9 Ways To Make Existing Storage Cabinets More Space Efficient

updated Jul 17, 2020
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(Image credit: Marie-Lyne Quirion)

If you can’t add more actual storage cabinets to your living space, you can always increase the capacity of what’s already there. This includes kitchen cupboards, free-standing wardrobes, media centers, and medicine cabinets — all of which are silently pleading “make me better, make me better!” Fulfill their organizational destinies, with these nine tips…

(Image credit: Selena Kirchhoff)

1. Go for store-bought inserts that increase the amount of stuff that cabinets hold. Plan for plate racks, lazy susans, drawer inserts, vertical cookie sheet slots inside cabinets, or shelf risers.

→ Best Sources for Small Kitchen Organization

2. Place less used items on top of cabinets where they are out of the way. There’s a lot of precious space of there you might not be taking full advantage of.

→ 7 Things to Do with That Awkward Space Above the Cabinets

3. Nothing makes a kitchen feel less usable than poor lighting. Install lights underneath your cabinets to brighten the space and make it easier to find what you need.

4. Utilize the outside surfaces, including the cabinet sides, and store things where they are readily available and easy to grab.

5. On a similar note, don’t forget about the insides of cabinets. Either buy or DIY storage solutions (cork, hooks, etc…) that fit nicely on the backside of doors. This laundry cabinet from Better Homes & Gardens is multi-functional with lots of pegboard, on the outside, and when you open it up as well.

→ 10 Inspiring Back-of-the-Door Storage Solutions

Natalie and Krešimir’s Art and Music (Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

6. Add exterior open shelving to hold plants or dishes. This not only increases your storage, but adds architectural interest and makes your kitchen look more custom.

→ How To Know if You’re Ready for Open Kitchen Shelving

7. Incorporate useful tools, like magnets or tension rods. They have endless uses, and diverse applications.

→ 30 Ways Magnets Can Help You Stay Clean & Organized

8. Take a moment to re-organize. Give your cabinets a fresh eye and ask if everything has a dedicated place, and that place makes sense.

9. Consider cabinet cubbies instead of full open shelving. They force editing, so you’re less likely to end up with a messy, mismatched row of kitchen stuff (open shelving’s biggest critique).

Re-edited from a post originally published 1.18.15-NT