From Spotlight: Every Square Inch!

6 Sneaky Storage Ideas to Hide Your Clutter in Plain Sight

Solve the problem of corralling your stuff once and for all.

Image: FollowTheFlow/Getty

You purged, donated, and discarded. Yet, even with excess items banished from your home, clutter is creeping back in. The real culprit? All those household essentials and cherished keepsakes still need a tidy, convenient spot to live in. Without accessible storage, these must-haves quickly take over countertops and corners, garages, and the great outdoors. But with a little creativity, you can reclaim these spaces while keeping all your things right in reach.

Get inspired to declutter your home with these clever solutions that turn everyday items and locations into sneaky storage spots right under your nose.

1. Curate Your Clutter

Camera collection displayed on shelves

Sometimes the difference between "clutter" and "collection" is in the presentation. After falling in love with film photography as a student, Nicholas Hendrickx amassed an expansive assortment of cameras. They ranged from $1 thrift-shop finds to high-end brands like Hasselblad — scattered throughout his home.

To give his treasures the respect they deserve, he invested in a simple display case from Ikea — white, to match the other cabinetry in his work space. Through Hendrickx's careful spacing and grouping, even old flashbulbs and film holders are now part of an artful installation.

"It's nice to be surrounded by these beautiful cameras that each have a memory connected to it," he says.

2. Capitalize on Crevices

Classy Clutter's DIYed space-saving pantry

That 6-inch space between your refrigerator and the wall can either be a destination for dust bunnies or the answer to your small-kitchen storage woes. Classy Clutter blogger Mallory Nikolaus spent just $110 to build a pull-out pantry for canned goods and spices. She constructed the 64-inch-by-31-inch cabinet of primed pine boards and dowels. Nikolaus added a handle and metal casters that allow the cabinet to smoothly slide back into its slim space (not that this creation deserves to be hidden). The polished yet quirky piece is finished with beadboard on the back and a spray-painted chevron pattern inside.

Because it's supported by the wall on one side and the refrigerator on the other, the cabinet shouldn't be pulled out too far, Nikolaus notes.

3. Conceal an Eyesore, Create Storage

Outdoor armoire to hide hose and other gardening supplies

Who doesn't love a double-duty fix? For a mere $10, this yard-sale armoire enabled handy homeowner Melodye Farrar to conceal her home's electric and cable boxes and create built-in storage for a garden hose and cleaning supplies.

Situated next to the back door, the space was a longtime eyesore, but it took just one day to fix. Farrar and her husband removed the top and back of the armoire and built a concrete-stone foundation to keep the cabinetry out of any standing water. Two L-brackets and concrete anchors secure the top of the armoire to the wall, and a coat of marine varnish protects the wood from the elements.

For Farrar, the cabinet makes entertaining in the surrounding garden area more enjoyable. Cleaning supplies are close at hand yet out of sight.

4. Beef Up Bed Storage

A bedframe with a hidden storage compartment
Image: IKEA

Your bed takes up prime real estate in your home. And for all but eight hours of the day, it doesn't serve much of a purpose. Why not put that space to work? Beds with built-in drawers are convenient for in-season clothing, while lift-up mattresses like this Ikea model offer a box-spring-size storage area for items you don't need every day.

Prefer to DIY your way to clever bed storage? Atlanta-based organizing expert Gigi Miller suggests going the old-school route. Those risers you relied on in your cramped college dorm room will lift your bed from three to six inches off the floor, providing enough space to slide storage containers into. Miller recommends clear containers on wheels for maximum ease and canvas bins lined with cedar planks for keeping clothing fresh.

5. Pegboard for Pots and Pans

Kitchen pegboard

Julia Child knew how to cook. She also knew how to organize her kitchen. One of its most renowned features? A floor-to-ceiling pegboard for her French copper pots and pans. It's an ideal way to gain storage by using vertical surfaces. And it's affordable. A basic 2-foot-by-4-foot pegboard made of plastic or pressed wood will run you about $12. And a starter kit with mounting hardware and hooks costs less than $20.

As for the aesthetics, "A kitchen pegboard can be both functional and beautiful if done right," Miller says. Paint, frame, or cover it with fabric for a pop of personality and color. And keep the look polished by grouping similar items — pots and pans on one board, utensils on another.

6. Make a Mobile Yard Work Station

Amanda Kovattana
Image: Amanda Kovattana

This condition can afflict even the most organized garage: Little by little, all those yard and garden tools find their way onto workbenches and the floor, crowding out cars and humans alike. Professional organizer Amanda Kovattana fought back, using reclaimed materials to reclaim her garage.

This ingenious rolling cart is constructed from two doors, unused sewer pipe, and salvaged closet rods — all mounted on four beefy casters. The one material Kovattana purchased for the project: a pegboard for odds and ends that might otherwise end up on the floor.

Kovattana, an experienced carpenter, built the project in about six hours. But even for a novice, the time invested will pay off in spades when you don't need a search party to find the darn rake.


Author photo of Amy Howell Hirt
Amy Howell Hirt

Amy Howell Hirt has written about home design for 13 years. Her work has been published by outlets including "The Home Depot," "USA Today," and Yahoo! Homes. She previously served as home and garden writer and columnist for "The Cincinnati Enquirer."