Storage closets have a way of getting cluttered quickly, but they don't have to. Take action—and inspiration! This closet design tames the mess and works triple duty, serving as a craft area, an office, and a tool bench. The organization secrets are timeless: Add extra shelves, buy storage bins, and label everything, so no matter who shares the space, it's clear where things go.
Gather what you want to store and sort into categories, like with like (i.e. school and office supplies belong together). Put what you use most often between waist and eye level and/or on the back of the door. In this closet, boxes of printed photos sit high out of the way, school papers and games down low for easy kid access.
Adjustable DIY wire closet systems let you match shelf heights and depths to contents for maximum efficiency. Notice the top shelf isn't as long as the rest, leaving room to the right for tall magazine files on the shelf below. Expect to spend about $350 to retrofit a standard 30-inch-wide closet with adjustable wire shelves, such as Container Store's Elfa system. An extra-deep solid shelf installed at counter height makes a small workstation inside the closet.
Shallow shelves above and beside the paper roll put tape and ribbons (filed in a plate rack—genius) within reach but out of the way. Larger shelves below hold tissue paper and gift-wrap rolls. If your closet doesn't have an outlet for a lamp, consider adding battery operated puck lights.
Hanging shoe pouches are ideal for storing smalls. Fabric pouches look neat but need labels to keep things orderly. If you don't want to add labels, buy a clear plastic shoe pouch, so you see where things go at a glance.
A sturdy file box replaces a bulky cabinet and stores keeper kid art and school papers from the current year. It sits on the floor of the closet so it slides in and out of place without lifting. Place adhesive felt pads on the bottom of the box to prevent floor scratches.