7 Ways to Make Your Home More Functional in the New Year

A brand new year means it’s time to reorganize and reprioritize the spaces around your house.

A brand new year means it’s time to reorganize and reprioritize the spaces around your house. The good news is, there are simple ways to gain more storage in the most important rooms in your house without remodeling. Here are seven ways to welcome the new year with less clutter and chaos.

Build a closet organizing system1. Maximize closet space

For economy and quick installation, you can’t beat wire shelving systems; you can outfit a typical closet in an afternoon for less than $200. Home centers have everything you need. But before you go shopping, go online to check out the options, accessories and installation steps. A good site to browse is rubbermaid.com. For a more elegant “furniture grade” look, be prepared to spend hundreds more—or build your own closet organizer.

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Hang a second shower caddy2. Add more shower shelves

The trouble with those shower caddies that hang from the showerhead pipe is that you only have one showerhead. To get more space for your bath potions, hang another caddy on a cabinet knob mounted inside the shower. Choose a knob that won’t be damaged by water, and drill a ¼-in. hole in the tile and insert a plastic anchor. Then screw in a No. 8-32 hanger screw and twist on the knob.

Use electrical junction boxes for small storage

3. Mount mini bins

Electrical junction boxes can hold a lot more than wiring. You can nail or screw them to just about anything anywhere. In the shop, they’re great for those tools that can’t hang on hooks—tape measures, markers, chisels, etc. Plastic boxes come in various sizes and shapes and cost 75¢ to $3 each.

Build rollout shelves for lower cabinets

4. Optimize cabinet space

Lower cabinets offer the biggest storage spaces in your kitchen. But the back half of cabinets is usually wasted—it’s filled with forgotten stuff or left empty because it’s out of sight and out of reach. Rollout shelves reclaim that space. You can buy rollouts or build your own. See how to build rollout shelves here. To buy rollouts (starting at about $45 each), visit a home center or search online for “cabinet rollout.”

Store curling irons out of the way

5. Corral your curling irons

Hate the messy look of curling irons lying on the vanity or the toilet tank? Use hook-and-loop tape to attach 5-in. lengths of 2-in.-diameter PVC pipe to the vanity door to hold the curling irons. Do the same thing with 3-in. pieces of 1-1/2-in.-diameter pipe to hold the cords. Just measure your curling irons to see how long your “holsters” need to be. Let your curling irons cool before you stow them away.

Build shelving in a stud cavity

6. Fill those cavities

An unfinished wall or ceiling isn’t an eyesore; it’s a storage opportunity. With 15 bucks worth of shelf hardware and 1x4s, you can pack 8 ft. or more of storage into one wall stud cavity. For about $2 per ft., you can turn ceiling joist space into storage space with wire shelving.

Use shelf brackets to hold tools and cords

7. Store tools and equipment on closet rod brackets

Shelf brackets designed to support clothes hanger rods aren’t just for closets. The rod-holding hook on these brackets comes in handy in the garage and workshop, too. You can bend the hook to suit long tools or cords. Closet brackets cost about $3 each at home centers and hardware stores.

— Elisa Bernick, Associate Editor