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How To Organize Storage Areas

Organize with basket drawers
Organize open shelves by placing items inside basket drawers.
Photo courtesy Bed Bath & Beyond
Here's how to plan your storage areas in order to reduce clutter and increase efficiency.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Assess your available storage in a particular cupboard, closet, or area.
  2. Decide what you need to -- or want to -- store in that area.
  3. Determine if the items to be stored will fit in the available space. If not, can they be refolded, repacked, or otherwise made to fit easily into the area? If they won't fit, those items should probably be stored elsewhere.
  4. Empty the storage area.
  5. Clean everything, wiping out cupboards and shelves. Wipe dry with a towel.
  6. If possible, readjust any adjustable shelves to the most convenient height for your items. You may find you'll be able to add an additional shelf to increase organization.
  7. First, fill the most convenient shelves with items you use frequently.
  8. Then place less useful items at the bottom and top of the area.
  9. Use clear storage bins that fit the shelf or cupboard to contain small or like objects such as parts, wires, collections, ornaments, etc.
  10. Clearly mark all boxes and items if it's not immediately obvious what it is.
  11. When sorting through items to store, evaluate it. Do you really need to keep this here? Should you give it away, donate it, or store elsewhere?
  12. After everything is put away, step back and take one last look. Will anything fall out when the door is opened? Can one shelf be rearranged slightly to make it more convenient?
  13. If there are a number of storage areas that look identical (a wall of cabinets for example), you may want to attach a small sign noting the contents of each.


  1. Try to do reorganizing when you're alone so you can concentrate.
  2. Clean as you go.
  3. Remember, "when in doubt, throw it out!", or at least box it up and get it out of the way (then throw it out later!).
  4. Use post-it note signs to mark shelves and cupboards until you finish reorganizing.

More How To's from your Guide To Interior Decorating

 ~ Glenna Morton
Related Resources
• 15 Uses For...
• Storage Basics
• Kid Room Storage Tips
• Storage Solutions
• Get Organized!

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