The Maven: Creating Storage Space at Home


In recent years keeping an organized home has become a big business. Do a quick online search for “storage solutions” and you’ll get millions of possible hits. But while answers can be found in every box store and online, some of the most inspired ideas are inexpensive and easy to implement. Whether you need to contain gadgets  in the kitchen, magazines in the den, toys in the playroom, or backpacks and soggy mittens by the door, you’d be surprised at the storage “real estate” you can find in your own home.

On the Wall

Imaginative wall storage is as good at utilizing space as it is for starting conversations. Try bending oversize serving spoons (think yard-sale finds) into hooks for hanging small pots. Place magnetic strips across the wall for displaying cooking utensils or spices stored in metal containers. Mount small clementine crates as bonus shelving. Gather empty food cans sporting colorful labels, attach them side-by-side on the kitchen wall with a board on top, and you have a one-of-a-kind shelf.

Booking Up

Books can quickly take over, but otherwise  wasted space—like the area  over a doorway—can be used to house volumes. Arrange brightly painted floating shelves—or vintage books supported as shelves—for a whimsical yet practical wall display. Or hang a homemade skirt over a chair seat and slide a bin of your kids’ favorite books underneath.

Over, Under, and In-between

An extensive variety of commercial cabinet, drawer, and other storage inserts are available to make every inch of space useful. Others can be built. Examples include slim pullouts that offer kitchen shelving in narrow storage areas; rolling racks that bring into reach items that might otherwise be lost in cavernous cabinets; pantry storage systems; and adjustable inserts for drawers.

In and Out

The entryway is a great place for a storage bench, especially one with a low, slatted shelf (with catch pan beneath) for wet shoes. The mudroom or porch can be equipped with lockers or stacked milk crates to hold backpacks and equipment. And oversized, colorful hooks at kid height are a quick solution for wet winter coats. Try hanging a three-tiered metal fruit basket for collecting hats and mittens.

Closet Transformed

Re-purpose a closet to house a hobby center for you, a playhouse for your kids, or a computer station for teens—with outlets for charging electronics. No more snake’s nest of wires on the living room floor.

By Wendy Jordan ’68

Wendy Jordan

Wendy Jordan ’68

Wendy Adler Jordan ’68 is a former vice president of Hanley Wood, a media and strategic marketing firm serving residential and commercial design and construction industries. An award-winning journalist and the founding editor of Remodeling magazine, she now runs her own editorial business in Washington, DC. She is the author of twelve books, including Making Room: Finding Space in Unexpected Places and Universal Design for the Home: Great-Looking, Great-Living Design for All Ages, Abilities, and Circumstances. An expert in remodeling, Jordan is trained to see beyond first impressions of a space.

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This article appeared in the winter 2014 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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One response to “The Maven: Creating Storage Space at Home”

  1. Dana says:

    Saw the article in the quarterly! Love finding out about fellow MHC bloggers as I have just started my own DIY blog this fall. I am now following your board on Pinterest. Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes – I was so excited to see MHC feature someone in this genre. Thank you!!!

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