With more people working from home and more families needing to squeeze another year out of a home that’s too small, there is a growing need to maximize storage space.  This is the first in a series of Top 10 Closet Storage Do’s and Don’ts.

1. DON’T waste vertical space. When storage space is at a premium, it is wasteful not to take full advantage of your closet’s height. No shelves make this difficult but underused shelves are a missed opportunity as well. Wasting vertical space may include the floor. Of course you want the floor of the closet open so that you can access the shelves, but an open closet floor tends to invite piles of shoes and other items, which compromise access. This can present a dilemma.

vertical-closet.jpgDO store vertically. If you don’t have closet shelves the easiest shelf system I have found to install is the Elfa system available at The Container Store. Save the more decorative boxes for more visible areas. To maximize shelf space, use clear stackable boxes for lesser-used items and clear plastic drawers for more commonly used items. While I love clear drawers, they should be limited to below eye level. My solution to the empty floor dilemma is large items on wheels. A large suitcase (with smaller cases nested inside) is significantly easier to roll out than twenty pairs of shoes and other loose stuff. The floor is also a great place for multi drawer towers on wheels. Regularly accessed items can be located front and center, but when you want to get an item off the shelf, you just roll out this single unit. Of course this only works if you resist panicky old habits like shoving small items on the floor, which would jam up the wheels of progress.

Today’s key to unlocking clutter.

Once all your clutter has gone OUT, there’s nowhere else for your extra stuff to go but UP.