by Kelly Pratt
When space is at a premium, organizing options can feel limited to non-existent. If your closets are tiny or already crammed full, or if the only storage you can find is at the top of your garage, it’s time to get creative with solutions that are ceiling- high and off-the-wall.
If you’re looking for a great storage area and haven’t considered outfitting your garage with ceiling storage units, this may be one of your best options. Many garages have wasted space above the garage door opening as well as in the hard to reach areas near the roofline. If you’re interested in ceiling storage, here are some of your best options:
Stationary units are affixed securely to a garage ceiling and create a suspended shelf for a variety of items. Many companies make this type of rack, and they are available at big box do-it-yourself centers as well as online. One of my favorites because of its mammoth weight capacity is the SafeRack storage system available through Up Above Storage. While most big box retailer ceiling units will hold 250–300 pounds per platform, the SafeRack system will hold 600! This is great new for you as a customer because you will be able to store more in less space and with fewer racks. http://www.upabovestoragesystems.com/
Pulley systems offer a degree of convenience that stationary units do not. If you don’t relish the thought of scaling a ladder to access storage items, you can simply wind a lever and bring the storage platform to you. Because of the pulley action, some systems will hold less per platform, although some are comparable to lighter duty stationary units. The Racor Pro Heavy Lift System is one of the most widely available pulley systems and has a weight capacity of 250 pounds per platform. http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00959537000P?vName=Tools&sName=Ceiling+Storage&cName=Garage+Organization+%26+Shelving
In addition to pulley platforms, companies like Thule manufacture storage lifts on pulley systems for large items like car top carriers, canoes, kayaks, bikes, etc., so you can crank a lever and get them out of the way. Check out these samples:
Thule large equipment lift: http://www.dogfunk.com/snowboard/Thule-Box-Storage-Lift/THU0031M.html?CMP_ID=SH_FRO003&CMP_SKU=THU0031&mv_pc=r126
Racor ceiling-mounted bike lift: http://www.amazon.com/Racor-PBH-1R-Ceiling-Mounted-Bike-Lift/dp/B00006JBL3
Containing Tips for Ceiling Storage
As in any garage storage situation, there are some special containing guidelines to consider that don’t apply in other areas of the home. When containing in a garage, remember to—
Use sturdy containers that will protect items from pests, moisture and temperature extremes.
Use the smallest possible container, particularly for heavy items.
Store the heaviest items directly on the storage platform.
Make sure you have a sturdy means to retrieve your storage items.
Inside your home, where can you find great storage areas when you are certain that you’ve explored every option, rearranged every closet (twice), and can’t find one more square inch of storage space? It’s time to think off the wall and on the door. While the list of over-the-door storage gadgets is extensive, there are three that are stand-outs, not only because of functionality but also because of accessibility and affordability.
Back of Door Shoe Pockets
If your closets and drawers are full and you can’t stand to use one more bank of plastic storage drawers, these versatile pockets can save the day. Shoe pockets range in material from canvas to nylon to clear plastic and generally come with around 24 pockets per panel. They are available at all big box retailers, IKEA and online specialty stores. There’s no installation, and you can use them for MUCH more than shoe storage. Here are a few ways to repurpose a shoe organizer to boost your storage:
Fabric scraps and sewing supplies
Bathroom hygiene items
Back of the Door Purse Holders
These bag holders with adjustable hooks come two per package and simply loop over the top and bottom of the door. They hold up to 16 purses as well as—
Various accessories, such as belts and scarves.
Kids’ hair accessories (headbands, clips, etc.).
Large or long necklaces.
Hanging Sweater Shelves
Hanging sweater shelves are another untapped storage resource that can convert blank closet space to shelving in a snap. They, like shoe pockets, are available at virtually every big box retailer. With these hanging units, you can also create additional storage on the floor below the hanging shelves. One caveat to hanging shelves: they cannot hold heavier items. Things you might consider putting in a hanging shelf unit are—
Light weight cleaning items (dusters, rags, vacuum bags, light bulbs).
Hats, gloves and scarves.
Extra linens (towels, tablecloths, sheets).
Baby clothing items and diapers.
Stuffed animals and small toys.
With some creativity and a little help from some common products, you can utilize storage space you didn’t know you had! Have fun sprucing up for spring!
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