12 Months of Storage Projects
A complete overhaul of your home's storage system may sound overwhelming, but focusing on improving the storage in just one room each month can get you the storage you want in a quick but manageable time frame.
We've provided you with quick and easy mini projects to do throughout the month, each month. Combine the projects into one weekend or do one project each week of the month.
January Storage Projects: Home Office
Create a Mail Station. Set up mailboxes on a desk, wall, or bulletin board. Or give each member of your family his or her own labeled box, bin, or slot.
Stay on Schedule. Hang a large monthly calendar in a spot everyone can see and use it. Choose a paper calendar or dry-erase version, and encourage everyone to write important events, deadlines, and reminders.
Organize Office Supplies. Outfit a desk drawer near your main working area with a divided tray or multiple small bins. Limit the number of office supplies in each compartment. Label each compartment with an adhesive label.
Get Rid of Junk. Test all writing utensils. Toss everything that doesn't work perfectly. Group similar items (pens, pencils, markers, etc) in canisters for easy access.
February Storage Projects: Kitchen
Sort and Label. Evaluate all pantry items. Toss everything that's expired and give away everything you didn't use in the last year. (Write today's date on every item so you'll know next year if you actually used each item.) Put items back in pantry and label shelves.
Outfit a Drawer. Double the storage capacity inside a cabinet by adding freestanding wire shelves. Measure your cabinet interiors before heading to the home center or choose expandable shelves. Include riser-style inserts for small items such as spices or glassware.
Utilize Cabinet Doors. Evaluate the interior of every cabinet door and determine whether you can use the space to store spices, loose recipes, paper towels, or utensils. Add shallow shelves, racks, wall-mount pouches, and magnetic or cork boards.
Add Hooks. Install a utensil bar or metal grid above or beside your stove. Dangle five to eight frequently used utensils from S-hooks. Include a small wire basket to hold salt, pepper, cooking spray, and oil.
March Storage Projects: Living Room
Personal Storage Bin. Give every family member a spot to stash personal items. Fill a bookcase with similar baskets or bins and label containers with each person's name. Establish a house rule to put away books, magazines, toys, and projects every night.
Multifunctional Storage. Overhaul your occasional tables. Replace tables and traditional ottomans with small chests and storage cubes. Add baskets to open spaces. Skirt tables and stash items underneath.
Don't Overdo with Collectibles. Edit a collection to 12 or a fewer outstanding items. Display on a single shelf for maximum impact. Store other items in the collection in one location. Introduce three or four new items--and remove and store the same number--every season.
Create a Space for Entertainment Supplies. Designate one easily accessible drawer for entertaining supplies. Fill the drawer with coasters, napkins, and snack bowls or plates. Include a basket of favorite snacks, a roll of paper towels, and a mini trash receptacle.
April Storage Projects: Laundry
Sorting Baskets. Place a three-compartment bin or basket (look at home or office supply stores for options) in a closet or on an open shelf in your laundry room. Use it to separate out clothing to be repaired, dry-cleaned, and donated.
Keep Detergent Handy. Fill plastic beverage dispensers with laundry detergent, softener, and other liquid laundry additives. Hang a set of plastic measuring cups nearby from a cup hook.
Drying Rack. Mount a drying rack or double towel bar near your washer as a spot for air-drying clean sweaters or rugs.
Make a Catch-all for Ironing Supplies. Convert a silverware caddy into a stain-treating or ironing kit. Fill with small size cleaners, spray starches, and linen waters. Be sure to include essential tools such as brushes, dry-cleaning pads, and collar points.
May Storage Projects: Garage
Create Task Kits. Create kits for various outdoors projects by filling 5- and 10-gallon plastic buckets with all the tools, products, and accessories you need to complete specific tasks such as car-washing, weeding, bicycle repair, and more.
Stash Sporting Gear. Fill tall kitchen trash cans with large and odd-shaped sporting gear. Drill holes in the bottom of bins if drainage is important. Stabilize containers by securing to a wall with short bungee cords.
Organize the Trunk. Clean out your vehicle's trunk. Toss every item that is expired or damaged. Place all trunk gear in a canvas bin or box. Make sure the container doesn't slip by adding rubber or hook-and-loop tape to the bottom.
Tidy Up the Tools. Hang hand tools on a wall near your workbench from hooks on pegboard, magnetic board, or a wall-mount strip system. Label each tool's spot. Put extra tools in a tool box or clear plastic boxes and store on floor underneath workbench.
June Storage Projects: Kids' Rooms
Hooks for All Heights. Mount two strips of hooks or pegs to the back of a child's door -- one about 3 feet from the floor, the other between 5 and 6 feet. Two levels of hooks allow kids to grow and provide more spots for shorter items such as jackets, towels, and bags.
See-Through Toy Storage. Skip the toy box and stash playthings in large clear containers. Line up against the wall, under windows. Top with a cushion for bench seating.
Keep Books Handy. Fill open boxes with children's books based on size and shape. (Kids' books always slide around on bookshelves anyway.) Keep a box near a child's bed for favorite bedtime reading.
Kid-Friendly Closet. Replace the low hanging-bar section of a child's closet with stackable, ready-to-assemble drawers or cubbies -- or slide in a small chest or bookcase. Fill with folded clothes and other gear.
July Storage Projects: Hobby Area
Clean Out Clutter. Test all the craft supplies you own, including paints, markers, and glues. Do the same with tools such as scissors, staplers, and punches. Toss everything that doesn't work. Put similar items in clear plastic containers with handles.
Storage for Small Gear. Hang a clear vinyl shoe bag inside a closet or behind a door. Slip small parts, supplies, and tools into the pouches.
Hang Fabric. Drape fabric scraps and swatches over rubber-coated hangers intended for multiple pairs of pants. Hang from hooks on the back of a door.
Organize Ideas. Purchase eight to 10 sturdy letter boxes and fill with inspirational materials from books, magazines, photographs, and online searching. Organize and label boxes by topic, source, or project. Stack near a chair or desk and use an extra counter, end table, or resting spot.
August Storage Projects: Bathroom
Store Only What You Need. Evaluate all bath linens and keep only a two week's supply for every family member. If you have guest linens, keep them separate from everyday linens. Give away unused linens--or mark as rags with a permanent marker and store appropriately.
Non-skid Baskets. Add rubber feet to the bottom of a plastic basket and fill with bath supplies. Rest basket on tub ledge or in corner to ensure bottles stay in place.
Make Good Use of Cabinet Space. Arrange medicines, beauty, and hair products on lazy Susans to avoid forgetting about items pushed toward the back of the cabinet. Look for two and three-tiered versions to pack in more function.
Hide-away Makeup Caddy. Fill a metal or plastic desktop organizer with makeup, brushes, pencils, and other beauty essentials. Store the entire organizer under the sink when not in use.
September Storage Projects: Master Closet
Spot Unused Items. Arrange all clothes hangers with hooks facing out. Whenever you put away newly laundered items, arrange so the hangers point in. At the end of the season, give away everything on facing-out hangers because you didn't wear it.
Stacking Storage. Turn milk crates on their sides, stack, and fill with folded items divided by style or garment type. Rearrange crate placement based on season.
Workout Gear. Dangle two canvas bags from hooks on the back of your closet door. Fill one with clean, rolled up work-out clothes and other with paired athletic socks.
Organize Accessories. Stash scarves, hats, and other lesser-worn accessories in a stack of clear shoebox-size containers. Look for containers that click together and feature handles for easy transport.
October Storage Projects: Media Room
Control the Cords. Label both ends of every cord behind your entertainment center with a tag or sticker. Bundle up excess cord length with a rubber band or hook-and-loop ties.
Easy-access Discs. Set an attractive bowl (cereal-size works fine) on top of a DVD player and stereo. Place your CD and DVD favorites in the bowl.
Hide the Gaming System. Drill holes in the bottom of a storage ottoman and house a gaming system and all accessories inside. Run cords through the bottom of the ottoman and leave a few holes empty to allow for ventilation.
Label Chargers. Use permanent marker or stickers to label every charger you own. Store all chargers in one bath caddy with a handle.
November Storage Projects: Dining Area
Wrinkle-free Linens. Iron all table cloths and drape over padded hangers. Place coordinating napkins in gallon-size plastic bags and clip to hanger with clothespins.
Hanging Glassware Storage. Install top-mount glassware racks in a cabinet or china hutch. Arrange glassware by type and size.
Corral Disposables. Fill one compartment of a serving buffet with paper party supplies. Use letter holders to organize plates by size and style and mugs to corral plastic cutlery.
Stash Platters. Place larger platters in oversize plastic bags and slip between appliances or behind a hutch.
December Storage Projects: Entry
Family Drop Spot. Use a tabletop serving set as a drop spot for keys, change, wallets, and personal devices. Give family members their own bowls or sections.
Stash Away Entry Rugs. Roll up extra rugs, mats, and towels and place in a wood-carrying basket near the door.
Hanging Outdoor Gear. Hang a multi-compartment canvas shoe or sweater shelf from a closet hang bar. Fill spaces with hats, gloves, pet gear, and purses.
Personalized Coat Rack. Hang a coat rack with enough hooks for each family member to have his or her own and label it with each family member's name.
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