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Stretch the storage space in your kitchen, closets and more

People seem to fill whatever space they have available. So whether you have a house that was built 50 years ago with little storage or one that was built five years ago with ample storage, everyone can use some tips to maximize their space. Here are some ideas for your kitchen, closets, bathroom and office.

Kitchen

Take apart the multi-packs of snacks, canned beverages, juice boxes and bars when you get home from the grocery store. The packaging takes up so much room in a cabinet or on a pantry or refrigerator shelf. You can save considerable space by removing the individual items and storing them more efficiently, either stacked or stored in another bin where they are easy to grab on the go. If you’re buying things in bulk, such as boxes of tissues, bottled water and canned soup, don’t try to store all of it in the same place. Store what you need for the next two weeks in your immediate storage space. Put the remainder in a secondary spot, such as a harder-to-reach shelf or out-of-the-way closet.

And don’t let valuable vertical space in your cabinets go unused. Using a portable cabinet shelf for glasses, for instance, will double the number you can store. And instead of stacking 10 bowls, divide them up on the extra shelf to make them easier to reach and less likely to topple.

Closet

Use the backs of doors to increase your storage capacity byadding either hooks or an over-the-door shoe bag. Hooks can hold things like extra coats and hats, and are great for purses, backpacks and umbrellas. Over-the-door shoe bags can be used for storing things like gloves, hats and mittens in a hall closet; socks and shoes in a bedroom closet; bottles of hair products and makeup in a bathroom; and batteries, lightbulbs, tape, sunscreen and bug repellent in a utility closet or mudroom. They make it easy to see the contents of each compartment and grab what you need quickly. The back of a pantry door is perfect for a utility rack with small baskets for zip-top bags, spices and extra canned goods. In your closets, get rid of bulky plastic and wood hangers and replace them with slim velvet hangers (such as Huggable Hangers).

Bathroom

Medicine cabinets are typically crammed with oddly shaped objects and tiny bottles that fall over every time you try to find what you need. Buy tall, narrow bins to corral loose items by category: razors in one bin, eyedrops in another, tweezers, clippers and nail files in another. You can easily remove the bin to find what you need without having everything fall off the shelves. The containers will also make it easier to clean the shelves. If your medicine cabinet is deep enough, you can use magnetic baskets on the inside of the door.

Maximize the space under the sink and inside cabinets with clear stackable boxes that can hold travel-size toiletries, first-aid supplies, extra makeup and contact lenses.

I often recommend wall-mounted racks to store clean towels so you don’t have to use precious space underneath a vanity.

Office

In recent years, people seem to have gravitated toward simple, tablelike desks that have either a few shallow drawers or no drawers at all. Although that look can be pleasing, it raises the question of where to put supplies you use every day. If you’re going for a minimalist look, buy furniture that can serve multiple purposes. For example, instead of buying a bookshelf, a filing cabinet and a stand for a printer, you could get all three by buying a bookshelf with a cabinet on the bottom for storing supplies, room for a printer above the cabinet, and shelves on top for books or magazine file boxes for papers. Another idea for supply storage is a magnetic board with containers to keep small items within reach but off your desktop.

– Anzia is a freelance writer and owner of Neatnik.

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