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12 Simple Storage Solutions for Small Spaces

Need more room for your stuff? Take a look at these solutions- from hidden shelves to shoe racks to recycling towers and more.

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Heavy-Duty Utility ShelvesFamily Handyman

Heavy-Duty Utility Shelves

Store-bought shelving units are either hard to assemble and flimsy or awfully expensive. Here’s a better solution. These shelves are strong and easy to build and cost about $70. We sized this sturdy shelf unit to hold standard records storage boxes. If you want deeper storage, build the shelves 24 in. deep and buy 24-in.-deep boxes. If you prefer to use plastic storage bins, measure the size of the containers and modify the shelf and upright spacing to fit. These are the best storage containers to get your home in order.

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Narrow Storage Shelves: Stud Space CabinetFamily Handyman

Narrow Storage Shelves: Stud Space Cabinet

When you can’t find a convenient nook for shelves, you can often create one by recessing the shelves into the wall itself. After finding the perfect spot, check out our sister site, Family Handyman for the how-to.

When you find a good space, mark the perimeter of the opening and use a drywall keyhole saw to cut it out. Measure the opening and subtract 1/4 in. from the height and width to determine the outer dimensions of your behind the door shelves.

For standard 2×4 stud walls with 1/2-in.-thick drywall, build the cabinet frame from 1x4s that measure 3-1/2 in. wide (see illustration). If your walls are different, adjust the depth of the frame accordingly. Then add a 1/4-in. back.We screwed 1/4-in. pegboard to the back so we could hang stuff from pegboard hooks. Add casing that matches the trim in your house. Drill holes into the sides to accept shelf supports. Shelf supports fit in 3mm, 5mm or 1/4-in. holes depending on the style. Install the cabinet by slipping it into the opening, leveling it and nailing through the trim into the studs on each side. Use 6d finish nails placed every 12-in. along both sides. Don’t want to open your walls? Check out these other easy shelving ideas.

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Behind-the-Door StorageFamily Handyman

Behind-the-Door Storage

The space behind a door is a storage spot that’s often overlooked. Build a set of shallow shelves and mount it to the wall. The materials cost about $40. Plus, when you close the door they become storage shelves with doors! Learn how to put together this storage solution here. Before you start building, make sure you properly declutter, first.

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Joist Space StorageFamily Handyman

Joist Space Storage

Don’t waste all that space between joists in a basement or garage. Screw wire shelving to the underside of the joists. An 8-ft. x 16-in. length of wire shelving and a pack of plastic clips costs about 20 bucks. Don’t forget that wire shelving also shines on walls. Take a look at these easy organization ideas for your basement.

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Closet Nook ShelvesFamily Handyman

Closet Nook Shelves

Salvage the hidden space at the recessed ends of your closets by adding a set of wire shelves. Wire shelves are available in a variety of widths. Measure the width and depth of the space. Then choose the correct shelving and ask the salesperson to cut the shelves to length for you. Subtract 3/8 in. from the actual width to determine the shelf length. Buy a pair of end mounting brackets and a pair of plastic clips for each shelf.

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Shoe Storage Booster StoolFamily Handyman

Shoe Storage Booster Stool

Build this handy stool in one hour and park it in your closet. You can also use it as a step to reach the high shelf. All you need is a 4 x 4-ft. sheet of 3/4-in. plywood, wood glue and a handful of 8d finish nails. Cut the plywood pieces according to the illustration. Spread wood glue on the joints, then nail them together with 8d finish nails. First, nail through the sides into the back. Then nail through the top into the sides and back. Finally, mark the location of the two shelves and nail through the sides into the shelves.

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Stacked Recycling TowerFamily Handyman

Stacked Recycling Tower

Organize your recyclables before they even leave your house! This stacked recycling tower comes together with just a few plastic containers, 2x2s and screws. By the way, here’s what can and can’t be recycled.

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Assemble a Sandwich Bag Parts OrganizerFamily Handyman

Assemble a Sandwich Bag Parts Organizer

Keep screws, connectors, nails and other small parts in sight and handy with this resealable bag holder. You can build it out of a 3/4-in. thick scrap of plywood. Start by cutting two pieces of plywood as shown. Draw lines one inch apart across the shorter piece with a square, stopping one inch from the edge. Now cut along the lines with a jigsaw. Screw the two pieces of plywood together and screw the unit to the wall. Fill resealable bags and slip them into the slots. Easy!

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Two-Story Closet ShelvesFamily Handyman

Two-Story Closet Shelves

There’s a lot of space above the shelf in most closets. Even though it’s a little hard to reach, it’s a great place to store seldom-used items. Make use of this wasted space by adding a second shelf above the existing one. Get the straight-forward how-to here.

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Back-of-Door OrganizerFamily Handyman

Back-of-Door Organizer

The back of a door that opens into a utility room or closet makes a handy hanging space. The trouble is that most doors don’t offer a good mounting surface for hardware. The solution is to screw a piece of 3/4-in. plywood to the back of the door. Add construction adhesive for hollow-core doors. Cut the plywood 3 or 4 in. shy of the door edges to avoid conflicts with the doorknob or hinges. Now you can mount as many hooks, magnets and other storage gizmos as you like. These storage tips will help you get rid of clutter and get organized.

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Clothes storage ideas for small spaces: Double-decker closet rodFamily Handyman

Clothes storage ideas for small spaces: Double-decker closet rod

All you need to gain a lot of hanging space in your closet is two metal closet brackets and a length of closet rod. If your existing closet rod is at least 66 in. from the floor, there’s enough space to add a second rod below it and still hang shirts and slacks. We placed the top of the rod 35 in. from the floor, which allowed just enough room to hang two levels of pants. By the way, learn how to get oil stains out of clothing.

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Glass Shower ShelfFamily Handyman

Glass Shower Shelf

Tired of the clutter of shampoo and conditioner bottles along the rim of your tub? This tempered safety glass shelf on a cable shelf bracket is an easy solution. The cable shelf bracket requires only two screws for support. If studs aren’t located in the right positions, use toggle bolts to anchor the shelf brackets. Next, read how one of our editors revamped her bathroom decor for $100.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman