It probably goes without saying that purging is the BEST way to make more space… it’s always the first thing I recommend if you’re trying to better organize and simplify your spaces.
However, if you’ve already purged and still need more space, utilizing vertical space is the way to go!
Here are several ways WE utilize as much vertical space as we can!
In Our Mudroom:
Not only did we maximize the space in our mudroom closet to store things from the floor all the way up to the ceiling, we also use over-the-door shoe organizers on the inside of each door for hats, scarves, gloves, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, sunglasses, and various other items we frequently need when we’re heading outside.
In Our Living Room:
We found a pair of bookcases for free on the side of the road right after we got married. I painted them — and we’ve been using them for storage in various places around our house ever since.
We currently have one in the living room to store toys and books and one in our extra storage closet upstairs. We also hung our TV on the wall and had my uncle build us that TV cabinet to decoratively store blankets, DVD’s, VHS tapes, etc.
In Our Office:
We installed shelves made from old barn beams in our office — and use them for decorative items, books, and my collection of black picture frames. We also utilize all the little nooks and crannies of the cabinet above our computer desk for office supplies and other decorative items.
Our Game Closet:
We have a cute little closet tucked under our staircase, accessible from inside the office. It’s a fairly awkward space, but thanks to a few freebie shelves, we’ve completely maximized the amount of storage we have
In Our Pantry:
We ordered a couple extra shelves for our pantry cabinet so we could place the shelves very close together — and thus, maximize the amount of things we were able to comfortably store inside.
I realize it’s not magazine-worthy — but it is practical and efficient!
In Our Kitchen:
In the rest of our kitchen, we ordered our cabinets so they went all the way up to the ceiling in an effort to minimize wasted space. Yes, I need a step stool to access the top shelf, but it’s a great place to keep things we only use a few times a year!
In Our Bathroom:
Our bathroom is actually quite small — but even still, we have really made use of the vertical space by installing built-in open shelving, which we use to store extra towels, paper products, and toiletries.
We also put hooks on the wall to hang towels (we don’t have any walls that are big enough for a towel bar and our door is a pocket sliding door) and we use the area over the toilet for decorative items.
In Our Half Bath:
When we renovated our half bathroom off the kitchen last year, I knew I wanted the cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling again… and boy am I glad we made that decision.
These cabinets have SOOOOOO much storage — I currently use them for extra paper products (plates, napkins, bags, paper towel, toilet paper, etc.) random craft projects I don’t want the kids to get into, and some of my bulkier kitchen appliances (ones I don’t use all that often).
In Our Hallway:
When we were renovating our main floor, we took the opportunity to make a very large built-in cabinet in our hallway. It’s right off the bathroom and is a very convenient place for us to store medicines and other First Aid supplies that we don’t want our kids getting into!
I realize not everyone could just knock a hole in their wall — but this is honestly one of my favorite storage spaces.
In Our Closet:
We have a very normal size reach-in closet — not a lot of extra space. However, Dave and I both easily fit all our clothing into this one closet (and even have a couple empty shelves to spare!)
The main reason we’re able to fit so much into our closet is because we used every bit of vertical space — including adjustable shelves, various bar heights and extra shelves tucked in on top of each bar.
We also use over-the-door shoe organizers on the insides of our closet door to store scarves, belts, and other accessories.
In Our Bedroom:
We have a ladder in the corner of our bedroom that I use to store various accessories. I also use it as a drying rack for any small items I don’t want to put in the dryer.
In Our Kid’s Closets:
All of the closets in our kids’ bedrooms are funny shapes and sizes, so we had to get creative to maximize the storage space. We did so by installing hooks at lower levels, using baskets and bins for outgrown clothing, and hanging shoe organizers from the bar to store smaller items.
I’ve also added shelves or used smaller organizing items inside of armoires to provide more storage in their bedrooms.
Here are various posts about our kids’ closets:
- Nora’s old bedroom closet.
- Simon’s old bedroom closet.
- The kid’s shared bedroom closet
- Clara’s nursery closet
In Our Basement:
We use a couple heavy-duty metal storage shelves to hold the items we store in the basement.
We were able to configure these shelves so our organizing bins fit perfectly in between shelves, and so the shelving units fit perfectly under the heat ducts in the corner of our basement.
In Our Garage:
Although our garage is mostly empty to make room for our cars, we have really maximized the storage space we do have by hanging tons of things on the walls.
We use the Monkey Bars storage system to hang very tall cabinets and a couple organizing units on the wall. This gives us plenty of storage space and leaves the garage floors clutter-free.
In general, I don’t feel you need to be super organized or overly creative to come up with space-saving ways to utilize your vertical storage. You also don’t need a big budget! However, you DO have to be willing to try a few times before you settle on the best way for you.
For example, after we renovated our kitchen, it took me a couple of months of moving things around before I decided on the “best” way to store items in our cabinets, in our pantry, and in our refrigerator (and to this day, I still change and tweak things on a regular basis).
This doesn’t necessarily mean my previous storage ways were “wrong” or “bad”; they just weren’t as efficient as they could be.
Similarly, any time I rearrange the kids’ bedrooms, move someone to a new bedroom, bring out a new season of clothing, get rid of too small clothing, or get a new piece of furniture for their rooms, I take a few minutes (literally just minutes) to evaluate if there are any other, potentially better, ways of storing and organizing their things.
It’s also worth noting that there’s not “one right way” to store anything — please don’t feel like you must implement all my ideas in your own home. They are just ideas to spark your imagination and creativity!
Do you have bare walls in your home that could use a few shelves or a bookcase to create extra storage?
Could you add an armoire or other tall cabinet to store items that otherwise don’t have a home?
Do you have room in your closet to add a few extra shelves or a hanging shoe organizer?
Can you install hooks or an over-the-door shoe organizer on the back of your doors?
Can you add another shelf in between the current shelves in your kitchen cabinets, your pantry, your closet, or anywhere else?
There are SO many ways you can use vertical space to maximize your storage…