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My cupboards are very large and deep, so it's difficult to reach or see and then retrieve what is on the shelves toward the back. I found that medium to large cardboard box lids, plastic lids up to 4 inch depth and even containers of all sizes can help a lot.
Place the items on the lid that you have placed on the shelf and pull the front edge of the lid toward you. Voila! You now have a sliding, pull-out shelf that costs next to nothing and you can see and retrieve items with greater ease!
Try a few sizes and settle on the one that works best. I found sizes that use up most of the shelf space, or only what you want for that shelf. I used this technique with smaller lids and containers when we were full time RVers.
By Eileen from Big Bear Lake, CA
When it comes to making shelves not look so cluttered and stacked up, think out of sight, out of mind. Even the most organized shelves can look really full and cluttered. So to eliminate this and prevent being so overwhelming, I came up with this idea, to "hide" them. This tip is based on the idea of keeping your closet doors closed to make a room look less cluttered.
Hide shelves behind a curtain. First screw tiny "C" eye hooks in ceiling. Hang a curtain from these hooks. The super cheap method is a $1.00 vinyl shower curtain panel, in a solid color, at the dollar stores. The benefit is, it already has the holes at the top, to allow it to be hooked easily. It is not necessary to have a hook for EVERY single hole. Just enough to keep it from gaping.
As you're hanging and measuring where you want it, just mark your places on the ceiling to correspond where the holes are in the shower curtain. You can wrap the curtain around sides, as well. Just remember to make sure and put a hook at the corners for a sharper corner, or it will curve around the shelf, making it harder to get things out. Put your curtain at least 6 inches or so in front of shelves, to allow room to get to things, without it being tight. Pull curtain to the side and tie like a curtain or you can unhook partially or completely, if needing to remove multiple or large items. But it sure looks better when company or others are around that would happen to see them!
Another idea is to use a panel of fabric or old long curtain panels. Screw the hooks where needed. Clip heavy duty binder clips onto the fabric where you screwed the hooks into the ceiling, measuring as you go. The handle part of the clip can be latched onto the hooks. It's so easy, just not as neat looking, but it does the job. You could paint them to match the color of curtain and then would not be noticeable at all.
By flightnurse9 from Fairfield, IL
I just sent in a tip about hanging a wooden plaque with a binder clip. When I didn't want to hang this pretty little snail windchime against the wall, I thought of the same thing. You can do this with pretties, or in a craft closet/shelf unit for keeping cords out of the way, for yarn or thread, or just about anything that hangs, with or without an "S" hook.
I think binder clips are the best thing to come down the pike since glue guns!
By Sandi from Salem, OR
I went to Lowe's and bought a sheet of peg board on clearance for about $6 and had them cut it there to the size of the back of the bookcase. I nailed it on the back of the bookcase. Now I have a place to hang things, have a sturdier back to the bookcase and it is easier to see and get at things you store there. You can make your own hooks from a wire hanger if you want.
By Lori from Palm Bay, FL
I have two old TV/small appliance carts on wheels that have two open shelves on the bottom. They are in good shape and very sturdy, but are outdated. I wanted to use them to store items on the shelves, but I did not like the idea of the open shelves since things would tend to get dusty/dirty.
I measured the width, height and depth of each shelf. I was interested in fitting plastic storage drawers that are sold in most stores. I found two different size storage drawers in Walmart. One drawer fits like a glove on one shelf, the other is a bit shorter width-wide but allows enough room next to it to fit two plastic shoe-size containers that can be stacked together. Both drawers fit a bit deeper than the shelves but that does not cause any problems since the drawers fit securely.
I consider the storage drawers an investment since they were not that cheap, one was $12.00, the other was $10.00, but I will now be able to use the carts for storage. The carts are sturdy and on wheels and can be moved freely. I also have a nice large area on top of the carts when I need it. I keep one in my pantry area/mud room, located off my kitchen and the other in a closet. The carts do not look very appealing but they do their job well.
By mkymlp from NE PA / USA
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Tips for organizing shelves. Post your ideas.
My husband and I just ordered shelves from a carpenter. We had him add a divider every 2 feet or so on each shelf. This way the shelf always looks neat and the books can stand up straight.
Tip: Add dividers on the shelf (it will look like an upside-down T.)
Can you re-submit this tip with a photo so I can see it. I plan on doing some shelves in closets and I'm looking into everything. It would be greatly appreciated. :) Jennifer,CA
I also installed dividers on my closet shelves to keep stacks of sweaters neater. At Home Depot, I bought Depot some little wooden shelves intended for corners (sorta shaped like a wedge of pie.) I attached one of the two flat edges to the shelf, the 2nd flat edge faces the back wall of the closet, the remaining curved edge is what you see pointing outward. (Hope that's not clear as mud!)
in our bathroom, we have a cabinet that goes above the toilet. It only had 3 shelves in it. The shelving spaces were about 18". Who has a 18" tall container of deodorant? or cough medicine? Most toiletries are only 5-8" tall. so we have all these aspirin bottles, after shave bottles, etc on the shelf with all this wasted space above the bottles.
I made a 3 sided shelf. The 2 legs are about 5" wide x 5" tall and the top is whatever length you need it to be. Screw it together and cover with contact paper and you instantly have another shelf for all your toiletries. Of course, you can buy these small plastic, wire shelves for probably $5-10 at Walmart or Thrift store, but since we were remodeling our house, we had lots of scrap wood laying around which works perfect (and recycles the wood).