The Cheap, Retro Staple That Saves Me Space in Every Room

published Apr 18, 2023
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Credit: Erin Derby

Once in a while, I discover something mundane but new-to-me that instantly becomes my entire personality. First, it was red wine vinegar: A homemade vinaigrette called for the vibrant, fruity staple and suddenly I was hooked, punching up pastas and salads (and pasta salads) and basically every meal with red wine vinegar. 

Then came the bottle brush trees, the kitschy retro Christmas decorations that have undergone a powerful resurgence over the past few holidays. And let’s not forget the milk glass phase, or the belly basket era, or the days of decanting (okay, I still do that). Now I’m here to share that a new epoch is upon us, and that is the Age of the S Hook. 

When my husband and I moved into our duplex down on Chicago’s north side, we were delighted with the many customized storage solutions the previous owners had installed. However, our joy quickly devolved into frustration. As it turns out, their pull-out kitchen racks and corner turntables and closet shelving systems may have worked perfectly for their family, but they’ve left us with unwanted obstacles. 

With that said, we’re not Chip and Joanna by any stretch of the imagination. Our power drill is not our friend, and our home projects usually create more problems than solutions. Disassembling built-in closet shelving is not our idea of a Sunday Funday. As a short-term workaround, I’ve spent many late nights perusing the internet for creative organization tips. I’m not sure exactly where down the rabbit hole I stumbled upon my latest obsession, but I do know that when I reemerged, there were S hooks all over my dang house.

Credit: Andreas von Einsiedel | Getty Images

Pop into your local hardware store and grab a pack of S hooks. You can snag a pack of 30 for less than $9 and I’d bet a savvier, more patient person than I could easily find an even better deal. This hardware staple will optimize everything in its path, leaving an organized home in its curvy wake. I shall now detail just a few of my favorite ways that my husband and I have employed the hooks around our condo.

Credit: Sarah Magnuson

Our home’s kitchen storage is pretty minimal, with just four drawers and no space for dish rags or trivets. To remedy this, we popped a couple of S-hooks on the oven door handle and voila! Our oven mitts and potholders are now within arm’s reach, conveniently ready for action right on the oven. 

Right around the corner in our triangle-shaped combo pantry/linen closet/broom closet/utility closet (fun!), we’ve got these superstars putting in work. Suspended from the heavy-duty wire utility shelf are our Swiffer, broom, and dust pan, freeing up space on the floor and keeping them from tumbling out of the closet whenever we open the doors. We also hung a basket full of rags for easy access, freeing up more shelf space. 

Credit: Sarah Magnuson

In my clothes closet, these things are worth 1,000 times their weight in gold. Hook your pants’ belt loops on an S hook and pop them on the rod. Store your handbags and scarves and even hang a laundry or dry cleaning bag from the hooks. When you’ve got the power of an S hook combined with a closet rod, you can forget drills and screws! 

If you have an oddball collection of holiday wreaths, like I do (namely: Wreath Witherspoon), suspending wreaths from S hooks in your storage will help maintain their shape year-round. In our laundry closet, meanwhile, I’ve been using S hooks connected to the metal wire shelves to air-dry smaller items like dog collars, sneakers tied by the shoelaces, and mesh bags full of sanitized reusable cotton rounds. 

Credit: Sarah Magnuson

I’m hooked. The S hook possibilities really are endless. Imagine what these could do in a larger kitchen, a home office, a playroom, or especially a garage. And while I realize that S hooks are named for their shape, that letter stands for just one thing to me: sensational!