How to make the most of existing storage space

Men laying new hardwood flooring

As homeowners continue to remodel rather than relocate, they look for simple improvements that use existing fixtures in their home. Updating and organizing your cabinets is one of the most essential, budget-friendly ways to achieve optimal storage space, offering functionality and a new sense of purpose. Well-designed cabinets with copious amounts of storage are every homeowner’s dream; however, they aren’t always a reality. Below are some guidelines on how to achieve an effective cabinet makeover using what you have.

Get in the zone

Divide the cabinets up into specific sections or zones. In the kitchen, for example, food preparation tools such as cutting boards, measuring cups and mixing bowls should be located near the largest available workspace. Store cooking items such as pots, pans, bakeware and pot holders near the stove, while serving supplies such as dishes, glassware, flatware and napkins are best kept near the dining room. Tupperware, plastic wrap, foil and other storage items work well kept by the refrigerator, and the dishwasher/sink area is a great place for dish towels, sponges, trash bags and all-purpose cleaners.


Begin the de-cluttering process by sorting through all the “junk drawers” containing miscellaneous items, and designate new places for them. Using well-designed dividers in the drawers will help you locate things easier in the future. Identify and remove things that do not belong in the zones (Think paperwork, toys and tools.), and give away or sell some of these misplaced or seldom-used items.


As time-consuming as it is to organize, we can all quite easily fall back into old habits. Get in the habit of returning items to the proper place when finished with them. Also, consider using customized storage solutions for your cabinets and drawers to help maintain your newly organized space. The easier it is to keep your space de-cluttered, the more likely it is to stay that way!


use your imagination

Take a three-dimensional approach when looking to create additional space in your home. Don’t just look at floors, closets and shelves as they currently exist. Instead, look at the whole space—floor to ceiling. Wasted space is everywhere, and a professional organizer can help you make the most of it if it doesn’t come naturally to you.

carte du jour

Create a “menu” of items that belong in each cabinet, and post it inside the door. This helps ensure family members and guests know where specific items belong and eliminates any confusion when returning things to their rightful places. If you have a hard time remembering where objects are stashed, making an inventory list can also be helpful in areas that aren’t accessed as frequently, such as garage or attic storage spaces.

Going green

If you’re not ready to commit to new kitchen or bathroom cabinetry, keep in mind that a few minor repairs can help your old ones. For instance, if your cabinet doors aren’t shutting properly, try tightening the screws or changing the hinges. But if you do decide to replace them, don’t throw them away. Reuse the cabinets in your garage instead. Also in your garage, you can install metal shelving, which works well for storing paint cans, household chemicals and smaller tools.

Allan Young is the CEO and co-founder of ShelfGenie, a Marietta-based company that designs, builds and installs customized Glide-Out™ shelving systems for existing cabinets. For more information, please visit

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