Increase your home’s storage space by utilizing every possible nook and cranny, including the back of cabinet and closet doors. With inexpensive materials and basic tools you can easily and quickly make these clever storage boosters.
Cutting board storage
To store cutting boards, mount a rack on a cabinet door. Use a sheet of 1/4-in.-thick acrylic plastic; plywood would also work. You can cut acrylic with a table saw or circular saw as long as you cut slowly. Knock off the sharp edges with sandpaper. Round the lower corners with a belt sander. For spacers, use No. 14-8 crimp sleeves (in the electrical aisle at home centers), or any type of tube or even blocks of wood would work. Try these clutter-busting strategies for every room of your house.
Instant knife rack
You can size this knife rack to suit any cabinet door and any number of knives. To build it, you just need a table saw and wood scraps. Run the scraps across the saw on edge to cut kerfs. Adjust the blade height to suit the width of the knife blades. You have to remove the saw’s blade guard for these cuts, so be extra careful. Also cut a thin strip to act as an end cap. Glue and clamp the kerfed scraps together and sand the knife rack until the joints are flush. To mount it, use two 1-1/4-in. screws and finish washers.
Under-sink storage bins
What’s hiding under your kitchen sink? If the space under your sink is anything like ours, it’s an overcrowded jumble of cleaning supplies, sponges, and plastic bags. Here’s a great way to store these items right on the door of the sink cabinet. Cut a plastic storage tub in half with a utility knife and screw it to the inside of the cabinet door through the plastic lip at the top of the tub. Just make sure you position it so you can shut the cabinet door when all your bags and other supplies are in the bin. Try these tricks for a perfectly organized kitchen.
The back of a door that opens into a utility room or closet makes a handy hanging space. The trouble is that most doors don’t offer a good mounting surface for hardware. The solution is to screw a piece of 3/4-in. plywood to the back of the door. Add construction adhesive for hollow-core doors. Cut the plywood 3 or 4 in. shy of the door edges to avoid conflicts with the doorknob or hinges. Now you can mount as many hooks, magnets, and other storage gizmos as you like. Don’t miss these 12 simple storage solutions.
Closet glove rack
If you don’t have radiators, finding a good spot to dry wet hats and mittens can be tough. Tossing them into a plastic bin gets them out of the way, but they never dry and it’s no fun putting on damp mittens in the morning. This simple back-of-the-door glove and cap rack allows wet things to dry and keeps easily misplaced items organized. Just string clothespins on aluminum wire (it won’t rust) and stretch it between screw eyes on the back of a closet door. This also works great out in the garage for drying garden and work gloves. Here are more tricks to expand your closet space.
Ironing board storage
Ordinary coat hooks on the back of a closet door keep your ironing board out of the way but close at hand when you need it.
Cabinet door message board
A sheet of metal and a dry-erase board can turn any cabinet door into a convenient message center. You’ll find 2 x 2-ft. lengths of plastic-coated hardboard (often called “whiteboard”) and sheet metal at a hardware store or home center. Larger hardware stores will cut the sheet metal to your specifications. Be sure to get steel instead of aluminum so magnets will stick. If you cut the metal yourself, wear gloves to protect your hands and use tin snips carefully. Use a metal file to smooth any ragged edges. If you don’t have a table saw to cut the whiteboard, flip it over, mark your measurements and use a jigsaw to cut it from the back to prevent chipping or splintering. To get a straight cut, use a framing square as a guide (photo, left). To mount the metal sheet and whiteboard to the inside of the door, take the door off its hinges, lay it flat and carefully mask off the area where you want to spray the adhesive. Follow the directions on the can to apply the adhesive to the door, metal and whiteboard (photo, right). Mount the pieces, press firmly and let dry.
Tool aprons can be modified to store nearly any household item. Just sew a variety of pocket widths in the aprons, then mount the aprons by screwing a wood strip through the top of each and into a door. For hollow-core doors, use hollow anchor fasteners to hold the screws firmly to the door. Here are more savvy ways to store your tools.
Vacuum gear storage
It seems like the vacuum cleaner always ends up in one closet and the vacuum cleaner bags in another, and the attachments get shoved in a corner or spread all over the floor. Here’s a simple tip that will keep everything together and out from underfoot. Screw a hook to the door of your storage closet and hang a mesh or cloth bag on it. You can store all your vacuum cleaner bags and attachments in one place, and the bag lets you carry everything you need from room to room or up and down the stairs in one trip.
Pullout towel rack
Pullout towel racks are typically meant for kitchens, but they’re also perfect for cramped bathrooms. They keep damp hand towels and washcloths off the counter so they can dry out of the way. You can find pullout towel racks at discount stores and online retailers. These storage tips can help you cut down on clutter.
Here’s a space-saving solution to the bathroom waste-basket problem. Screw wire shelf anchor clips to the inside of the door and hook the lip of a small wastebasket right on the hooks. It’s easy to use, it hides unattractive trash, and it frees up precious bathroom floor space.
PVC curling iron holsters
Hate the messy look of curling irons lying on the vanity or the toilet tank? Here’s a tip for you. Use hook-and-loop tape to attach 5-in. lengths of 2-in.- diameter PVC pipe to the vanity door to hold the curling irons. Do the same thing with 3-in. pieces of 1-1/2-in.-diameter pipe to hold the cords. Just measure your curling irons to see how long your “holsters” need to be. Let your curling irons cool before you stow them away.
Plastic bag dispenser
To make it easy to stow and reuse plastic bags, make a dispenser from a discarded 2-liter soda bottle. Cut off the top and bottom with a razor knife. Trim any jagged edges so you don’t tear the bags when you pull them out, then screw the dispenser to a cabinet door or closet wall (or attach with hook-and-loop tape).
Charger and cord pockets
Do you get tired of rummaging through drawers and boxes trying to find the right cords and chargers for all of your electronic gadgets? One solution is to use a clear vinyl over-the-door shoe organizer. Make labels for each pocket and put every item in its own spot. Now you can find everything you need without getting frustrated.
Measuring cup hang-up
Free up drawer space by hanging measuring cups inside a kitchen cabinet. Position and mount a wood strip so that the cups will hang between the shelves and allow the door to close completely. Mount a second strip for your measuring spoons, then screw in cup hooks on both strips. Here’s how to build kitchen sink storage trays.
Cabinet door storage rack
Here’s a simple project to bring order to the chaos: a door-mounted storage rack. You can modify this basic idea to organize other cabinets too. A complete materials list and assembly diagram are available here.
Pegboard storage behind closed doors
Pegboard is great for organizing kitchens, laundry rooms and bathroom cabinets. Rout a groove in a 1×2 frame using a rabbet bit, attach the pegboard with glue and brads, then mount it to the door. The frame helps support the edges of the pegboard and creates a 1/2-in. space behind the board so pegs can be inserted.