity Space with a Sponge Holder, Too

With suction cups, you can stick it on a shower wall to keep soap from making a slimy mess, or just use it to get a few extra square inches of storage for your toiletries. Then stick another one to your vanity mirror to stash skincare and makeup brushes.

Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy

19. Store Your Linens Right Where You’ll Need Them

Instead of wishing you had a bigger linen closet (or one at all), store your extra sheet sets in the bedroom you use them in. Specifically, store them underneath the mattress they’ll eventually go on. They’re out of sight, take up virtually no room, and are kept safe from dust. Fold them wide and thin so you don’t have any weird under-mattress bumps, don’t forget they’re there (!), and you’re good to go.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

20. Stack Baking Sheets for Extra Shelves in Your Fridge Whenever You Need Them

When you’ve run out of space in your fridge and you don’t want to play Tetris with casserole dishes and pickle jars, place a baking sheet on top of a flat surface and boom! instant extra shelf.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

21. Use Shower Curtain Rings Like Your Home’s Carabiners

Carabiners might seem like some kind of outdoors person’s secret tool, but they’re surprisingly useful. I use one to hook two sets of keys together (I don’t always need them both), and one giant one to hang my purse and other bags from the stroller. Plastic shower curtain rings, less than $4 for a set of 12, are your at-home carabiners, allowing you to hook items onto things and hang things where you couldn’t before (like these scarves and hats on a coat hanger). You’ll love having them handy as you think of new uses for them.

This post was originally published on Apartment Therapy. Read it there: The 21 Best Storage Hacks of All Time