Utilizing Wasted Space for Storage

I bet right now you have some extra storage space in your home that you aren’t even aware of.  I’m guessing you have some space that is totally underutilized.  How do I know?  Because I sure did and it never even occurred to me until recently.

This past weekend, as I was standing in my laundry room, it suddenly dawned on me that I had some prime vertical storage space right there in front of my eyes that was being totally wasted.  Just wasted and sad. And boy could I ever use that space.  I had many items, like small infrequently used appliances, that I could re-home to free up much needed storage in my kitchen.  I had stuff from my office armoire that could be relocated, freeing up space there for other needed things.  Geez, why didn’t I think of this earlier?


storage space before

As you can see I was using an old microwave cart for storage which is awesome because I’m a huge believer in using what you already have but see what’s missing there?  Look up.  See all that empty space.  No shelves, no nothing.  After two years living in this house, it was time to fix that.

I decided I wanted something with doors to contain the visual clutter a little bit.  My laundry room is unfinished and also houses the furnace and water heater.  It’s got enough going on already so doors were high on my wish list.

At Christmas time and definitely after you can get all sorts of storage bins and containers at great prices.  Although I don’t recommend purchasing any unless you have a plan for them.

Stuffing stuff in bins, without doing any of the other steps in the PROCESS, only gives you boxed up clutter.

My plan was to purchase a free standing pantry and I found one at Canadian Tire on sale for $99.00.  Not too bad for the amount of storage space I was about to achieve with it.  Keep in mind that I paid a bit more for the fancy front cut outs.  You can buy more basic type pantry cabinets for as low as $40.00 on sale.  Keep your eyes open at the big box department type stores especially now at this time of year.

My hubby and son put it together for me and we slid it into place.  Now that’s what I’m talking about.

storage space after

I emptied the plastic drawer unit and added bins for the items in the cabinet.  I added my second slow cooker and roasting pan that I use for holidays and some of the small appliances I use to house in my kitchen.  The bottom shelf holds some of my products for my shop that use to live in my office armoire.  Of course then I needed to reorganize both the kitchen and office so as you can see, changing this one thing really instigated a whole tornado of organizing action around here :)

storage space inside

I left the colorful cubby unit in place as it holds all our swimming gear and it’s nice to have it all in one spot like that.  After I wash it all up, I can easily add it back onto the shelves.  The white cubby is full of our swimsuits.  My sewing machine sits on top.  Oh and the laundry baskets on top of the tall cabinet aren’t really “laundry baskets”.  I use them as sorters when I organize with clients  :)

swim hooks

I’m really happy with the way it all turned out.  The extra space is wonderful to have for sure.

Oh and I’ve since labeled it up as well:

storage bins

So if you are looking to maximize space in your own home, make sure you turn your eyes upward to take in all the vertical possibilities.

Say NO to wasted space!

PS:  No need to worry about my old microwave cart.  It now has a new home as a popcorn station in our basement rec room.  I love popcorn! :)

popcorn station

Related post:

Go Vertical for Storage

Use Extra Storage Space Above the Doors



Filed under: Organizing Basics


14 Responses to Utilizing Wasted Space for Storage

  1. 2
    Erin K. says

    The biggest tip I got from this post was to store all of our swim gear in the laundry room – what a great idea! You’ve also inspired me to rethink our basement storage, we have two shelving units and large wall shelf that have become a catch-all for crazy stuff that we probably don’t even need. I think I see a weekend project in my future. :)

  2. 3
    Jamie at Prepared to Eat says

    I’m short, I honestly wouldn’t think about looking up too much for organizing space. It seems like a “duh” thing, but I’m glad you posted about it because I wouldn’t have thought of it! I’ll be looking up, I am constantly looking for new organizing ideas around here.

  3. 4
    maura says

    that is so funny I store my kids swim gear in my laundry area too. That way when the come in the basement door they drop their towels and take their suits out to hang on the drying rack. The dry towels sit on the top of the drying rack and the kids always know where to find their suits and towels. I really enjoyed this post. I have so much unused space and it shows me I need to go vertical. Thanks!

  4. 5
    Isra {TheFrugalette} says

    This is so simple and so true! Free space, nothing to pay for. We always hear about shopping our home to use what we already have, but what about using space we already have too! Great reminder, thanks!

  5. 6
    Becky L says

    Good idea. I have a new stock pot I bought before Thanksgiving. I wish I’d not bought it but used it. Realized I have a stock pot that I never use and it didn’t have a lid but new one does. So am thinking….one goes…..or let’s see…there is some room on shelf that is in laundry room, if I just get the stuff off shelves that’s above it….sigh! Why do I get myself into this situation>will fix it soon, once this flu bug leaves me more energy! Sigh! Thanks for the continued. help! Hugs!

  6. 7
    M the Organizer says

    I love “finding” space I never knew I had! And once you do it, you think: “how could I have never done this earlier!”
    I recently found space in our laundry room too by simply turning a shoe rack the other way. It ran across a wall (which took up wall space) and then I turned it and put it against our washer instead…and gained instant wall space! Love that simple changes can have such a huge impact. :)

  7. 8
    Jess says

    Great idea Laura! The laundry looks fantastic. I must keep remembering to look up and get creative.

  8. 9
    Gina says

    I try to take advantage of all the vertical space I can, but then I’m short and need a stool to reach things! I especially like hanging hooks on the back walls and side walls of closets. You can fit a lot in there.

    • 9.1
      Laura says

      I’m short too, those step stools come in handy lol

  9. 10
    Blanche cordero says

    The ideas are great. I could go the The Container Store or Home Depot Or KMart to get all the items you showed, but as a 2 yr unemployed baby boomer there is no extra money for a cabinet & other items. So show us how to do it with common household items. Then you would help a lot more people who are struggling. We may not be your demographics, but we all hope to be once again. Moreover, you would be helping the people who need help feeling better about themselves in general. Going from a six figure salary to zero because of age and just being unemplyed is so difficult, especially when you supported the family. Think about people like us once in a while. I say bring humanity back to our society. Thank you.

  10. 11
    Blanche cordero says

    So why was I not published. You don’t want to hear from the people who can’t afford why you are selling. Just wanted to tell you there are people who cannot afford your ideas. Thank you for nothing especially your lack of humanity


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