The last time I moved, I ended up having to make a lot of trips, and although I own a truck, I still needed to rent a Uhaul.
When I told friends that have visited my place a lot over the years, they were really surprised to hear this!
They couldn’t understand why I would need to rent a moving truck because they always thought of me as a person that didn’t own a lot of stuff.
I think the reason for this is because I have a knack for being well organized and for being able to store a lot of stuff in out-of-the-way places.
Here are 25 great storage places people often forget to use:
Places People Typically Forget to Utilize for Storage:
To start with, there are a few main areas that most people neglect when storing their items.
These areas include:
- The HVAC Room
- Over Top of Doors
1. HVAC Rooms
An HVAC room needs to remain clear and uncluttered. This is for safety reasons as well as for maintenance reasons.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t store anything in the HVAC room. I like to take advantage of this area by using a cart with wheels on it.
This way, I’m able to load it up with items I want to store, but I can quickly and easily roll it back out if I need to access the heater or hot water heater.
This makes the bi-annual filter changes easy as I don’t have to spend any time loading and unloading the room of all my stored items. Just remember that if you live in an apartment, you’ll want to roll this cart out before maintenance does their work.
Otherwise, they may see the cart full of stuff and will use it as a reason not to change your filter.
Storage areas can easily be built into most staircases.
This opens up a whole new area underneath of them that would otherwise be unused. But what do you do when you can’t make alterations to the area below your staircase?
Luckily, underneath the stairs isn’t the only place to store stuff.
If you’re creative enough, you can store items along the rails or even over the top of the staircase.
Did you know that a set of 12″ deep built-in shelves along a short 10-foot wall can give you an extra 80 cubic feet of storage? And, that’s just for one small wall!
Do this in a small 10’x11′ room, and you could end up with an additional 336 cubic feet of storage space. Of course, unless you’re in a loft area, you will lose some of that storage space to the door.
Walls don’t have to be plastered with shelving to take advantage of them either. You can make use of simple shelves, hooks, and even lockers to store all sorts of items along your walls without putting out much effort.
Corners are often neglected in homes, but they don’t have to be.
I like to lean heavily used items up against them so that the corner can act as storage as well as a showcase for my favorite hobbies.
This makes taking advantage of the corner easy as I don’t have to build or buy any extra storage containers for each corner.
For storing smaller items in corners, you might want to consider a set of corner shelves instead.
Run them all the way up to the ceiling, and even a set of small 12″ x12″ shelves can provide you with an extra 8 cubic feet of storage.
High ceilings can make a room feel bigger, and they’re great for people who are very tall. For everyone and everything else, they end up being a waste of space.
Why not try to take back some of this space by using it as storage?
Some overhead storage options include overhead shelves, hooks, lofts, and even platforms built onto lift systems. The higher your ceilings are, the more options you’ll have.
One word of caution, though. If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes or tornadoes, it might be a good idea to forgo overhead storage.
This type of storage could become dangerous during these types of events.
6. Over Top of Doors
The area above each and every door is usually just wasted space.
Make use of it by storing small items there.
You can do this by installing a single shelf to put things on, or you could just put some hooks there to hang items off. Because the area is small, you may have to be creative about what you can and cannot store there.
Again, keep in mind that this is overhead storage, and it may not be a great idea to keep certain items there.
A slammed door could result in a shelf falling down on someone’s head.
7. Suit Cases
Do you have any large or even small suitcases? If so, you have a portable place to store your things inside.
Store items that can easily be moved, and it won’t be a big deal to move them in and out of your suitcase when you go on trips.
Better yet, store some items in there that you normally take with you on trips, and you won’t have to worry about packing them up all the time.
If you’re considering buying new luggage, buy something you find aesthetically pleasing so that you can leave it out all the time.
This way, you’ll have easy access to whatever you decide to store inside of it.
Ladders can be bulky and hard to store, but they don’t have to be. In fact, you can actually turn them into their own form of storage.
Hang a ladder from the ceiling, and you can hang other items off of it or even place a board on top of it so that it can act as a shelf.
Short on ceiling space? Lean a ladder against a wall, and you can still hang items off of it.
Places to Store Things in the Living Room:
Often the largest room of a house or apartment, the living room has plenty of space.
For this reason, it’s often the best place to store your stuff.
Here are some places you might want to use as storage inside of your living room:
- Inside Coffee Tables
- Underneath Furniture
- Behind Furniture
- Window Sills
9. Inside Coffee Tables
Coffee tables come in many different forms.
This means you can buy some that will act as storage containers, and you can buy some that won’t.
Choose a coffee table with additional storage inside of it, and you’ll maximize the use of your coffee table. If you already have a coffee table you love, consider modifying it or simply adding storage baskets to space underneath of the coffee table.
This way, you’ll get to keep your coffee table without having to sacrifice your storage capabilities.
10. Underneath Furniture
I used to have a full barbell set with several hundred pounds worth of weight right in my living room, and nobody ever knew it was there.
This was because I slid all of the weight plates underneath my couch. Pulling them out every day took a few extra minutes, but it was still a lot quicker than driving to the nearest fitness center.
Is there anything underneath your couch right now? If not, you may want to consider putting something there.
The space underneath couches and chairs is great for storing flat items, and it just might save you from having to drive to a storage facility.
11. Behind Furniture
Don’t restrict yourself to just storing stuff underneath your furniture.
You can often find additional storage behind your furniture as well. This is especially true with recliners.
The reason for this is that you need to keep a recliner a certain amount of space from the wall. This creates a gap that is perfect for storing small boxes and anything else that won’t impede the chair from moving into the reclining position.
12. Window Sills
Window sills often sit empty, but they don’t have to.
Instead, look at them as if they were shallow storage shelves and place small items onto them.
The only word of caution here is that a clogged gutter could cause water to run down through your window. If this happens, your stuff will get wet. For this reason, you may want to be choosy about what you decide to store there.
Also, keep in mind that the sun can eventually fade things. Again, this means you’ll have to be choosy about what you decide to store on your window sill.
Places to Store Things in the Kitchen:
The kitchen offers a treasure trove of storage options.
Here are my favorite places to store things in the kitchen:
- Alongside the Fridge
- On the Walls
- On the Doors
- On Top of Your Cabinets
- On the Sides of Your Cabinets
13. Alongside the Fridge
Some people have refrigerators and cabinets that perfectly line up with each other.
Unfortunately, many of us do not. On the bright side, this creates an additional area for us to store our things.
The best way to take advantage of this area is to build a narrow cabinet on wheels. This way, you’ll be able to slide the cabinet out whenever you want to access the things inside of it.
On top of this, if you ever have to move your fridge, you’ll easily be able to roll the cabinet out of the way, which will make it easier to do so.
14. On the Walls
Not enough people take advantage of the walls inside their kitchen.
This is unfortunate as there is often a lot of wall space underneath the overhead cabinets.
Use shelves, hooks, cork boards, and even magnetic strips to store additional kitchen items on your walls.
15. On the Doors
One of the most popular places to gain extra storage in the kitchen is the pantry door.
You’ll often find that the shelves inside of the pantry are deep enough to allow you to store all sorts of items on racks that sit inside of your pantry door.
Of course, the pantry isn’t the only door you may be able to take advantage of. You can cut the cabinet shelves back some and place shelves on the cabinet doors as well.
This way, your shelves won’t be so deep, and you’ll be able to access your things easier.
16. On Top of Your Cabinets
Kitchen cabinets don’t always extend all the way up to the ceiling.
This creates a dead space that never gets used.
Instead of leaving this area empty, store some additional items up there. You can keep a small step ladder on your kitchen wall so that you’ll easily be able to access your storage.
Just keep in mind that the cabinets are attached to the wall, so you may want to watch how much extra weight you add to them.
17. On the Sides of Your Cabinets
The sides of your cabinets can also be used for storage as well.
Get hooks, shallow shelves, magnetic strips, and corkboards so that you can place them onto the sides of your cabinets.
You won’t be able to store anything especially large in this area, but you’ll certainly gain a lot of extra space for some of the more narrow items in your kitchen.
Places to Store Things in the Bedroom:
The bedroom is a great place to store extra items.
Here are some storage areas to take advantage of:
- Over the Bed
- In Your Head Board
- Around Your Lamps
- Your Closet Door
18. Over the Bed
I don’t have to tell anyone that the area under their bed is great for storage.
People have been using this area since beds were first invented.
But have you ever thought of storing your stuff over your bed? RV owners have been doing this for years, and it has worked great.
To do this, put up some cabinets on the wall space that your bed leans up against. This way, you’ll be able to stand on your bed to access the storage without a step ladder.
19. In Your Head Board
Headboards used to be used as an extra layer of insulation between the sleeper and the cold wall. These days, they’re mostly decorative and not all that useful.
Make them useful again by using them as storage. Buy a headboard with a drawer built into it, and you’ll be able to store all sorts of things inside.
Get one with a concealed handle, and you’ll have a great place for storing your valuables.
20. Around Your Lamps
If you’re like me, you probably have a large floor lamp inside your bedroom.
These lamps are great for lighting up the entire room, and they make waking up a lot easier.
The downside to floor lamps is that they take up a lot of space. Get this space back by storing your stuff underneath of them.
This won’t interfere with their use, and it will buy you some extra space in your bedroom.
21. Your Closet Door
Do you close your bedroom closet door?
Instead, I hang stuff off of it. You can do this too and buy a set of hooks that are built to hang from a door!
4 Ideas for the Very Small Studio Apartment:
What about people who don’t have separate rooms to store their items in?
Here are four ideas you can use to gain extra storage in your small studio apartment:
22. Create a Room Divider with Built-in Storage
Many studio apartment owners add dividers to the room.
This is great because it creates some delineation between the different living areas.
It’s also great because it offers you more opportunities to store stuff. Get a divider with shelves or hooks that you can use to store some of your extra things, and your divider will end up serving two purposes.
23. Use Your Entryway
I hate having a cluttered entryway, but sometimes it’s the only place to store things.
This can be especially true in a studio apartment.
Keep your entryway neat by using shelves, racks, or hooks, and you’ll gain some extra storage space without impeding your entryway.
24. Build Shelves on Top of Your Radiator
Radiator heating is consistent and efficient. The drawback is that it can often take up a lot of wall space.
Get some of this space back by making use of the area above your radiator. You can do this by placing shelves over top of them.
The only word of caution here is not to store heat-sensitive items on shelves above your radiator.
25. Use Collapsible Furniture on The Walls
Collapsible furniture is an essential component of any studio apartment. But where should you store your collapsible furniture?
My advice is to put it on the wall. Get attractive collapsible furniture, and it can serve as art when it’s not in use.
Maria is the founder of GoDownsize. While studying architecture in Denmark she became fascinated with designing living spaces for boats, tiny houses, RVs, and other small spaces.
She mainly writes about space optimization, interior design, and downsizing. She’s also in charge of our YouTube channel. Read more about Maria here.